Football Outsiders projects Michigan to finish 7-5 in 2013

Submitted by Leaders And Best on May 3rd, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Football Outsiders did a preliminary projection and simulation of the 2013 Big Ten Standings today. They projected Michigan to most likely finish 7-5 and 4th in the Legends Division with a potential win range between 5-7 and 9-3. I was pretty surprised by this as usually Football Outsiders models are some of the better ones in football. Article is ESPN Insider ($):

4. Michigan Wolverines

Projected finish: 7-5
Win total range: 5-7 to 9-3
Chance to win Big Ten: 1 percent

This projection model isn't too kind to the Wolverines, a program with an elite historical tradition but one that is still seeking its identity in the Brady Hoke era. The offense was prolific in spots under quarterback Devin Gardner after he took the reins midseason, but there is youth along the offensive line that will probably keep Michigan from being a contender. If the Wolverines can help themselves on defense and special teams, it can ease the burden. But Michigan started twice as many drives from inside its own 20-yard line (24 percent) as its opponents (12 percent) and lost the field position battle eight times, including in four of its five losses.



May 3rd, 2013 at 4:26 PM ^

You're kidding right? O linemen take 3 years to mature and every starter last year was an RR recruit chosen for a spread offense. They were smaller and quicker than power o linemen and power is what Borges likes to run. Four years is never enough time for an o line coach in this situation.

Perkis-Size Me

May 3rd, 2013 at 3:32 PM ^

7-5 I somewhat understand, but only in a situation where multiple skill position players go down with season ending injuries. I understand not being conference favorites, but 5-7 is completely ludicrous. Gardner will be exponentially better with a far better command of the offense, the defensive line should be much better, the offensive line interior might not get much better at first, but it won't get worse than it was last year. Not to mention we have arguably the best O-lineman in America protecting Devin's blindside. And then there's Funchess......

Yeah, our running back situation is a little hazy, but with Fitz and Green, I think it will sort itself out. We're in better shape now than we were this time last year with our wideouts. Gallon is our go-to man, and Darboh will step up this Fall.

To suggest a 5-7 record when we went 8-4 last year with a much tougher schedule and with a team that, in my opinion, won't be as good as this year's, is idiotic. There are no sure-fire losses on our schedule, and I think we're going into this season with much fewer question marks this year as opposed to last.

I wouldn't be shocked if this prediction was made for page views and fan outbursts like what we're all doing right now.

Ron Utah

May 3rd, 2013 at 3:40 PM ^

This is why computers will never take over the world: they have no common sense.  Using statistical models from the past five years flies in the face of the obvious.  Mattison has produced the #6 and #19 scoring defenses in the country the past two years, and there is absolutely no way we are any worse than we were in 2012...I mean, didn't 'Bama score half of those points against us?  There are only two positions on defense where you could argue we might be worse: SS and SLB...Everywhere else, we are better.

And DG was the highest-rated passer in the conference last season.  He tore apart the South Carolina defense.  On offense, we are more talented at EVERY position than we were last year.  Yes, we're younger, but every replacement is more talented.

Our youth might cost us a game or two, but we're far more talented than last year's 8-4 team, and have an easier schedule.

7-5 is a worst-case scenario that would have to involve an injury to DG.  With Mattison's defense and the talent we have on offense, Shane Morris could guide this team to seven wins.  Heck, Swieca or Cleary might be able to get seven wins with this team.

FBO is a great site with great ideas, but sometimes stats just don't line-up with reality.

Blue boy johnson

May 3rd, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

In a positive way, this season could be huge transition years for both the offense and the defense. Offensively , of course, Al Borges will finally begin to implement his West Coast offense that was so fun to watch at San Diego State.
The sea change on defense will be Mattison believing this is the season he can generate a pass rush with four. If this is true the defense is going to be better than last season. I think this suggests Mattison believes he has the experience in the system, and the personnel to run the defense the way he wants to run it. Buckle up!

Eye of the Tiger

May 3rd, 2013 at 5:53 PM ^

I'd want to know a bit more about their methodology. Last year we went 8-4 despite:

1. Having a bad interior O-line

2. Get meager production from the RBs

3. Losing a starting WR to a DUI in the offseason

4. Losing our best CB to injury in the first game

5. Playing the national champions (away), the runners up (away) and the only undefeated team in the country (away). 

6. Having almost no depth at any position.

My best guess for 2013 is we go 9-3, but 10-2 is not out of the question--and neither is 8-4. We should be good-not-great. 7-5 is overly pessimistic.


May 3rd, 2013 at 8:48 PM ^

This is a team that will feature a very young OL, but if they stay healthy they should be pretty damn good by mid-season. The D will be solid even with loss of Jake. Mattison loves to play a lot of people and this has added quickly to better than average depth. I think Devin will surprise a lot of people this season and if we get any TB help, we could be dangerous. It's a team that, imo, could win 10 as easily as 7. Certainly breaks of the nature of the 2011 campaign would help our cause greatly.  


May 3rd, 2013 at 9:08 PM ^

This is from ESPN and another ESPN projection from the same day put us second to Ohio with the best chance to win the Big Ten at 5-1 odds. This same article also projected Ohio at. 10-2 which is odd based on their schedule. Very contradictory from one site.


May 3rd, 2013 at 9:09 PM ^

7-5 seems on the low side, but with so many starting positions expected to be filled with inexperienced players, there is quite a range of reasonable possible outcomes for the team.  


May 3rd, 2013 at 11:04 PM ^


The way I see it, the expected value of # of wins is around 8.4. For those with rosier outlooks, where should I put the extra probability? 
Game                      Probability of M win
Central Mich.          0.95
Notre Dame           0.45
Akron                       0.99
at Connecticut       0.9
Minnesota              0.9
at Penn State         0.65
Indiana                    0.9
at MSU                    0.6
Nebraska               0.65
at Northwestern    0.6
at Iowa                    0.8
Ohio State              0.4
Sum                        8.39


May 4th, 2013 at 2:35 AM ^

I tried to nitpick your probabilities--that's actually likely really accurate.  Maybe 90% @ UConn too high?  Other than that, I think you are right.  Really hard to adjust that to get down to an EW total under 7.  5-7 range doesn't make much sense.


May 4th, 2013 at 2:29 AM ^

I'm going to guess, if pressed, Mr. Fremeau would not put his money on his model and offer 50-1 odds out of his own pocket that Michigan wins the Big 10 title this year.  I'm calling B.S. on this model's predictions, unless there's a variable in the model attempting to maximize page views.  In that case, Football Outsiders, congrats on a successful troll.


May 4th, 2013 at 8:25 AM ^

I would think we have better than a 1% chance of running the table in the regular season, to say nothing of winning the Big 10.  I'd go so far as to say if we're good enough to beat Notre Dame that we probably have at least a 25% chance of winning out in the RS, assuming Gardner stays upright.

Maybe I'm just being a homer.

1% though?!


May 4th, 2013 at 9:57 AM ^

I've always thought the over/under for wins this season should be 8.5. I think next year is the when Michigan contends for the BIG, possibly more.


November 25th, 2013 at 7:02 PM ^



looks like we all got some Mojitos coming!  and a lot of hats and shoes need to be eaten! lol.  Man this thread makes me sad.  so much hope 4 months ago.  ugh.