M and OSU vs. common opponents, S&P

Submitted by steve sharik on November 20th, 2016 at 4:46 PM

These are averages.

Team Points Plays Yards Yards Per Play Scoring Opps Pts Per Opp Avg Field Pos. Success Rate TO Margin
M Offense                    42.00    74.83    473.00                     6.37                   8.00                4.83                   35.10 47%                   6
OSU Offense                    37.67    80.17    438.83                     5.40                   7.83                4.60                   34.70 46%                   3
M Defense                       8.83    63.00    245.33                     3.71                   3.00                2.79                   25.15 27%  
OSU Defense                    13.83    64.67    258.67                     3.95                   3.50                3.22                   26.08 30%  

For the life of me, someone explain why OSU is thought of more highly. They're only better in previous years' recruiting rankings.

Oh, by the way, the above averages include one game where we didn't have our friggin' starting QB.



November 20th, 2016 at 6:59 PM ^

Doesn't travel well (except for Rutgers...but LOL). The defense, however, travels. Rutgers, Iowa, and MSU averaged just over 12 points against us on the road. This is including garbage MSU/clown-show ref time. If the defense shows up, we defnintely have more than a puncher's chance.


November 21st, 2016 at 11:37 AM ^

Mr. Ray of Sunshine. I'm glad you're here during Hate Week to temper our everything. Keep up the work that nobody asked you to do.

Also, common opponent argument does work. OSU didn't put MSU away until Dantonio did it for them. We had MSU beat at the half, and they went full desperation in the 4th to gain most of those 150 extra yards. Your argument looks at stats, but completely ignores the thing that matters - the game itself. What if OSU lost to MSU? Would common opponent work then? Your thinking is weird.

Inflammable Flame

November 20th, 2016 at 5:32 PM ^

This graphic doesn't include for injuries, weather, location. Those play a huge factor. If Wisconsin game was in Wisconsin at night, we may not have won that one. Likewise if Iowa was at A2 for a noon kickoff, it may have been a blowout.


November 20th, 2016 at 4:57 PM ^

They've been doing *this* longer (in recent years), So, I have zero problem with it...it's the old "until you beat 'x' and 'y'" phenomenon. If and when we turn the tide, others might start looking at that stuff--that and The Game is at the shoe...so, more of a lean to OSU by the talking heads.


November 20th, 2016 at 4:58 PM ^

Because asking most football fans to look at numbers and basic math is a wasted effort. We live in this bubble here were effort is put in to critically analyze the sport, but the VAST majority of CFB fans are irrational and prone to hyperbole. OSU is a good team, but they have the presumption of excellence around them because they've won the past, not because of their play this season.

steve sharik

November 20th, 2016 at 5:02 PM ^

All the human rankings (CFP, AP, Coaches, ESPN power) are all like, "Clearly Ohio State at #2...."

Explain to me why, by any standard, OSU should be ranked ahead of all the other 1-loss teams, and clearly so at that.

Okay, so OSU's only loss was to a top 10-15 team...a team that lost to Michigan 49-10 in a game that wasn't that close. It was 28-0 quickly. PSU LBs yada, yada...their "high powered offense" couldn't do diddly poo.


November 20th, 2016 at 5:24 PM ^

Our "high powered offense" struggled to score 13 points against a mediocre Iowa team.

So our stats are marginally better (does it really matter that our offense and defense put up better numbers on Rutgers than OSU? Does it make a difference that in the two common games, PSU and Wisconsin, we were at home while OSU was on the road?) and we didn't collapse against Penn State. 

Who cares? There is a thin margin, and the humans who say "clearly Ohio State at #2" as you put it clearly know that this will be settled, in Columbus, on the field.

I think it's interesting to compare relative stats against common opponents. I think concluding that our position behind OSU is some sort of significant injustice is a big overreach. If they win, the voters and committees were correct. If we win, they were wrong and they will change their rankings to reflect it.

The committee is not going to keep a one-loss B1G champion Michigan team out of the playoff. It is highly unlikely that such a team would be anything less than #2. 

We find out on Saturday.


November 20th, 2016 at 5:12 PM ^

But how do our performances compare against uncommon opponents, like the team we played that was made up of all really tall redheaded Asian guys named George??? 


November 20th, 2016 at 5:18 PM ^

It's not about common opponents, it's about matchups.

Unfortunately, Ohio State has more strength-on-weakness matchups against us that they can exploit, than we do against them.

Our weaknesses at LB can be exploited by the strength of their offense which relies on quick short passes, edge runs, and QB scrambles.  Our OL weaknesses in pass pro can be exploited by the strength of their fast, aggressive DL.

Our DL rush is a strength.  They are (very) weak at downfield passing, but they don't rely on it as much in their offense so it's harder to exploit.

We will have to hang our hopes on what seems to be an emerging weakness against the run by them.  The downfield running game is not exactly our big strength, but we have to hope it's enough of a matchup mismatch to exploit them.



November 20th, 2016 at 5:23 PM ^

i just feel that so many things have to go right for us VS OSU at home. 

We really need to win the field position battle. I think that we are gonna be hard-pressed to move the ball down the field consistantly on long drives.

JOK (or less than 100% Speight)  throwing vs a secondary that nearly as good as ours is a concern of mine. 


November 20th, 2016 at 6:04 PM ^

While our overall defense appears to be better, I would say that their secondary overall is actually better than ours (CB and safeties). I think some people are overlooking that when considering strengths vs weaknesses of each team.


November 20th, 2016 at 5:30 PM ^

The one gaping hole in our defense has been LB play on the edge and in coverage. And that hole happens to be exactly the area OSU is best suited to attack with Curtis Samuel, whom I've been terrified of since that long TD that UCF torched us with. 

And the possible counters to that situation often involve vacating the middle to cover the edge, which, you know, is where JT Barrett's running ability comes in.

So I agree with you that the matchups are unfavorable. Speight's mid-season surge had given me hope that Michigan could score enough to make up for the occasional big play drive/long td, but if he's not playing the whole game at close to 100% the offense will almost certainly not be able to keep up.

BTW, there is zero chance that OSU forgets to use Samuel enough the way it has the rest of this year. They are, surely, salivating to get him the ball.

Stringer Bell

November 20th, 2016 at 5:39 PM ^

I don't think the matchups are that unfavorable.  OSU's defense has yielded a lot of rushing yards to manball teams like MSU and Wisconsin, and I wouldn't say their QB situations are any better than ours with JOK.  We should be able to move the ball against them, but we need to finish drives, which is what we didn't do last year.  On the defensive side, if we aren't loading up at the line of scrimmage and forcing Barrett to beat us with his arm then Don Brown isn't as smart as we all think he is.  Meanwhile, I love the matchup of our DL against their OL.  They should be able to collapse the pocket and prevent Barrett from scrambling for big plays.


November 20th, 2016 at 5:20 PM ^

Pretty sure last year would have shown something similar too....we know how that turned out.

And based on how this team usually plays on the road, let alone one of the loudest places in the country like OSU, I don't see a ton of reason to see sunshine.


November 20th, 2016 at 7:05 PM ^

Say things like "based on how this team usually plasy on the road" when they've been good on the road this year? Sure, not elite like in some of their home games, but damn dude, the defense. Do you only look at the offense? If so, I suggest you stick around when we punt - the other big phase of the game is fun to watch, AND travels well, thankyouverymuch.



Not saying it means we win, but your attitude is based on nothing except your inability to see what the team does well on the road. They shut other teams down, and keep them out of the red zone. Defense wins championships, and we're playing for one.


November 20th, 2016 at 8:05 PM ^





Road games:

Iowa L
Rutgers W (LOL)

at 7 Oklahoma W 
at 5 Wisconsin W
at 8 PSU L 

My problem is that when you remove rutgers (LOL) our road performaces are generally bad. Im not blaming the team for the schedule but these are valid critisms.



November 20th, 2016 at 10:26 PM ^

are you intentionally ignoring the road game that OSU played this past weekend? The one in which they escaped with a 1-point win over a 3-8 football team, a 3-8 team that needed a last minute touchdown to get within 10 points of UM in their superbowl?


November 20th, 2016 at 5:21 PM ^

I dunno man. If we'd played them a month ago on a neutral field with Speight I feel like we would've probably won. Playing them in Columbus with O'Korn after the last 2 games has me pessimistic.

Love the advanced stats but they tend to be a bit flawed when it comes to factoring in injuries to some extent with the trends in plays. And home field is typically worth a FG or more. 

Still think our defense is fantastic and better than theirs but if we can't pass the ball effectively we're going to need big plays either from Peppers or Chesson/Darboh/Evans or some turnovers on D. 


November 20th, 2016 at 5:27 PM ^

but all of these stats were accumulated with a different QB.  If we had a healthy Speight going into the game, I'd be fairly confident in a win.  With O'Korn, not so much.


November 20th, 2016 at 5:37 PM ^

Strange things can happen in college football, much moreso than in NFL (which is why I will take an average CFB game over average NFL game every time) - nothing can be taken for granted and literally any team can beat any other with a couple lucky breaks (FBS on FBS at least).

We had just about all starters playing and healthy against Iowa - statistically we should win but bad luck/play/officiating/etc happens.  Same for OSU against State last year.  Healthy Speight is good (really hoping he's back too), but ultimately it's just one factor that may or may not matter.


November 20th, 2016 at 6:13 PM ^

On the road, at night in a conference matchup - Weird shit tends to happen. That's why I was skeptical of writing of OSU after theat PSU/blocked FG debacle (a game in which they largely outperformed PSU in the box score and should have easily won). And that's the same reason we didn't write off M after the bullshit Iowa game. Weird shit happens on the road at night during conference play, especially when you're a top team and everyone is playing you like it's their fucking superbowl.


November 20th, 2016 at 5:32 PM ^

None of that matters if this defense does not tackle.  This week will obviously be the most important in terms of prepping vs. a team that breaks a lot of tackles.  JT has an amazing ability to slip tackles in the back field.  Everyone needs to tackle solidly and wrap up. 


November 20th, 2016 at 5:42 PM ^

All of this banter about a game that has to be played is well; just bullshittt! We had no chance at beating OSU at home when an unknown back broke his foot off in their aspirin for over 250 yards! Biakabutka says hello and keep being pessimistic! Thank the lord the young men don't think like the half empty cup crew on this board! Same people that cheer for you are the same fans that said yesterday, "Deveon sucks!" It's so bad that it's embarrassing! Go Blue, beat the MF SUCKEYES! We can and will beat osu!


November 20th, 2016 at 5:42 PM ^

Our defense is good enough and OSU's offense has been slowed by enough other teams this year to have faith that we'll be able to avoid getting gouged on defense like we did last year.

The bigger question is whether we'll be able to generate enough points on offense. My biggest worry is that the lack of downfield passing attack makes our offense too one dimensional. Harbaugh's offense really relies on making defenses play on their heels trying to anticipate what is coming next, which means the play calling needs to remain fairly balanced.

This offense is not good enough to get into predictable situations and try to rely on simply out-executing OSU's defense.


November 20th, 2016 at 5:45 PM ^

Have pointed out the key is going to be match ups and as you pointed out, one of those games was with our friggin' back up QB. I'd be a lot more confident if Wilton was close to 100%.

Just as the UM defense will be the best defense OSU has faced, the OSU offense is probably going to be the best, most athletic offense UM'S defense has faced. The chess game between Don Brown and the OSU offense will be extremely interesting.


November 20th, 2016 at 6:38 PM ^

Maybe. I've been reading various M message boards for a long time and I've read about how the PAC 10/12 sucked many times over the years. But we're 3-8 against the PAC 12 this century so I wouldn't get too cocky about the quality of the PAC 12. UW is a real good team. USC is playing extremely well right now. Colorado is pretty good, especially when Liufau is healthy. Utah, WSU and Stanford have some flaws but are still solid teams and the latter 2 have improved a lot during the course of the season. The B1G is probably better this year but it's hardly true that the PAC 12 is usually junk. 


November 20th, 2016 at 5:51 PM ^

I don't think these really matter that much seeing as we aren't going to have Healthy 1st string QB.   Figures , we get to 9-0 and are rolling and our starting QB gets hurt.  Fucks up a pretty good season we had going.  Bad weather or not, O'Korn looked like shit yesterday.   Unless he makes some kind of amazing 1st game to 2nd game improvement, we better hold OSU to 10 points if we expect to win.