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!

Comments

GordonG

November 8th, 2017 at 11:44 PM ^

...the Terps will be starting either their 4th or 5th string QB..

I like our chances to keep them out of the endzone and

limited to 2 or 3 field goals total

Mich...34

Terps...9