Previously: Podcast 9.0A. Podcast 9.0B. Podcast 9.0C. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive End. Defensive Tackle. Linebacker. Cornerback. Safety. Special Teams. 5Q5A Offense. 5Q5A Defense.
The theory of turnover margin: it is pretty random. Teams that find themselves at one end or the other at the end of the year are likely to rebound towards the average. So teams towards the top will tend to be overrated and vice versa. Nonrandom factors to evaluate: quarterback experience, quarterback pressure applied and received, and odd running backs like Mike Hart who just don't fumble.
|Year||Margin||Int +||Fumb +||Sacks +||Int -||Fumb -||Sacks -|
|2007||0.15 (41st)||14||15||2.46(33rd)||14||13||2.17 (67th)|
|2008||-.83 (104th)||9||11||2.42(33rd)||12||18||1.83 (57th)|
|2009||-1.00 (115th)||11||5||1.83(68th)||15||13||2.33 (83rd)|
|2011||+0.54 (25th)||9||20||2.31 (29th)||16||6||1.38 (33rd)|
|2012||-0.69 (99th)||7||11||1.69 (69th)||19||8||1.38 (28th)|
|2013||+0.38(33rd)||17||9||1.9 (64th)||13||8||2.77 (109th)|
|2014||-1.33 (124th)||5||5||2.4 (49th)||18||8||2.2 (63rd)|
|2015||-0.31 (92nd)||10||2||2.5 (32nd)||10||6||1.4 (28th)|
|2016||+0.54 (24th)||13||6||3.54(5th)||7||5||1.69 (39th)|
Michigan had an uptick from their incredibly bad fumble luck from a year ago but were still shorted their fair share of turnovers on defense. Despite having one of the best secondaries and most chaos-inducing defenses in the country a year ago they were only 67th in turnovers acquired.
They were probably a bit lucky on the other end, with just 12 giveaways. (Three of them had to happen at the worst possible time, naturally.) That was fifth nationally.
There does seem to be a Harbaugh effect with the interceptions, which have been at blog-era lows the last two years. With a returning starter those should remain low. De'Veon Smith and mostly good pass protection are the main drivers for the low fumble loss rate. One of those is definitely gone and the other may or may not be.
You'd expect both turnovers caused and lost to tick upwards this year; Michigan should be solidly positive again. "Expect" is a dangerous term when dealing with something so high-variance, of course.
Theory of position switches: if you are starting or considering starting a guy who was playing somewhere else a year ago, that position is in trouble. There are degrees of this. When Notre Dame moved Travis Thomas, a useful backup at tailback, to linebacker and then declared him a starter, there was no way that could end well. Wisconsin's flip of LB Travis Beckum to tight end was less ominous because Wisconsin had a solid linebacking corps and Beckum hadn't established himself on that side of the ball.
The dossier of position switches:
Mason Cole to left tackle. Mandatory after the Newsome injury, and while he's going to be fine he's not an ideal left tackle. Concern: moderate.
Jon Runyan to right tackle. Runyan was never considered a tackle until this spring, and he almost won the job. Despite this being a minor shift, not offense to defense, this one is a bit alarming. Concern: moderate.
Metellus and Hudson flip viper/SS. As discussed in the 5Q5A post, these are close to interchangeable. Both guys are taking snaps at the other spot even now, because Michigan likes to flip 'em on motion. Concern: zero.
Ben Mason to fullback. Ordained from the time of his commitment and necessary for next year. Concern: zero.
James Hudson to OT. If anything this is encouraging about Michigan DT depth. Concern: zero.
Nate Johnson to CB. Probably more about Johnson getting buried at WR and Washington's departure than anything else, but the flip does speak to Michigan's scary CB depth. Concern: slight.
An Embarrassing Prediction, No Doubt
Worst Case Barring Extreme Injury Scenarios
This is another year where Michigan has a lot of games they should win. I can't find it now but I saw that one sportsbook had season lines up and only four games were less than two touchdown spreads. 8-4.
Michigan can enter the OSU game undefeated if they win those 14-point spread games, beat a Florida team that may arrive in Dallas with only six eligible players, and win at Penn State and Wisconsin, teams that exploded into dust with one glance at a Don Brown defense. And yeah they have a shot at OSU at home. 12-0.
Not a lot of drama here. They've got four games with relatively tight spreads and they're likely to split those games.
|9/2||Florida (N)||Lean to win|
|9/16||Air Force||Must win|
|9/24||@ Purdue||Must win|
|10/8||@ Indiana||Must win|
|11/26||Ohio State||Lean to loss|
Northwestern, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois
I do think Michigan should expect to beat Florida, PSU, and Wisconsin, but by "expect to beat" I mean "there is a 60-65% chance Michigan wins against team X". They should expect to lose to OSU, but in a 40-60 kind of way. 10-2 is right down the middle, then, as there's always a chance that football does football things to you and Michigan is suddenly faced with a feisty Piggy or something.