Here's the Advanced Statistics Schedule Rundown for UM as of the end of Week 11, and thankfully, it's still including Iowa as the 13th game since UM still has a reasonable chance to play in Indy on December 5th. Iowa is a virtual lock for Indy even if it dumps the Nebraska game, so as long as UM's chances are greater than zero of making it to Indy, I'm showing it. So here's your obligatory embiggable chart:
As was the case last week, the race continues to tighten as it comes down to the wire, and the S&P+ romance with M is beginning to wane. In the S&P+ ratings, M showed a modest improvement over last week's results in Offense moving from #43 to #42, as did OSU in moving from #17 to #16. PSU declined from #62 to #66. IU continued to climb from #21 to #19, putting its offensive unit up there in the same strata with OSU. However, on S&P+ Defense, M's clunker in Bloomington sadly knocked it from #1 to #3. Lacking a quick remedy for a decimated DL, this trend will likely continue. The actual rating eroded by another 2.6 points from 9.4 to 12.0. Over the past two weeks, the overall trend amounts to an equivalent loss of home-field advantage. Meanwhile, the PSU & OSU defensive units continued to register improvements, moving from #16 and #9 to #13 and #7, respectively. In the aggregate, M declined to a #5 overall ranking and from a rating of 22.8 to 20.6 points. OSU assumes the #3 spot vacated by M, with the spread narrowing by 2.2 points to M -1.8. Despite its win, Iowa dropped precipitously in overall S&P+ rank from #20 to #28, with the net spread vs. M actually increasing in M's favor by 0.5 points to M -6.9.
As for the FEI Ratings, they continue to track the noticeable back-sliding of the Special Teams play, where M’s ranking dropped from #5 to #15, having been #1 just 2 weeks ago. Giving up a PR for a TD and botching a FGA are contributors for sure. Nonetheless, PSU & OSU continued their declines in Special Teams as well, moving from #89 and #32 to #91 and #44, respectively. Iowa improved from #48 to #44.
The FEI numbers warmed slightly regarding M's offense, which went from #41 to #39, thanks again to Rudock's record-setting performance throughout (no garbage time this week!). At this point, M just needs its running game to be good enough to threaten to bust one for a couple of yards to make its play-action work, nothing more. PSU improved its middling performance from #77 to #75 while OSU saw a slight decline from #25 to #28. At least now M is within 10 spots of OSU and Iowa, which jumped from #37 to #32.
Carrying on with the trend from last week, the most alarming aspect here are the FEI Defensive numbers, which see M continue downward from #5 to a #7 rank, while OSU stepped up from #12 to #11. However PSU and Iowa's defenses continued to slip from #13 and #24 to #14 and #36, respectively. As such, the FEI and S&P+ characteristics for offense and defense are largely congruent.
FEI Overall rankings show M has dropped still further, from #12 to #15, while OSU climbed from #8 to #6. PSU continues to wallow in mediocrity, sliding back from #45 to #48, and Iowa had a down-tick from #18 to #19.
Rolling the S&P+ and FEI numbers together, Connelly & Fremeau come up with the F/+ Combined Ratings, in which M drops out of CFP range from #4 to #6, now one behind OSU at #5. PSU also improved from #38 to #36, while Iowa continued its decline from #17 to #23.
Last but not least are the Football Power Index (FPI) ratings from ESPN. Here as well M's ranking declined by 0.1 points from #16 to #17, while OSU held onto its CFP placement at #4, but improved its score from 22.8 to 23.5. As with S&P+, the spread moved 0.8 points in OSU's favor from M +2.9 to +3.7, further affirmation that The Game is looking to resume its position in The Natural Order of Rivalries. Not to mention, neither PSU nor Iowa are shaping up to more than one-score games, but make no mistake – M will be competitive in all them!
Yours in football, and Go Blue!