Fan Satisfaction Index: BBall Regular Season Results

Fan Satisfaction Index: BBall Regular Season Results

Submitted by OneFootIn on March 1st, 2018 at 12:25 PM

Solid. Surprising. Ascending. MAARvelous. Antrorse.

These are just a few of the words fans used to describe the basketball team’s regular season. Sitting at 24-7 after throttling Maryland last Saturday, Michigan fans were in a good mood, felt very satisfied about the regular season, and displayed a great deal of optimism about Michigan’s chances in the NCAA tournament.

It should come as little surprise to learn that a decisive road win against a team that Ken Pom and others expected to beat Michigan induced a serious case of satisfaction. Satisfaction with the game averaged 94.3 and as Figure 1 shows, responses clustered in an unusually tight range (except for one person who I think might have accidentally typed ‘10’ when he or she was trying to type ‘100’).

Figure 1. Maryland Game Satisfaction
(X axis is game satisfaction on a 0-100 scale; Y axis is # of respondents)

Season satisfaction was also high after the Maryland game, averaging 85.7 with a standard deviation of just 6.8, again showing a remarkable level of uniformity of opinion. To some degree the level surely reflected (as was the case during the football season) the flush of positive emotion that comes with a victory. At the same time, fans have every reason to be satisfied with the season viewed in broader perspective.

Sure, the season could have been really special had they not blown a couple of golden opportunities (Purdue twice, OSU, etc.) and lost a couple stinkers (Nebraska, Northwestern). On the flip side, however, how many fans had confidence at midseason that Michigan would wind up 24-7 and look this dangerous as it heads into the postseason? Given how long it took Michigan to figure out who was going to play what roles and for various pieces to round into form, their record seems like a major achievement, not to mention a great sign of things to come.

Figure 2. Regular Season Satisfaction
(X axis is season satisfaction on a 0-100 scale; Y axis is # of respondents)

This survey offered fans the opportunity to share the single word that they felt best described the season. In true MGoBlog fashion we received several creative responses. The word cloud below offers a visual summary of the responses with the most popular responses appearing as the biggest words in the cloud.

Figure 3. Describe the Season in One Word

The final question on the survey asked fans to predict how far Michigan would make it in the NCAA tournament. Riding a five game winning streak, including a smack down of the Buckeyes and two road victories against dangerous opponents, the fans are feeling bullish. A majority will clearly be disappointed if Michigan isn't playing on the second weekend. 

Figure 4. How Far Will Michigan Go?

  Percent n
1st Round 0.4 1
2nd Round 10.4 24
Sweet 16 54.6 126
Elite 8 25.5 59
Final Four 3.5 8
Championship Game 1.3 3
They'll Win It All 4.3 10


Fan Satisfaction Index: Ohio State Survey

Fan Satisfaction Index: Ohio State Survey

Submitted by OneFootIn on November 25th, 2017 at 3:44 PM

Fan Satisfaction Index: Maryland Results

Fan Satisfaction Index: Maryland Results

Submitted by OneFootIn on November 16th, 2017 at 10:54 AM

Since I live just outside D.C. I was lucky enough to catch last week’s game in person with my son. I’m pretty sure Michigan fans outnumbered Maryland fans, if not at kickoff then for sure by the second quarter after the drubbing was in full effect. It ain’t the Big House, but Maryland’s stadium is nice enough and the whole parking/getting in/getting out aspect was about as easy as I’ve ever experienced. Plus I got to sing the Victor's at a game, with actual Michigan fans, for the first time in about a decade. Overall gameday satisfaction level: high.

Harbaugh called it Michigan’s most complete performance of the season. I, on the other hand, gave it a “meh.” So, apparently, did the fan base, which gave the game a solid 73.5, which ranks fifth among Michigan’s wins, just behind Rutgers but well above Air Force, Cincinnati, and Indiana. Harbaugh is undoubtedly looking at the more important elements of the game here, but from a fan perspective the 73.5 seems fair. Michigan crushed a team they were supposed to crush, but didn’t look all that dominant for much of the game. The defense gave up more yards than expected to Maryland and its Nth-string quarterback, the offense looked good in spurts but fell short of exerting total dominance, and Quinn Nordin, #collegekicker, missed an easy one.

Figure 1. Maryland Game Satisfaction

Nor did the fans find much in the Maryland game to move the needle on their assessments of the season so far. Beating another cupcake this late in the season just isn’t going to change anyone’s opinion of the team and it isn’t going to erase the bad taste of losing to MSU and PSU. For that reason, even though it felt pretty good to thump Maryland, season satisfaction for the week checked in at 69.9, up less than a point from last week.

Figure 2. Season Satisfaction after Maryland


For the third week in a row game satisfaction outpaced season satisfaction. But one way or another Figure 3 is going to look very different next week…

Figure 3. Season Trends

Themes, Thoughts, Trends

Calibrating Our Instruments*

As good scientists it is critical that we be sure that our measurements are measuring what we think they’re measuring. In the context of our project here, we’d like to know that when Person A says a game gave them a satisfaction level of 80 that it means the same thing as when Person B gives us an 80.

Let’s take Netflix movie ratings as an example of this problem. If your family is like my family, some of you have discerning minds and impeccable taste, and rate movies accordingly, while others…do not. I, for example, give okay movies 3 stars, good or very good movies 4 stars, and I reserve 5 stars for things that are incredible. My daughter, on the other hand, hands out 5 star reviews like Halloween candy. Needless to say no one should pay any attention to our Netflix account’s overall ratings of movies. We would obviously like to avoid this problem with the fan satisfaction index.

Like Netflix, I have given very little in the way of guidance to respondents as to what they “should mean” when they answer a certain way. Other than telling them a zero is the worst and a 100 is the best, I figure your average MGoBlogger can handle scoring their satisfaction in a way that most folks will understand. We all have plenty of experience with tests that are scored from zero to 100, and most people have taken an infinite number of other surveys; there is good reason to expect that the hive mind will produce a reasonably tight consensus around what any given number means.

On the other hand, since I’ve never asked anyone to explain his/her response, I have had to assume that my interpretation of the hive mind is more or less the standard interpretation that anyone would give. But hey, I could be wrong. When I was surprised at how satisfied the fan base was about beating Rutgers, for example, I might have simply been misinterpreting what a 73.9 meant to the typical respondent. Maybe a 73.9 is really code for “adequate but not particularly invigorating victory over a crappy opponent.” If that’s the case, not only did I whiff a bit interpreting fan reactions to Rutgers, but my interpretation of other games should also be amended.

Here’s another interesting thing about trying to measure attitudes with surveys like this: most of the numbers on the scale are seriously underutilized, while a few more way overrepresented. As you can see in Figure 4, some numbers serve as something like a cognitive anchor. People are a lot more likely to answer 60, 65, or 70, than 51, 63, or 77.

Figure 4 Bumpy Data: 1875 Game Satisfaction Responses through Maryland


In fact, people are so much more likely to use certain numbers that it makes you wonder sometimes why anyone would use a 0 to 100 scale in the first place. Table 1 shows what I mean. The even numbered “primary anchors” (10, 20, 30, etc.) made 47% of all responses, the odd numbered “secondary anchors” (15, 25, 35, etc.) made up 33.5% of all responses, but the numbers adjacent to the anchors have been woefully under used. Even sadder: thirteen lonely numbers haven’t been used even once so far!

Table 1 Anchoring Effects and Survey Responses

Anchor % of all responses Anchor Adjacents % of all responses
0 2.13 1 0.43
10 2.61 9 & 11 0.05
20 2.61 19 & 21 0.1
30 2.4 29 & 31 0.0
40 3.31 39 & 41 0.05
50 3.73 49 & 51 0.7
60 4.91 59 & 61 0.16
70 8.37 69 & 71 0.85
80 11.52 79 & 81 0.7
90 4.59 89 & 91 0.95
100 .85 99 0.11
Total 47.03   4.1

Fun stuff.

In the spirit of getting it right, then, this week is Calibration Week. In the comments, tell me what you think the numbers mean. What’s a 50 to you? What’s a 75? How did you figure out what number to use?

* Get your minds out of the gutter. This is a family friendly site.

The Road Ahead

To Wisconsin we go…time for another test of our fan satisfaction system. This could get interesting. The game is at Camp Randall, a horrendously difficult road test for any team under any conditions, and the Badgers are favored by 7.5. Wisconsin’s offense has issues, but its defense has been stifling – not a great omen given Michigan’s aggressively mediocre offense this season. And yet…I’m sensing an awful lot of hope, even maybe the stirrings of expectations that Harbaugh and Co. have been keeping their powder dry and will finally unleash the Messiah’s true firepower in Madison to lay waste to the already frozen tundra. We shall see.






Fan Satisfaction Index: Minnesota Results

Fan Satisfaction Index: Minnesota Results

Submitted by OneFootIn on November 9th, 2017 at 9:22 AM

Is beating a mediocre Minnesota team with zero offense really worth an average game satisfaction of 78.2? I mean, I love the Little Brown Jug as much as the next guy, but I think I was 10 the last time I was actually excited about seeing us win it. But the fans loved it, rating their satisfaction with the Minnesota victory higher than any other game this season except Florida.

Figure 1. Minnesota Game Satisfaction 

Last week we tried to explain the exuberant reaction to the Rutgers game as a response to the arrival of the Messiah. That line won’t fly this week, as Peters turned in a solid but decidedly un-Messiah-like performance, completing just 8 of 13 throws for 56 yards.

If you want to stick with a player-based explanation, you can point to the double-barreled running attack of Higdon and Evans, who torched Minnesota for 377 yards and multiple explosive touchdown runs. And no question, for many of us the clear improvement in the ground game has been invigorating; watching Higdon and Evans blow past Gopher defenders was fantastic.

But perhaps a more compelling explanation for fan satisfaction this week is the fact that Michigan exceeded expectations. Not only did the running game go off unexpectedly, but Michigan also beat the spread by 7 points, its greatest margin against the spread this season other than – you guessed it – Florida. As Figure 2 shows, the R-squared between performance versus expectations and game satisfaction is .79.

Figure 2. The Expectations Effect 


Buoyed by consecutive (and satisfying) wins, season satisfaction crept up another notch this week to an average of 69.1, its highest mark since the Purdue game, when satisfaction was 76.7. Like last week, game satisfaction outpaced season satisfaction – fans are still not completely over the two losses, but I’m a little surprised that the season satisfaction rebound has been so significant. It’s also interesting how tightly bunched fans’ feelings are this week – the standard deviation in season satisfaction this week was just 11.6.

Figure 3. Season Satisfaction after Minnesota

Themes, Thoughts, Trends

Another week, another bullet in the data chamber, and the seasonal trend lines get another tick longer. So far game satisfaction has averaged 69.2 across the 7 wins, and a meagerly 22.4 for the two losses.

Figure 4: The Season So Far

The Road Ahead

As Maryland continues to shed quarterbacks, Vegas has pegged Michigan a 15 or 16-point favorite over the poor Terps. It should be another chance for the running backs to go ham and hopefully Brandon Peters gets a few more live-fire opportunities to prove he is the Anointed One. An upset on the road would undoubtedly send satisfaction plummeting. Another hamblasting should see season satisfaction sneak even further up before the next real test in Madison.








Fan Satisfaction Index: Rutgers Results

Fan Satisfaction Index: Rutgers Results

Submitted by OneFootIn on November 2nd, 2017 at 8:41 AM

Is irrational exuberance blossoming in Ann Arbor?

In a 1996 speech about the dot com boom Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan popularized the term “irrational exuberance.” The market was overheating he argued, and he warned that all market bubbles must eventually burst. And as we know, after a dazzling few years, the dot com hype eventually gave way to the cold harsh reality that businesses actually have to, you know, make a profit.

Brandon Peters came in for a struggling John O’Korn on Saturday and immediately made Michigan’s offense look more competent. Peters himself looked calm and in command, completing passes to nine different receivers and recording his first touchdown pass (and just as importantly – not throwing any interceptions). His presence on the field clearly energized his team. When Peters entered the game halfway through the 2nd quarter it was tied at 7-7. By half the Wolverines were up 21-7. Peters’ second half performance was drama free, allowing Michigan’s running game to close out the victory. Clearly the Messiah has arrived.

Skeptics have pointed out that Peters was playing Rutgers, was not asked to do much, showed some signs of hesitation out there, and that even if he is the next Messiah, there will be significant growing pains along the way. Others have noted that O’Korn looked like the answer after Purdue, only to be revealed as a false prophet. All bubbles, they seem to be saying, must eventually burst.

Maybe so, but after Saturday’s game fans were in no mood for such logic. Brandon Peters’ performance on Saturday not only satisfied the demands of growing chorus of fans calling for a quarterback change, it also seems to have reignited hopes for a season many had written off as lost. The result: both the game satisfaction index (73.9) and the season satisfaction index (62.9) are at their highest levels since Purdue despite the fact that Michigan did not in fact cover the spread. Interestingly, there was no difference this week between hot takes and cold takes. It just felt good.

Figure 1. Rutgers Game Satisfaction


Figure 2. Season Satisfaction after Rutgers

Michigan has clearly entered the roller coaster portion of its season. Figure 3 shows the whiplash fans have been through the last month.

Figure 3: The Season So Far

Themes, Thoughts, Trends

Rational Exuberance?

Looking back at Figure 3 you will note that this is the first week where the game satisfaction level was higher than fans’ satisfaction with the season as a whole. I think this reflects at least two things. First, many fans started the season with very high expectations, which was reinforced by the win against Florida. That, combined with a series of underwhelming wins, saw season satisfaction continue to outpace game satisfaction even as it dropped after losses to MSU and PSU.

Second, as jazzed as fans may be about Peters, even the Messiah can’t undo the losses already suffered. Nor are most fans ready to believe – yet – that Peters can deliver them to the promised land (victory against the Buckeyes) this season. This week’s results might just reflect a sort of rational irrational exuberance. Irrational hopes about the future with Peters mixed with lingering ennui and doubts about beating the Buckeyes. Sounds like a fan to me.

The Road Ahead

Vegas has Michigan a 14.5 favorite over the Gophers this week. I’m holding my breath to see what the Messiah looks like in his first start. You can feel the fan base holding its breath. If Peters fires two or three touchdown passes will fans lose their sh*t and start promising victories over Wisconsin and Ohio State? How do folks feel if Peters looks human and Michigan pulls out a close one? And God forbid, do the walls cave in if Peters looks like a freshman and Michigan stumbles again under the lights? We shall see.




Fan Satisfaction Index: Rutgers Survey

Fan Satisfaction Index: Rutgers Survey

Submitted by OneFootIn on October 28th, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Fan Satisfaction Index: Penn State Results

Fan Satisfaction Index: Penn State Results

Submitted by OneFootIn on October 25th, 2017 at 6:39 PM

Looks like crap. Feels like crap. There wasn’t much to love about that game. This year’s game felt about as bad as last year’s felt good. Last year I expected Michigan to win, but not as handily as they did. This year I expected Michigan to lose, but not as badly as they did. The average game rating this week was 23.9 – not quite as low as after the loss to Michigan State, but close. Probably the only thing saving it from being lower was the widely-held expectation that Michigan had little chance to win.

Figure 1. Post-Penn State (Dis) Satisfaction

The more fundamental change in the wake of Saturday’s drubbing is Michigan fans’ sense of the season so far. With two losses and no real shot at a conference title, the season satisfaction index dropped to its lowest point to date, averaging 33.7 this week, down from 53.7 after the Indiana game and well below the 40.5 recorded after the team’s first loss.

The question now becomes whether this figure represents the eventual ceiling for the season. Taking care of Rutgers, Minnesota, and Maryland – a less sure bet than originally imagined, sadly – will placate many fans at least to some degree. Even if those wins look convincing, however, it’s difficult to see the season satisfaction index rising much above 50. Losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State to end the season, however, would almost certainly send season satisfaction plummeting to as yet unseen lows.

Figure 2. Week 8 Season (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

On the other hand, of course, the southerly trend in seasonal satisfaction displayed in Figure 3 would rebound dramatically should Michigan upset Wisconsin on the road, and a win over the Buckeyes in the season finale would abolish all sorts of demons. Hey, we can dream.

Figure 3: The Season So Far

Themes, Thoughts, Trends

Battling Expectations

As I have written before – and many posters have commented – fan satisfaction has a lot to do with expectations. Winning games you shouldn’t feels inordinately good. Losing games you expect to win…not so much. And as we are learning from the satisfaction index this season, fans are also highly sensitive to the margin of victory. Winning and losing by less/more than expected is closely related to people’s post-game satisfaction reports. Figure 4 updates the weekly satisfaction figures relative to Michigan’s performance versus the Vegas point spread. The correlation there is very tight (r = .87).

Figure 4: Against the Spread

Keeping Hope Alive!

At this point the fact that many fans have written off the season is both obvious and not very interesting. What is less obvious and more interesting is why 18% of the fan base hasn’t gotten the memo yet. Figure 5 shows the percentage of fans who are “optimistic” about the season, which I define as a satisfaction rating of greater than 50 on our 0 to 100 scale.

Unsurprisingly, early season optimism ran high. As long as the wins kept coming almost everyone offered some kind of generally positive take on the season. The first loss clearly separated the average fan from the truly optimistic 27% of us who were still keeping the faith. But what kind of genetically ingrained optimism is required to have a positive view of the season after the Penn State game? If you are one of those folks please let us know in the comments. We could probably all use some of what you're drinking.

Figure 5: Irrational Optimism?





Fan Satisfaction Index: Penn State Survey

Fan Satisfaction Index: Penn State Survey

Submitted by OneFootIn on October 22nd, 2017 at 8:20 AM