As there have been several posts in the last couple weeks complaining about refs and asserting that there is a systematic bias against Michigan, I thought I would take a closer look at penalty stats. Specifically, I wanted to go through each opponent and compare their penalty stats against Michigan to their average penalty stats.
The stats come from Team Rankings. They do have the limitation that results against Michigan comprise 1/9th of the data, especially consider Michigan is ranked very low in both penalties against and penalties drawn. This breakdown also doesn't say anything about the legitimacy of penalties called for and against Michigan, or potential missed calls for and against Michiga. It is simply a closer look at opponents' penalty stats against Michigan compared to their average.
Opponent Penalties Per Game Stats:
|Opponent||Rank||Penalties/Game||Opponent Penalties vs. Michigan||Difference|
- Michigan rank: 102
- Opponent average rank: 64
- Average difference: -1.0 Penalties/Game
Opponent Penalty Yards Per Game Stats:
|Opponent||Rank||Penalty Yards/Game||Opponent Penalty Yards vs. Michigan||Difference|
- Michigan rank: 113
- Opponent average rank: 63
- Average difference: -12.2 Penalty Yards/Game
Opponent Penalties Drawn Per Game Stats:
|Opponent||Rank||Penalties Drawn/Game||Michigan Penalties||Difference|
- Michigan rank: #113
- Opponent average rank: 53
- Average difference: 1.27 Penalties/Game
Michigan Penalty Yards Per Game Stats:
|Opponent||Rank||Penalty Yards Drawn/Game||Michigan Penalty Yards||Difference|
- Michigan rank: #111
- Opponent average rank: 54
- Average difference: 10.86 Penalty Yards/Game
Some Additional Michigan Penalty Stats:
- Penalties/Play: #123
- Opponents Penalties/Play: #88
- Penalty Yards/Penalty: #71
- Opponent Penalty Yards/Penalty: #107
- Penalty First Downs/Game: #119
- Opponent Penalty First Downs/Game: #100
- On average, opponents are called for 1 fewer penalties and 12.2 fewer penalty yards against Michigan than their average opponents.
- On average, opponents draw 1.27 more penalties and 10.86 more penalty yards against Michigan than their average opponents.
- Michigan ranks at the bottom at both drawing and committing penalties.
- Overall, Michigan's opponents are squarely average at committing penalties, so that does not explain why Michigan draws so few penalties.
- Overall, Michigan's opponents are slightly above average at drawing penalties, but this may be attributed to Michigan, one of the most penalized teams in the country, contributing 1/9th of the data.
- Michigan's bottom ranking in penalties committed may simply be due to youth and poor execution.
- However, Michigan's bottom ranking in penalties drawn is harder to justify. One could argue that Michigan's anemic passing game decreases opportunities to draw penalties against defenses. But one would expect Michigan's strong defense to draw its fair shair of penalties. Maybe next time, I will look for a correlation between penalties drawn and Defensive S&P to see if that expectation is valid.