September 23rd, 2018 at 2:50 PM ^

The S&P rankings are quite interesting. They've got App. State at #20. Perhaps PSU's struggles against them were understandable for a first game of the season, and the Nittany Loins are still damn good. Also, MSU above LSU? Really? I'm not sure I buy that.


September 23rd, 2018 at 3:04 PM ^

I think looking at S&P+ as a ratings system rather than a ranking system is useful here. Basically S&P+ looked at the play by play of the LSU/Auburn game and says that LSU got ouplayed and was lucky to win. So as a forward looking projection system, it correspondingly downgrades LSU as basically a 3-1 team that got lucky. 

Ranking systems are more based on resume. In that case LSU should be higher because, optics aside, they did win the game. Most polls are (or should be) ranking systems. So us being 6th is great looking forward in S&P+. and I have no problem with being significantly lower in polls because we haven't earned higher based on our resume. 


September 23rd, 2018 at 8:03 PM ^

PSU has been a spectacular 2nd half team thus far. Yeah, they trailed at the half, but ended up winning by like 40 points or something.

Their Achilles heel seems to be their slow starts. These 2nd half explosions showcase what they're really capable of. However, I could see it becoming a problem very quickly once they start having to play catch-up against good defensive units. I like our chances against them at home if we can jump on them early.


September 23rd, 2018 at 3:52 PM ^

Some personal observations on the S&P+ rankings (which are becoming meaningful as we hit the 4-game mark):

1.  Wisconsin's defense is 44th.  44th!!!  They were 3rd last year.  Wisconsin's still a decent enough team, but it's becoming more clear that a functional solid offense doesn't need to be overly fearful of the Wisconsin D anymore.

2.  Notre Dame has ZERO teams remaining on their schedule that are ranked in the S&P+ Top 25.  Not even Stanford, they are 26th.  The nightmare scenario of a 12-0 Irish team clogging a spot in the CFP is increasingly realistic. 

3.  MSU isn't a pushover - but their ceiling may be becoming established.  They don't have either their offense or defense as a S&P+ top 19 unit.  The top-ranked team in the last 5 years (2017-2013) w/o either the offense or defense in the S&P+ top 19 has been at #13, #21, #19, #18 and #23.

4.  In each of the last 5 years, the team with the #1 S&P+ offense has only once had an defense in the Top 50.  The exception was 2014 OSU, #1 offense and #14 defense.  Alabama at a #1 offense and an arguably UNDER-achieving defense (currently #11) is scary as can be.


September 23rd, 2018 at 4:28 PM ^

Why is ND winning out a nightmare scenario?  Makes that loss look better for us and if we win out with our schedule there's no way we're held out of the playoff.  I would love it if we end up playing ND again in a 2v3 matchup with our offense clicking.  The outcome will almost certainly be very different.


September 23rd, 2018 at 4:45 PM ^

I think a 12-0 ND is a nightmare scenario for everyone (not just Michigan).

For 124 of the 130 teams in FBS football ---- if they go 12-0, they MUST play a 13th game.  Which, of course, entails a risk of a loss.  A risk that could eliminate them from the CFP.

Yet, Notre Dame (and the other independents, who are considerably less likely to get any sort of CFP consideration) doesn't have that risk.  They would just get to "squat" on their CFP spot while any other undefeated teams (and most other CFP contenders) are out there playing on Championship Saturday. 

I think that's fundamentally unfair to everyone else.


September 23rd, 2018 at 5:49 PM ^

There are only 4 CFP slots.  The playoff committee is chomping at the bit for any reason at all to put Notre Dame in.  They like the idea of being able to say that every conference and Notre Dame has been included by their system.

Notre Dame beat us head to head.  They would "replace" us in the CFP if we won out and they also won out, or they even had a loss to a team like Stanford.

They have to lose twice or have a bad loss to a poor team for us to get in.