OK, this isn't a hard-core statistical analysis like the Mathlete would do, just some fun with numbers. We have a rather bipolar team this year (Offense #5 in TO, Defense #105 in TD), and I thought it would be interesting to look at what our opponents' Total Offense and Total Defense stats would look like if they hadn't played us - and what kind of a difference it would make in their overall ranking of NCAA stats.
The NCAA stats are not linear, of course, and a difference of 1 yd/gm can be a large or small difference in rankings depending on how closly spaced everyone is. So as I cautioned, this isn't a hard-core statistical exercise. It is interesting to look back at the early games and see how well we did in comparison to what other teams ended up doing against them - what seemed like a good or bad performance at the time may look different in retrospect.
Part the First: Offense
We know our offense is great, but what kind of damage has it done to the Total Defense (TD) ratings of our opponents? Here they are thus far:
|Opponent||Games||Yards Yielded||Yds/gm||NCAA Rank|
What would these guys' defensive stats look like if they hadn't played Michigan?
|Opponent||Total Offense, M||
Opp. Avg - M,
M Total Offense,
*Opponents' average Total Defense yards per game, minus the Michigan game
**Michigan's Total Offense in game as a % of the opponent's average TD minus the Michigan game
So Michigan has gained above our opponents' average yardage yielded in every game thus far, and their TD ranking has suffered as a result. What's the damage?
|Opponent||TD Rank With M||TD Rank Without M||Difference|
Average change in Total Defense ranking for all opponents: -10.1 places.
Part the Second, Defense
So the flipside of this, then, is how much has our defensive suckitude helped out our opponents stat sheet? Where would they rank in TO without having played us? We'll run the same tables again, but from the opposite tack:
|Opponent||Games||Yards Gained||Yds/gm||NCAA Rank|
First thing that jumps out at me is that none of these are world-beater offenses thus far. They're functional and solid for the most part, but even the best is merely above average. We can't really blame our bad defensive performances on having come up against a bunch of awesome offenses. Anyway, how'd they do against us?
|Total Offense, Opp||
Opp. Avg - M,
Opp Total Offense,
% of Opp Avg - M**
* Opponents average offensive performance, minus the Michigan game
** Opponents TO as a percentage of their average offensive performance, minus the Michigan game
|Opponent||TO Rank With M||TO Rank Without M||Difference|
Average boost to opponents' Total Offense NCAA ranking: +7.1 places
So we've had four really bad defensive outings (ND, Ind., MSU, Ill.) and a four decent ones (UConn, Iowa, PU, BG). The PSU game doesn't look so bad from this perspective - still not good, but far from our worst outing when compared to others.
Part the Third: Summary
Michigan's O Difference
on Opp TD Ranking
Michigan's D Difference
on Opp TO Ranking
|Connecticut||-10||+1||W, Good O, OK D|
|Notre Dame||-10||+19||W, Good O, Terrible D|
|Bowling Green||-17||0||W, Awesome O, OK D|
|Indiana||-11||+14||W, Good O, Terrible D|
|Michigan State||-1||+16||L, OK O, Terrible D|
|Iowa||-10||-2||L, Good O, OK D|
|Penn State||-8||+4||L, Good O, Bad D|
|Illinois||-20||+14||W, Awesome O, Terrible D|
|Purdue||-4||-2||W, OK O, OK D|
Takeaways from these numbers (as opposed to other numbers or observations):
- We played well at Iowa and were beaten by a better team.
- We played badly against MSU on both sides of the ball; they might have beaten us anyway with good performances, but not likely.
- The loss to PSU doesn't look like such a bad outing from this angle. Maybe PSU is better than we gave them credit for.
- Awesome offense wins, terrible defense doesn't necessarily lose.
- Our offense is better at offending than our defense is bad at defending.
- Winning is more fun than losing.