Mid-season Analysis: How Are We Doing

Submitted by dmccoy on October 16th, 2009 at 4:53 PM
Last June, I took a calm, objective look at our team and predicted a 6-6 record. I didn't mention it, but I also expected a bowl win to give us a 7-6 record.

My original diary: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/realistic-2009-prediction

Midway through the season, I can see that calm objectivity is helpful in making predictions, and now can see that its equally helpful in keeping things in perspective during the whirlwind of emotions in a college football season.

Looking at the predictions, I'm 5/6, with my one incorrect prediction being a win against Notre Dame when I expected the Irish' offense to outscore us. Without Forcier's heroics, I would have been correct. Looking forward, my fear of Illinois' offense seems unwarranted, while my dismissal of Purdue as a threat seems hasty. I stand by my prediction of an upset at home against Penn State, as well as my predictions against Wisconsin and Ohio State.

The point? We're still on course for a 6-6 or 7-5 regular season record. So if we do end up there, keep a level head and understand the progress we've made this season and don't be THAT GUY that complains about a late season collapse. Rodriguez has this team on track, and Michigan will be kicking ass with him at the helm for the forseeable future.

Comments

Enjoy Life

October 16th, 2009 at 5:26 PM ^

Last time I checked we are 4-2. If we are not 5-2 within about 24 hours, the sky will have fallen.

If we proceed to go 1-4 for the remainder of the year after that, there will be a lot of UNHAPPY people (myself included). And, that would mean the overall record is 4-0 non conference and 2-6 in conference.

I totally support RR but I have always said that any fan of any
team should at least expect their team to be .500 in conference.

Thus, at this point, 8-4 is where I have set the new bar (It was at 7-5 before the season, assuming one non-conference loss).

dmccoy

October 16th, 2009 at 6:22 PM ^

I predicted 6-6, so 2-4 down the stretch isn't a collapse (not that you said that specifically), 2-4 is just whats expected as the schedule gets harder and a very young team experiences growing pains. If we flipped our schedule around, started 2-4 and ended 4-2 everyone would be happy.

Keep a level about it and you'll see this is a team with a lot of talent offensively, despite youth, and a lack of talent/depth/experience on defense.

I know people will freak out regardless, but hopefully a few people understand 2-4 finish would be because of our youth and our opponents' talent level.

Enjoy Life

October 16th, 2009 at 8:33 PM ^

Take just a second and look at the facts:

Last Year: 1-3 Non Conference, 2-6 In Conference = 3-9.

If we go 6-6 this year: 4-0 Non-Conference, 2-6 In Conference

So, NO improvement in conference; one additional good win Non-Conference, and 2 additional cupcake wins Non-Conference.

That is improvement but only minimally.

Muttley

October 18th, 2009 at 8:44 PM ^

I'd much rather see Mich win than be right.

OK, so Sagarin currently ranks Mich #34. In the ballpark of what I expected.

However, I over-estimated the difficulty of the remaining five games of the season. I think your preseason notions of top-ten quality PSU & OSU are clouding your judgment.

Rank   Team      Rating   W   L   SOS (Rank)
 34 Michigan       77.91   5   2   65.92( 90)

Rank   Team      Rating   W   L   SOS (Rank)   Prediction
 21 Penn State   80.42   6   1   63.65(106) -1 Fav(Live +4)
125 @Illinois       59.30   1   5   70.70( 34) -15 Favorite
 76 Purdue         68.99   2   5   73.26( 23) -13.5 Favorite
 32  @Wisconsin 78.18   5   2   72.08( 29) +4 Dog
 19 Ohio State   80.77   5   2   70.65( 35) -0.5 Favorite

While I think Sagarin's methodology likes us a little more than it should (my gut), that clearly doesn't look like a 1-4 finish to me.

dmccoy

October 16th, 2009 at 6:22 PM ^

I predicted 6-6, so 2-4 down the stretch isn't a collapse (not that you said that specifically), 2-4 is just whats expected as the schedule gets harder and a very young team experiences growing pains. If we flipped our schedule around, started 2-4 and ended 4-2 everyone would be happy.

Keep a level about it and you'll see this is a team with a lot of talent offensively, despite youth, and a lack of talent/depth/experience on defense.

I know people will freak out regardless, but hopefully a few people understand 2-4 finish would be because of our youth and our opponents' talent level.

dmccoy

October 16th, 2009 at 6:23 PM ^

I predicted 6-6, so 2-4 down the stretch isn't a collapse (not that you said that specifically), 2-4 is just whats expected as the schedule gets harder and a very young team experiences growing pains. If we flipped our schedule around, started 2-4 and ended 4-2 everyone would be happy.

Keep a level about it and you'll see this is a team with a lot of talent offensively, despite youth, and a lack of talent/depth/experience on defense.

I know people will freak out regardless, but hopefully a few people understand 2-4 finish would be because of our youth and our opponents' talent level.

magonus

October 16th, 2009 at 5:45 PM ^

I stand by my original predictions for the season. Less than 6-1 going into PSU is a disappointment. I saw us maybe losing one of ND and Iowa. There's no reason we should have lost to a mediocre State team. And given how we lost to Iowa, that's a disappointment as well. That said, if we can take one of PSU/OSU and win the rest, we'll still be 9-3 (5-3), which will probably be good for fourth in the conference and maybe a New Year's bowl, which was my hope all along. Obviously 6-2 in conference would have been preferable, especially if the second loss was/is to OSU since that would have meant we were in contention going into the final weekend, but this could still be acceptable for a rebuilding year.

TinCup

October 16th, 2009 at 6:17 PM ^

I am pretty pleased with where we are this year. Last season sucked beyond belief. I see the progress we are making and am pretty optimistic for next year and beyond.

I think we finish up this season at 7-5.

But I would LOVE 8-4 with a W over Ohio State.

dmccoy

October 17th, 2009 at 2:04 AM ^

It was hidden behind the sentence where is said, "The point?"

The point being made the entire time that this team is improved, and should we finish 7-5 or so, we shouldn't be disappointed. It's not complicated.

I referenced the original post because, for the most part, the season has been going as many people, including myself, felt it would. Look at the comments on the original, I'm sure the majority of commenters were guessing 7-5, give or take a game.

hail2m

October 16th, 2009 at 9:46 PM ^

I agree with Maaaze plate. We must improve in conference to say progress is being made. Wins against WI and OSU would go a long way to making a mediocre season seem successful.

champswest

October 16th, 2009 at 11:14 PM ^

My pre-season forecast was 6-6 and I think that would be decent progress. At this point in the season we are 1 win ahead of where I thought we would be, so I can see us going 7-5 and that would be great. In my view, you have to evaluate each season based on that year's circumstances and not what you would like to see or normally expect from a UM team. Besides the wins and loses there is also the facts that 1. We always play hard, 2. We don't give up, 3. We seem to be getting a little better each game and 4. We play together as a team and always expect to win. Those are HUGE improvements over last year.

EZMIKEP

October 17th, 2009 at 1:54 AM ^

And I say that with no doubt in my mind. 1st off we are 5-2 as of tomorrow eve. So I don't see how in hell we dont win against Illinois & Purdue. Illinois is probably the worst team in the Big 10 right now with Purdue following a close 2nd. And I truly believe we will see a very focused team with no slip when we face the boilermakers because of the memory of last years embarrassment in one of the few games we definitely should have won. Anything can happen but I feel more than confident we will get those 2 conference games. That is 7 games right there. SO that leaves PSU at home, Wisky on the road & OSU. We will win one of these three if not two. This team is hungry and getting better in different areas every week in my opinion. The loss to MSU was really disappointing, but the loss at Iowa as frustrating as it was further showed me how tough we really are mentally & also the over-rated view of the Big 10s elite teams. Iowa is good but obviously not that good. If I had to predict the rest of the season I am pretty sold that PSU will be the 2nd game of a 4 game win streak. Followed by another close road loss at Wisconsin. And a home game against OSU in a year where their Defense is great & getting nastier by the game, but is also led by a seriously terrible, out of sync offense. I feel like the home crowd might be so wicked this year that we take this one. I haven't felt this good in a long time about "The Game". Not even in 2006 @ OSU. Were gonna be at least 8-4. But 9-3 sounds very realistic to me & should to many of you. Its such a crap shoot to predict a record for a team like this before a season, but 6 games in I really can't believe how anyone would think this team is about to go 7-5 or 6-6 considering what they have done already. I think too many are looking at the 2 losses and the Indiana skate-by as indication that this team is more lucky than talented. I say BS. These Wolverines are good, still young and well coached.

MDubs

October 18th, 2009 at 5:11 PM ^

Um, did you watch Purdue take out OSU? Those guys aren't pushovers. I'm not too familiar with Purdue's team this year but from the game film I had a chance to see I saw a fast hungry defense that contained and frustrated Pryor and an offense that could move the ball efficiently. I hope we beat them, but I would not say its a guaranteed win.

Ron Swanson

October 19th, 2009 at 3:28 AM ^

Purdue is the pesky team of the big ten this year for sure. They almost beat Oregon AWAY (possible PAC 10 champs) and Notre Dame. I was hoping they would have an upset of OSU or Wisconsin to make sure we wouldn't overlook them

oakapple

October 17th, 2009 at 11:37 AM ^

The good news is that Michigan has won every game it was supposed to win; has won a game in which the opponent was favored (Notre Dame); and was closer than expected in its two losses (MSU, Iowa).

The other bit of good news is that the defense appears to be improving week by week. The corresponding bad news is that the offense lately has sputtered. If anyone had told you that the defense would hold the Spartans to 20 points in regulation, you would have assumed that Michigan would win easily.

Depth is clearly an issue. Forcier has not played well since injuring his shoulder vs. Indiana, and Denard Robinson has not yet shown that he can run the offense for 60 minutes. The running game clearly took a step backwards after Molk was injured. Heaven help the defense if either Donovan Warren or Brandon Graham goes out.

If Michigan just wins the games it is expected to win -- Delaware State, Purdue, and Illinois, that would produce a 7-5 record. I think there's a good chance that they do win these games, and then steal one of the others, for an 8-4 finish.

ScottGoBlue

October 18th, 2009 at 10:00 AM ^

It would be very sad for this team to finish 6-6 (B10: 2-6) or 7-5 (B10:3-5). We really need the psychological edge of finishing at least .500 in the B10. We had our chances against MSU and Iowa, and couldn't pull it out. So this team needs to dig deep, keep making improvements, and get 3 more conference wins. Best bets: @Illinois and vPurdue. The other three (vPSU, @Wisconsin, vOSU) could each be won, but none emerges in my mind as a clear front-runner. I think we'll get one or two of them, though.

And besides, the players are talking about going 10-2. Let's get on their bandwagon!

jmblue

October 18th, 2009 at 3:19 PM ^

You really see this team losing four of its last five and finishing 2-6 in league play? If you stand by a win over PSU, then we'd have to lose to both Illinois and Purdue. You think that's likely?