Matt Hinton/Dr Saturday prognostications re Big 10

Submitted by dnak438 on August 14th, 2010 at 6:33 PM

Dr Saturday has an article in which he makes his hyper-specific predictions about the Big 10 this year.  The stuff directly relevant to Michigan:


* After posting dreadful –12 and –10 turnover margins the last two years with wholly inexperienced quarterback platoons, Michigan will roughly break even on the giveaway/takeaway scale, bumping overall scoring to more than 30 points per game despite failing to decide on incumbent Tate Forcier or spring star Denard Robinson as the full-time quarterback.

* The Wolverines will break even on the season, as well, coming in at 6-6 after giving Ohio State a run for its money in the regular season finale, sneaking into a lower-tier bowl game and (barely) saving Rich Rodriguez's job into 2011.




August 14th, 2010 at 6:45 PM ^

He's allowed to commentate, but I respectfully disagree. 6-6 is used only because it's the minimum for a bowl. We'll certainly finish better than that....I hope. 


August 14th, 2010 at 6:46 PM ^

The record improves more then 1 game!  But the season rides on a few things.

#1 Stopping the run

# 2  Win turnover battle, ie create them and take care of the ball on.

#3  win 3rd down, get off the field on 3rd down D and convert 3rd on O

#4  Deep ball passing.  I completely believe this last one will determine how effective the offense is overall.  If we can throw deep then this offense will score over 40 per game


August 14th, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

I don't know how a team that scores over 30 pts a game loses 6. Especially with this schedule full of anemic offenses.

If we go to that expectation alone, we should win 8 at least.


August 14th, 2010 at 6:56 PM ^

Let's be honest here - if our defense does nothing but stop the run, there aren't many offenses on our schedule capable of passing for that many points against us.


Unless he's expecting we run up the score on the cupcakes to the order of 60ps/gm, we are going to win a lot more than 6 with that much offense.

Indiana Wolverine

August 14th, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

6-6 will save Rich's job.  Just my opinion, not meant to piss anyone off or start a debate.  Just thinking that eveyrthing Dave Brandon has done screams the opposite of settling for mediocre.


August 14th, 2010 at 9:21 PM ^

it's quite possible that we win more than 6, but a hard, honest look at WHO we play--to me--suggests six wins are what it's reasonable to hope for. And I'm convinced that Brandon, taking the long view, keeps RichRod under those circumstances. That may shock the media, but to heck with the media. 


August 14th, 2010 at 7:02 PM ^

Check me if I'm wrong, Sammy, but correcting a -10 turnover margin must be good for more than just one additional win. I think the ol' Doc's gotten a bit senile.


August 15th, 2010 at 4:46 PM ^

While we lost three good players, they were the only players we lost. Experience/continuity should be a strength this year. (Also, while Graham was clearly the #1 player on the D, I don't know that Warren and Brown were definitely better than say, Martin and Roh. They were solid players but not difference-makers, and NFL teams shared this view.)


August 15th, 2010 at 5:10 PM ^

I'll give you Martin, but while Roh was fantastic for a freshman he was just OK for a Big Ten lineman (maybe even a little below average). He didn't come close to playing as well as Brown or Warren. In fact, you could easily make a better argument for Van Bergen or Woolfolk. 

kevin holt

August 14th, 2010 at 7:30 PM ^

to the discussion

edit: I feel I must clarify. I completely agree with you. I just meant to point out how obviously insane this guy is, almost to the point where it doesn't even need to be pointed out. He's so loony it's obvious when using any form of logic


August 14th, 2010 at 7:44 PM ^

You don't know what you're talking about. Dr. Saturday is among the most knowledgeable and respected college football bloggers out there. He pings Brian every time he posts about Michigan and Brian seems to hold him in high regard. With our secondary 6-6 is not unreasonable. Notre Dame had a pretty sweet offense last year too and look where they wound up.

kevin holt

August 14th, 2010 at 10:49 PM ^

I know who Dr. Saturday is. I have read his blogging pretty thoroughly. I wouldn't post on a person's credibility with ignorance, and without any of my own.

I agree that 6-6 is not unreasonable of a prediction. But with the points he makes, it's a complete contradiction. We'll correct all the woes we saw last year, yet only win one more game? We will stop turning the ball over, begin to gain turnovers on defense, and solve all our problems, yet we will just barely beat a season where changing the outcome of a few unfortunate plays would have seen us with at least 2 more wins? Where we had very close losses and our record looked a lot worse than we really were? Where injuries were a main cause of our downward spiral?

Also, the fact that 6-6 will secure RR's job completely is just not possible. Sure, he may still have his job, but it's anything but a certainty with 6-6. Most people agree (and not just fans and blog commenters such as are we) that this is the year he must prove himself, or he's gone.

If we improve as a team as much as Dr. Saturday predicts, yet only win the minimum for a bowl game, I will be 100% convinced that there actually is an Angry Michigan Hating God, and not just as a meme. I will believe that someone has dealt with the Devil to make sure we never have a good season, even with a seemingly good team. And I will seriously question how I spend my time come next pre-season. [I will always be a fan, I will always watch UM football, but if we can't win with all our problems gone, then I will wait longer to get pumped up for the season, instead of obsessing over the team since hockey season like I have been this year]


August 14th, 2010 at 11:53 PM ^

Michigan's offense will probably be better. But (worst defense in school history - first-round draft pick who was the only competent player on said defense) is not an expression that usually equals happiness, unless it applies to your rival.


August 15th, 2010 at 12:06 AM ^

He doesn't say that we will solve all of our problems or that 6 wins completely gives RR job security.  He DOES say that the turnover margin will improve to a push, that the offense will improve slightly.  Presumably 6 wins means that he thinks the defense will regress slightly.  He also predicts that RR will barely hold onto his job.  He doesn't say that with 6 wins RR is definitely safe -- rather, his prediction is that RR's job will be safe, presumably because of Michigan's performance at the end of the season (I assume this on the basis that he predicts a close Ohio St game).


August 14th, 2010 at 7:06 PM ^

My biggest concern this year is forcing turnovers. We haven't had a whole lot of interceptions the past couple years, and a lot of the ones we've had came from Warren. If we can be even in that stat, we will be 8-4. We really have to hold on to the damn ball, and DRob and Tate will have to make better decisions for that to happen.


August 14th, 2010 at 7:18 PM ^

Breaking even on turnovers and even a mediocre defense should translate to eight wins with this offense.  This schedule is "tough" for a middle-tier team, but not all that bad for an upper-level one.  I think this is the year Michigan becomes "Michigan" again.

Durham Blue

August 14th, 2010 at 7:26 PM ^

with a 6-6 prediction is this team, with the really bad turnover margin last season, was within a whisper of 6-6 last season.  I think 6-6 as a low end expectation is OK.  But I believe 7-5 is pretty realistic with 8-4 a moderate stretch goal.


August 14th, 2010 at 7:55 PM ^

With a 6-6 record I'd have to imagine a lot will hinge on how they do in the bowl game.  Win that and RR might squeak through -- the final win will make the winter a lot more pleasant even if it's over some MAC school in the Rotel You've Got Queso Bowl.  Lose and we'll have in effect three straight seasons with losing records.  Hard to see Brandon accepting that.

As far as "dooming us to mediocrity" goes, that's nonsense.  Yeah the conversion from one system to another can be tough, but minimizing the damage isn't all that hard -- hire a football coach rather than a scheme coach.  If Rodriguez has recruited good players, a competent coach should be able to make a decent team out of them.  If he hasn't, RR won't win with them either and there's no point in keeping him around.

I'm not hating on RR -- I want to see this team win and I'm pulling for Rodriguez to make it work.  I'm not demanding miracles this year, in fact I'd go so far as to say that with just six wins and a bowl loss RR should at least get to plead his case to Brandon.  But I'm not wowed with the spread option and I don't see any need to keep either it or RR around if they just aren't working.


August 14th, 2010 at 8:12 PM ^

I think 6-6 puts his job in jeopardy but I think losing him would all but guarantee mediocrity (at best) for the next couple years. For one, any momentum and stability in recruiting for '11/'12 classes would be lost. There could be transfers with a new coach coming in, further depleting talent. Players would yet again have to learn new schemes. Finding a good replacement certainly wouldn't be easy. Lastly, counter to what you believe, I think the fact that RR has built an offense to fit the spread would make it difficult to easily transition back to a pro-style offense.


August 14th, 2010 at 8:15 PM ^

It seems based on everything I've read that all coaches run their offenses and defenses on a specific scheme.  This is not to imply that these schemes are static entities - they are dynamic if the coach is good, of course, but must be based on particular core principles.  I suppose the "spread" stands out because of its vogue and distinctiveness relative to traditional offenses, but nevertheless I'd be interested to know who constitutes a "football coach" on your definition (i.e., not a "scheme coach").


August 14th, 2010 at 9:00 PM ^

after the bowl game...(in my opinion) even if it is a minor bowl that plays in mid to late December. The decision to keep him or let him go, it seems to me, would take place immediately after the Ohio State game. I think 6 and 6 may be good enough to save his job, but I think one of those wins needs to be against Notre Dame, Michigan State or Ohio State.


August 15th, 2010 at 11:45 AM ^

Dude, have you been hibernating for the last 2 years?

If (and i pray it doesn't happen) we go through another coaching change, i would be hoping for mediocrity.

A coaching change is the LAST thing we need.


August 14th, 2010 at 8:02 PM ^

If the turnover battle really goes to even (which I kind of doubt - it will be better than -12, but this defense is not full of ball hawks), then 6 wins would basically mean this team regressed in every other facet of the game.  Less turnovers offensively should mean the team scores more (or at least holds onto the ball longer and provides better field position for the defense), and more turnovers on defense ends drives and puts the ball back in the hands of a good offense.  And against teams like MSU, Purdue, and UConn, TOP in the favor of UM turns those toss-ups into solid wins.


August 14th, 2010 at 8:33 PM ^

...if only so that actual evidence, as opposed to conjecture, is used to skewer RichRod...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...this team wins 8 games or I will give back my MGoPoints...or donate them to a charity of Brian's choosing.

Section 1

August 14th, 2010 at 8:47 PM ^

Doc Saturday's brief blurbs didn't leave room for things like special teams.

I think Will Hagerup will be a great one; but he's a freshman.  You simply cannot find any reasonable, experienced observer who does not think that simply being a freshman is a big deal.

And Gibbons is a redshirt freshman.  And I really wonder about him on long attempts and on clutch attempts.  This offense is going to move the ball all over the field.  Sometimes there will be a TD at the end.  Without the Big Ten's best running attack, there won't always be a TD at the end.  Gibbons (if it is Gibbons) needs to kick like he's one of the better kickers in the Conference.  I'm not sure that's going to happen.

We are one or two injuries away from a near-total kicking disaster.  If, {GOD FORBID IT!} we lost Hagerup to a hamstring, Tate becomes out backup punter.  In that event, you almost have to pull Tate out of front-line duty with the offense, so that he can be the Number One punter, and the Number Two QB.  Gibbons is backed up by walk-ons.


August 14th, 2010 at 8:53 PM ^

I think people focus on turnovers too much. Brian and other football commentators have said this before. They are so infrequent (2-4 per game) and fluky, you can't really tell a team to "focus on winning the turnover battle." Sure, there are differences between players and teams in turnover rate, but it's not always relevant. Bad teams have a low turnover margin, good teams have a high one, but it's hard to tell which is a cause and which is an effect. That said, I think experience (and better luck) will help us reduce our turnovers, which should mean more wins. Hopefully.


August 14th, 2010 at 9:44 PM ^

There is a nice article in this year's HTTV debunking the notion that turnovers are random flukes.  Young offenses commit more of them than veteran offenses do.  While we're still pretty young, we're considerably more experienced everywhere (save for tailback) than we were last year, so we should logically cut down on our turnovers. 

But anyway, 2-4 turnovers per game is not infrequent.  Think about how many possessions each team gets per game; it's often in single digits.  (In the first half of the MSU game last year, for instance, we had three offensive possessions.) Let's say a team has nine possessions in a game.  If they turn it over 2-3 times, that's huge, both in terms of missed opportunities and (unless it's on a deep INT) field position. 


August 14th, 2010 at 9:42 PM ^

I respectfully disagree. You most certainly can teach a team to focus on the turnover battle, but you just do it in terms that are not as vague as "focus on winning the turnover battle." You teach Tate not to run around the pocket with the ball out away from his body, the O-line how to give your QB another split second of protection, your QBs their progressions and how to read the opposing defense before and after the snap of the ball. You can teach your defense to scratch and tug and poke at the football every time it's within arm's reach.

Turnovers are definitely coachable, IMO. I'm admittedly speculating, but I'd wager that turnovers weren't of the highest priority for the last couple of years because the staff was too busy trying to teach new systems to our defenses and QBs.


August 14th, 2010 at 9:34 PM ^

Hinton simply knows that this team has a chip on its shoulder, so he figures if he rattles their cage like many other football prognosticators, they're gonna come out and feast on the flesh of all opposing teams.

So I interpret this "prediction" as a mere wink at the Michigan football team. Surely Hinton placed numerous bets on at least 9 Michigan wins, and this is his way of providing extra motivation.