Prediction for Minnesota: The FEI Forecast for this Saturday is Michigan 24 – Minnesota 19 with just a 61% Probable Win Expectation for Michigan. If Denard is able to play most of the game, I don't think it will be that close. Michigan's offense has been excellent (3.8 PPPo) against poor teams (AFA, UMass, Purdue, Illinois) but has really struggled (0.90 PPPo) against every good team (Alabama, ND, MSU, Nebraska). In 2011 this was not the case as M scored about the same versus poor teams (3.7 PPPo) but was much better (2.2 PPPo) against good teams (ND, MSU, Nebraska, and Iowa). That said, Minnesota would be classified as a poor team (sorry Goldie).
Fremeau Efficiency Index: Not much movement in the overall FEI or DFEI but the OFEI went from #40 to #56 (no surprise there). In the detailed chart below, GE represents the raw data for FEI before adjustments for opponents. M is ranked #34 in GE and overall FEI is #36. This seems about right since M has lost 3 of the 4 games to their highly ranked opponents.
The S&P Ratings (Also from Football Outsiders) is a play based analysis (rather than possession based) and M is ranked #12 overall, #16 in offense, and #16 in defense.
The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in FBS college football. The data is filtered to eliminate garbage time (at the half or end of game) and is adjusted for opponent. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams (win or lose) and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.
National Rankings: The rankings for offense and defense are based on scoring (yardage statistics are inherently flawed). These are simply raw numbers without any adjustments for opponent, garbage time, or anything else. The data is from TeamRankings and includes only games between two FBS teams.
FEI Details: Here are the FEI numbers for Michigan and their opponent ( Football Outsiders FEI ).
Cumulative PPPo is 2.4 for the offense and 1.5 for the defense. M finished 2011 outscoring opponents by almost a 2:1 margin with PPPo for offense of 2.9 and defense of 1.5. The 2 charts show the raw data for offense and defense with the number of possessions adjusted for "kneel downs" at the half or end-of-game (maximum deduction = 2).
Using Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense National Rankings for the past 5 years (FBS AQ teams only), this table shows the percentage of teams that finish the season with a +WLM and a +5 WLM. For example, teams that finished in the Top 40 in both offense and defense had a 100% chance to be +WLM and an 82% chance to be +5 WLM (9-4 or better).