December 6th, 2009 at 8:56 PM ^

UM would be the "favorite" over Hawaii who will be going to the Hawaii Bowl, but that would also include every bowl destined team as well.


December 7th, 2009 at 1:33 PM ^

as a meteorological term for a form of precipitation.

Ironic sometimes means "characterized by often poignant difference or incongruity between what is expected and what actually is."

At the time of the game, the ND victory was "hailed" as the big turnaround statement game for UM. Expectations rose to unrealistic heights. In retrospect, we beat a team that ended up 6-6.

In addition, the national attention focused on the victory may have gotten to Tate's head and the team's as well. The raised expectations may actually have contributed to a big let down (as in the Illinois game). In this sense, the very success of the team early could have initiated its later undoing.


December 6th, 2009 at 9:10 PM ^

Another interesting fact buried within the sagarin archives is the comparison between UM this year and last year.

If the UM of 2009 played the UM of 2008 (I am not suggesting they do this), then it would be a 3-3.5 point favorite based on the Sagarin predictor ratings.

I am a little uneasy about this prediction, since in theory, all college teams on average could be better in one year than another.

The only thing I can say for sure is that, UM of 2009 played UM of 2008 in a bowl game,

.....UM would emerge victorious.


December 6th, 2009 at 10:39 PM ^

The points were on the board not once, but twice. First on Roundtree's long run and ... almost across; then, on Minor's clutch run on fourth and goal, ... but down before crossing. Both valid replay overturns of the actual plays. That stop and the ensuing 99 yd drive by the Illini lead to 21 third quarter pts, and a fragile M defense was not the same for the next two games. They did sac-up for OSU.


December 6th, 2009 at 10:56 PM ^

Bun: Michigan has enormous potential, with young talent and proven winners on the coaching staff.

Shit: This year, to anyone who's followed both teams, it is clear that Northwestern has the better team and resume, and that NU is trending upward from an early season tsunami of injury to an undefeated and relatively healthy November featuring victories over Iowa and Wisconsin. Sagarin, while typically useful, does not take into account this trend, and would not predict accurately the line, or action, of a hypothetical NU-UM game in December or January.

Bun: Northwestern is running a similar system to Michigan, with talent a full star lower on average, and when healthy is lighting fools up. Just imagine the possibilities in the next few years with experienced players at RR's disposal.


December 6th, 2009 at 11:02 PM ^

My first reaction is to agree that, if you were betting, you would take a healthier NU over UM (without its starting center, TB etc).

Admittedly, the Sagarin rating is a crude measure of team quality over the course of the season. However, according to Sagarin, it is the best quantitative predictor of the outcome of games. So, it's unclear how you could come up with a better predictor that would somehow assess injuries and all the intangibles. It would be interesting to see if your subjective predictions, which include all these intangibles, would outpredict the Sagarin ratings. However, many studies that have made similar comparisons have failed to show the superiority of intuitive judgments.

You may have a valid point about trends, though. I am not sure if Sagarin has ever tried to incorporate trends into
his predictions. That would be really interesting to try. I would think that you might derive some advantage in betting over the initial point spread, which in Vegas is heavily influenced by the Sagarin ratings.


December 7th, 2009 at 10:08 AM ^

I've gone to both of those bowls many times but keep getting them mixed up for some reason.

Regarding Sagarin's model, I agree that it's "stuck in October". At the same time, one might argue that it's OK for the purpose of choosing bowl teams. That is, the point of choosing a team for a bowl game is usually to reward it for the entire season of play not to choose the team most likely to win in January. Look at Iowa's selection over PSU for the BCS, despite Iowa's loss of its QB. Earlier in the season, Iowa beat PSU. Also, they're ranked above PSU in the BCS, which partly depends on Sagarin as well as other computer rankings. Yet, you could argue that PSU would more likely win the bowl game.

Similarly, one could look at UM's injuries later in the season as a partial explanation for the decline. If you want to assess its overall performance for the year, then the Sagarin ratings make more sense (and would put UM in a tie for #6 in the B10).