Bill Connelly: Michigan’s season has gone pretty much as expected

Submitted by Blue and Joe on November 21st, 2017 at 11:28 AM

Bill Connelly has a nice read about how Michigan's season has basically gone how it was expected to go. S&P+ projected Michigan to win, on average, about 8.9 games in 2017. That would drop to around 8.5 if Speight being out for the season was considered.…


Cali Wolverine

November 21st, 2017 at 12:54 PM ^

...there was a comment about perspective...and I made a sarcastic response to that comment that shows no perspective...mocking some of the ridiculous fans on this board?

Perhaps next time I will hit last post button and go backwards when reading the comments...but I doubt you will see that comment to make a reply.


November 21st, 2017 at 11:32 AM ^

I always appreciate Bill's takes.

His subtitle is perfect:

We’re full of perspective and long-term vision in the offseason. We lose our minds in the present tense.


November 21st, 2017 at 1:08 PM ^

I talk myself into why we will all games pre season, only to be brought back to reality when I realize there are young players and stuff happens. I think It took until the Wiscinsin loss for me to admit 8-4 is a real possibility. 


November 21st, 2017 at 12:09 PM ^

We are 8-3 with the back up quarterbacks too. There is no way Brady Hoke has us at 8-3 right now with this schedule, with Shane Morris in there. Not a chance. I give Harbaugh and Don Brown all the credit for keeping us competitive. we had a shot against MSU. We had a shot against Wisconsin. we are 8-3. Yes it sucks because it is a reality, but this is where we thought we would be. I did not think Speight was going to go down during the first big ten game though. I absolutley believe that we beat MSU with Speight in there. 

A win against Notre Dame is a must for 2018. Harbaugh has to prove he can beat a ranked team on the road. This is important in year 4. No excuses. To hell with Notre Dame!


November 21st, 2017 at 1:38 PM ^

I thought about this on Saturday after I grew weary of MGoBlog - so basically right after the game - and I don't know how many staffs (and coach / assistant combos) could be in the place that this one is and get this roster and all of its inexperience to 8-3 with one game to go. As irritating as Saturday's loss was and as up and down as this season has seemed, we're still in a very nice place overall, in my opinion. 


November 21st, 2017 at 2:17 PM ^

There is no way Brady Hoke has us at 8-3 right now with this schedule

Wait, what? "This schedule" where our best win is Rutgers? Yes, Hoke lost to Rutgers in 2014. He also beat pretty much everyone he was expected to in 2011-2013.

I think Harbaugh is a vastly better coach than Hoke obviously, but no one is lighting the world on fire in 2017. The offense is arguably worse than any Hoke/Borges duo and Hoke's defenses were always solid. There is still a long, long way to go. Hoke's worst loss to OSU was by 21 pts to the eventual national champions, so maybe they can start by trying to keep it at least as close as that on Saturday.


November 21st, 2017 at 10:36 PM ^

Losing on the road to PSU and Wisconsin and to a good OSU team with a senior QB is understandable. Losing to a mediocre MSU team at home is unacceptable. I would be ok with 9-3 but someone has to be accountable for that MSU loss. There is no excuse for 5 turnovers against that team.


November 21st, 2017 at 11:35 AM ^

Should be required reading for all members of the "sky is falling" crowd.


I think as fans our biggest sin in the offseason was throwing all of the national experts who said we'd take a step back under the bus.  It's one think to dismiss the blatent SEC homers and their ilk, but we did a fair bit of bashing of people who we'd otherwise have no reason to except that they weren't predicting as many wins for Michigan this year as we were.

Blue in Paradise

November 21st, 2017 at 11:36 AM ^

Florida was supposed to be a coin flip, didn't realize they woudl be a piling steam of $hit.  But then MSU was much better than expected and we had the breaks go against us that day.  So that was a disappointment but you figured a young team would lose to a weaker team on the schedule.

PSU, Wisconsin and OSU were projected to be losses from the beginning of the season.

Looking ahead to next year, the defense is going to be beastly and the offense should be much improved.  If (and it is a BIG "IF") Grant Newsome can play next year and is even at 80% of his 2016 form, I think we will challenge for the B1G / CFP and that will be year 1 of the Harbaugh Death Star that reloads year after year as a top 10 team.

Blue in Paradise

November 21st, 2017 at 11:50 AM ^

If we can't beat NW next year, especially after they lose Thorson and Jackson then this conversation is pointless.  PSU and Wisconsin at home are tougher than NW on the road.

The way I believe our defense will look next year, we can beat ND and MSU. 

OSU is never going to be easy, home or away.  I have a sick feeling that Haskins is going to be better than Barrett but lots of unknown factors between now and then.


November 21st, 2017 at 12:04 PM ^

The defense is losing its best and most impactful player by a wide margin.  They should be good but there is no particular reason to think they will be a lot better.

No particular reason to think the offense will be a lot better either.  Sure there should be some improvement simply from a year of experience (although as we saw with Speight, that is by no means a given), but none of these guys looks like they're on the verge of being all american.  Another 3-loss season is the reasonable expectation.

Blue in Paradise

November 21st, 2017 at 12:27 PM ^

Along with the normal progression at EVERY other position.  Unless, we suffer insane levels of injuries, the defense should be dominant next year.  We have been one game from being dominant this year.

I agree that the offense is trickier because we could still have a big hole at the OT slots if Newsome can't come back.  But look at the playmakers, all of the current 1st team are in the first year of starting.  Freshman WRs always suck but look at the development of DPJ over the past 6 weeks.  I think that DPJ and Black will be studs next year with Perry, Collins and Martin providing depth.  TEs are already playmakers and everyone is coming back - so any continued progression there means that we have another plus position.  RBs have improved from week 1 until today.  Any growth from Peters and we should have at least a top 30 offense.

You can always say that nobody will ever improve so the team can never get better but that defies all history and logic.  


November 21st, 2017 at 12:36 PM ^

I didn't say nobody would improve.  I said there should be some improvement.  But it would have to be a hell of a lot to turn the current shitshow into a good offense and I don't see why we should assume it will be that significant.  Certainly the development during the season doesn't give much hope.  DPJ is certainly better than early on when he was a total non-factor but he's far from on the verge of a breakout.  Who knows what we'll get from Black coming off an injury and who lost a season's worth of experience.  I just don't see a reason to think the offense will be better than 2015's.

Blue in Paradise

November 21st, 2017 at 12:50 PM ^

I choose not to live my life like that.

There are tons of reasons to think we will be much better, we are literally the youngest team in P5 so something would have to go seriously wrong for us NOT to be much better.

Even "normal" receivers make a huge jump between freshman and sophomore years, I'd like to think that ubertalented players like DPJ and Black should be able to do at least that.


November 21st, 2017 at 1:19 PM ^

Being a fan of Michigan football for 16 years, I learned that pessimism is the only rational outlook.  I wish I could share your optimism but watching this team generate hype and consistently disappoint year after year after year makes it impossible for me.

I don't doubt that the offense will be improved.  But I said we shouldn't expect it to be much better than 2015, when it was capable of blowing out bad teams but struggled against good ones.  So again, we'll have a team that is pretty good, but not good enough to beat OSU and likely to drop a few more games, especially with so many tough ones on the road.

Blue in Paradise

November 21st, 2017 at 1:31 PM ^

that pessimism is the only rational outlook then you should think about moving on to a different interest.  That is no way to live.

I have been a Michigan and Lions (for heaven's sake) fan for 35 years and I am upbeat and loving every minute of it.

I don't mind watching this young team cut its teeth, it will be that much rewarding when this core reaches its peak and sets up the Harbaugh Death Star.

Harbaugh came 2 inches away from taking Hoke's recruits to the CFP, these boys will put us over the top.

Red is Blue

November 21st, 2017 at 1:28 PM ^

I expect improvement, in some cases vast improvement, at every position on offense next year with the possible exception of LT.  The offense could take a tremendous step forward.

Overall Hurst, Cole (based on depth issues) and Winovich are the players we're losing who will be difficult to replace.  McCray and Kugler were fine players, but not the type that are too hard to replace.

Blue in Paradise

November 21st, 2017 at 1:38 PM ^

Unless he projects as a 1st round or maybe 2nd round guy (I believe he is currently 3rd - 4th round).

Hurst is a big loss but Solomon has been surging the last month so that mitigates the impact a bit if Dwumfour and Jeter can step up at the 3T and at least be adequte.

Cole is the best OL on the team but a healthy Newsome would not be a downgrade at LT (just given his height and body shape).

Ruiz should be better as a sophomore than Kugler (maybe already?)

McCray is a loss but a combo of Anthony, Ross and/or Singleton should not be a significant step down (we will trade experience for better athleticism).


November 21st, 2017 at 5:08 PM ^

A healthy Newsome next year being at least as good as Cole is this year is a mighty hope. Before injury Newsome's run blocking was rated -0.2, 0, -1.3, 0.6, and -1.6 by PFF. His pass blocking was rated 0.6, 2.5, -2.4, 0.8, and 0.5. I can't find the methodology but I believe a 0 is considered average. Not bad numbers but not great either. 

If he is healthy next year that's still a full year and a half with limited working out and no football. For him to come back and be at minimal as good as our best OL of 2017 would be incredible. I believe you are putting too much emphasis on body type. Hope you're right.