New S&P rankings: Michigan #1 offense, #37 defense (and #18 academically in Times Higher Ed rankings)

Submitted by dnak438 on October 6th, 2011 at 9:25 AM

The title basically says it all. Here are the links for offense and defense. I think if we were told before the season started that we'd have these rankings five weeks in with five wins, we'd all be over the moon...

PS Speaking of rankings, Michigan is #19 18 in the Times Higher Ed ranking of world universities.



October 6th, 2011 at 9:29 AM ^

anybody could predict the B1G, especially Minnesota, would be this awful. However, it is nice to see the coaches rapidly maximizing the output for this team. Even if it means swallowing a little of what they pounded into the media preseason. *EDIT* Gigitty


October 6th, 2011 at 11:12 AM ^

I agree that the B1G looked like a mess coming into the season, but it's even worse than expected.  I don't think anyone predicted OSU as a team that may struggle to go to a bowl game, or Penn State as a team that would struggle to score double digits against Indiana.  Also, I expected Nebraska to take a ratings hit considering how they looked down the stretch last year and how many players they lost, but getitng completely blown out by Wisco?  That was a bit surprising.


October 6th, 2011 at 12:28 PM ^

Preseason, that's sure how I had it. At this point, I just have no clue. It's clear both teams (OSU/MSU) don't score well, and are struggling with their offensive lines and OSU with their QB.

Michigan is even harder to read. I think it's quite possible we will struggle against the MSU/OSU defenses, which seem pretty tough. However, Borges has done a decent job of adapting, so perhaps we can score 20+ points in those games. I'm completely confident Michigan is a better defensive team, but how much better? Pre-season, I thought they could get up to 60th or so ranking in D1. Based on the secondary play, Jake Ryan's play, Brandin Hawthornes play, and BWC, I think we're better than that. Again, when facing better athletes and so on, how much better? I don't know. But OSU/MSU may have made that irrelevant with their offensive struggles.

At 5-0 last year, I was petrified. We'd been so bad defensively against UMass and Indiana that I had no confidence whatever that we could stop any sort of actual offense.

At 5-0 this year, I have much more confusion, which is good. Might good/mediocre offenses kill us? Yeah, I still think that's possible, especially if we can't generate the TO's that we've been generating. If UM holds NW under 20, I will officially be ready to think that in the MSU/OSU/Iowa/Illinois/Nebraska games, we have a great chance at 3-2 or...even better. And 3-2 in those games, + beating NW and Purdue == 10-2 overall. Any Michigan fan has got to be absolutely thrilled with 10-2, and I don't even care if the 2 losses are MSU and OSU. Ok, I care a little.



October 6th, 2011 at 1:20 PM ^

I agree for the most part but Notre Dame might have been the best offense we play this year. Who is better?  Nebraska?  Didn't look like it against Wisconsin.  Michigan State's offense looked below average against OSU.  Most years we would have to worry about the Buckeye offense even if it were just above average, but I think we've all seen how awfull they look thhis year.  

So again, I'm not sure why you would think a good/average offense might kill us when we've already played the best offense on our schedule, and IMO the Irish offense didn't kill us.


October 6th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

I agree that the B1G is incredibly bleh this year, but I do think UM is a better team that would have been just as successful as years past, especially defensively.  The competition has largely remained the same, yet UM has been able to hold its own against decent offenses all year (save for ND, and that game was bananas), which is a marked improvement over the past couple of years when UMass and IU shredded the team in the early part of the season.  I honestly do think that ND might be the best offense the team will see until a bowl game/B1G championship game, as MSU, Illinois, and Nebraska look very 1-dimensional and not that great at those dimensions.  OSU is a mess, and even if Persa plays he won't be 100%.  Iowa can throw the ball a bit but have absolutely no way to run the ball consistently, which plays into the defense's strength.  I do expect this team to struggle a bit and lose 2-3 games, but 10-2 definitely looks like a realistic outcome.


October 6th, 2011 at 10:22 AM ^

but in the academic fields that I work in, Toronto is heads and shoulders above the rest. It depends what your criteria are for ranking schools, of course. Other schools may provide a better undergraduate experience but Toronto is the research leader, overall, just as Michigan is in Michigan and the surrounding states, and I think the rankings bear that out. I'd feel comfortable sending my undergraduate students to Toronto or Michigan for graduate school, but not to any Canadian university (again, in my field). My impression is that Toronto, the university and the city, is resented by a lot of Canadians who aren't from the Toronto area.


October 6th, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

The University of Western Ontario has been the highest ranked Canadian univeristy for "best student experience" (per Maclean's magazine) for many years running now. Not exactly sure what that means but they've always had an excellent academic reputation with big research money, a gorgeous campus and hot women. That's gotta count for something.


October 6th, 2011 at 9:53 AM ^

FO has us ranked 9th in offense on passing downs. Interesting... I thought we could not pass...

Haters? Hate

EDIT: Actually even more crazier is that Stanford with Andrew Luck is ranked 110th in passing down situations. This really makes no sense at all. 


October 6th, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

What is the criteria for the ranking? If it is yards, that could indicate that we put ourselves behind the chains and manage to get the yards we need plus more whereas Stanford stays ahead of the chains, so they have fewer data points to work with.


October 6th, 2011 at 10:02 AM ^

I think our defense is looking good, considering that we have played the #16 offense (ND) and the #21 offense (Western Michigan) and we won those games. Strange rankings, I don't understand how they got there...<shrugs> we still need to beat Northwestern this weekend.


October 6th, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

Here is his stat line so far this year (per Rivals):


Statistics Pass Att Comp Pct Yds TD Int Rating   Rush Att Yds Avg TD  
2011 54 31 57.4 938 10 1 260.7   63 189 3.0 4


and Georgia Tech has the most efficient (not prolific, of course), passing attack in the country. They average 17.7 yards PER ATTEMPT!

Dr Saturday was gushing about the passing attack after the UNC game in September.



October 6th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

I think the offensive rank is mistelling because it doesn't take into account plays where the game isn't deemed "close". So, 3rd quarter vs Notre Dame isn't in here but the 4th quarter is. And since most of our other games, we built a big lead, a lot of the plays don't get taken into consideration. But, I think the biggest factor is that Notre Dame game. Since the jumpballs happened in such a short time and an entire quarter of terrible play was eliminated from the stats, it bumps our rank up quite a bit.

Eye of the Tiger

October 6th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

But it does sometimes go too far.  I think FEI ends up overvaluing comebacks when the outcome is still out of reach in comparison to running up the score.  That's why our offense was higher ranked than Oregon's last year, in terms of FEI.  

That said, the metric does other things well and should be taken into account alongside other metrics like Sagarin ratings, traditional metrics, etc.  

Eye of the Tiger

October 6th, 2011 at 1:07 PM ^

Well I've spent quality time at two institutions ranked higher than UM on that list, and can say with certainty that they do not match UM in even the most cursory way.  One is British, and you can excuse the Times for inflating the worth of some of Britain's declining universities, but the other is another well-regarded American public university that fails to match UM in 9 departments out of 10.