Does UM deserve a bowl in Orlando or Tampa? A surprising answer.

Submitted by michelin on December 2nd, 2012 at 1:12 PM

While a thread below considers what bowl opponent IS likely for UM, what bowl we SHOULD be going to?

Although some uncertainty remains, most people expect NU and NEB to go to the CapOne and Outback Bowls over UM.  The reason is that the B1G sends a team to the Capitol One (or Outback) if it has two more wins (or two fewer losses) than its competitor.*

WIth this rule, however, teams with far easier out-of-conference (OOC) games are much more likely to win the higher  bowl bids. And this year, unfortunately, UM had a much tougher schedule.  It played its toughest OOC games on the road vs. teams with an average Sagarin PREDICTOR rank  of #2, both on the road.  NEB and NU played vs. opponents with an average rank of about #43, including one home game.**

Partly as a result, UM has by far the highest Sagarin rank (UM #24, NEB #29, NU #38).   Indeed, even according  to the final BCS rankings, UM clearly would be ranked above NU (and probably NEB).  So, it should be going either to the CapOne or Outback bowl, right?

Maybe not.

Imagine what would happen If the B1G were unified once again, without the unfair divisions.  Then, if it still wanted a title game, perhaps it should be sending the 2 teams with the highest BCS ranks.  So, UM would have played NEB for the title.  Um would not have to play on the road, like the last game.  It would have to play not with its 3rd string QB.  It would have Devin Gardner.  And it probably would have Denard Robinson  In fact, playing vs. a NEB team that just gave up 70 points to Wisc, Robinson would likely set the all-time NCAA QB rushing record in a big UM win.

But then, like now, UM would probably not going to the CapOne or Outback bowl. 

In this alternate universe where the B1G has rational rules, UM would be going to the Rose Bowl.


*These are the only rules I could find on the web, as reported by Rittenberg in 2011.  So, I am assuming the rules have not changed.…

**I report the Sagarin PREDICTOR rankings because these are the ones most likely to predict actual game outcomes.  Here are Sagarin PREDICTOR rank and rating, average Sagarin rank of the top 2 OOC opponents and B1G record for each team.

UM #24 82.05   TOP 2 OOC OPPONENTS; ROAD ND #1 AND ALA#3 (#1-2 BCS), B1G 6-2

NEB  #29 80.04  HOME ARKANSAS STATE #54, ROAD UCLA #19, B1G 7-2

NU #38 78.29  HOME VANDY #35 ROAD SYRACUSE #50, B1G 5-3



December 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 PM ^

Nebraska travels insanely well. They are a great pick for any bowl, even in consecutive years. I'm certain Capital One will choose well. NU will not travel nearly as well.

UM will also travel better than NU, so Outback will pick us, and NU will head to the Gator Bowl.


December 2nd, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

While Northwestern did go 9-3, Michigan had a better conference record and defeated Northwestern in the head-to-head game.  That, plus UM's tougher schedule, should give bowl officials plenty of defenisble reasons for selecting us over Northwestern (which they will do because of UM's larger and deeply-committed fan base).

Perkis-Size Me

December 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 PM ^

The Outback Bowl's president is a Northwestern alumnus. There is an article in the Chicago Tribune today that if Northwestern isn't selected for the Capital One Bowl, he wants to select them for the Outback Bowl.

If he wants to do his job and make money, he'll invite Michigan. But if he wants to round up all of Northwestern's 8,000 strong fan base, I guess he'll invite his alma mater.


December 2nd, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

Sagarins rankings are fucking retarded.  He had us outside of the top 25 after the regular season last year.  


Today, he has USC #18 and Texas #14.


December 2nd, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

it probably has to with their #7 SOS rating (vs. Ore, Stan, UCLA and ND).  In a sense, they had a problem much like ours.

If you think that Sagarin ratings are retarded, however, what do you think is a better way to rank teams?  What evidence do you have that your method provides better predictions about who will win games?


December 2nd, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

The big difference between our season and USC's is their Arizona game.  Average team, USC lost.  Had we not come back against NW or MSU, it would be comparable, but as it stands, we played 4 really tough teams, and lost 4 games.  They played 4 really tough teams and lost 5.  That's a difference.  The teams they beat were no better than the ones we did.

turd ferguson

December 2nd, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

I completely, completely agree with this.  People see numbers on the computer polls and assume they're infallible science, but if the algorithm sucks, the rankings suck.  I was all over Sagarin last year for how absurdly highly he rated all Big 12 teams (based on just a few out-of-conference wins), and I'm sure his rankings are a mess again this year.  Honestly, I trust the AP poll much more than Sagarin.


December 2nd, 2012 at 2:07 PM ^

The AP poll includes writers with biases, like Fowler.  He repotedly hates UM and consistently ranked UM lower than others this year.

The AP also ranked Ohio in the top few even though they had many close games and a terrible SOS (2nd worst among ranked teams).

If you want to really test the quality of the AP poll vs Sagainr, you need to see how well it predicts future games.  I know the Sagarin poll is predictive.  I don't think the AP is. 

turd ferguson

December 2nd, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

I know the Sagarin poll is predictive.  I don't think the AP is.

What does that mean?  I promise you that when top 10 teams in the AP poll unranked teams, the top 10 teams win the majority of the time (controlling for home field advantage).  Doesn't that make the AP poll predictive?

In theory, I love the idea of objective computer rankings - and I even like some of the computer rankings that are out there being used by the BCS.  Sagarin's algorithm sucks, though, and he won't even let anyone see it.


December 2nd, 2012 at 1:30 PM ^

As you well know, the bowl system has never been about which bowl teams "should" go to or which team "deserves" to go to which bowl, based on strength of schedule. It's fine to speculate about these things, but Michigan has probably been the beneficiary more often than been screwed by the way teams are selected, including last year. 


December 2nd, 2012 at 2:39 PM ^

Using the updated Sagarin ratings, you would hypothetically see Nebraska as a 10-point underdog against Georgia right now, we would be about a 5-point underdog against South Carolina, and Northwestern would actually be slightly  favored against Mississippi State. LSU would be only (by the model) a 2-point favorite against Texas if that's how the Cotton Bowl shapes up ultimately. 


December 2nd, 2012 at 3:17 PM ^

I am not sure how well SC travels, but since they are so much closer to Tampa than us, I would expect them to have a lot more fans.    While it's not a home game for them, I'd guess that their proximity would add a point or two to the spread.

It would be interesting to see whether geographic proximity predicts game outcomes and how much (if anything) it should add to spread.  The same would apply to other sports, like BB, and the NCAA tournament.  Yet, I don't know of any rating method that considers proximity.   


snarling wolverine

December 2nd, 2012 at 4:51 PM ^

Many SEC teams actually don't travel all that well.  We are often outnumbered at bowls, but not as dramatically as people think - it's often more like 60/40 against us, which is not that big of a deal (that's not counting empty seats, which are often like 20-30% of the stadium.  Against SCar, it's possible we could be at 50/50.



December 2nd, 2012 at 5:35 PM ^

Man, we could hardly handle osu's gimped and true Freshman laden DL. Wonder how we play against a definite top 10 DL nationally? If not already decided, Lewan may want to rethink the NFL if a Sophmore Clowney gets at him the way some Freshman osu DL were. Spence, at worst, broke even against Lewan.

Finally, one player always tends to emerge and mature during the month of Bowl practice. Who do we all think it is this year? I'd go with either a young WR, a much sharper Gardner or a LB like Ross/Bolden.


December 2nd, 2012 at 8:19 PM ^

"Even if we had beaten the #1, #2, and #3 teams in the AP poll we still wouldn't have won the Big Ten Championship"    (from UPMichigan in another thread)

In fact, we would not even have gotten a shot at the title in Indy.

So either the B1G is nuts or the AP poll is or both.  I would vote for both (if I believed in polls).