Mailbag: Tourney Prospects, OL Flipping, MANBALL Re-evaluating

Submitted by Brian on March 6th, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Basketball: really as good as all that?

Via UMHoops

Now, it doesn't matter for the Big Ten regular is what it is, we went 13-5, and earned a share of the title.  But what does it mean for the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA?

Ask yourself this question when it comes to evaluating the Michigan season...was it a solid 13-5 or a weak 13-5?  Was it a 13-5 that with a few breaks was 15-3?  Or was it a 13-5 with a bunch of breaks that could have easily been 10-8?  Which of those is more representative of the basketball we saw this year?  Death from above in the two tournaments?

Northwestern looms.  Twice we played them.  Twice we went overtime with them. Could have lost both.  Didn't. Positives to be sure.  But who shows up come Friday? …

To me, happy we share the title.  Not convinced at this point we are as good as either of those other two teams.  Proud of the heart, proud of the overall result.  Concerned about the two tourneys.

Bluntly, Michigan was not as good as either of the two teams they tied with. You can see that in the efficiency margins:

                      W-L   Pace    PPP   Opp. PPP    EM
1.  Ohio St.         13-5   65.4    1.10    0.93    +0.17
2.  Michigan St.     13-5   62.5    1.08    0.92    +0.16
3.  Wisconsin        12-6   58.0    1.03    0.97    +0.06
4.  Michigan         13-5   58.9    1.06    1.01    +0.05
5.  Indiana          11-7   65.4    1.11    1.06    +0.05
6.  Purdue           10-8   64.0    1.10    1.09    +0.01
7.  Northwestern     8-10   61.0    1.08    1.12    -0.04
8.  Minnesota        6-12   62.6    1.00    1.04    -0.04
9.  Iowa             8-10   65.8    1.03    1.09    -0.06
10. Illinois         6-12   63.7    0.97    1.05    -0.08
11. Penn St.         4-14   62.3    0.97    1.10    -0.13
12. Nebraska         4-14   61.9    0.93    1.09    -0.16

Kenpom will confirm that for you: it has MSU and OSU #2 and #3 behind Kentucky with Michigan idling at 20.

Meanwhile, going 13-5 would not have netted Michigan a title in any other year since the Big Ten went back to 18 games. Most years they wouldn't even be within a game. There's no denying they were fortunate to end up where they are now. Michigan lost one close Big Ten game (@ Indiana, 73-71) and won four to six (NW x 2, MSU, Purdue, maybe Minnesota and OSU depending on how you feel about five-point games). You can grub grub grub about will to win and finding ways to win and winning is for winners; I don't buy that stuff.

In terms of efficiency margin and Kenpom rankings, Michigan is about where we'd hoped they'd be before the season: slightly improved despite the loss of Darius Morris, short of truly contending for a conference title. In terms of wins they're a three seed and a Big Ten champ.

I don't say this to bring anyone down. It's wonderful. For this team to accomplish what they have is fantastic, and at this point anything after winning a 3-14 matchup in the first round is gravy.

I do think they'll be a particularly vulnerable three, though, and won't be surprised to see them flame out in the second round*. I also won't let that damage the wonderful run they went on to erase a lot of bad streaks. From a logical perspective I get the "concern"; from an emotional perspective it went from 90% house money to 110% as soon as Buford hit that shot. The worst that happens is Michigan State fans say "see you weren't really a Big Ten champ." This will not prevent the banner from going up.


*[I'm not predicting that by any means. Michigan gave Duke all they wanted last year and a hypothetical second-round opponent will be much worse than the Blue Devils were last year. Beilein is a consistent outperformer when he reaches the tourney.

HOWEVA, I do loathe the prospect of drawing a couple of the current six-seeds in Jerry Palm's bracket. They are all dangerous mid-majors: UNLV, New Mexico, Wichita State, and St. Mary's. In Kenpom's eyes that's two teams better than Michigan (Wichita, New Mexico) and two who are a dozen or so spots worse (UNLV, St. Mary's).

You may remember the Dohrmann UCLA article mentioning the success of a couple transfers out of the program: that's basically UNLV. Chace Stanback is a 6'8" guy hitting 47% from three; Mike Moser is a 6'8" guy in the top ten in defensive rebounding with high usage and an inside-out game.

I find Palm's fives a lot more palatable: Louisville (#30 Kenpom), FSU (#28), SDSU (#51), and Creighton(#35). No matter what I expect a second-round nailbiter.]

The golden child's effect on the OL.

Brian or Ace or Anybody;

I am confused, when talking about o-line prospects in the 2012 or 2013 class, some say "Fox makes an ideal RT" or "LT-T is the prototype Left Tackle.". Is the fact that Shane "Obama circa 2008" Morris is a southpaw baked into the projections as to who plays where on the OL?  Wouldn't the proto LT be moved to RT for a lefty QB, or no?

Are you and your Bloggy ilk keeping this in mind, does it make a difference for a lefty qb?

Reid McCarthy

I don't think it matters much. Many players at Michigan and elsewhere have flipped from right to left tackle without a problem; when Morris becomes the starter Michigan will put their best pass protector at right tackle and he'll adjust over the course of an offseason. Jake Long switched from right to left after his first year as a starter; Mike Schofield was pressed into service as a left guard after practicing mostly at tackle and did fine.

There might be some slight issues if Morris is either in (because of Gardner injury) or out (because of a Morris injury) of the lineup unexpectedly. In that case you probably wouldn't want to screw up the line's performance by flipping them mid-game and will be exposing either Morris's or his backup's blind side to slightly worse protection. That's life.

Even if that happens it doesn't look like there's going to be a huge difference between the starting tackles at any point in the near future. Whoever the #2 guy is will have beaten out an array of 6'5"-6'7" blue chips. This is not going to be Jake Long opposite Rueben Riley. It's going to be Almost Jake Long opposite Decent Approximation Of Jake Long.

MANBALL concerns revisited.




You have argued over the past several years that you think Michigan will be at a talent disadvantage compared to teams like Ohio and SEC oversigners like Alabama, so long as the status quo persists. You've also argued that, schematically, the best way to deal with this deficit is the spread offense. I am curious if you think Hoke (and Borges) can build an offense in their mold that can truly compete on the national stage. What do you think it will take in terms of recruiting and scheme to be a legitimate contender for the national championship? Do you think that we have the ability to recruit the offensive talent we need to contend for a national title? Or is it perhaps too early to tell?

Obviously an elite defense, which I think we are building, mitigates the need for an elite offense, but recent BCS title games have demonstrated that you can't rely on just defense to win that game. Ultimately I am asking what combination of scheme and talent you think we need to achieve in order to win the national championship.

All the best,

My concerns about Michigan's ceiling have been blown away by Hoke's early recruiting returns. If Michigan is bringing in top five classes consistently—Hoke's already two for two a month into his second class—and is approaching games with the controlled aggression that Hoke, Mattison, and Borges displayed in their first year, there is no reason they can't run a conventional offense and compete for national titles.

When you have a huge talent advantage or are Wisconsin you can line up and beat heads in: top ten FEI offenses* this year include Wisconsin, Stanford, and USC. Alabama was #11. All you need to replicate that is a ton of NFL guys on the line, an NFL quarterback, and some NFL skill guys. Check, check, well… we'll see.

I get the vibe from your email that you're a bit skeptical of Michigan's skill position recruiting. I think that's premature. Shane Morris is a Henne-level QB recruit. Michigan did pick up a consensus four-star in Amara Darboh at WR and came close to flipping Brionte Dunn; this year they've got a top 100 tight end (for now, anyway—Butt will probably fall into the 100-200 range as the year progresses) and seem to lead for a couple five-star types in Ty Isaac and LaQuon Treadwell. If Hoke lands those guys Michigan's weak spot in the 2012 and 2013 classes is…



…uh… cornerback? For now, anyway.

Even if one of those two guys escapes we're still 11 months from Signing Day; more targets will emerge. It seems like Michigan's going to be able to focus a lot of attention on any holes they have in the class come, oh, May.

My main concern with Michigan's scheme going forward is a potential over-reliance on a fullback. It seems like most pro-styles have moved to double TE sets. See this Chris Brown article on Alabama's very MANBALL, very NC-worthy offense. I hope that's where Michigan's going, too. Tight ends threaten defenses vertically in a way that fullbacks do not; they're better athletes, generally, and better targets for downfield passes. Fullbacks… eh.

I think this is also where Michigan's going. Their TE recruiting is massive—they're looking for a fifth in two years—and there's clear distinction between guys like Jake Butt and Khalid Hill, a 6'2", 230 pound guy designated a "U-back" or "move tight end" according to TomVH.

So, like, whatever. My beefs 14 months into the Hoke era are "that one punt against Illinois" and "taking a scholarship fullback." Oh, and the complete implosion of the offense in a couple games. But that's not a long term issue.

Hoke has dumped game-changer after game-changer on us since his hire to the point where the internet is making memes like this…


Ben Gedeon's visiting, you say?

…if we're feeling for a ceiling it's a bit hard to find right now. One will probably come, but there's no reason to go looking for it just yet.


*[I know FEI put up some weird results this year what with Navy and Miami in the top ten as well but it at least tries to account for strength of schedule and pace of play; FWIW, Stanford was 8th in total yardage, Wisconsin 14th, USC 21st, 'Bama 31st.

Also, as long as you're down here, how about Paul Chryst? I predict Wisconsin has a noticeable dropoff in his absence.]



March 6th, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^

Michigan basketball aren't likely to blow anybody out.  They are the 2nd slowest paced team in the conference which would increase the variance of winning and losing a game.  Overall, they aren't athletic enough to run away from teams which is why some of the games against lesser teams seems to be close.


However, their offensive style and pace will always keep them close against elite teams which is part of the reason why they were able to beat OSU, MSU, Wisconsin, Indiana who are ranked higher than Michigan in KenPom ranking.  Come tourney time, they will be one of the more dangerous team in the country because of the offense and the time constraint the coaches have to prepare for the offense. Michigan is starting to shoot the ball well which is a positive going into the postseason.  Michigan is one of the team where you can say they are truly dangerous if 3 point shooting falls.


With that being said, talent will only increase with McGary, Robinson, Stauskas coming into the fold. We will probably see Michigan blowing lesser team out of the water more and more often as JB acquires more talents.


March 6th, 2012 at 11:29 PM ^

But who would have thought Michigan was going to run an athletic Tennessee team out of the gym by 30 points last year?!  I do get your point, it isn't likely.  March is such a skeezy time of year though, sh*t happens!!!  Also agree with your second point, Michigan shooting well can beat the top teams in the country, very dangerous.


March 7th, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

how athletic, less disiciplined are more prone to upset or get blown out by Michigan because of their slow pace and their ability to take care of the ball.  Tennessee, Memphis comes to mind. That's why I'm not as worried if an athletic team tends to turn the ball over a ton.  Michigan has shown that they can force a lot of turnovers which is a good thing to make up for the lack of size on defense as well as giving up offensive rebounding.


When I said Michigan aren't athletic enough to run away lesser teams.  When I mean lesser teams, I mean teams like Western Illinois, Savannah State, etc.  The one who takes care of the ball and can shot the ball reasonably well are the one who gives Michigan trouble.  Then again, both characterisitics are important ingredient to winning.

Blue and Joe

March 6th, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

It's true Michigan could easily have a worse record in bball, and 13-5 wouldn't win the Big Ten most years. BUT this year it was enough for 3 teams to win the Big Ten, which shows how tough of a year it was. Also, like Brian said yesterday, the teams Michigan played once were Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Minnesota. They also went 5-5 on the road. I think they are very deserving of being up their with MSU and OSU.


March 6th, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

As significant.  Now, a complete Tournament implosion by the conference may change the outlook, but when over that time period has the Big Ten been this good?  I frankly can't remember a time since you had the Fab Five and Indiana going to the Final Four, and a real good Purdue and OSU team, and Illinois and MSU teams that were pretty darn good too. (Maybe the year MSU and Wisconsin were in the Final Four? But I don't remember the depth then).  This conference was a beast, and I'm hoping they make a lot of noise in March Madness. 

Having said that, it's quite possible we were the "3rd best" of the three teams....but I wouldn't chalk that up to luck, but coaching and player interaction (which obviously was a bit of a mess at OSU).  MSU had talent last year, but wasn't as good as us. I don't think they were "unlucky"....whatever that means.  Never understand how people who live off stats believe in "luck", but don't believe in a winning attitude, work effort, and determination.


March 6th, 2012 at 12:44 PM ^

"You can grub grub grub about will to win and finding ways to win and winning is for winners; I don't buy that stuff."

Even when dealing with a team captained by Novak and Douglass?

You've spent the last couple of months reiterating just how much this team as a whole and as individuals overachieves.  This team is remarkable for its ability to overcome deficiencies in size, athleticism, and skill to just make it work.


March 6th, 2012 at 12:56 PM ^

you think winning close games is purely luck (and it's not purely luck because of free throw shooting, if nothing else), I think it's pretty hard to argue that more luck is involved in winning a game in overtime than winning a game by 15 points.  


March 6th, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

I think it's tough to judge Michigan by KenPom and other metrics. We play to the level of the competition and rarely run away from teams. However, outside of a couple just awful performances (Iowa, Purdue) no one is really able to low us out either.

Scoring margin is important to KenPom and most "predictive" metrics. Bottom line to me is, we have plenty of good wins and ep a championship while playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation due to the B1G's strength this year. Even with Hardaway's long slump and Smot's prolonged ineffectiveness we accomplished a lot.


March 6th, 2012 at 12:58 PM ^

Were by 7, 12, 2, 16, 2, 15, 10, and 14, and they went like 7-2 in games decided by 5 points or fewer.  I don't think there's any question they ran a bit above EV this season, but I also agree that it doesn't detract from the season in any way.  

MI Expat NY

March 6th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

The Duke, MSU and Ohio St. loses never felt like they were particularly close games.  Didn't get blown out, but never really felt like we were in the game either.  Even the UVA game, they steadily pulled away over the last 10 minutes.  

I think Brian's points are well-put.  This team accomplished a lot, and nothing can be said to take anything away from them.  But, this team is a step below elite, and the more advanced metrics demonstrate this.




March 6th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

I'll agree the first two weren't that close, but at Columbus I really felt that without the road Big Ten calls (probably not more excessive than other road games...certainly not as bad as Indy) we were in that game.  More a feel thing, but I felt like if we could get some breaks that game was for the taking. Whereas at East Lansing I never felt like we had a shot no matter how close we made it.


March 6th, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

I don't get the need to use statistical analysis to somehow say the basketball team isn't as good as they seem to be.  I believe the correct answer to that would be "Scoreboard".

There are really only 2 stats that matter.  Your score and your opponent's score.  And Michigan seems to be pretty good at both of those stats.


March 6th, 2012 at 4:30 PM ^

But having the message collapsed just because one jagoff decides he's going to neg a bunch of messages for  fun is unbelievably lame.  I understand you can change the way you view things so that it diesn't happen, but is everyone really viewing the boards that way?  Maybe they are, but it's clearly not the default setting.


March 6th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

I agree that if you're trying to rank teams based on how they performed, then all you need to look at is the scoreboard. A W is a W is a W. But that's only useful when you're looking back and reporting wins and losses.

If you want to try to PREDICT how a team WILL perform, then it certainly does matter what kind of a win it was. A close game won by a fluke shot (death to backboards!) means that if that situation happens again, the outcome may flip the other way.

That's kind of the point of a lot of advanced metrics. They're using margin of victory and other numbers (besides just the scoreboard) to PREDICT how a team WILL perform. And I think that was Brian's point as well. He's trying to answer the question of what we should expect looking towards the tournaments.


March 6th, 2012 at 1:01 PM ^

I believe I've heard LTs don't always switch to RT for a lefty QB because it's about the match up with the top DE who is more accustomed to playing on a right handed QBs blind side.  (Granted the DE can move around more easily if the coach wants to, but then he's technically "playing out of position" too [unless it's an SDE/WDE defense]).

Further I think I heard one other Left-vs-Right factor is that Logan is left handed, which means at LT his dominant hand would be to the outside, which is probably a bonus (debatable whether that is significant, plenty of right handed LTs).

EQ RC Blue

March 6th, 2012 at 1:02 PM ^

As others have pointed out, there's one measuring stick: W's.  We had as many.

Kenpom/efficiency numbers are useful predictive tools, but only useful, they are not perfect.  Saying we weren't as good is misunderstanding the nature of those stats.


March 6th, 2012 at 1:12 PM ^

Except this post was framed by a question asking about how well we can expect to do in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. Looking at it from that perspective, it is more useful to use the predictive tools than just W's.

W's say we won the Big Ten title, and no efficiency numbers can say otherwise. But they can say we are unlikely to be as successful in the tourneys as OSU or MSU.

EQ RC Blue

March 6th, 2012 at 1:32 PM ^

Here's what Brian said: "Michigan was not as good as either of the two teams they tied with. You can see that in the efficiency margins:"

He equates being good with the efficiency margins.  That is simply false.  He misunderstands the stats.  If he really had discussed what you were suggesting, he'd be closer to getting it right -- but still not there.   

MI Expat NY

March 6th, 2012 at 1:38 PM ^

There's no correlation between efficiency margins and quality of the team?  

Only two league champions have efficiency margins that don't lead their league (at least in the cited article), and if you look at all the conferences listed, the efficiency margin is almost dead-on with final conference standings.  It seems that there's something to equating better efficiency margins with better teams.

EQ RC Blue

March 6th, 2012 at 1:56 PM ^

According to


To put or bring into causal, complementary, parallel, or reciprocal relation.

So, yes, they are correlated.  Teams that score more points than their opposition will tend to have more W's and better efficiency margins/kenpom numbers.  One useful tool in seeing teams that "outperformed" is to compare efficiency margins and Ws vs Ls.  Finally, efficiency margins are good predictive tools in that future Ws and Ls, but primarily over large samples (including large samples of teams).

None of this means one 13-5 team was better than another.  

EQ RC Blue

March 6th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

To score more points than the opposition?  Or to outscore the opponents by a certain number of points per possession?

So, what is the best measurement of achieving the object, w's and l's, or efficiency margin.  In other words, if you could design a system that could win every game by one point, you'd go undefeated and would be the best team of all time.  That, of course, is unlikely, and generally it is true that efficiency margin will equate with w's and l's over time.  But saying teams with equal records didn't achieve equally in a season is incorrect.


March 6th, 2012 at 2:06 PM ^

you say the best team is the one that wins the most games.  I say there's enough random variance in sports that the best team (i.e., the team that would win the most often over an infinite sample) often does not win the most games.  Michigan has been at least a little bit lucky this year.  I don't know why people act like that's some sort of insult.  Luck/variance is what makes sports worth watching.  If there were no luck involved, it would just be chess, and March Madness would be the most dull sporting event ever.  

EQ RC Blue

March 6th, 2012 at 2:49 PM ^

In a season = in same season = in same conference, etc.  It is much harder to measure across seasons, with different non-conf schedules, different bowl games and opponents.  That 2006 team had a better B1G record, for instance.  That 2006 team lost to a USC team that lost two games by a total of 6 points that year.  What do you think the efficieny margins would say about 2006 vs 2011?

Anyway, that's why a system with a set season with set parameters makes such clear measure of being "good" - Ws and Ls, that's it.  Departing from that sets off a whole separate discussion. 


March 6th, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

You're making an incorrect assumption: that there is a perfect correlation between being a good team and getting the win. The better team doesn't always win the game (usually, but not always). So we could have the same number of wins as another team and not be as good... or we could be better. The advanced metrics are trying to parse that out.

edit: This is directed at EQ RC Blue.

EQ RC Blue

March 6th, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

Certain rules of the game have been set up.  Scoring more points by definition means you won that game and were better.  Having more wins means at the end of the season means you won that season.  

If you want to set up a different system that equates being good with better advanced metrics you can do so and try to convince the NCAA or others to change their rules.  

MI Expat NY

March 6th, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

So, using your simple theory, the Big Ten has set up rules for determing tie-breakers for seeding purposes.  Meaning, the Big Ten has set up rules to determine which teams with the same records are better (the better team should be rewarded with the higher seed and the easier path).  Those rules say Michigan is third, therefore it must be so.  

See how dumb that is?

Edit:  Or second, whatever, still stupid.

EQ RC Blue

March 6th, 2012 at 2:24 PM ^

First, note that they don't use those tie-breakers to determine championships.  All three teams are co-champs.  Ws and Ls are what counts for that, nothing else.   In other words, better as a measurement of season quality is based solely on Ws and Ls.

Second, how else should the B1G proceed for seeding?  Efficiency margins?  Who got the Ws against the next best teams (especially with an imbalanced schedule) is a reasonable choice.   


March 6th, 2012 at 1:30 PM ^

That is a really negative narrative on the basketball team two days after we celebrated their first Big Ten title in 26 years.

I guess my point is, yeah, this team isn't the most talented you'll ever find.  But if they can get past the second round then we'll really see what Beilein can do.  He's one of the best in the biz when he has extra time to prepare for a team.

Franz Schubert

March 6th, 2012 at 5:13 PM ^

Michigan is as good or better than MSU right now. They struggled down the stretch losing their last 2 games and needing a complete meltdown by the Gophers to beat Minnesota.

Another metric to look at is consistency. Michigan did not suffer a single losing streak the whole season, where MSU lost 2 games in a row 3 times. Is that luck too?

This is a great blog for football.


March 6th, 2012 at 1:16 PM ^

I think we talked a while back about how when you have a dominant defense like Alabama or LSU, coaches tend to play call conservatively for their offense because their defense can win. I think that was some of the criticism with Lloyd as well (correct me if I'm wrong). It seems like Brady Hoke trusts his offense to make the plays and he trusts his defense to make the plays if the offense fails. It's real Manball. It's ultra-aggressive, and when we do have the top talent that he's building on both sides, it'll be a sight to see.

I don't get the whole "why so many tight ends" questioning. The tight end is arguably the most underutilized position in the game and with the caliber of athletes in that position now, it is starting to be used more effectively. Come on, a guy who can block and go down the field? I just think it's a more efficient use of personnel to not have to take out a WR to put a TE in because your TE can do what the WR can do.

Seattle Maize

March 6th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

Completely agree. The NFL is starting to have a newfound obsession with tight ends and a guy like Devin Funchess could come in and be a huge matchup nightmare. The amazing thing about our early recruiting and coaching is that not only are we building a championship caliber defense, but also one of the most talented offenses in the country. I actually see us on a similar trajectory as Alabama was when the first hired Saban.


March 6th, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

I don't think the issue was one of conservative vs. aggressive, but rather about doing multiple things on offense and attempting to trick the opponent as much as you out-execute them.  I definitely want the team to run the ball more than they throw and to avoid turnovers if at all possible.  I don't want the other team to know Mike Hart is the only guy who is going to carry the ball and 90% of the time he will be running to the left behind a zone-blocking scheme. 

With the variety of rushing options Borges brings to the table and his willingness/ability to fool the opposition for an easy score from time to time are what sets him apart from what we've had in the past more than any difference in attitude (no offensive coordinator is trying not to score as many points as possible).


March 6th, 2012 at 2:13 PM ^

Even though Lloyd's teams passed more than they ran more often than not, he still was a Bo guy who wanted to run the ball to set up the pass.  Borges seems to be a guy who, with his guys, would rather pass the ball to set up the run.  It's a passing offense, more Patriots than old Michigan.

But even then the problem wasn't as much the offense (we have always put up numbers) as running a style of offense writing checks the defense couldn't cash. We wanted to run a defensive style of football with defenses that were anywhere from pretty good to average (and when they were real good, you get 2006). Recruiting we seem to want to have a great defense again. And while you need to play offense too, I'm not sure how much...the letter writer says look at the last few national championships, and I see Alabama winning 2 of the last three. 

What I hope (and see) is developing is as good a defense as we can recruit, and d-linemen unlike what we've regularly had here.  Then we're not running a Wisconsin offense...but a more attacking passing offense utilizing tight ends as well as receivers to attack a defense, while have the beefeaters to grind a game away and wear out a team in the clutch as well as form a wall around the QB.  Wisconsin, with more talent, and a balanced offense. (Oh, and a much better defense...because man, did they blow on that side of the ball this year).


March 6th, 2012 at 3:00 PM ^

I don't think any defensive shortcomings under Carr or any other coach anywhere come about because the coaching staff just isn't trying to be as good as possible on that side of the ball.  Similarly, just wanting it doesn't mean you'll get it.  The rankings/signs look good, but we really won't know much about the guys Hoke and Co. are bringing in for a while (if anything the best sign so far for me is that Frank Clark looks to be an awesome player down the road).  

I also think you are drastically underrating Bama's offense.  Ingram won the Heisman and was a top draft pick.  Richardson was a Heisman Finalist this year (and I believe a 5-star recruit).  Julio Jones was as sought after as anybody in the country and ended up a high draft pick.  The line is I'm sure stacked with blue-chip talent.  Greg McElroy threw 56 TDs as a high school senior (following Chase Daniel) en route to an undefeated season and Texas 5A state title.  McCarron (#7 QB to Rivals) had offers from Miami, FSU, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  And that doesn't count all the blue-chip guys who aren't seeing the field.  They aren't as flashy as some but they have been really good and super talented.  The best team is the one that wins, not the best offense or defense.

It will be interesting to see how our offense develops with three very different QBs over the next few years.  It is also hard to know what Borges' final vision is because he's always been a nomad who came in, did a great job with what was there, and then moved on before his guys really started to see the field for too long.  So much of the struggle this year, especially with respect to Denard taking a step back, I think had to do with the drastic transition in everything from terminology to the decision-making role played by the WR.  If we can get those passing game kinks worked out (which I expect is just a matter of time/reps) and Borges continues to do his own development with respect to incorporating read/option looks into the running game, things should be off the charts this year.  My only real wish is that a guy like Hopkins/Rawls becomes another option in the running game out of a two back set alongside Denard (and later Devin).  Having a true triple option attack combined with a big play passing game, even if just for a short while, would be a dream come true.  Then I think keeping the running game diverse/multiple with a QB like Morris will be the big key going forward (if he's as good as advertised, the passing game should work itself out).




March 6th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

I am a huge fan of Kenpom and effeciency stats, and watch entirely too much college basketball for a man my age. Having said that, the Pomeroy ratings are a wonderful tool, but can also be generally useless in March.

Last season I decided to use Kenpom and Kenpom only to determine my selections in my bracket...this did not end well. 

As long as we're mentioning teams that are "better than Michigan" in Kenpom world - let's not leave out the Memphis Tigers whom Michigan soundly beat by 12, the Wisconsin Badgers whom Michigan pounded by 18 and of course you can't forget  Rick Majerus and the Saint Louis Bilikens

Kenpom should be used in moderation, and is useful for many things...just not predicting the success of Michigan's tournament run. Perhaps a few days of not looking at would do Brian some good