Michigan's First Game of the Season as a True Underdog

Michigan's First Game of the Season as a True Underdog

Submitted by bklein09 on November 16th, 2010 at 12:20 AM

I was thinking about the game this weekend when I realized that this is the first time this season that Michigan is truly a dog. 

I'm pretty sure MSU was a toss up with both teams 5-0, and even though Iowa may have been favored, that game was pretty even going in since it was at the Big House. PSU was about even as well IIRC.

Well this weekend we play the #7 team in the country, fresh off an 83 point explosion and poised to make a run at their first Rose Bowl in over 10 years. Wisconsin is running on all cylinders, and they will not come into Ann Arbor ill-prepared. 

Everyone gets up for Michigan. And Wisconsin will not think twice about hanging 40+ points on us in an embarrassing fashion. 

So I hope this team plays like is has nothing to lose. 

Over the past few years I've learned that a win is a win, no matter how you get it. 

And guess what? At the end of the day, a loss is a loss too.

So if there was ever a game to stack the box, bring the heat, and see if our secondary can bump and run...this is it. At least thats my opinion. 

I think we should pull out all the stops and see what goes down. Because the worse thing that could happen is that our defense gets lit up, which like, O-K. And the best thing that could happen is that we could finally discover a formula that works on our way to 8+ wins. And right on time too, with OSU coming up the following week.

Wisconsin is going to try to run the ball no matter how many people we put in the box. So lets make them earn every yard they get on the ground. And if they use PA and hit us over the top then so be it. This week, I don't want to die a slow death. This week, I don't want to play bend don't break defense. I want to see what happens when we hit them in the face.

Anyways, thats just the feeling I am getting about this game. And I'm not afraid to admit that a lot of the reason I feel this way is that I don't see us having much of a chance unless we change things up. Its not that I'm a pessimist or don't have faith in our team. I just think Wisky is a really solid team this year that truly deserves to be ranked where they are.

No matter what strategy we go with, however, I'm anxious to see what the boys can do this weekend with no pressure or expectations on their shoulders.

Go Blue!

Out of town Michigan viewing--A Lesson

Out of town Michigan viewing--A Lesson

Submitted by yossarians tree on November 15th, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Pay attention to your Mgoblog out of town Michigan viewing thread. This last weekend I found myself having a beautiful time in NYC. After walking around the Central Park area with my wife, we decided we wanted to watch the second half of the Michigan game, but alas, without a computer and access to Mgoblog, we did not know where to go. We even happened upon a group of 20-something guys walking around all in Michigan gear and carrying a football. "Hey," I said, "Where are you guys watching the game?" Turns out it was halftime but they were watching at their apartment, out taking a walk. We ended up at Mickey Mantles on Central Park and of the 25 TVs one game had Michigan-Purdue so we were able to watch the end.

Interestingly, there were college football fans from all over the country and we ended up talking college football for a few hours. We even spent an hour talking football with a couple who are Buckeye fans, and I must report they were very nice, intelligent, and supportive of Michigan's return to prominence for the sake of The Greatest Rivalry in Sports. I shook the guy's hand, wished him luck, and said, "Be careful what you wish for!"

The Toussaint wishing well

The Toussaint wishing well

Submitted by mgoblueballer on November 15th, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Give it up with the eternal wishing that Fitz Toussaint is gonna be some mysterious weapon that gets unleashed and saves the day the next 2 games. Yeah he is a fighter, yeah he has has terrible luck, and yeah, I hope he can be 100% and get some PT. But there are many people that still need to get the delusions out of their head. He is an average back at best, injured or not. Our future at RB is not Fitz Toussaint or Mike Cox. It's Smith and Hopkins. Get used to it.

Wisconsin Badger Forum UM Preview

Wisconsin Badger Forum UM Preview

Submitted by Milwaukee_MGoBlue on November 15th, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Badgers seem to be confident


I think Michigan is highly overrated for beating bad teams. If the game was being played in Madison I wouldn’t be too worried but UW always seems to find a way to lose in the Quiet House. I can’t help but think of 1998 when UW was 9-0 heading into Ann Arbor and lost by 17. That said, this team is clicking on all cylinders right now and I’m sure the players and coaches want to exact some revenge from the 2008 collapse. Given how bad Michigan’s defense is I expect UW to once again put up a lot of points.

Hopefully, UM keeps the turnovers to a minimum and the offense clicks better than last week.  Go Blue!

The Michigan Difference - Purdue Edition

The Michigan Difference - Purdue Edition

Submitted by TennBlue on November 15th, 2010 at 7:06 PM

OK, this isn't a hard-core statistical analysis like the Mathlete would do, just some fun with numbers.  We have a rather bipolar team this year (Offense #5 in TO, Defense #105 in TD), and I thought it would be interesting to look at what our opponents' Total Offense and Total Defense stats would look like if they hadn't played us - and what kind of a difference it would make in their overall ranking of NCAA stats. 

The NCAA stats are not linear, of course, and a difference of 1 yd/gm can be a large or small difference in rankings depending on how closly spaced everyone is.  So as I cautioned, this isn't a hard-core statistical exercise.  It is interesting to look back at the early games and see how well we did in comparison to what other teams ended up doing against them - what seemed like a good or bad performance at the time may look different in retrospect.


Part the First: Offense

We know our offense is great, but what kind of damage has it done to the Total Defense (TD) ratings of our opponents?  Here they are thus far:

Opponents' Total Defense, Season
Opponent Games Yards Yielded Yds/gm NCAA Rank
Connecticut 9 3277 364.11 56
Notre Dame 10 3803 380.30 66
Bowling Green 10 4205 420.50 94
Indiana 10 4116 411.16 89
Michigan State 10 3279 327.90 28
Iowa 10 3070 307.00 16
Penn State 10 3567 356.70 52
Illinois 10 3448 344.80 38
Purdue 10 3644 364.40 57


What would these guys' defensive stats look like if they hadn't played Michigan?

Michigan Offensive Performances
Opponent Total Offense, M

Opp. Avg - M,

M Total Offense,
% of Opp Avg - M**

Without M

Connecticut 473 350.50 135% 46
Notre Dame 532 363.44 146% 56
Bowling Green 721 387.11 186% 77
Indiana 574 393.56 146% 78
Michigan State 377 322.44 117% 27
Iowa 522 283.11 184% 6
Penn State 423 349.33 121% 44
Illinois 676 308.00 219% 18
Purdue 395 361.00 109% 53

*Opponents' average Total Defense yards per game, minus the Michigan game

**Michigan's Total Offense in game as a % of the opponent's average TD minus the Michigan game

So Michigan has gained above our opponents' average yardage yielded in every game thus far, and their TD ranking has suffered as a result.  What's the damage?

The Michigan Difference, Offense
Opponent TD Rank With M TD Rank Without M Difference
Connecticut 56 46 -10
Notre Dame 66 56 -10
Bowling Green 94 77 -17
Indiana 89 78 -11
Michigan State 28 27 -1
Iowa 16 6 -10
Penn State 52 44 -8
Illinois 38 18 -20
Purdue 57 53 -4

Average change in Total Defense ranking for all opponents:  -10.1 places.


Part the Second, Defense

So the flipside of this, then, is how much has our defensive suckitude helped out our opponents stat sheet?  Where would they rank in TO without having played us?  We'll run the same tables again, but from the opposite tack:

Michigan Opponents' Offensive Performances, Season
Opponent Games Yards Gained Yds/gm NCAA Rank
Connecticut 9 3057 339.67 87
Notre Dame 10 3874 387.40 49
Bowling Green 10 2883 288.30 114
Indiana 10 3915 391.50 53
Michigan State 10 4168 416.80 34
Iowa 10 4049 404.90 46
Penn State 10 3597 359.70 74
Illinois 10 3671 367.10 71
Purdue 10 3051 305.10 107

First thing that jumps out at me is that none of these are world-beater offenses thus far.  They're functional and solid for the most part, but even the best is merely above average.  We can't really blame our bad defensive performances on having come up against a bunch of awesome offenses.  Anyway, how'd they do against us?


Michigan Defensive Performances


Total Offense, Opp

Opp. Avg - M,


Opp Total Offense,

% of Opp Avg - M**


Without M

Connecticut 343 339.25 101% 88
Notre Dame 535 371.00 144% 68
Bowling Green 283 288.89 98% 114
Indiana 568 371.89 153% 67
Michigan State 536 403.56 133% 50
Iowa 383 407.33 94% 44
Penn State 435 351.33 124% 78
Illinois 561 345.56 162% 85
Purdue 256 310.56 82% 105

* Opponents average offensive performance, minus the Michigan game

** Opponents TO as a percentage of their average offensive performance, minus the Michigan game

To summarize:

The Michigan Difference, Defense
Opponent TO Rank With M TO Rank Without M Difference
Connecticut 87 88 +1
Notre Dame 49 68 +19
Bowling Green 114 114 0
Indiana 53 67 +14
Michigan State 34 50 +16
Iowa 46 44 -2
Penn State 74 78 +4
Illinois 71 85 +14
Purdue 107 105 -2

Average boost to opponents' Total Offense NCAA ranking: +7.1 places

So we've had four really bad defensive outings (ND, Ind., MSU, Ill.) and a four decent ones (UConn, Iowa, PU, BG).  The PSU game doesn't look so bad from this perspective - still not good, but far from our worst outing when compared to others.

Part the Third:  Summary

The Michigan Difference, Overall

Michigan's O Difference

on Opp TD Ranking

Michigan's D Difference

on Opp TO Ranking

Connecticut -10 +1 W, Good O, OK D
Notre Dame -10 +19 W, Good O, Terrible D
Bowling Green -17 0 W, Awesome O, OK D
Indiana -11 +14 W, Good O, Terrible D
Michigan State -1 +16 L, OK O, Terrible D
Iowa -10 -2 L, Good O, OK D
Penn State -8 +4 L, Good O, Bad D
Illinois -20 +14 W, Awesome O, Terrible D
Purdue -4 -2 W, OK O, OK D

Takeaways from these numbers (as opposed to other numbers or observations):

  • We played well at Iowa and were beaten by a better team.
  • We played badly against MSU on both sides of the ball; they might have beaten us anyway with good performances, but not likely.
  • The loss to PSU doesn't look like such a bad outing from this angle.  Maybe PSU is better than we gave them credit for.
  • Awesome offense wins, terrible defense doesn't necessarily lose.
  • Our offense is better at offending than our defense is bad at defending.
  • Winning is more fun than losing.

The logjam at Spur

The logjam at Spur

Submitted by iawolve on November 15th, 2010 at 5:59 PM

In strange way (I know it sounds odd to say this), we have created depth or at least depth of promising talent on defense. However, it seems to have been restricted to one position which is Spur. Now we have Cam, Carvin and Thomas Gordon all at the same spot according to the latest depth chart and I am happy when any of three in the game. I am not going to call any of them All-B10 this year, but all three have brought some solid play (Cam and Thomas more so than Carvin since he missed a number of games with an injury). Not sure how we can get each player more minutes, but I am actually excited to see more from each guy in the entire three deep. Now, we just need to start having this problem at other positions on D.