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: Michigan vs. Michigan State

Advanced Stats Matchup: Michigan vs. Michigan State

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 5th, 2017 at 9:45 AM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis
- 2017 Michigan vs. Michigan State

Introduction

Behold, another installment of the new and improved Advanced Stats (S&P+) Matchup, this time featuring Michigan vs. Michigan State.

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. As you may recall from last season, this matchup analysis was presented in the form a somewhat lengthy table listing the 26 metrics (this season it’s only 20), with a column of metrics for the offense and defense for each team. Derived from these two pairs of metrics were two more columns of matchup metrics, which when compared would indicate which team held a net advantage in that metric. It was a lot to digest, and in the end, it failed to really provide a qualitative characteristic of how great (or negligible) an advantage was that a team held in any metric relative to the other metrics. To that end, this new approach seeks to display 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

This section describes the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the format for the charts. None of this is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Technical Approach

The analysis evaluates metrics that are applicable to both offensive and defensive units of two competing teams, such that a set for a given metric consists of five values: Team A Offense, Team A Defense, Team B Offense and Team B Defense, and the National Average. From this set, two matchup values are derived. The first matchup value is “Team A Offense vs. Team B Defense,"  which as it states gauges the competitive performance of the Team A offense against the Team B defense. The resulting matchup value is then normalized to a matchup between two average teams, so a relative comparison can be made with the opposing team’s result, as well as with matchups for other metrics.

Formulations

The first matchup value is determined by simply taking the product of the Team A offense and Team B defense metrics, divided by the national average for the given metric. The second matchup value is in turn computed in the same way for the Team B Offense versus the Team A Defense. Once the two matchup metrics are determined, the team with the higher value when on offense will have a net advantage for that metric, with the exception of three categories: "Stuff Rate", "Standard Down Sack Rate" and "Passing Down Sack Rate". These are termed contra-metrics for the purposes of this diary. A contra-metric gauges the offense's ability to avoid the given categorical description. Akin to a contra-asset in the accounting vernacular, with these metrics, a lower value is better.

The one factor or metric that does not conform to this principle of geometric scalability described above - because it is predominantly a random variable with a zero mean - is Turnover Luck. The principle of Regression to the Mean would suggest that a team that accrues a negative TO Luck metric coming into a game would likely have better luck than in past games, and likewise the converse holds true for a team with a positive TO Luck metric. Thus, the team with a lower TO Luck metric could be expected to benefit the most in the ensuing game, and the relative benefit would amount to the difference in the TO Luck metrics between the two teams.

 

Data Visualization

The charts are arranged according to the groupings in the table above. All of the base metric numerical data, as well as matchup values, are embedded in the individual metric charts in the small table at the bottom. Metrics for each team’s Offense, Defense, and its Offense versus the opponent’s Defense are read across the designated row in the table. The same data is also depicted visually in chart graphic. Along each side is a vertical line plotted between two color-coded and shape-coded markers. The vertical line on the left side is for “Team A Off. vs. Team B Def.”, where the circle (or “O”) marker designates the value for the offense. Likewise, the diamond marker designates the value for the defense. The markers are in turn color coded according to the particular team’s colors. So you will notice that the color-coding is consistently reversed between the left and right sides across the charts. A third, horizontal dash marker designates the value for the composite matchup between the given offensive and defensive values, as determined by the formulation noted above.

Next is the block in the center of the graphic. The block simply gives emphasis to the vertical difference between the matchup values (the horizontal dash markers) on the left and right vertical lines. The blocks are in turn color coded according to the team whose offense corresponding to the greater matchup value.

Also included in each chart is a horizontal dashed line showing the FBS National Average value for each metric. This is the value to which the matchup values have been normalized.

Last - and this is where the rubber meets the road in setting up this visualization approach – is the Y-axis scaling across the charts (ignoring Turnover Luck, for which this does not apply). You may notice that a logarithmic scale has been applied, and this is because its better suited to reflect the geometric normalization that’s in play here (e.g. 2 times the average will have the same vertical offset as 1/2 of the average, just in the opposite direction). So what’s going on here is that the bounds of the vertical scale for each chart are set to the same multiple of the FBS National Average of each particular metric. For example, the maximum values for the first four charts are set to 6 times the FBS Average values. Likewise, the minimum values are pegged to 1/6 of the FBS Average values, so in the end, the plus or minus percentage range is the same for each chart relative to the FBS average for that chart.

From there, you can just eyeball the blocks, and easily observe which team has the advantage in which matchups, and evaluate whether the matchups are relatively close, as well as where there is potential for a mismatch.

Michigan vs. Michigan State 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 in favor of Michigan, to the tune of –14.7 points. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the predicted 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, so there’s that, with a little Turnover Luck gravy ladled on top.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is below average, while the MSU Defense is well above average, which pulls down the UM Offense. On the other side, the MSU Offense is slightly above average, however, the UM Defense is elite. In fact, it is Ranked #1 in this category! The net matchup gives a considerable edge to Michigan in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, but the MSU Defense is also better than average, which pulls the UM Offense down to about average. On the other side, both the MSU Offense and UM Defense are below average, resulting in a slight improvement for the MSU Offense, but leaving it still below average. The net matchup gives just a slight edge for Michigan in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is slightly below average, while the MSU Defense is well above average, pulling the UM Offense down to well below average. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is above average, which pushes the MSU Offense downward. The net matchup, however, is a sizeable Field Position edge for MSU.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, both offenses are below average, and both defenses are above average. The key difference is UM’s Defense, however, which is well above average. The net matchup is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Luck

Both teams have a recent history of having poor Turnover Luck. The story of the season at this point is that both MSU and Michigan’s TO Luck has lagged expectation based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended). As much as MSU likes to complain about its lack of ability to create turnovers, the opportunities it’s had for effecting turnovers pales in comparison to Michigan’s. In the end, Michigan’s TO Luck has been significantly worse than MSU’s, to the tune of about 5.2 PPG. The net matchup is a significant advantage for Michigan in TO Luck.

Rushing Matchups

Not to belabor each matchup as much as above, but here Sparty appears to have a net advantage in all 5 of the Rushing matchups, and most by a sizeable amount. The issues that the Wolverines are having with its Offensive Line become apparent when looking at these characteristics. From the looks of it, the Michigan rushing attack is heading for some bloody tough sledging, as they say on the other side of the pond.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, both offenses are below average, while both defenses are above average. The difference is that UM’s Offense is well below average (#103), while Sparty’s Defense is elite (#4). The net matchup balance is a sizeable advantage in Rushing Success for Sparty.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, but the MSU Defense is also above average, pulling the UM Offense down close to average. On the other side, the MSU Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is perfectly average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Sparty by the thinnest of margins.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, and the MSU Defense is above average, pushing the UM Offense down to a woeful level. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average, and the UM Defense is above average. The net is a considerable advantage for Sparty in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, both defenses are well above average: Michigan is ranked #7, while MSU is elite, ranked #2. The UM Offense is above average, while the MSU Defense is below average. However, the MSU Defense is so good in this category, the matchup balance is a sizeable advantage for MSU in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, once again, both offenses are below average, while the defenses are both above average. In the end, the matchup result is a sizeable advantage for MSU in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

The Passing matchups are split.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is below average, and when matched against the well above average MSU Defense, it pulls the UM Offense even further down. On the other side, the well above average MSU Offense is obliterated by the elite UM Defense (ranked #1 in this category). The net is a significant advantage for Michigan in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the above average UM Offense is negated by the MSU Defense. On the other side, the well below average MSU Offense is also similarly negated by the well below average UM Defense. The matchup result is a negligible advantage for MSU in Passing IsoPPP.

Standard Down Matchups

Michigan State captures 3 of the 4 Standard Down matchups with Michigan, but UM’s advantage in SD Line Yards nearly offsets MSU’s only significant advantage in SD IsoPPP. It’s worth noting that UM’s defensive scheme under Harbaugh, and under Don Brown in particular, is usually weak in the Explosiveness metric. However, it is usually offset by a strong Success Rate metric, which means that although the explosive plays given up may tend to be large, they are a very infrequent.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, both defensive units are elite: MSU is #4 and UM is #2. Meanwhile, the MSU Offense is below average, and the UM Offense is extremely below average (#120). The net matchup result is a marginal advantage for MSU in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense is about average, but the MSU Defense is elite (#3), which pushes the UM Offense far downward. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is about equally below average, making the MSU Offense look about average. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for MSU in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense is significantly below average, and the MSU Defense is significantly above average, pulling the UM Offense even further downward. However, the MSU Offense is below average, while the UM Defense is elite (ranked #4) and pushes the MSU Offense down to an even lower level. 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 significantly below average, while the MSU Defense is above average, which pushes the UM Offense up. On the other side, the MSU Offense is similarly above average, but the UM Defense is elite (ranked #1), which pulls the MSU Offense up as well. In the end, the net matchup result is a slight advantage for MSU in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, which show three out of four metrics tilting toward Michigan’s advantage. The bottom line is, an opponent like Michigan State does not want to be in a passing situation against Michigan. Also, the Michigan offense may have a much better day in passing situations against this Michigan State defense, as long as it can manage to avoid the pass rush by sticking to shorter passes to the slot or one of multiple TE’s, and working the play action regimen thoroughly.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense is above average while the MSU Defense and its sorry safeties are below average, which tweaks the UM Offense up slightly. On the other side, the top 10 MSU Offense is still obliterated by the elite UM Defense (ranked #2). The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), here again the UM Offense is well above average, while the MSU Defense is actually above average and pulls the UM Offense down a bit. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average, and the UM Defense is about average, which tweaks the MSU Offense up a little. 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 above average and the MSU Defense is below average, which boosts the UM Offense up a smidge. On the other side, the MSU Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is also above average, which takes the MSU Offense down a notch. The net matchup result is a slight 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 MSU Defense is equally above average, which boosts the UM Offense even higher. On the other side, the MSU Offense is below average and the UM Defense is well above average, which also kicks the MSU Offense up a good bit. Yet, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for MSU in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

So at this point you may have some mixed feelings about this mixed back of metrics matchups. Your gut is all a-flutter, and visions of Blake O-Neill muffing a long snap are corrupting your visions of grandeur and the magic that is Under the Lights. You're looking for the Tums. It's time to take a long, deep breath. Inhale. Now count to 10 while you exhale. Now do that 10 times. You better now? Good.

Dennis Hopper - Blue Velvet

Now first, just remember that the core Five Factors are significantly to Michigan's advantage here. Michigan has an 83% likelihood to win this game. That's 1:5 odds. That means you need to bet $5 to win $1 from you Sparty friend. What's not included in that margin is Turnover Luck, which of course is random. But if you believe in the principle of Regression to the Mean, Michigan has been consistently absorbing nearly 7 points per game of bad Turnover Luck. Which means, if Michigan turns it over, it has the ability to make up for it by creating opportunities to get the ball back, or just playing that much better otherwise. We've seen that, and that's what the stats tell us so far this year. If Sparty turns the ball over, they're dead meat.

This game will be much like the Purdue game. If Michigan can just get a lead, it's over. This defense is not going give it up. Now the question is then, how can Michigan get - or take - the lead? The key is going to be a balanced attack, which means Michigan is going to need to actually throw the ball more than it ever has this season. About 25% more, in fact.

Thus far this season, M is running the ball on over 60% of all its plays. Once M gets ahead by more than a TD, the rush attempt rate goes up to 70%, and 85% when ahead by more than 14. OK, that's fine, but...when M is leading by less than a score, tied or trailing, it's still running on 55-60% of downs, but it's only making 35% of its yardage then as YPC drops from 6.1 (when ahead by 14) to 3.5 (when behind by 7). Now imagine how things might go against the Sparty front seven given the metrics above. Yet, on the passing side, YPA is consistently in the 7.0 to 10.0 range whether ahead or behind, which is not terrible, actually.

So what's needed is somewhere around 35 pass attempts, using quick passes to the slot or one of the mutiple TE's on slants or a mesh. Sprinkle in an occasional play action to get O'Korn free of the rush on a waggle, say. O'Korn is Michigan's X-factor here. That's the key: O'Korn needs to be kept clean, and it can't be assumed a pocket is going to exist for very long. No seven- or even five-step drops. He's highly mobile, steps quickly through his progressions and can throw well on run. Avoiding the rush and getting the passes off will compel MSU to back out of the box. Once that happens, it's time to eat the MSU safeties alive with McKeon and Gentry running skinny posts until the cows come home.

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

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Would you want Boise State at Michigan?

Would you want Boise State at Michigan?

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 27th, 2010 at 1:40 AM

The common complaint about Boise State is that they just play cupcakes.

So, if Michigan could have played them in Ann Arbor this year, would you have scheduled them, if you were the AD?

I'm thinking we would have been shredded. But I also think that it isn't fair to complain about their level of competition, if we wouldn't want them scheduled against our own team.