[Ed-M: diary bbbbbump]
Back in August, MGoUser "Undefeated dream season of 1992" did this fabulous diary on predicting a team's FEI rankings using previous seasons rankings and combining it with regression to the mean, returning starters (and bonus to an offense for bring a quarterback back), coaching change, and Rivals star rankings over the previous three recruiting cycles. This model predicted that Michigan's offense would settle in at #16, down from #2, and the defense would move up from #108 to #71.
Here we are after Week 7. The first set of FEI rankings specific to offense and defense have been released. Our Wolverines are ranked #15 on offense and surprising #17 on defense. The offense is right where UDSO92 predicted it would be (well, one spot higher). However, how did Michigan so dramatically improve on defense when it was only supposed to jump up to around #71, especially considering that the model has generally found that coordinator changes generally have a negative affect on the defense? Let's look at what UDSO92 himself had to say at the time:
One year is not definitive (except in the case of GERG, natch); in fact, a team that woefully underperformed the previous year could look great just by rebounding the following year.
What exactly were the expectations of the Michigan defense in 2010? The 2010 defense was predicted by the model to finish 46th. GEEEEEEEEERG indeed. Futher, over the period of 3 years, Michigan's defense underperformed by a whooping 37 positions of FEI. Now while this might not be an empirically correct thing to do, let's assume for a moment that we can adjust Michigan's 2011 FEI expectation. Let's say that perhaps Michigan was an exception to the general rule that changing coordinators hurts your defense in the immediate season, just because of how horrendously poorly the defense appeared to have been coached. Using this idea, Michigan's predicted finish of 71st can be improved to 34th (the difference of the 37 positions) by removing a product of the underperformance (GEEEEEEEEERG). Considering the previous seasons projection, the fact that Michigan has a good recruiting profile, along with 9 returning starters, this seems like a reasonable enough projection.
The rest of the increase up to 17th, while it may be an early season abberation, is quite possibly due to the fact that our new Greg, Greg Mattison, is not only a good coordinator, but an excellent one and is not a stuffed animal waving lunatic. Now, had someone tried predicting this at the beginning of the year, they certainly would have been called crazy. However, I figured it would be nice to throw out that little bit of overperformance as some actual evidence that not only was the previous coaching staff bad at coaching defense, but that the current one is good (based on the fact that they are overperforming their expectation).
That being said, the offense is exactly where it was figured to be, so despite our disappointment over the MSU game, let's remember that it was the first real road test (Northwestern was not a hostile crowd), and against FEI's #5 rated defense.
Let's take a look at the 7 opponents Michigan has faced thus far to see how they rank compared to our teams performance against them.
|Team||Michigan Yards||Avg/play||Opp Defense (FEI)||Opp Yards||Avg/play||Opp Offense (FEI)|
And now for what we'll be up against the next five weeks after we return from a bye.
|Team||Offense FEI||Defense FEI|
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Also, mods, if you want, please move this to diaries if you deem it worthy. I would put it there myself, but I typed the whole thing out on the Board and can't copy for some reason. So I'm just gonna post it here. Move as you deem worthy/not-worthy.