Stupid season prediction thread two weeks in

Submitted by Tha Stunna on September 14th, 2009 at 2:01 AM

So I'm stupid, and this is too early, etc. Anyways, I figured I'd do a season prediction thread based off of Brian's original analysis and my own opinions. I changed a few of the probabilities based on team performance so far. Numbers are vague approximations meant to show edges in favor of one team or the other.

9/19 Eastern Michigan
Chance: Must Win
Theoretically a trap game, but EMU is unlikely to play spoiler, although they did come close against Northwestern. They will bring their A game to the table against us (Ron English, Ypsilanti, we lost to a MAC team last year) and it will probably get uncomfortably close for a bit due to other QBs getting reps and whatnot, but we should win just fine.

9/26 Indiana
Chance: Must Win
Nothing convinces me that Indiana will try to put up a fight, unlike EMU.

10/03 @ Michigan State
Chance: Tossup (50-50)
A big game of course. I think we are a better team that is playing on the road against an opponent that may be looking at this game to salvage their season. So, 50-50. The first road game tends to be especially hard on freshman QBs, and I'm sure Dantonio will be looking for blood, no pun intended.

If MSU goes to South Bend and beats ND as per usual, then this game looks a lot worse... but I doubt that'll happen. ND's loss was a respectable loss, not a season-ruining loss, and I'd assume that they'll respond by trying harder the next week.

10/10 @ Iowa
Chance: Tossup (55-45)
Iowa looked terrible in their opening game and really doesn't have a running game, but this is a nice trap away game right after MSU, so chances only improved to 55-45 from probable loss. Iowa actually beat Iowa State soundly, so that's something.

10/17 Delaware State
Chance: Must win
I read the Varsity Blue preview, and it seems that we picked a fairly bad 1-AA team this time. You see what I'm getting at...

10/24 No. 5 Penn State
Chance: Probable loss (25-75)
Yeah, don't see this one happening. We have a small chance though, and there's still a little Lloyd left in that old silk hat, right?

10/31 @ Illinois
Chance: Tossup (55-45)
I know Illinois looks like garbage right now, but they should have everyone back at full health by the game, and Benn can cause a world of hurt given a chance. Offense-heavy, defense-light teams are often good spoilers; see: Smith, John L., MSU coach. Considering that Armando Allen just had a crazily good game, the Illini could easily do the same with their superior running back.

11/07 Purdue
Chance: Probable win (80-20)
Purdue hasn't looked terrible so far; as it is, Michigan should win with some chance for an upset.

11/14 @ Wisconsin
Chance: Tossup (55-45)
We've done quite terribly at Camp Randall, and Wisconsin has played quite terribly so far. This is also the week before The Game, so let's give Michigan only a slight advantage.

11/21 No. 11 Ohio State
Chance: Probable loss (40-60)
If you think Michigan is 50-50 in this game, you need to remember games that didn't happen last Saturday. Pryor's performance against USC was an outlier and I'm sure he'll be allowed to run against Michigan.

Nevertheless, RichRod will probably be bringing a lot to the table, and he's done quite well given preparation time for big games. The offense should be fully developed by now, but the defenses on both teams still bother me. In a close game, the edge goes to the team without dubious safeties and a questionable defense, but we still have a good fighting chance. All I can do is hope...

8.6 wins is what it sums to; rounding up seems reasonable to me, so I'll go with 9-3. We probably lose to PSU, OSU, and one tossup, but it's also reasonably possible we play giant killer and lose to one of PSU/OSU and two tossups.

If we lose to PSU and say MSU and Wisconsin, I'd be ecstatic; if we lose to PSU/OSU and maybe Illinois, I'd be happy in retrospect but still disappointed in an annoying way due to the damned losing streak. Our performance so far changes our apparent chances against OSU, but it will never change the importance of The Game.



September 14th, 2009 at 2:34 AM ^

Overall I think that's about right. It's still really early to make solid judgments on how good our opponents are, but in the next two weeks, while we play our cupcakes, I think we'll get a better read on them and our chances.

Also, strictly by the results, I'd say that so far Purdue has been much more impressive than a lot of teams any of the teams you have as tossups. Purdue decisively beat a Toledo team that spanked Colorado and outgained and generally outplayed Oregon, only losing because they gave up two defensive touchdowns. In comparison, Iowa should have and almost did lose to Northern Iowa and beat Iowa State by a deceptively large margin thanks to a +4 TO margin; Wisconsin needed 20T at home to hold off a Fresno State team that hasn't made noise since David Carr was there; Michigan State just lost (deservingly) to Central Michigan in their first FBS game; Illinois got blown out by a Missouri team that needed a big rally to beat Bowling Green.

Actually now that I went through all that your predictions seem downright pessimistic! But again, we'll know much better in the next two weeks whether these games were blips for what are in reality solid Big Ten teams or if they are truly indicative of suck.


September 14th, 2009 at 2:37 AM ^

I'd put State more at 60/40, maybe even higher. They're not as bad as the CMU loss made them look, but as we learned in The Horror, a spread offense is an incredible equalizer when it's used against a team caught unprepared for it. Now consider that MSU has three weeks to prepare for a team coached by the man who invented said offense, who's had a year to establish his system and who has somehow stumbled upon a freshman quarterback that plays with a poise and fearlessness that most seniors never acquire.

I imagine my bias is obvious here, but I don't see Sparty being prepared for the Wolverines anymore than they were prepared for the Chippewas.


September 14th, 2009 at 3:18 AM ^

My prediction at the beginning of the season was 7-5 with 5 games being "must wins" (WMU, EMU, Indy, Del State, and Purdue) and Michigan winning 2 of their 5 "toss-ups" (MSU, Iowa, Wisky, Illinois, and ND).

With the 2-0 start and the way this team has looked, I am obviously feeling more optimistic. But I am still tentative to move my prediction anywhere above 8-4 for the time being.

There are still 4 "must-win" games left IMO in EMU, Indy, Del State, and Purdue. Although I agree with the argument that Purdue has looked good and will be no cupcake. If you wanted to slide that game into the "toss-up" category I would not argue with you, which is a small part of the reason I am keeping my prediction conservative.

For the sake of argument, I will keep Purdue as a "must-win" (it is at home after all), meaning that Michigan should have 6 wins right there. Out of @MSU, @Iowa, PSU, @Illinois, @Wisky, and OSU, I could see anywhere from 1 to 4 wins as the basement and ceiling respectively, making anything between 7-5 and 10-2 seem plausible.

Throw in the possibility that we lose 1 game we should win due to inexperience or a tough road atmosphere, and I come to 8-4 as the best prediction. I am not trying to pessimistic or overly conservative, but I guess I would rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed when the season comes to an end.

If Michigan can go 8-4 this season and come up with a bowl win, I would be overjoyed to say the least. The sky will be the limit for foreseeable future!

Tha Stunna

September 14th, 2009 at 1:15 PM ^

I don't disagree with your logic; it makes a lot of sense. It's just optimism versus pessimism (realism?). Perhaps I should have lowered the chances against Purdue and raised the chances against a few of the "tossups", but last season's record was terrible without the whole Michigan talent factor to boost them right back up. I'm also much more concerned about away games right now, which is a bit irrational perhaps.

I dunno, I think Mallet had something like a 55% completion rate at home and like a 33% completion rate for away games... and he's the closest analogy I can think of outside of last year, which I don't want to think about right now.

The Other Brian

September 14th, 2009 at 5:52 AM ^

"Pryor's performance against USC was an outlier"

In terms of what? The only thing I saw different against USC than in every other game he's played in was his completion percentage was down. Other than that, he looked uncomfortable in the pocket as usual, he stared down a receiver and threw an interception, his mechanics completely broke down when he was pressured, his pocket presence was sketchy, and on top of all that, he was restrained by dismal playcalling.

There are many, many Ohio State fans who will agree with this: At the moment, Michigan has the better quarterback. That's not to say Pryor won't be improved by the time the two teams play, but as of now, he is wholly unimpressive. He is at best, a mediocre passer, and he isn't being allowed to run much. Forcier completed more passes and threw for more yards in his second career game than Pryor has in any game to date.


September 14th, 2009 at 6:36 AM ^

Pryor is misused and miscast in Tressel's pro-set offense. Meanwhile, Forcier fits his offense perfectly. Forcier reminds me a lot of Doug Flutie. It was so much fun seeing UM be the team with the shifty QB who barely eluded LB after LB to complete passes at the last possible second.

I agree wholeheartedly with "Dred Scott's" assessment. What's even better is that there isn't a think Pryor can do about it because he chose a program with a coach who is quickly becoming a dinosaur.

Also, Forcier will improve with experience this year; Pryor won't improve as much. OSU struggles with speed; UM now has speed. UM will beat OSU this year, and it will signal the beginning of the end for Tressel's "dominance."

Blue in Yarmouth

September 14th, 2009 at 9:21 AM ^

As far as the Pryor/Forcier comparison I agree 100%. Saying we beat OSU this year is still a big question mark in my mind. I was totally unimpressed with OSU's offense on Saturday but their D looks solid. I don't know if that was due to USC starting a frosh QB who isn't Forcier or if their D is really that good but they were impressive. Holding SC down the way they did is saying something to me.

Having said that, I hope you are right and we win "The Game" and finish 8-4 or 9-3....somehwere around there. That would be a huge success IME.


September 14th, 2009 at 7:06 AM ^

Forcier stays healthy as does our secondary.... if we get a rash of injuries then I think we'll be heading towards 7-5. Cissoko is already playing with one arm, hopefully he can rest up a bit this week.

I'm not sure what to make of Iowa yet...

Purdue's given up 31 to Toledo and 38 to Oregon, and considering we put up 42 on them last season it sounds like their D still blows, I'm pretty sure that's going to be a win.


September 14th, 2009 at 9:12 AM ^

I think it's fair to reset median expectations from 7-5 to 8-4 after seeing the team's performance at this point. A 4-0 non-conference record looks to be an almost certainty at this point and going 4-4 in the Big 10 is looking very doable.


September 14th, 2009 at 10:20 AM ^

I started the season as one of the bigger pessimist on this board, but I'm definitely moving toward the 8-4 band wagon. I think I'm still at the 7-5 level as of this moment.

  • 9/19 Eastern Michigan
    Chance: 95%
  • 9/26 Indiana
    Chance: 85%
  • 10/03 @ Michigan State
    Chance: 60%
  • 10/10 @ Iowa
    Chance: 50%
  • 10/17 Delaware State
    Chance: 95%
  • 10/24 Penn State
    Chance: 25%
  • 10/31 @ Illinois (pending injury statuses)
    Chance: 60%
  • 11/07 Purdue
    Chance: 55%
  • 11/14 @ Wisconsin
    Chance: 55%
  • 11/21 Ohio State
    Chance: 30%

Using poor statistical modeling, this works out to 605%, or 6 more wins (8-4). Looking at the schedule, I think that's not an unrealistic goal anymore. I've still got this feeling that Tate will have a freshman game sooner or later, probably costing us one we probably should win. Best case scenario, it happens against DSU, when our running game can still over power a FCS opponent (hopefully, as I haven't paid attention to DSU this year).

I still don't feel great about Iowa as the 50-50 shows. Really, any team with a good passer/no-running game has me slightly concerned (hence the PSU being a less chance than OSU). Our secondary is still paper thin, and the bend but don't break secondary is a concern against the good passing teams.


September 14th, 2009 at 11:54 AM ^

This couldn't happen last year for obvious reasons, but I remember a quote by Bo who said once that although his team didn't realize it, they installed and practiced something just for OSU each week. Could RR be doing something of the sort?

I truly hope we can pull of the Illinois game. I will be in Champaign-Urbana cheering on our Wolverines. HAIL!