Bill Connelly writes about our schedule

Submitted by mgogobermouch on September 25th, 2018 at 12:13 PM

Bill Connelly (guy behind S&P+) has an advanced stats look at our upcoming schedule. Probably no great surprises for anyone in this board, but still worth a glance. 

TLDR: Northwestern has a strong run defense and a decent pass rush — it’ll be a good test of our o-lines improvement. And Wisconsin has quietly put together the 12th best offense in the country.



September 25th, 2018 at 9:37 PM ^

I’ve got a wedding I’m attending next Friday.

The couple asked for monetary donations to be submitted prior to the wedding instead of asking for gifts, they bought 75 tickets for Saturday’s game to bring the wedding party, family and people who gifted the most.  Hail of an idea.


September 25th, 2018 at 12:31 PM ^

Have to prove it on the field this year. Wisconsin, MSU, and PSU are all very winnable games if the teams plays at their best. If they come out flat, sloppy, and afraid again, they will get beat and fall short of their lofty goals.


September 25th, 2018 at 12:36 PM ^

"Michigan’s defense is a different beast than anything else Hornibrook has faced, but while Northwestern will give us some answers about the Wolverines’ offense, Wisconsin should be able to test the UM defense in a way it hasn’t been since the glitchy first half against Notre Dame."

I would tend to agree with this actually - the next important checkpoint or milepost for the defense is the Wisconsin game. I also agree that Northwestern is probably going to be an interesting game to watch to see how we do against a team that can slow down the run. If we can get to MSU at 6-1, then I think that bodes well for that game and possibly every game after that. 


September 25th, 2018 at 12:41 PM ^

I was impressed by Hornibrook in the Iowa game. Maybe my expectations are just super low for Wisconsin because of their proud tradition of generic, unimpressive QBs, but I thought he looked crisp when they needed him to throw.

Northwestern doesn't scare me. They lost to Purdue, they gave up 39 to Akron and lost, and now they're without Larkin. Gonna be a bad day for Pat


September 25th, 2018 at 1:23 PM ^

Aside from Ara Parseghan, name me another coach that has had the success Fitzgerald has had at NW.

 Anyone else?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

He'll be there, consistently fielding good teams and sometimes fielding really good teams, for a long time yet.  Unless he gets poached by a bigger name, but I don't see that happening - he seems to like where he's at.


September 26th, 2018 at 7:44 AM ^

Good call. Let's try this again.

NW has lost three or less games in three of the last six seasons. The last time they accomplished this was 1994-1996. Prior to that it was in the early 1940s when they strung together seasons of 6-2, 5-3, 1-9, and 6-2.  Winning percentage during the 1940-1943 stretch was .529, compared to Fitzgeralds recent run of .618 of the 6-year period. 

Newton Gimmick

September 25th, 2018 at 1:34 PM ^

This is an insane comment.  Fitzgerald is a legend in the program.  He will stay as long as he wants to.  He has a .572 winning percentage overall and about .500 in the Big Ten over a 12+ year period, which is astounding relative to Northwestern, historically.

He also runs a clean program and is one of the top overperforming coaches relative to roster, which is crucial given Northwestern's recruiting limitations:

Newton Gimmick

September 25th, 2018 at 1:36 PM ^

They did not lose to Purdue.  Their Akron loss was embarrassing, but also fluky -- I think Akron had three defensive touchdowns in the second half.  Northwestern was up 21-3 at halftime.

Northwestern has a Top-25 defense, and is particularly good against the run.  Fitzgerald is a good coach, Evanston is a weird place to play, and it may be a rainy afternoon.  They aren't a great team but it could be a weird, sloppy, low-scoring game.  


September 25th, 2018 at 12:43 PM ^

What if Michigan is 30-0 at the half or something at NW? Bring in second stringers? That would be something. Back to back games where starters are resting half game...


September 25th, 2018 at 12:43 PM ^

"Even two of the wins against rivals only sort of count. One was against a 7-6 Penn State team in 2015, and one was against a 3-9 Michigan State in 2016."

This is the stuff that really bothers me about the statistics people use to make their hot takes and opinions. Why does it only sort of count when a Michigan team beats a bad opponent while 6 of Dantonio's 8 wins come against the following Michigan teams: 3-9, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 8-5?



September 25th, 2018 at 1:18 PM ^

Of course not. That only would have mattered if it was against a ranked opponent, on the road, and at night, until Michigan finally wins one of those games, then the parameters will change again. It is a constant moving target for the Wolverines. 


Edit: it does mention winning in 2016 over PSU, but nothing about them being the eventual big ten champs.


September 25th, 2018 at 1:05 PM ^

I mean, by the same token, our dominance over them still counts in our eyes from 1970 to 2007 even though most of their teams then were mediocre. 


In the order of feelings ball/having rivalry dominance:

  1. Consistently beating good teams
  2. Consistently beating bad teams
  3. Occasionally beating good teams
  4. Occasionally beating bad teams



September 25th, 2018 at 1:23 PM ^

I really couldn't care less about what happened in the past. I was born in 1990 and really only remember from about 2000 and on. My first vivid memory of Michigan football is Anthony Thomas inexplicably fumbling against Northwestern.

I will not reference an overall record against an opponent, and couldn't even tell you what it is. 


September 25th, 2018 at 2:04 PM ^

I love Saturdays in the fall, the cool crisp air and the sound of "The Victors" as the team runs out and touches the banner. Michigan football was as important to me as anything growing up and I love watching film of the old teams to get an appreciation of the players that I would otherwise not have, but why should I care about what the record of Michigan football was 1976? That has absolutely no bearing on what the team is like now. To bring that up in an argument against a rival fan base would, in fact, make me a schmuck. 


September 25th, 2018 at 2:16 PM ^

My original response saying that I don't care what happened in the past was in response to Squad 16

I mean, by the same token, our dominance over them still counts in our eyes from 1970 to 2007 even though most of their teams then were mediocre. 

I was simply saying that I don't really care about that dominance because it doesn't make any difference to what is happening right now. . 



September 25th, 2018 at 3:42 PM ^

Please define "right now" and how far back you think one can go before ceasing to make a "difference to what's happening right now." I assume 2014 isn't your answer, but logically it could be close.

It's good that you have an arbitrary "I couldn't care less" moment in time though. My moment in time is roughly 1969 for a couple reasons, but I care a fair amount about the history before that depending on the conversation. 


September 25th, 2018 at 4:01 PM ^

As far as relevance to today, I would say that you can go back as far back as 5 years and no further. The only reason I say 5 years is because it is possible that you have someone on your roster that was a part of that. Other than that, it is a completely different team from the leadership on down. 


As far as what I care about, it is hard for me to have an emotional reaction to anything that I don't remember, however I do appreciate the history and tradition of Michigan football. 


September 25th, 2018 at 4:07 PM ^

So, you reject any argument with a rival fan that points to anything prior to 5 years ago? I get it, but I don't think many rivalry arguments are confined to such a short time. Your "I'd be a schmuck" line seems like one we cross with our rivals every time we have a beer with them (if we do).