Season Outlook - 6 games down, 6 to go

Submitted by Mr. McBlue and… on October 11th, 2009 at 8:50 AM

This is a simple-man's look at the remaining portion of the schedule to provide some stats and insight about where the team might end up.  Stats come from espn.com (http://espn.go.com/ncf/conference?confId=5) and sometimes I use them in my predictions and sometimes I don't.

Note: Some of the Stats have not been fully updated on ESPN.com

Note II: I know that the stat boxes cut and paste funny, I couldn't remedy this in the short amount of time I had before my wife told me to give it up (yes, I'm whipped)

Update Note III: (haha, I snuck away while my wife was giving the daughter a bath!).  I am providing this to show that, despite all of the nay-sayers out there, Michigan has a solid chance at finishing the season with a great record (based on actual, prior performance based statistics from its future opponents).  At the beginning of the season telling me that we would be 4-2 going into Delaware state would have made me very happy.

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Michigan

 

Offense:

        Ttl Yds    Yds/G     Pass     Pass/G    Rush    Rush/G    Pts Pts/G

Michigan

2259

376.5

1143

190.5

1184

197.3

198

33.0

 

 

Defense:

      Solo Tck.Asst. Tck. Tot.Tck. Sacks   Yd. L   PD    INT   YDS Long  td

Michigan

220

228

448

8.0

54

21

7

74

40

1

 

 

Win/Loss:

   Conf.        Ovr. PF         PA      Home     Away

MICH

1-2

4-2

198

147

4-0

0-2

 

 

Now, to the Competition:

 

 

Vs. Delaware State

 

Offense:

          Ttl Yds Yds/G     Pass   Pass/G    Rush  Rush/G   Pts   Pts/G

120

Delaware State

1060

265.0

617

154.3

443

110.8

57

14.3

 

Defense*:

                  Int.    Yds.   TD

Delaware State

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

5

136

0

2

 

* = All I could find on espn.com

 

Win/Loss:

 

        Conf.        Ovr. PF         PA      Home     Away

DSU

1-2

1-3

57

63

0-1

1-2

 

 

In comparing this to Michigan’s, Delaware state seems to have an ineptitude at moving the ball.  From the limited stats it appears Delaware State may have a ball hawking defense but if they cannot move the ball on offense, two defensive touchdowns will not carry the day.

 

Bold Prediction: MI win (MI: 5-2, 1-2)

 

 

Vs. Penn State

 

Offense:

Ttl Yds    Yds/G     Pass     Pass/G    Rush    Rush/G    Pts Pts/G

Penn State

2565

427.5

1472

245.3

1132

188.7

187

31.2

 

 

Defense:

   Solo Tck.Asst. Tck. Tot.Tck. Sacks   Yd. L   PD    INT   YDS Long  td

Penn State

174

249

423

15.0

87

20

7

110

70

0

 

 

Win/Loss:

  Conf.        Ovr. PF         PA      Home     Away

PSU

1-1

5-1

187

61

4-1

1-0

 

 

Penn State can move the ball.  They can also do so efficiently, balancing their passing and rushing attack.  Michigan, though, hasn’t had too much problem defending against balanced attacks (i.e. Iowa, MSU) but Michigan has had issues with teams that know how to exploit their weaknesses (i.e. Iowa, MSU).  This is a home game, giving a slight edge to MI, but Penn State is rock-solid when it comes to getting pressure on the QB.

 

Bold Prediction: PSU win (MI: 5-3, 1-3)

 

At Illinois

 

Offense:

  Ttl Yds    Yds/G     Pass     Pass/G    Rush    Rush/G    Pts Pts/G

Illinois

1708

341.6

970

194.0

838

167.6

85

17.0

 

 

Defense:

    Solo Tck.Asst. Tck. Tot.Tck. Sacks   Yd. L   PD    INT   YDS Long  td

Illinois

201

152

353

3.0

17

25

3

119

78

0

 

 

Win/Loss:

   Conf.        Ovr. PF         PA      Home     Away

ILL

0-3

1-4

85

143

1-3

0-1

 

Illinois is struggling this year.  They cannot seem to get much together and with the Juice Williams debacle at QB, Zook may have lost this season and lost this team.  Defensively IL has not put much up by way of numbers and Michigan will take advantage of it with its Tate the Great attack.  Michigan, going 1-3 so far in conference play has a chip on its shoulder (as well as a memory of what happened last year to us at home):

 

Bold Prediction: MI win (MI: 6-3, 2-3)

 

 

Vs. Purdue

 

Offense:

  Ttl Yds    Yds/G     Pass     Pass/G    Rush    Rush/G    Pts Pts/G

Purdue

2461

410.2

1644

274.0

871

145.2

171

28.5

 

 

Defense:

 

   Solo Tck.Asst. Tck. Tot.Tck. Sacks   Yd. L   PD    INT   YDS Long  td

Purdue

285

136

421

13.0

87

15

6

23

22

0

 

 

Win/Loss:

    Conf.        Ovr. PF         PA      Home     Away

PUR

0-2

1-5

171

183

1-3

0-2

 

1)   It’s Purdue

2)   Michigan Remembers that Purdue spoiled its chances at a bowl game last year

3)   Danny Hope will lose all hope

 

Bold Prediction: MI win (MI: 7-3, 3-3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Wisconsin

 

Offense:

   Ttl Yds    Yds/G     Pass     Pass/G    Rush    Rush/G    Pts Pts/G

Wisconsin

2534

422.3

1382

230.3

1204

200.7

188

31.3

 

 

Defense:

  Solo Tck.Asst. Tck. Tot.Tck. Sacks   Yd. L   PD    INT   YDS Long  td

Wisconsin

198

138

336

14.0

77

19

8

3

3

0

 

 

Win/Loss:

   Conf.        Ovr. PF         PA      Home     Away

WIS

2-1

5-1

188

154

4-0

1-1

 

Much like the Purdue game for MI, Wisconsin will have a memory of what happened to them last year at the big house.  Wisconsin will definitely have some motivation coming into this game.  Wisconsin has also looked pretty solid up to this point (noting that absent errant QB throws and poor special teams play, they may have given the buckeyes more of a run for their money).  However, by this point Michigan should be clicking on all cylinders again and Tate will have much more experience behind him from the prior games.  At this point the offensive match-up favors Wisconsin in yardage but Michigan in defense.  Going into OSU next week, Michigan may be thinking about the sweater vests and Bielema may be coaching for his job again:

 

Bold Prediction: WIS win (MI: 7-4, 3-4)

 

 

Vs. OSU

 

Offense:

   Ttl Yds    Yds/G     Pass     Pass/G    Rush    Rush/G    Pts Pts/G

Ohio State

2030

338.3

1054

175.7

1040

173.3

178

29.7

 

 

Defense:

  Solo Tck.Asst. Tck. Tot.Tck. Sacks   Yd. L   PD    INT   YDS Long  td

Ohio State

167

166

333

12.0

90

12

8

92

39

2

 

 

 

 

Win/Loss:

    Conf.        Ovr. PF         PA      Home     Away

OSU

3-0

5-1

178

72

3-1

2-0

 

I hate to even have to look at this numbers without bias.  OSU was dreadful against USC and only has inflated its numbers based on beating up the likes of Toledo and Illinois (granted we got WMU and EMU, but it’s different…it’s Michigan!).  No doubt OSU will be pumped for this game as they will probably be playing for national respect and a chance at the BCS (assuming that they knock off the Hawkeyes).  Michigan will want to prove it can beat OSU and Michigan will deploy an aresenal of looks to do so.  Plus, the d-line is going to have a target on Boren’s chest.  Michigan is at home, in front of 110,001 and finally gets the monkey off of its back.

 

Bold Prediction: MI win (MI: 8-4, 4-4)

Comments

Mgoscottie

October 11th, 2009 at 8:59 AM ^

I'm not ready to sign off PSU or Wisconsin as a loss yet, but I'm really starting to think that we are building towards an end of season victory. The improvement in defense over the last two weeks, and the addition of Molk in 2 more imo will make us the better team at home.
I think Penn State could be the better team, but I think their lack of big time opponents will hurt them, and our bye week next week will help us a ton. Don't forget the chip this team carries on their shoulders and they won't take losing these last two weeks lightly.

NJWolverine

October 11th, 2009 at 9:06 AM ^

Coming out on a limb, but I've always felt like D. Robinson is the better fit for the offense. We are starting to see why. Two consecutive teams have used LBs to take out underneath routes that Forcier needs in order to be effective. I'm sure ND and IU would have done the same, but they simply don't have the players. The problem with Forcier is two fold. His arm, while accurate, is not strong enough to throw over underneath routes. A glaring example was yesterday. Receivers were open downfield, but he either missed them or the ball was way too late. That's irredeemably poor arm strength. Second, Forcier cannot run between tackles, which takes away a vital element of the read option. His speed is not much to be desired either but for the runs to the sideline. The only redeeming quality about Forcier is that he's ready to win now. That's what we needed this year, but more development of D. Rob. may well mean that Forcier will no longer be needed in the future, precipitating a frosty exit.

Just look at what D. Rob. brings to the table. He actually does have a live arm, a superior one to Forcier. He's obviously faster, can run between tackles and has revived his throwing motion. What he does not have is the readiness that came with preparing for the position his entire life. But once he learns the read/option, the throws and the decision making, which is somewhat improved over the course of the season, he will have more upside. I've always believed from day 1 that speed is the most important quality in the spread. That's a quality that D. Rob. does have that Forcier (and Gardner) do not. Once the refinement occurs, I think D. Rob. will be our QB. I'm not sure if Forcier can accept that reality.

Clambaequious …

October 11th, 2009 at 10:12 AM ^

Tate will remain as the starter and Drob the change up. As much as Drob has a strong arm, can throw deep and run between the tackles (who are not ramshackle), he is a turn over machine when he puts the ball in the air. 3 ints in 15 passes. Tate has 4 ints in 138 attempts.

Much of Tates lack of production is turnovers by team mates inside the 20. Stonum fumbled last week at the 10 and minor near the 20 and mathews inside the 20. Tate makes mistakes but marches the team down the field late in the game and gets 0 points due to a turnover and suddenly "can't get it done". If one of these three events did not happen michigan is likely 5-1.

The long term solution is get molk back and reduce turnovers. This team is very close to winning a high percentage of games but is not efficient enough to overcome late game turnovers.

NJWolverine

October 11th, 2009 at 2:44 PM ^

The last two weeks, Tate has been stopped. Yes he led the charge last week, but that was only after 3.5 quarters of poor play. Last night, the OL's vastly improved play took a lot of pressure off the QB. Fact is, the last two weeks Michigan has played against good defenses. ND's defense is horribly deficient. Anyone with a pulse can score on that front 7. IU's defense is also deficient.

Perhaps two games does not make a trend. We'll all find out soon enough when PSU and their LBs comes in. If Forcier continues to struggle because the underneath routes are taken away by the LBs, and he doesn't effectively run the read option or throw the ball deep in time, then I would say we need a little more than a sprinkling of D. Rob. certainly next year, but even this year with a limited playbook.

jmblue

October 11th, 2009 at 3:39 PM ^

I thought Tate played fine against MSU. He was continually let down by his receivers (who, when they weren't dropping passes, were falling down or forgetting to turn for the ball) for three quarters before everyone got on the same page at the end.

Against Iowa, Tate did struggle. So has every other QB that has played them (including Darryll Clark, who went 12-32 passing).

Maize and Blue…

October 11th, 2009 at 10:26 AM ^

not to mention if his arms so weak why is he overthrowing people. If Denard just checks that last pass down to Odoms who is wide open for a first down we still have a shot at winning the game. Instead he throws the ball right to Iowa with no WRs in the area. DRob's still got a lot of work to do as I don't think he's completed a pass that he has thrown farther than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
If speed is the most important quality in the spread then how in the hell are Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, and Tim Tebow successful. For that matter Graham Harrell from Texas Tech last season.

NJWolverine

October 11th, 2009 at 2:38 PM ^

The QBs you mention all run passing spreads, which are markedly different than the run/option spread. None of those QBs except maybe Tebow must run the ball and only Tebow has some hybrid of a read option. Tebow is somewhat fast, but he's big enough to run through tackles instead of being shifty. My problem with Forcier is that he is neither shifty nor able to run through blocks. Indeed, he's already taken some nasty hits, which might be the reason why he's injured.

Slinginsam

October 11th, 2009 at 9:33 AM ^

They are both still true freshmen. A year from now, there should be some separation between these two, one way or another.

IMO, the biggest missing part for Tate last night was the absence of David Molk. Had he played center, and Moosman played his normal guard slot, I think the pressure on him would have been less. Water under the bridge at this point, though.

SWFlaBlue

October 11th, 2009 at 9:47 AM ^

and the Iowa/Penn State game, I'm not ready to concede the loss to Joe Pa's boys especially at home. Last night was rough - 5 turnovers, Tate having the type of game that was freshman are prone to have, plus a hostile environment . . . at it was still just a two-point game.

Maize and Blue…

October 11th, 2009 at 10:17 AM ^

You say they can move the ball with the run and pass but, they really haven't shown that yet. Certainly not against Iowa which is the only legitimate team they have played so far. Take away the over inflated stats they put up yesterday against Eastern Illinois and you'll see a different picture. They have struggled in all facets of the game offensively. Plus, I believe (hope) Molk will be back for this game. It's at home and think you are writing the team of way to quickly.

griesecheeks

October 11th, 2009 at 10:24 AM ^

I'm sorry, but I see nothing in this team that indicates an end to the losing streak against OSU. I hate saying that, but it's hard to imagine a scenario where that happens. Thaddeus Gibson will snap Tate in half. Denard's running won't fool their linebackers. All things right now point to that game being ugly. I don't want to say that, but it's unrealistic to think we get a win unless we start seeing VAST improvement in all facets of the game. To be honest, I think what Wisconsin did against OSU is a predictor of what we'll look like against OSU. Our D may actually keep us in the game, but I don't see our Offense putting more than 13 points on the board.

as I see it:
we are 4-2. DSU is the closest thing to an automatic win we have left. That puts us at 5-2. I think we will get a (surprise) win against one of the PSU, @WISC games, and I think we will lose one of the Illinois, Purdue games, putting us at 7-4 going into OSU. I think all 4 of those games will be close, with the potential to win 3 of the 4, but also LOSE 3 of the 4.

that puts in a low-level bowl game, which I'll say we win, finishing 8-5. and that's fine. Next year, I would expect better performances and bigger things from these guys and the coaches.

Tater

October 11th, 2009 at 7:04 PM ^

I disagree wholeheartedly. I think this team can run the table. They have made every rookie, young team mistake the last two weeks and were outscored by two points total in regulation.

The elements are there: the defense is improving, the OL is blocking better, and DRob is showing signs of being a bona fide QB right now. As a previous poster mentioned, young teams improve more quickly than more experienced teams. This team is a year or two behind other Big Ten teams physically and in experience, but the talent level is there, and the system is a very good one.

If this team tightens up the mistakes and keeps improving, they can run the table. PSU will be tough, but they still haven't really proved anything yet. Purdue and Illinois should be wins. Wisky is tough, but they can be beaten, too.

As for OSU, UM should lose this game on paper, but it IS a rivalry game, and anything can and does happen in THE GAME. I still think Pryor is being misused at OSU, and gets too easily frustrated when things aren't going his way. When he sees how the media is already fawning over Forcier, part of him has to wonder if he made the right choice of schools and offenses.

The point here is that UM can win every game left on the schedule. They probably won't, but I wouldn't be shocked if they did. Two Big Ten losses won't get them to a Rose Bowl this year, but they could still have a nice New Year's Day game in sunny Florida, even with one more loss.

I guess, though, that I will stick with my original 9-3 prediction until it is no longer mathematically possible or they go into the OSU game at 9-2.

Blue 8198

October 11th, 2009 at 11:15 AM ^

I agree with some of the comments that M has a better chance to beat PSU than OSU - although, far from a sure thing. What gives me some optimism for both those games includes (i) home games - our young QBs seem to like home cookin, (ii) Tate will hopefully have time to heal up, (iii) Tate's watching the last two drives last night from the sidelines may increase his focus and reduce his ocassional gun slinging tendencies, and (iv) being so young, I think M has more potential to improve than either OSU or PSU as the season progresses.

Braylon 5 Hour…

October 11th, 2009 at 11:23 AM ^

Can we at least recognize that our team has played significantly differently at home and on the road? We weren't fumbling punts and runs at home, and Tate wasn't turning the ball over too much at home. Despite how badly we've played on the road the last two weeks, we've still had decent chances to win these two games, so I think we have to give ourselves SOME hope in our home games versus PSU and OSU. I don't think the Ohio State losing streak will end either but hey, their offense may be the easiest for us to defend out of anyone.

Also, does it seem to anyone that Rodriguez is willing to sacrifice a couple wins this year for the development of Robinson? Last night, he took out Tate when we were down 9 and put in Denard. I understand that it worked on the first drive, but last week, Tate played pretty badly up until that point of the 4th quarter, and brought us back and tied it. When we get into those scramble 2 minute situations where Tate can roll out and make plays, that's when he gets in his comfort zone. Robinson got a TD and we got the ball back, but the drive by Robinson showed that, even if he can make us score, it's going to take a while for us to get into the end zone. You need someone who is actually ready for the time crunch of that situation to give you a chance to win. We still almost got away with it if Robinson hadn't made a terrible pass on the last throw. Even so, I just don't like Rich Rod taking the ball out of Tate's hands in situations where he has shown he can bring us back.

Maybe this will all result in Denard being a much better QB, and it will be worth it, but from where I stand right now, I'm just not sure.

oakapple

October 11th, 2009 at 6:53 PM ^

I do not believe that Rodriguez is willing to sacrifice ANY win for the purpose of developing Denard Robinson. The players he puts on the field are those he believes are best at that time.

I was surprised that he left Robinson in for the last drive, just as I was surprised that he called the roll punt option for Mesko last week when he was on his own 15 yard line. He has made plenty of calls that surprised me, both bad and good. But I am positive he made them for the sole purpose of trying to win one game at a time.

The wisdom of those calls is a whole other question, and it has already been endlessly debated. Remember, people questioned Lloyd Carr's calls too. But no one ever doubted that Carr was calling plays he believed would give Michigan the best chance to win the game. No sane coach would do otherwise.

ajscipione

October 11th, 2009 at 7:03 PM ^

only two more possible losses on the schedule, Wisky and OSU (yes, I believe we will beat PSU at home). That would leave us at 8-4. If we can steal either a Wisky win on the road or an upset OSU win at home, we will be 9-3. This is not out of the question.

garydinNC

October 11th, 2009 at 8:54 PM ^

I have followed "Blue" for over 40 years. I would like to think we could go 8-4, but this team has to play better on the road. Rich Rod's teams are scoring a lot of points, but they are giving up just as many. I was a bit suprised that TF was pulled from the game although DR did well, save the last interception. I agree with some of you regarding Rich Rod's play selection at times, but quite frankly the defense hasn't impressed me at all, especially the LB and DB's. And what's the deal with Cissoko? What's up with that? "Blue" has to win its remaining home games and hopefully "steal one" on the road. If I can share one thought with all of you it would be - Patience. Rich Rod will get it together. In a Japanese word - "kaizen" which means constant improvement. Hang in there boys, we're getting there unfortunately not at the speed we'd all lke. God bless y'all and "Go Blue!"

griesecheeks

October 12th, 2009 at 12:00 AM ^

i have to disagree with this... I think we're going to steal a game we might not be supposed to win. I also think we're going to lose a game we shouldn't lose.

This team will compete and be close in pretty much every game. I don't see any team left that i would think would blow out M. I don't think OSU will put a ton of offensive points on us, but I do fear their defense will throttle the read option, for the most part... IE, they won't need to score that much on us.

thinking we will run the table is a bit naive in my opinion. based on what i said above, I'd say there's about the same chance we run the table as finishing 5-7. A couple of close games should fall our way, and a couple will go the other way.

let's just focus now on getting the guys back home for DSU and making SURE we're 5-2 going into PSU.

we'll be fine.

now, to go back and watch the Iowa game at work.

SpreadGuru

October 11th, 2009 at 10:37 PM ^

Tate got rattled down the stretch and I hypothesize that he was "dinged" with a slight concussion. Denard was great on the first drive and made a really bad throw on the second. I actually saw a lot of development from Shoelace at Iowa. That was a tough spot to come in cold and he was pretty electrifying. I think we will see a ton of Denard next week and I wouldn't be shocked if you leave the Big House thinking, "Wow, he's really getting better."

That being said, Tate is Tate and that is very promising.