Playing Football While Being Notre Dame

Playing Football While Being Notre Dame

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 7th, 2018 at 6:45 PM

Bill Connelly's Strength of Resume supports the assertion that Michigan has the strongest record thus far of the one-loss teams, with Georgia and Oklahoma right behind. Connelly's Strength of Resume basically evaluates a team's past record by comparing the actual scoring margins in all of its games to that of a hypothetical average top-5 team (i.e. with M at #3, M would be akin to your average top-5 team).

2018 Week 9 Total Conference Wins Outlook

2018 Week 9 Total Conference Wins Outlook

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 1st, 2018 at 10:10 PM
Now on the heels of Improvement Week, Team 139 can pick up where it left off with its Revenge Tour with renewed vim and vigor. With the prospect of settling the third of four outstanding scores, victory in this case will yield sweet validation, vindication, and vengeance.

B1G Expectations - 2018 Week 8 Total Conference Wins Outlook

B1G Expectations - 2018 Week 8 Total Conference Wins Outlook

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 24th, 2018 at 9:39 PM

B1G Expectations.PNG

2018 Week 8 Total Conference Wins Outlook

"So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise."

- Pip
 (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

B1G Expectations - 2018 Week 7 Total Conference Wins Outlook

B1G Expectations - 2018 Week 7 Total Conference Wins Outlook

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 19th, 2018 at 2:54 PM
At seven weeks into the season and just past the midpoint, we've witnessed the emergence of the capabilities and true character of this Team 139, and the prognosis is good! The love affair between the fanciest of fancy stats, the S&P+, and your ever-lovin' Maize-n-Blue is back on, and it's getting pretty hot and heavy. Indeed, the S&P+ currently holds Michigan in the realm of CFP contender at the #4 position, which is also tops in the B1G. Even ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) is warming up to the Wolverines, putting them at #6, yet still third in the B1G behind the Buckeyes and a two-loss Penn State. Somewhat less smitten, but perhaps more realistic, is the Power Rank, which puts M at #7, between the Buckeyes and Nits, as well as one spot behind the Fig-things. Curiously, both FPI and S&P+ place Notre Dame below Michigan at #9 and #10, respectively. One thing they can all agree on, however, is that Sparty is well in the high teens, with S&P+ putting them at #33. As of now, Penn State is essentially out of contention for the B1G East with two losses in the division to 2 of the 3 other teams that would otherwise have a chance. Michigan can ensure that MSU is even worse off by defeating Sparty on Saturday, the odds of which are in Michigan's favor.

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Ohio State

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Ohio State

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 21st, 2017 at 11:45 PM

Michigan vs. OSU Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis

Introduction

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics or the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

So with that, on with the matchup analysis.

Executive Summary

Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Yelp!

The Five Factors Matchups

Here you have the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics. As of the beginning of this week, the S&P+ margin stands at 10.3 points in favor of the Buckeyes. Of the first four, which are the ones that contribute to the margin prediction, the Buckeyes have an edge in three - including the factor that is weighted most heavily: Efficiency. The other metric (Field Position) is a statistical push. The Wolverines manage save face and avoids sweep by posting a sizeable advantage in Turnover Margin, which alas, is the one factor that is most influenced by luck. Of course, Michigan’s luck this season has been predominantly of the bad variety, so that sounds about right at this point.

Some notable characteristics in this grouping include:

  • OSU has the #1 Offense in Efficiency going against UM’s #1 Defense in the same category, which makes the OSU Offense look about average.
  • OSU is in the top 25 in all categories on offense and defense except offensive Explosiveness (#42) and Turnover Margin (#38).
  • Other than defensive Efficiency, UM is in the top 25 in only offensive & defensive Field Position, and Turnover Margin.
  • The UM Offense is rated lower than the OSU Defense in all metrics, with the most significant disparity being in Efficiency.
  • The UM Defense rates close to even with OSU Offense in Efficiency and Field Position, but is well below the OSU Offense in Explosiveness and Finishing Drives.

Woof!

Rushing Matchups

In going up against Ohio State, Michigan barely manages to avoid a clean sweep by the Buckeyes in the Rushing metrics. While OSU exhibits considerable advantages is most categories including the overall metric, UM’s only net advantage comes in metric that is arguably the least significant of the set: Power Success.

Notable characteristics in this group include:

  • OSU is #2 in both the offensive and defensive overall Rushing S&P+ metrics, while UM is #13 and #11, yielding a significant advantage for OSU in Rushing S&P+.
  • OSU also registers as elite in both offensive and defensive Rushing Success and Opportunity Rates, as well as defensive Adj. Line Yards and offensive Stuff Rate.
  • OSU is top 12 in all else except in the offensive and defensive Explosiveness metrics (#41 and #22, respectively), which are derivative of the Efficiency.
  • Explosiveness is the only metric in which the UM offense is rated above the OSU defense. Alas, the UM defense falls apart in the Explosiveness metric.
  • UM is elite only in defensive Power Success and Stuff Rate.

Woof.

Passing Matchups

Once again, Michigan barely manages to avoid a clean sweep by the Buckeyes, this time in the Passing metrics. While OSU exhibits considerable advantages is most categories including the overall metric, UM’s only net advantage, which is a marginal at best, is in Passing Success Rate.

The continued atrophy of the Michigan passing attack, as well as its pass protection, are manifest in these metrics. That’s not to say that the Buckeye passing attack is particularly robust. This will say it better: OSU QB J.T. Barrett still ranks a pretty solid #1 in the B1G with a 166.3 QBR, #1 in yards, #3 in YPA, #1 in TDs, and only 3 INT’s not thrown to Iowa. As for UM’s QB, “Ask Again Later.”

Notable characteristics from this group include:

  • The OSU Offense is elite in the overall Passing S&P+ and Passing Success Rate. The Michigan Defense is elite in the same metrics, plus Adj. Sack Rate.
  • The UM Offense is rated well below the OSU Defense in all four metrics. 

Woof.

Standard Down Matchups

It seems inevitable that the Wolverines can do little to resist a Buckeye clean sweep of the Standard Down matchups. None of the matchups are even very close. The notables are:

  • The Buckeyes are top 25ish in all offensive and defensive metrics in this group, and are elite in five of the ten, including both the overall offensive and defensive SD S&P+ metrics.
  • The UM Defense is competitive with the OSU Offense overall, as well as in Success Rate and SD LYPC. The UM Defense also has an edge in Sack Rate, but is deficient in Explosiveness.
  • The UM Offense is rated well below the OSU Defense in all metrics in this group.

Woof.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan manages to capture only one of the four base metrics, yet manages to capture – by a vanishingly small margin - the overall PD+ metric! One thing to keep in mind is that a Passing Down metrics are not measures of passing efficacy per se. These metrics are situational, in that they reflect performance in down-and-distance situations that are usually, but not necessarily, approached using passing plays. Clearly, the PD LYPC metric implies a rushing play on a passing down – and this is where UM has often excelled in the past - whereas PD Sack Rate would imply a drop back of some sort (a passing play or play action).

Anyway, the biggest advantage in this group for either team is Michigan’s edge in PD Explosiveness. This would suggest that the Buckeyes are not a significant threat to go deep on passing downs (perhaps this Buckeye team’s only weakness), so these situations may be prime opportunities for Don Brown to press the OSU Offense to get them further behind the chains.

Some other notables are:

  • The OSU Offense and UM Defense are both elite in the overall PD S&P+ metric, which brings the OSU Offense down to a shade below average.
  • The UM Offense and OSU Defense are both top 25 in overall PD S&P+, which brings the UM Offense down to a shade below average.
  • Both the OSU Offense & Defense are about average in PD Sack Rate, while the UM Offense is as bad as the UM Defense is good.

Yelp.

Conclusion

Oh, how I long for the days of seeing matchup charts that are predominantly and overwhelmingly maize-and-blue-colored. The only hope now is that UM pulls a real patsy for whatever mid-tier, late-December, cold-weather, empty-stadium [Your Corporate Trademark Here]-Bowl it gets placed into. Otherwise, the charts may not be much different until next season, I hope?

It would be good if scoring could be kept low, but given this offense, the defense will be fortunate to keep OSU at bay for a half. The intangibles like turnovers, hidden yards, penalties and weather will need to factor significantly in Michigan’s favor to tilt the balance enough to escape with a win. Michigan’s execution will need to be – if not dominating – at least mistake free, while inducing the Buckeyes to be the error-prone combatant.

As with Wisconsin, should Michigan attempt to pass, step one will be to minimize the Buckeye pass rush. In other fancy stats, the Buckeye Defense currently ranks #8 in Overall Havoc (UM is still #2), as well as #1 in DL Havoc. Therefore, failing step one, step two will be to duck before…

It seems like the best option will be more of the same emphasis on the blocky-catchy types and heavy sets – particularly multi-TE/H-backs.

Here’s hoping that:

  • John O’Korn somehow develops enough pocket instincts to stand and deliver, yet also avoid getting hospitalized.
  • Harbaugh has secreted away an entire set of unused and heretofore un-filmed packages featuring variations on waggles, play-actions and mis-directions.

Yet we all know, as the late, great Lou Reed once sang:

You can't depend on no miracle
you can't depend on the air
You can't depend on a wise man
you can't find 'em because they're not there

You can depend on cruelty
crudity of thought and sound
You can depend on the worst always happening
you need a busload of faith to get by, ha!

And so, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis.

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Bill Connelly: Michigan’s season has gone pretty much as expected

Bill Connelly: Michigan’s season has gone pretty much as expected

Submitted by Blue and Joe on November 21st, 2017 at 11:28 AM

Bill Connelly has a nice read about how Michigan's season has basically gone how it was expected to go. S&P+ projected Michigan to win, on average, about 8.9 games in 2017. That would drop to around 8.5 if Speight being out for the season was considered.

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2017/11/21/16683112/michigan-…

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Wisconsin

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Wisconsin

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 16th, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Wisconsin

Introduction

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the previous Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Michigan at Wisconsin Matchup Analysis

So, on with the matchup analysis!

The Five Factors Matchups

Here are the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics that compose the actual S&P+ ratings from which the game scoring margin is derived. As of the beginning of this week, that margin stands at 9.9 points in favor of the Badgers. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the projected scoring margin are not uniform and, a team has control of only the first four. Of those first four, the Badgers have an edge in two, and the other two are a statistical push, including the factor that is weighted most heavily: Efficiency.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is slightly below average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which knocks the UM Offense down to well below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is also well above average, however, the UM Defense remains the elite-est, holding steady at #1 in this category. The net matchup gives a slight advantage to Wisconsin in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is actually above average, but the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is slightly below average, but the UM Defense is well below average, which boosts the Wisconsin Offense to slightly above average. The net matchup gives a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is now well above average following the short-field extravaganza that was the Maryland game, but the Wisconsin Defense is equally good. The matchup, which is the average of the two (not the geometric scaling as with the first two), pulls the UM Offense down to being perfectly average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is above average, which pulls the Wisconsin Offense down to about average as well. The net matchup, is a negligible Field Position edge for Wisconsin.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, the UM Offense is above average, but the Wisconsin Defense is elite (ranked #2). This matchup, also a simple average, knocks the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is above average. The net matchup is a considerable advantage for Wisconsin in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Margin

Michigan has continued to improve in this metric since Brandon Peters took over at QB, but at this point is unlike to turn the corner for the season with its Turnover Luck; whereas Maryland has had more good luck than bad this season. What this means is that Michigan’s actual turnover margin has significantly lagged expected turnover margin based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended). It’s been a similar story for the Badgers thus far, however they are at least on the plus side of the actual turnovers measure. Setting luck aside however and just comparing the statistically-based expected turnover margin, Michigan is actually well above average (ranked #11, up from #16), whereas Wisconsin has not created so many opportunities (ranked #19). The net difference amounts to about 1.3 PPG. Thus, the net matchup is a slight edge for Michigan in Turnover Margin.

Rushing Matchups

In going up against Wisconsin, Michigan almost manages to achieve a clean sweep in the Rushing metrics! Indeed, Michigan captures a net advantage in five of the six Rushing matchups, with the exception being – as you may have guessed – Explosiveness. Most importantly though, Michigan captures the overall metric matchup. Here remains UM’s best path to victory. So with that, on to the Rushing matchups.

Rushing S&P+

The aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Remarkably, even after the erosion of its rushing metrics in the Maryland game, the Michigan Offense is remains well above average (holding at #12); but, the Badgers Defense is aboeve average, which pulls UM down closer to average. On the other side, the Badgers Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks Wisconsin down to well below average. The net result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in the aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, the UM Offense is about average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which drops UM to well below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is top ten (#6, up from #9). The net matchup in the end is still a slight advantage in Rushing Success for Michigan.

Rushing Explosiveness

In Rushing Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, however the Wisconsin Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down a good chunk. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is slightly above average, while the UM Defense is well below average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Wisconsin by a sizeable margin.

Adjusted Line Yards

In Adjusted Line Yards, the UM Offense is top ten, but the Badger Defense is above average, which is a drag on the UM Offense. Meanwhile, the Badger Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is nearly top ten, which knocks the Badger Offense down below average. The net matchup result is sizeable advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Line Yards.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is about average, while the Wisconsin Defense is slightly below average, giving a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense, which takes the Badger Offense down to below average. The net is a slight advantage for Michigan in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, the UM Offense is now top ten, while the Badger defense is well below average, which tweaks the UM Offense even higher. On the other side, the Badger Offense is slightly above average, while the UM Defense remains elite, which sends the Badger Offense down even further. In the end, the matchup balance is a significant advantage for Michigan in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, the UM Offense is above average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well below average, which benefits the UM Offense. The Badger Offense is well above average, while UM Defense is elite. Think “space hogs” like Moe Hurst and Brian Mone. So, in the end, the matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

In stark contrast to the Rushing metrics, the Passing matchups turn out to be a clean sweep by the Badgers. The continued atrophy of the Michigan passing attack is manifest in these metrics. That’s not to say that the Badger passing attack is particularly robust, yet, Badger QB Alex Hornibrook still ranks a solid #2 in the B1G with a 155.6 QBR.

Passing S&P+

The aggregate Passing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which drops the UM Offense into a black hole. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is elite, which drops the Wisconsin Offense a good chunk. In the end, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in overall Passing S&P+.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Wisconsin Defense is elite, which drops the UM Offense into a black hole once again. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is the elite-est (maintaining its #1 status in this metric), which drops the the Badger Offense a good chunk. The net is still a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the average UM Offense is pulled down by the well above average Wisconsin Defense. On the other side, the above average Badger Offense is boosted by the below average UM Defense. Thus, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Passing IsoPPP.

Adjusted Sack Rate

Adjusted Sack Rate is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. However, it is not a contra-metric as is typical with the other Sack Rate metrics. You can blame Bill Connelly…

The UM Offense is bottom ten, and to make matters worse, the Badger Defense is top ten, which obliterates the UM Offense into nothingness. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well below average, while the UM Defense is elite, which pummels the Wisconsin Offense mercilessly. In the end, the net matchup result still looks like a considerable advantage for Wisconsin in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Standard Down Matchups

Wisconsin captures 2 of the 4 Standard Down matchups as well as a slight edge in the overall matchup with Michigan. The Wolverines’ maintain an edge in SD Line Yards per Carry, which speaks to the efficacy of its gap-blocking power run game on offense; and the big bodies of Hurst and Mone that eat double-teams on defense and free Khaleke Hudson or Devin Bush to fly to the ball carrier.

Standard Down S&P+

The aggregate Standard Down S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which knocks  UM Offense down a chunk. On the other side, the Badger Offense is also above average, but UM Defense is nearly top ten, which pulls the Badger Offense down a chunk. The net matchup result is a marginal advantage for Wisconsin in overall Standard Down S&P+.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, the UM Offense is slightly below average, but the Badger Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down. On the other side, the Badger Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is elite (ranked #2, back up from #5), making the Badger Offense also look well below average. The net matchup result ends up being a negligible edge for Michigan in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness (IsoPPP)

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense is about average, but the Badger Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down. On the other side, the Badger Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is well below average, giving the Badger Offense a tweak. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense remains above average, while the Badger Defense is slightly above average, which is a drag on the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is top ten, dragging the Badger Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in SD Line Yards per Carry.

SD Sack Rate

In SD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is well above average, which could not be much worse for the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is not so hot, while the UM Defense has managed to retain its elite ways (ranked #4, down from #2). In the end, the net matchup result is still a slight advantage for Wisconsin in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan manages to capture only one of the three base metrics, yet manages to capture the overall PD+ metric. One thing to keep in mind is that a Passing Down metrics are not measures of passing efficacy per se. These metrics are situational, in that they reflect performance in down-and-distance situations that are usually, but not necessarily, approached using passing plays. Clearly, the PD LYPC metric implies a rushing play on a passing down – and this is where UM excels - whereas PD Sack Rate would imply a drop back of some sort (a passing play or play action). Although some marginal improvement may have been seen in the Maryland game, the sample size was decidely small, and so drop backs are still a risky thing with this UM Offense. As Woody Hayes once said, “There are only three [sic] things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad.” He wasn’t even including a potential sack in that cogent synopsis, since sacks counted as runs in those olden times.

Passing Down S&P+

The aggregate Passing Down S&P+ metric is an un-inverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here the UM Offense is surprisingly well above average, while the Badger Defense is above average, which knocks the UM Offense down a bit. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is nearly top ten, but the UM Defense is elite (climbing back to #2 in this overall metric), which sends the Badger Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in Passing Down S&P+.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which drops the UM Offense to below average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is also top ten, but the UM Defense is the elite-est (climbing back to #1 from #3), which also drops the Badger Offense to below average. The net matchup result is a slight advantage for Wisconsin in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), the UM Offense is well above average, but the Badger Defense is as well, which pulls the UM Offense lower than average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense , which in turn pulls the Badger Offense down to about average. The net matchup result ends up as a marginal advantage for Wisconsin in PD Explosiveness.

PD Line Yards per Carry

In PD Line Yards per Carry (LYPC), the UM Offense is well above average, while the Badger Defense is above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to about average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense, which knocks the Badger Offense down below average. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in PD LYPC.

PD Sack Rate

In PD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), as everyone should know by now, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is well above average, which pushes the UM Offense sack rate over 1 in 6. On the other side, the Badger Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is top ten, which degrades Badger  Offense to about 1 in 10. Still, the net matchup result is a significant advantage for Wisconsin in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

Well, it was fun while it lasted, but the days of seeing matchup charts that are predominantly and overwhelmingly maize-and-blue-colored has come to an end.

The efficiency and success rate matchups alone suggests we can expect to witness a slobber-knocking sludge-fart of a game. Scoring will be low, and the intangibles like turnovers, hidden yards, penalties and weather may factor significantly in the outcome. That said, execution will be critical to avoid the adverse effects of such elements of this game we call Football in general, and Big Ten Football in particular.

So how can Michigan sneak out of Mad-town with a victory? The LYPC advantages for Michigan are largely attributable to the power and gap-blocking schemes in its rushing offense. If UM chooses to reverts to zone-blocking as it did against Maryland, this advantage will be lost, as evidenced by the chart. Michigan has the bodies and the proficiency to make this work. The uptick in OL performance actually began with the MSU game, and the trend in LYPC (as Mathlete pointed out a couple weeks back IIRC on the podcast?) is steady and consistent … until Maryland, when zone-blocking was for some inexplicable reason given a new emphasis. Phooey on that. UM needs to stick with its Power, Iso’s and Counters.

Should Michigan attempt to pass, step one will be to minimize the Badger pass rush. In other fancy stats, the Badger Defense currently ranks #1 in Overall Havoc (UM is #2), as well as #1 in LB Havoc, #1 DB Havoc and #1 in PD to INC. It also ranks #3 in regular old sacks. Therefore, failing step one, steps two and three will be…

So, this might suggest more of the same of what was seen in the Maryland game. An emphasis on the blocky-catchy types and heavy sets – particularly multi-TE/H-backs - and the tackle-over has worked on occasion as well. These sorts of things could be effective to keep the Badger defense guessing as to who’s blocking or running a route. Also, continued use of the waggle, with its pulling protection, may work as far as keeping Peters clean while buying time to take a shot or two downfield - preferably on first down or second-and-short situation. This also might also be a good time to resurrect that shovel pass UM ran once at IU that got whistled before it went anywhere. Let’s not forget the mesh, either, should UM persuade the safeties to back off. It’s high time to run a couple or three of those.

So, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis!

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Maryland

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Maryland

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 8th, 2017 at 11:00 PM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Maryland

Introduction

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the previous Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Michigan at Maryland Matchup Analysis

So, on with the matchup analysis!

The Five Factors Matchups

Here are the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics that compose the actual S&P+ ratings from which the game scoring margin is derived. As of the beginning of this week, that margin stands at 10.4 points in favor of Michigan. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the projected scoring margin are not uniform and, a team has control of only the first four. Of those first four, UM has an advantage in two, and Maryland holds an edge in two. However, the factor that is weighted most is Efficiency, and that is the factor in which Michigan hold the greatest advantage.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is below average, while the Maryland Defense is well below average, which gives the UM Offense a bit of a boost. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is also well below average, while the UM Defense remains the elite-est, moving back up to #1 in this category. The net matchup gives a significant advantage to Michigan in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is actually above average, but the Maryland Defense is well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is also well below average, which boosts the Maryland Offense even higher. Explosiveness is really the story for this Maryland team, both in creating them on on offense, while mitigating them on defense. The net matchup gives a sizeable advantage for Maryland in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is about average, while the Maryland Defense is above average. The matchup, which is the average of the two (not the geometric scaling as with the first two), pulls the UM Offense down to slightly below average. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is just above average, which boosts up the Maryland Offense. The net matchup, is a slight Field Position edge for Maryland.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, the UM Offense is about average, while the Maryland Defense is well below average. This matchup, also a simple average, gives a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is above average, while the UM Defense is about average. The net matchup is a slight advantage for Michigan in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Margin

Michigan has improved, but has yet to turn the corner with its Turnover Luck; whereas Maryland has had more good luck than bad this season. What this means is that Michigan’s actual turnover margin has significantly lagged expected turnover margin based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended), and it’s been just the opposite for Maryland thus far. Setting luck aside however and just comparing the statistically-based expected turnover margin, Michigan is actually well above average (ranked #16), whereas Maryland has not created so many opportunities (ranked #33). The net difference amounts to about 1.9 PPG. Thus, the net matchup is a sizeable edge for Michigan in Turnover Margin.

Rushing Matchups

In going up against Maryland, Michigan almost manages to achieve a clean sweep. Indeed, Michigan captures a net advantage in five of the six Rushing matchups, with the exception being – as you may have guessed – Explosiveness. Most importantly though, Michigan captures the overall metric matchup. Here again is born UM’s best path to victory. So with that, on to the Rushing matchups.

Rushing S&P+

The aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Remarkably, some way, the Michigan Offense is well above average (at #12, up from #21); but, the UMd Defense is about average, which leaves UM about the same. On the other side, the UMd Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks Maryland down to well below average. The net result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in the aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, the UM Offense is about average, while the Maryland Defense is below average, which boosts UM slightly. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is well below average, but the UM Defense is top ten (#9, down from #8). The net matchup in the end is still a sizeable advantage in Rushing Success for Michigan.

Rushing Explosiveness

In Rushing Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, however the Maryland Defense is also well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down a good chunk. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is also well above average, while the UM Defense is well below average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Maryland by a sizeable margin.

Adjusted Line Yards

In Adjusted Line Yards, the UM Offense is well above average, while the UMd Defense is below average, which gives a slight boost to the UM Offense. Meanwhile, the UMd Offense is about average and the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks the UMd Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is considerable advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Line Yards.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is about average, while the Maryland Defense is below average, giving a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the UMd Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is well above average, which takes the UMd Offense down a chunk. The net is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, the UM Offense is now well above average, while the UMd defense is well below average, which gives the UM Offense a tweak. On the other side, the UMd Offense is approaching rock bottom, while the UM Defense remains the elite-est, which sends the UMd Offense down even further. In the end, the matchup balance is a tremendous advantage for Michigan in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, the UM Offense has improved and is now above average, while the UMd Defense is well below average, which benefits the UM Offense. The UMd Offense is well below average, while UM Defense is elite. Think “space hogs” like Moe Hurst, with some Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich sprinkled in. So, in the end, the matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

The Passing matchups are technically a mixed bag with Michigan capturing 2 of the 3 metrics, but the aggregate metric is well in Michigan’s favor. If there is to be any game this season in which Brandon Peters’ wings are to be completely unfurled and allowed to catch some air, it’s against this team.

Passing S&P+

The aggregate Passing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is below average, but the UMd Defense is just as bad, which pushes the UM Offense up to about average. On the other side, the UMd Offense is slightly above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which pushes the UMd Offense to well below average. In the end, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in overall Passing S&P+.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, but the UMd Defense is just as bad, which pushes the UM Offense up to about average. On the other side, the UMd Offense is also just as bad, but the UM Defense is the elite-est (returning to #1 in this metric). The scuttlebutt is that the UMd Offense is obliterated into nothingness. The net is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the average UM Offense is pulled down by the well above average UMd Defense. On the other side, the well above average UMd Offense is boosted by the below average UM Defense. Thus, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Maryland in Passing IsoPPP.

Adjusted Sack Rate

Adjusted Sack Rate is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. However, it is not a contra-metric as is typical with the other Sack Rate metrics. You can blame Bill Connelly…

The UM Offense is bottom ten, but fortunately, the UMd Defense is nearly as bad (with only 13 non-garbage time sacks on the season), which makes the UM Offense look not so bad. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is well below average (giving up 24 non-garbage time sacks), while the UM Defense is elite, which pummels the Maryland Defense mercilessly. In the end, the net matchup result looks like a significant advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Standard Down Matchups

Michigan captures 3 of the 4 Standard Down matchups as well as the overall matchup with Maryland, with UMd’s only advantage of course coming in SD IsoPPP. It’s been noted before but is worth repeating that UM’s defensive scheme under Harbaugh, and under Don Brown in particular, is typically weak in the Explosiveness metric - these results are no different - and it’s not a bad thing. What’s important is that it is usually offset by a strong Success Rate metric, which is born out in these results as well.

Standard Down S&P+

The aggregate Standard Down S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the UMd Defense is slightly below average, which gives the UM Offense a tweak. On the other side, the UMd Offense is also above average, but UM Defense is significantly above average, which pulls the UMd Offense down below average. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in overall Standard Down S&P+.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, but the UMd Defense is just as bad, which boosts the UM Offense to about average. On the other side, the UMd Offense is well below average, and the UM Defense is elite (ranked #5, down from #3), making the UMd Offense also look well below average. The net matchup result ends up being a considerable advantage for Michigan in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness (IsoPPP)

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense has improved to slightly above average, but the UMd Defense is well above average, which pulls the UM Offense back down. On the other side, the UMd Offense is also well above average, while the UM Defense is well below average, giving the UMd Offense a nice boost. The net matchup result is a considerable advantage for Maryland in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense has improved to above average, and the UMd Defense is well below average, which further benefits the UM Offense. On the other side, the UMd Offense is near rock bottom, while the UM Defense is top ten, pulling the UMd Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in SD Line Yards per Carry.

SD Sack Rate

In SD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), the UM Offense is well below average, while the UMd Defense is about average, which leaves the UM Offense unperturbed. On the other side, the UMd Offense is well below average, while the UM Defense is back to its elite ways (ranked #2, up from #7). In the end, the net matchup result is still a considerable advantage for Michigan in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan manages to make a clean sweep of all the metrics, with the net result being a significant advantage for Michigan. One thing to keep in mind is that a Passing Down metrics are not measures of passing efficacy. These metrics are situational, in that they reflect performance in down-and-distance situations that are usually, but not necessarily, attacked with passing plays. Clearly, the PD LYPC metric implies a rushing play on a passing down, whereas PD Sack Rate would imply a passing play.

Passing Down S&P+

The aggregate Passing Down S&P+ metric is an un-inverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here the UM Offense has advanced to a level that is surprisingly well above average, while the UMd Defense is below average, which boosts the UM Offense even further. On the other side, where the UMd Offense is slightly above average while the UM Defense is elite (slipping to #3 in this overall metric), which sends the UMd Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in Passing Down S&P+.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense has moved up to slightly above average, while the UMd Defense is below average, which boosts the UM Offense up even further. On the other side, the UMd Offense is also well below average, while the UM Defense is elite (holding steady at #3), which sends the UMd Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), the UM Offense has improved to be well above average, while the UMd Defense is above average, which erodes the UM Offense somewhat. On the other side, the UMd Offense is slightly above average, but the UM Defense has improved to be above average, which pulls the UMd Offense down slightly. The net matchup result ends up as a slight advantage for Michigan in PD Explosiveness. This is the only Explosiveness category that Maryland does not have an advantage.

PD Line Yards per Carry

In PD Line Yards per Carry (LYPC), the UM Offense is now well above average, while the UMd Defense is below average, which tweaks the UM Offense up slightly. On the other side, the UMd Offense is perfectly average, and the UM Defense is well above average, which knocks the UMd Offense down a chunk. The net matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in PD LYPC.

PD Sack Rate

In PD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), as everyone should know by now, the UM Offense is well below average, but the UMd Defense is even worse, which helps the UM Offense considerably. On the other side, however, the UMd Offense is well below average, while the UM Defense is elite, which degrades UMd beyond all reality. ThE net matchup result is a tremendous advantage for Michigan in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

It’s been fun while it lasted, but the days of seeing matchup charts that are predominantly and overwhelmingly maize-and-blue-colored may be coming to an end. That said, this Team 138 has still made significant progress metrics-wise in recent weeks, most noticeably on the offensive side of the ball, including even the Penn State game. One might argue that the level of competition has something to do with it the past two weeks, but the metrics now are opponent adjusted, so there’s that. Clearly, there is still a great deal of room for improvement. This Maryland matchup is going to be the last and best opportunity for an offensive tune-up, particularly in regard to the passing game. The metrics suggest the most benign of all possible pass-rush environments, which may finally enable Brandon Peters to stand in the pocket long enough to make accurate downfield passes. Of course, that also depends on receivers being able to get open, but at least Peters appears to have some inkling of ability to throw a receiver open. This really needs to be done at some point if for no other reason than to get it on film - for those who will be viewing it in the next couple of weeks – and demonstrate that a downfield threat exists, and needs to be respected. Nonetheless, Michigan would be remiss to not move forward with continued emphasis on the rushing attack. Just seeing how tantalizingly close the Wolverines got to having two 200-yard rushers in one game for the first time in history on Saturday makes the progress this team has made all the more impressive. There really is no reason why reaching that milestone should not be a goal for this game with Maryland.

On the other side, once again, Michigan’s Defense can reasonably expect to shut down the Maryland Offense for the most part. Nonetheless, Maryland’s explosive tendencies will always be lurking about throughout the 60 minute game. If nothing else, those tendencies (and Michigan’s) may well enable Maryland to avoid a shutout.

So, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis!

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan vs. Rutgers

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan vs. Rutgers

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 27th, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan vs. Rutgers

Introduction

Woohoo, here we go! It’s the Advanced Stats (S&P+) Matchup for Michigan’s re-emergent rivalry with Rutgers!

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the previous Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Michigan at Rutgers Matchup Analysis

So, on with the matchup analysis!

The Five Factors Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_5factors_matchup.png

Here are the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics that compose the actual S&P+ ratings from which the game scoring margin is derived. As of the beginning of this week, that margin stands at 13.4 points in favor of Michigan. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the projected scoring margin are not uniform and, a team has control of only the first four. Of those first four, UM has an advantage in three (two of which are narrow). Rutgers holds a narrow edge in the fourth.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Rutgers Defense is about average, which pushes the UM Offense down a bit more. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is below average, while the UM Defense remains elite, but has slid down to #2 in this category. The net matchup gives a considerable advantage to Michigan in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is about average, but the Rutgers Defense is above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is nearly rock bottom, but the UM Defense is also well below average, which boosts the Rutgers Offense a bit. The net matchup gives slight advantage for Michigan in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is about average, while the Rutgers Defense is above average. The matchup, which is the average of the two (not the geometric scaling as with the first two), pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is only average, which boosts up the Rutgers Offense. The net matchup, however, is a slight Field Position edge for Rutgers.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, the UM Offense is below average, but the Rutgers Defense about the same. This matchup, also a simple average, gives a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is about average. The net matchup is a slight advantage for Michigan in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Margin

Both teams have a history so far this season of having poor Turnover Luck. What this means is that both Rutgers and Michigan’s actual turnover margin has significantly lagged expected turnover margin based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended), with Rutgers’ luck being just a shade better than Michigan’s sorry luck. Setting luck aside however and just comparing the statistically-based expected turnover margins, Michigan is actually well above average (ranke #9), however Rutgers, not unlike Penn State, is elite (ranked #3!). The net difference amounts to about 1.7 PPG. Thus, the net matchup is a sizeable edge for Rutgers in Turnover Margin.

Rushing Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_Rushing_matchup.png

In going up against Rutgers at least, UM manages to almost achieve a clean sweep. Indeed, Michigan captures a net advantage in five of the six Rushing matchups, in addition to the overall metric matchup. Here again is born Michigan’s best path to victory. So with that, on to the Rushing matchups.

Rushing S&P+

The aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Somehow, some way, the Michigan Offense is well above average; but, the RU Defense is also above average, which pulls UM down a bit. On the other side, the RU Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks Rutgers down to well below average. The net result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Rushing S&P+.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, the UM Offense is well below average, while Rutgers Defense is closer to average, which pushes UM downward. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is close to average, but the UM Defense is top ten (#8, down from #3). The net matchup in the end is still a sizeable advantage in Rushing Success for Michigan.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is above average, however the Rutgers Defense is actually well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down a good chunk. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is well below average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Rutgers by a sizeable margin.

Adjusted Line Yards

In Adjusted Line Yards, the UM Offense is well above average, and the RU Defense is a shade above average, which shaves a bit off the UM Offense. Meanwhile, the RU Offense is about average and the UM Defense is also well above average, which knocks the RU Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is considerable advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Line Yards.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is below average, while the Rutgers Defense is about average, leaving the UM Offense about the same. On the other side, the RU Offense is below average and the UM Defense is well above average, which takes the RU Offense down even further. The net is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, the UM Offense is above average, yet the RU defense is also above average, which takes the UM Offense down to about average. On the other side, the RU Offense is approaching rock bottom, while the UM Defense is the elitist - ranked #1 in this metric – which sends the RU Offense down even further. In the end, the matchup balance is a tremendous advantage for Michigan in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, both offenses are close to average. The difference is in the defenses: the RU Defense is below average, while UM Defense is top ten. Think “space hogs” like Moe Hurst, with some Brian Mone sprinkled in. So, in the end, the matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_Passing_matchup.png

The Passing matchups are technically a mixed bag, but the net is well in Michigan’s favor.

Passing S&P+

The aggregate Passing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is below average, while the RU Defense is top ten, which pushes the UM Offense to well below average. On the other side, the RU Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is the elitest (ranked #1 in this metric), which pushes the RU Offense to well below average. In the end, the net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in overall Passing S&P+.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, OK? Also, the RU Defense is above average, OK? OK, so that takes the UM Offense down a notch further. No worries. Not a big deal. The reason is because, the RU Offense is even more below average, and the UM Defense is elite (ranked #2, down from #1, in this metric). The scuttlebutt is that the RU Offense is obliterated into nothingness. The net is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the perfectly average UM Offense is unperturbed by the comparably average RU Defense. On the other side, the rock-bottom RU Offense is boosted by the well below average UM Defense, but to no avail. The net matchup result is still a sizeable advantage for Rutgers in Passing IsoPPP.

Adjusted Sack Rate

Adjusted Sack Rate is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. However, it is not a contra-metric as is typical with the other Sack Rate metrics. You can blame Bill Connelly…

Here is where Rutgers strengths are manifest. The UM Offense is bottom ten, and fortunately, the RU Defense is even worse, which makes the UM Offense look above average. Yet, on the other side, the Rutgers Offense is top ten, and even though the UM Defense is well above average, it still leaves Rutgers at a very high level. In the end, the net matchup result looks like a significant advantage for Rutgers in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Standard Down Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_SD_matchup.png

Michigan captures 3 of the 4 Standard Down matchups as well as the overall matchup with Rutgers, with RU’s only advantage coming in SD Sack Rate, and a tie in Explosiveness. It’s been noted before but is worth repeating that UM’s defensive scheme under Harbaugh, and under Don Brown in particular, is typically weak in the Explosiveness metric - these results are no different - and it’s not a bad thing. What’s important is that it is usually offset by a strong Success Rate metric, which is born out in these results as well.

Standard Down S&P+

The aggregate Standard Down S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense has improved and is now above average, while the RU Defense is about average, which leaves the UM Offense unchanged. On the other side, the RU Offense is also below average, while UM Defense is significantly above average, which pulls the RU Offense toward rock bottom. The net matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in overall Standard Down S&P+.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, but the RU Defense is below average, which gives the UM Offense a slight tweak. On the other side, the RU Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is elite (ranked #3, down from #2), making the RU Offense also look well below average. The net matchup result ends up being a sizeable advantage for Michigan in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness (IsoPPP)

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense remains well below average, while the RU Defense is slightly above average, which pulls the UM Offense lower still. On the other side, the RU Offense is rock-bottom-the-worst, while the UM Defense is only a few shades better, giving the RU Offense a tweak upward. The net matchup result is a push in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense is slightly below average, and the RU Defense is well below average, which improves the UM Offense. On the other side, the RU Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is elite (ranked #4, down from #3), pulling the RU Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in SD Line Yards per Carry.

SD Sack Rate

In SD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), the UM Offense is well below average, but the RU Defense is even wose, which improves the UM Offense effective Sack Rate. On the other side, the RU Offense is actually top ten, but the UM Defense is as well (ranked #7, down from #3), to the detriment of the RU Offense. In the end, the net matchup result is still a sizeable advantage for Rutgers in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_PD_matchup.png

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan captures 3 of the 4 matchups as well as the overall matchup, with the net result being a significant advantage for Michigan. However, what remains to be cause for concern in these matchups is pass protection, something that RU excels at on Defense and simply avoids by not passing at all on Offense.

Passing Down S&P+

The aggregate Passing Down S&P+ metric is an un-inverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here the UM Offense has dropped to the point of being perfectly average, while the RU Defense is above average, which drops the UM Offense to below average. On the other side, where the RU Offense is well below average while the UM Defense is elite (moving up to #2 in this overall metric), which sends the RU Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in Passing Down S&P+.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense has dropped to well below average, while the RU Defense is above average, which pushes the UM Offense down even further. On the other side, the RU Offense is also well below average, while the UM Defense is elite (up to #2 from #3), which sends the RU Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), the UM Offense is about average, while the RU Defense is slightly below average, which leaves the UM Offense about the same. On the other side, the RU Offense is near rock bottom, but the UM Defense is below average, which tweaks the RU Offense upward. The net matchup result is still a sizeable advantage for Michigan in PD Explosiveness.

PD Line Yards per Carry

In PD Line Yards per Carry (LYPC), the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the RU Defense is about average, which leaves the UM Offense unperturbed. On the other side, the RU Offense is near rock bottom, and the UM Defense is well above average, which sends the RU Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in PD LYPC.

PD Sack Rate

In PD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), as everyone should know by now, the UM Offense is well below average, but the RU Defense is slightly worse, which helps the UM Offense considerably. On the other side, however, the RU Offense is nearly top ten, while the UM Defense is above average, which degrades RU a bit. However, the net matchup result is still a significant advantage for Rutgers in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

After the throttling that took place last week at the hands of the Nittany Lions, it’s good to finally see some matchups that are, if not entirely maize-n-blue-colored, at least predominantly so. Overall, UM has the advantage in all the categories of metrics, and the majority of the sub-metrics. Some of this shift is attributable to some noticeable improvements in offensive metrics, but most of the shift is attributable to a change in the level of competition. Happy Homecoming, yo!

Michigan’s Defense can reasonably expect to shut down the RU Offense, and absent any field-flipping catastrophes, should reasonably expect to shut them out. On the other side, Michigan will still need to be wary of its pass protection going up against this Rutgers DL that is anchored by standout Sebastian Joseph at the Nose. Even passing on standard downs could prove hazardous against the RU front, so Michigan’s running backs had better be ready to set their blocks when it comes time to run play action. That said, it would be reasonable to expect Michigan to stick to running the ball as much as possible - which should prove effective – and take control of this game by possessing the ball and running down the clock. Passes may come, but they will be few and far between, and would be more likely to come on first down, or 2nd and short, and be in the form of shots down the field as opposed to chain-moving high-percentage passes, only because high-percentage passes are a bit of a misnomer for this Michigan offense.

So, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis!

Yours in football, and Go Blue!