Tale of Two Seasons

Submitted by Kilgore Trout on August 5th, 2009 at 2:23 PM

In the spirit of Mathew Berry on ESPN.com (who drives me nuts, but I continue to read everything he writes the minute I see it), I decided to put together a little “team A vs. team B” comparison.  We have the following two seasons from Big Ten teams within the last decade.

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Team A:

 

Record: 8-4 (6-2)

 

Wins:

    Home MAC x2

    Home Mid Range Big Ten x2

    Home Low Range Big Tex x1

    Road Mid Range Big Ten x2

    Road Top Range Big Ten x2

    Average Margin of Victory:   15.5

 

Losses:

    Road Mid Range Pac 10 x1

    Road Big Ten Rival x1

    Home Big Ten Rival x1

    Florida Bowl Top Range SEC x1

    Average Margin of Defeat:   10.25

 

 

Team B:

 

Record:  9-4 (6-2)

 

Wins:

    Home MAC x1

    Home Low DIA x1

    Home Non Conf Rival x1

    Home Mid Range Big Ten x3

    Road Mid Range Big Ten x1

    Road Low Range Big Ten x1

    Road Big Ten Rival x1

    Average Margin of Victory:  14.22

 

Losses:

    Road Mid Range Pac 10 x1

    Home Top Range Big 10 x1

    Road Top Range Big 10 x1

    Florida Bows Top Range SEC x1

    Average Margin of Defeat:  22.0

 

 

All in all, pretty comparable, no?  Both teams lost to a Pac Ten team on the road, both got beat by a good SEC team in a Florida bowl.  Maybe team B gets a slight edge for the wins in rivalry games, but that margin of defeat is pretty rough to look at.  In the grand scheme of things, I’d say it’s close to a push.

 

Now, for the grand reveal…

 

 

Team A = Michigan 2001

 

Record: 8-4 (6-2)

 

Wins:

    Home MAC x2 – MIAMI (OH), WMU

    Home Mid Range Big Ten x2 – ILLINOIS, PURDUE

    Home Low Range Big Tex x1 - MINNESOTA

    Road Mid Range Big Ten x1 – IOWA

    Road Top Range Big Ten x2 - PENN STATE, WISCONSIN

    Average Margin of Victory:   15.5

 

Losses:

    Road Mid Range Pac 10 x1 - WASHINGTON

    Road Big Ten Rival x1 – MICHIGAN STATE

    Home Big Ten Rival x1 – OHIO STATE

    Florida Bowl Top Range SEC x1 - TENNESSEE

    Average Margin of Defeat:   10.25

 

 

Team B = 2008 Michigan State

 

Team B:

 

Record:  9-4 (6-2)

 

Wins:

    Home MAC x1 – EASTERN MICHIGAN

    Home Low DIA x1 – FLORIDA ATLANTIC

    Home Non Conf Rival x1 – NOTRE DAME

    Home Mid Range Big Ten x3 – WISCONSIN, IOWA, PURDUE

    Road Mid Range Big Ten x1 - NORTHWESTERN

    Road Low Range Big Ten x1 - INDIANA

    Road Big Ten Rival x1 - MICHIGAN

    Average Margin of Victory:  14.22

 

Losses:

    Road Mid Range Pac 10 x1 - CALIFORNIA

    Home Top Range Big 10 x1 – OHIO STATE

    Road Top Range Big 10 x1 – PENN STATE

    Florida Bows Top Range SEC x1 - GEORGIA

    Average Margin of Defeat:  22.0

 

I guess the point I was going for is that arguably the worst season in the last decade of Carr’s regime (2005 is in the discussion) was a rough equivalent to last season’s breakthrough for MSU.  So, congratulations… I guess.

 

Disclaimer:  I seriously debated not posting this because I hate the back and forth UM / MSU stuff that’s all over the place out there, but I thought this might be interesting to some people.  I actually think Dantonio is doing well at MSU and he is probably smart on several fronts for being so confrontational with Michigan.  And yes, I know there is no mention of UM’s 2008 disaster in here.  I am working hard to pretend that never happened.

 

Comments

mgovictors23

August 5th, 2009 at 2:51 PM ^

Is just me or did last years struggles really make it seem like last year in college football never happened. I don't remember much about last year in college football because I try not to remember the season we had.

wolfman81

August 5th, 2009 at 3:07 PM ^

The only telling difference is margin of defeat. MSU's losses last season (except Cal and perhaps Georgia) were generally blowouts. OSU and PSU whupped them good, 45-7 and 49-18 respectively. (Whereas Cal won 38-31 and Georgia won 24-12.) So you could argue that if they had gotten a few more bounces, the best they could have done was 11-2 and been more respectable in their blowout losses.

Michigan on the other hand had field goal trouble vs. Washington (iirc)--this brings up other bad memories--Lost by 2 vs. MSU (cough--Spartan Bob--cough) a game that they should have won, and lost to a marginal OSU team that they should have beaten. Quoting wikipedia:

"The Wolverines came into East Lansing with a 6-1 (4-0) record and a number 6 ranking behind wins against Miami (Ohio), Western Michigan, Penn State, Iowa, and eventual Big Ten champion Illinois...and despite an early nonconference loss at Washington, the Wolverines were considered national title contenders."

It cannot (and should not) be argued that they were close to beating Tennessee. But if you give them the benefit of the doubt and a few good bounces, Michigan could have gone 11-1, losing in the NC game...

My point is that 2001 Michigan was a few bad bounces away from being in the NC game (and losing) and 2008 MSU was a few bad bounces from winning the Cap1 bowl (which is where they went). While this is over re-writing history, I think we'd generally agree from watching those teams play that there is no comparison between those two teams. Just because teams have a similar record (especially in different seasons) does not mean that they are similarly talented or even of similar skill.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 6th, 2009 at 10:52 AM ^

having a similar record doesn't necessarily correlate to two teams talent levels, I don't think that is what the OP was trying to portray.

What I think he was attempting to show (and I could be way off here) was that last year was considered a monumental success at MSU while a similar record at UM was considered a monumental collapse.

It is the difference in expectations that was the point I believe.

Edit: after a 3-9 season I think our expectations have changed as well. I would take 8-4 and a bowl loss and dance naked in the streets this year.

KBLOW

August 5th, 2009 at 7:34 PM ^

As a UM grad and Nashville native that one hurt bad. This past season was the first one that feels like we had our collective ass kicked as badly as we had in that game.

redcedar87

August 5th, 2009 at 5:09 PM ^

the whole "MSU was terrible last year because of margin of defeat" meme is kind of ridiculous.

Team X went 7-6, losing games by an average of ~5.2 points (3, 3, 4, 7, 7, and 7 in OT)... two blown leads, an OT loss, a terrible bowl performance by the QB and a few bounces away from a national championship by the logic above.

Team X = 2007 MSU
http://www.msuspartans.com/sports/m-footbl/archive/msu-m-footbl-sched-2…

I'll take the nine actual victories of 2008 over the "keeping it close in losses so the statistics look pretty" of 2007.

Muttley

August 6th, 2009 at 12:12 AM ^

IMO, the 8-3 vs a cream-puff B10 in 2001 (and an absolute shellacking vs Tenn) was clearly worse than losing by 7 to ND, 4 to Wiscy, 3 to Minn, and 4 to tOSU (then suffering the typical disappointment bowl loss to Neb that afflicts so many teams in that position). We also handed #3 PSU its only loss that year.