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Date Title Body
11/05/2018 - 8:26am That's bullcrap and you know…

That's bullcrap and you know it.  You're a hardhat for goodness sake.  Only humans need sleep.

10/31/2018 - 8:51am I mean maybe it's not a…

I mean maybe it's not a secret to you, but I'm not sure if James Franklin knows.  So just keep that under the hat for another week.

10/28/2018 - 9:31am I don’t think the advanced…

I don’t think the advanced stats say they’re solidly a top 10 team.  S&P has them as 10 and FEI has them at 19, before this last game.  I would say they’re solidly top 20

10/23/2018 - 2:34pm Man, I really hope Villain…

Man, I really hope Villain gets healthy; the key to a dominate DL is depth so they can rotate and not fade throughout the game.

10/22/2018 - 2:13pm I think even in the last 4…

I think even in the last 4 years, only 2015 did the better team according to S&P not win.  And that on a once in 50 years type of play.  Other than that, the better team each year has won. 

10/22/2018 - 1:13pm I mean, exactly.  I've given…

I mean, exactly.  I've given up the ghost of MSU under Dantonio ever not manufacturing DISREPEKT.  No matter what.  Even when Hoke comes groveling back for UM's poor decorum over 3 inches of metal a foot onto the field, Dantonio still burned with fire to beat UM.  It's just a part of his and MSU's DNA under him.  It will always be.  There is literally nothing UM can say or ever do that would change that.  So just call him on his BS.  Lean into it, get back in his grill.  Like you say, what are they going to do, now really try and beat UM?

10/22/2018 - 11:51am Yeah, really hate to see…

Yeah, really hate to see those kind of injuries, especially before push for the NFL.  Rolled ankle is one thing, torn ligaments are another.  He'll be a year before he's full go again.  He'll get a shot, but he's going to miss out on some serious money from getting drafted because of it.  Really sucks.  Kind of why I try not to get too mad when a player leaves early to the NFL; gotta maximize that earning potential as early as you can because the time to make that money doesn't last long for most and injuries are not uncommon.

10/19/2018 - 4:18pm Maybe I should just sleep…

Maybe I should just sleep through Saturday so I don't have get and ulcer during the game.  Just look up the score Sunday AM. 

10/19/2018 - 12:34pm ...this is not a test you…

...this is not a test you want to rely on if you want UM to win the game.

10/18/2018 - 9:09pm It’s been a while since I…

It’s been a while since I was in AA, but there was a great little place called Scorekeepers which I think is exactly the type of place you are looking for.  

Just remember your fake IDs

10/17/2018 - 11:50am Pretty much in the same boat…

Pretty much in the same boat there.  Just conditioned to expect disappointment.  That's all I've ever known as a Lions fan as a kid, then becoming a UM fan when I started in 2004.

10/16/2018 - 2:25pm Oh, I was so innocent back…

Oh, I was so innocent back then.  I remember when UM beat the UW team and I thought 'finally we've turned the corner.'  It would only be a year to two more until UM was in national championship convo with the great recruiting UM was doing.

Oh how young and stupid I was.  When I though the wings on the helmet meant that my team was better than yours and would always be ranked and winning championships. 

The years since then have not been kind to my fandom.  But also taught me that sports will only every disappoint, so I suppose that's a good lesson to learn.  But like all bad abusive relationships, I still can't quite walk away from this one.  Instead I just steel myself for next wave of hardship and continue on without silly optimistic feelings.  But what choice do I have?  I have not better alternatives at this point.

10/16/2018 - 1:22pm I've got a theory about the…

I've got a theory about the redzone offense: sample size and turnovers.  Maybe the offense just isn't very good for whatever reason inside the 30, so they don't move the ball much and thus don't have many opportunities inside the 10.  The inside the 10 metric is more a function of just a smaller sample size and Ben Mason in very short yardage.  The second thing is turnovers.  They don't get many touchdowns, but they're also very good at not turning the ball over in the redzone, so overall success when you get close looks better than a function of their ability to actual move the ball on a down to down basis which S&P measures. 

That's just a guess though.  Don't know enough about the algorithm to actually pick it apart.

10/16/2018 - 1:01pm I would say we lost because…

I would say we lost because of 5 turnovers.  Sure 3 were INTs, but still lost two fumbles.  And guess what happens in bad weather?  More chance for TOs.  They could go in UMs favor, but since UM is the better team, I would rather have good weather and less variance and UM just win by being better.  More variance is more chance for a crappier MSU team to get those big swings in their favor.

10/16/2018 - 12:52pm Nothing.  I live in…

Nothing.  I live in Tennessee and have a full life without Michigan Football.  I'll read about it, discuss the match-up in some of my free time because I enjoy it.  I will try my best to watch and hope for the best because I like Michigan and I like football.  But the porch I also want ain't gonna to build itself either.

10/16/2018 - 11:43am As soon as he didn’t even…

As soon as he didn’t even dress for the UW game as he was expected to, I was worried about this.  But unlike Bosa, Gary isn’t a lock for a top 5.  Honestly he could maybe even use another year to be an all conference guy.

10/16/2018 - 11:30am What based on history has…

What based on history has convinced you that UM saved stuff for MSU?  I've yet to really see that.  Remember two years ago when UM ran up the score to 78 on Rutgers using Peppers in the wild cat and used the counters and pass counters off the base play in a totally unnecessary way?  What happened when they tried that against MSU and OSU?  It was dead.  Both Hoke and Harbaugh seem to be a 'put stuff on film' instead of a 'save for opponent' game planers.  I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think the evidence backs up that they'll be saving a bunch of stuff.

10/16/2018 - 11:19am Yeah, the UW game spooked me…

Yeah, the UW game spooked me in that regard.  After Maryland I was positive that the passing game would take a step forward going into UW and MSU.  While UW doesn't have a great D, the middle of the front 7 is very good, so I figured the plan would be to pass on that secondary...and UM couldn't.  MSU's D is significantly better overall than UW, but the pass D is about the same, so UM will have to rely on the pass even more.  Bad weather does not help this. 

I know UM's D is also really really good and MSUs offense is uncharacteristically bad, but they'll have UM's D scouted so will get something.  Then it comes to turnovers, and I hate a game that relies on TOs when UM is expected to win.

10/16/2018 - 11:19am Yeah, the UW game spooked me…

Yeah, the UW game spooked me in that regard.  After Maryland I was positive that the passing game would take a step forward going into UW and MSU.  While UW doesn't have a great D, the middle of the front 7 is very good, so I figured the plan would be to pass on that secondary...and UM couldn't.  MSU's D is significantly better overall than UW, but the pass D is about the same, so UM will have to rely on the pass even more.  Bad weather does not help this. 

I know UM's D is also really really good and MSUs offense is uncharacteristically bad, but they'll have UM's D scouted so will get something.  Then it comes to turnovers, and I hate a game that relies on TOs when UM is expected to win.

10/16/2018 - 11:13am That game plan was…

That game plan was ridiculous because UM had a great rushing offense (I think two 1000 yard rushers that year and #4 in Rushing S&P+).  MSU had the #5 rushing S&P plus defense that year.  So passing, especially when you're QB is Denard, was crazy. 

This year, however, the rush offense is not as good (no offensive S&P breakdown like that yet, so don't have a national ranking, but it's probably in the 30's or something based on the four factors that go into it).  And the passing offense by an efficiency standard, is much better.  Pair that with MSUs run defense being the best in the nation, and their pass defense being significantly worse, the game plan should be to heavily favor the pass.  So the bad weather is significantly worse for us. 

For MSU it won't matter because they can't do much on offense in any kind of weather except trick plays and throw it up to Felton Davis and hope me makes a circus catch.  So a crappy game tilts it to MSU which such weather will usually do; it leads to more variance which can make it easier for the underdog to win.

10/16/2018 - 11:00am God, the more I look at this…

God, the more I look at this game, the more I'm pretty certain UM loses.

I've just seen this this game many times before.  Great run defenses, ugly weather, ugly game, will come down to 1 or 2 big plays and TOs.  And this is the game MSU wins.  They're at home, they'll have their saved UM stuff.  They'll grab OL and WR as they've done all year so nothing is clean then just bide their time until UM shoots themselves in the foot or one of their gadget plays/TO luck gets them the lead and they hold it.  Tale as old as time.

10/16/2018 - 10:57am I've been debating this in…

I've been debating this in my head, but I think it favors MSU.  This is the type of game they win.  An ugly slog against a good team.  These have been Dantonio's signature wins.  They depend on the pass more than UM, but I don't think either team is going to be able to throw consistently in this game.  If it comes down to a few chucks deep to turn the game...well Lewerke/Davis have show that can work for MSU far more consistently than anyone on UM.  Plus MSU will always have it's reserve of weird stuff just for UM.  Won't be much, but it will be enough to turn the tide in a low scoring, ugly affair.

10/16/2018 - 10:07am Have you seen App State play…

Have you seen App State play a P5 schedule?  I'm guessing not.  So you don't know that they would show plenty of cracks.  You just feel they would without any data to justify it.  At least S&P+ takes actual data from things that actually happened and tries to figure out something about how good the teams are.  Is it perfect?  No because we can never know exactly what will happen.  But it's a hell of a lot better than using only our preconceived assumptions about a situation to determine our opinions or course of action.  I just don't get ignoring actual evidence when you have it.

10/16/2018 - 10:03am I think you're point is the…

I think you're point is the ultimate philosophical debate in college sports post season play where sample sizes of games are so small considering how many teams there are.  Should post season rewards be based on what you did, regardless of how good you actually are?  Or should they be based on how good you actually are, regardless of what luck may have happened in any one or two moments through the season?  Should it be a balance of the two?  How much weight on each factor?

I honestly don't have a good answer and I don't think anyone else does.  That's why I appreciate multiple ways to look at that same problem.

10/16/2018 - 9:58am I felt that after reading…

I felt that after reading the accompanying article by Bill, it pretty well lays out why he came up with this metric.  Basically, with football there's such tiny sample sizes that are widely varied by opponent that there's not great way to compare teams like in other sports where you always play everyone. 

But if you're asking in a more philosophical sense why he is doing this, I would ask why are we even talking about sports in general?  It has no impact on 99.9% of the people in the world in any tangible way.  It's kind of weird that you're critical of a sports writer for writing about sports when you're on a blog talking about sports.

Now if you're asking in an economic/efficiency/systems use type of why is he doing this, I think the answer is simple.  That's his job.  It is literally his job to look at the numbers in sports and find ways to better predict outcomes, analyze data, and rank teams.  As Bill even says, you can always learn something from every game.  And I would say that because he is doing this, he is making money doing it, and SB nation is finding value in him doing it.  Just because you can't find any use in the data doesn't mean other people can't.

10/16/2018 - 9:23am Except for the fact that,…

Except for the fact that, polls, ranking articles and stats are literally used to decide the college football playoff, which ultimately determines the national championship.  Except for that one small thing, they're no good.

10/16/2018 - 9:21am I don't assume anything…

I don't assume anything about App State.  I look at the data that is in front of us for the past 7 weeks.  And it says App State destroys weak teams and took Penn State, also a good team on a down to down basis, to the last play.  You know what good teams usually always do?  They destroy weak teams and play other good teams close.  That's how I know App State is a good team.  I think you're the one assuming things about teams based on your feelings and very small sample sizes.

10/16/2018 - 9:20am I don't assume anything…

I don't assume anything about App State.  I look at the data that is in front of us for the past 7 weeks.  And it says App State destroys weak teams and took Penn State, also a good team on a down to down basis, to the last play.  You know what good teams usually always do?  They destroy weak teams and play other good teams close.  That's how I know App State is a good team.  I think you're the one assuming things about teams based on your feelings and very small sample sizes.

10/16/2018 - 8:14am Or, maybe, just maybe, he’s…

Or, maybe, just maybe, he’s already taken his hundreds of thousands of data points, done the math lots of different ways, and found this is still the best way to run the numbers.  

Or you can take the rational route and say the process is just wrong because you don’t like the answer. 

10/16/2018 - 8:11am Hooray!  Someone who…

Hooray!  Someone who understands S&P and math with a reasoned take!

10/16/2018 - 7:58am I’m not sure of how this…

I’m not sure of how this metric is calculated, but it turns out App State is actually very good.  So I’m guessing they get a bump from that.

10/15/2018 - 2:15pm Haha, that sounds almost…

Haha, that sounds almost exactly like what MSU said about Denard.

10/14/2018 - 2:17pm Not according to the usual…

Not according to the usual stats.  Connelly just actiallu wrote about this.  MSU finished with 4.1 more TOs than expected which usually leads to a 20 point swing.  So they got out played and got a ton of TO luck and pulled out a bunch of trick plays.  Remember, MSU fumbles 4 time...and recovered them all.  PSU fumbled once and MSU recovered it.  Fumble recovery is 50-50 by all stats over enough time.  Plus PSU dropped a couple TOs themselves.  Those huge TO swings are what leads you to win despite getting outgained by a yard and a half on a per play basis.  UM outgained UW by 0.66 per play.  That’s how much MSU got dominated and lucked into the win.

Problem is that this will happen to UM against MSU next week too since that’s what MSU does 

10/14/2018 - 12:55pm I’m all for scrambling when…

I’m all for scrambling when you can do something with it.  I’m just concerned that UW us a worse defense than Maryland AND it was super beat up and still couldn’t find WR open even though not getting a ton of pressure.  It could be WR and coaching/playcalling, but either way, the fact that they could find people open downfield consistently is troubling.  And it’s been happening all year and we’re halfway through the season.

10/14/2018 - 12:52pm Yeah, I don’t get it.  Lost…

Yeah, I don’t get it.  Lost to Maryland pretty badly.  They should be ranked probably near the end of one loss teams.  

10/14/2018 - 12:52pm S&P+ is not a descriptive…

S&P+ is not a descriptive metric.  It’s not meant to say how well a team played.  It’s an algorithm that measures factors that are most closely predictive of winning games, then plugs those in and gives you a number.  So although Oklahoma hasn’t always looked the # 3 team in the nation, the are doing something very well that usuallu translates into winning games.  You can go to football study hall and it breaks down the components to the algorithm.  FEI is another good advanced stat that measures some different thing on a per drive basis.  

10/14/2018 - 12:48pm I mean, but that’s the…

I mean, but that’s the problem.  On both of those drives Patterson cost the team points by bailing on clean pockets, first, and second not throwing the ball.  At least one he definitely had a guy open downfield if he puts it over the outside shoulder, instead he bailed and got a huge loss.  It’s tough to say how much is on WR and play calling, but at this point the bailing on pockets is a trend that hope a more often than not no matter how good the opposing defense is.

10/14/2018 - 12:30pm Man, UW’s offense went UP to…

Man, UW’s offense went UP to 5 from 8 after that game.  Looks like MSUs D improved now 21st in country.  ND defense is 4.  Will be the toughest test for the offense since the opening weekend against State.  Has me worried.  Shea’s performance through the air against a below average UW defense was troubling.  

10/14/2018 - 11:52am OR, you know, not bail on…

OR, you know, not bail on clean pockets after 3 seconds when someone is. It immediately open.  If they’re playing zones and not getting pressure, gotta adjust by standing patiently and get the WR to find a soft spot that will inevitably be there.

10/14/2018 - 11:50am Yeah, it’s an issue. …

Yeah, it’s an issue.  Patterson seems to stare at zones a lot and not do anything.  And then he bails out on clean pockets too soon and too often.  At this point I think part of it is just who Patterson is.  I don’t think this year will fix it, so it’s going to be the limiting thing of this offense going forward.  Feels weird saying that at this point, but that feels like the weakest part of the offense.  Not sure how to adjust the offense except maybe pull out more of those RPOs he ran for two years at Ole Miss.  I don’t think he’s been asked to read defenses and route trees this much before the this year.  

10/13/2018 - 11:37pm Rough end for the CB #21;…

Rough end for the CB #21; dropped easy INT on that last drive then gave up the winning TD catch.

10/10/2018 - 9:06am Yeah, Hornibrook is pretty…

Yeah, Hornibrook is pretty damn good.  My (less than educated) observations agree with PFF; he is very accurate in getting balls to where only his receives can get them.  Even going back to his freshman year he had times where he fit throws into really tight windows in critical situations.  He's gotten more consistent over the last two years.  There may be some arm strength issues, but for 98% of the throws he makes, he has enough.  He had INT issues last year and the year before, but has seeming cut back this year so far.   I've been really impressed that he has been able to keep it up while still hitting downfield throws; he doesn't just take simple checkdowns.

This will be a big test.  I haven't look in depth at the stats, but Wisc right now is the #8 offense in the nation according to S&P.  That's above Penn State and Clemson (OSU is #3).  They put up over 400 yards on the road at night against Iowa which has the #8 defense on S&P.  Iowa is interesting because while they have amazing overall defense stats, they are like 101 in the nation in TFLs.  This game will be very tough.  I'm hoping UM can get penetration with the DL and put pressure on Hornibrook.  If he gets time, he will pick the secondary apart.  Losing Duamfor really hurts this week; need that interior pass rush up the middle.

10/08/2018 - 2:13pm About those new things they…

About those new things they did...sigh.  I agree.  It feels very Borges.  Pull out the fancy stuff that gets easy yards in games that have little doubt then watch your rivals save that stuff for you.  But Harbaugh has been doing it for the last few years so I gues it’s just a thing he does.

09/27/2018 - 3:50pm Also, did Craig Ross drop…

Also, did Craig Ross drop that Denard Robinson Cook’s actual name is Fielding?

09/24/2018 - 12:27pm At the same time, it seemed…

At the same time, it seemed like Iowa is the one that got night Kinnick'd.  That turnover on the 10 yard line on the most ridiculous stupid punt touch...that's classic weird crap happens to opponents at night in Kinnick.  Except it happened to Iowa.

09/24/2018 - 12:16pm I mean, except, first, wasn…

I mean, except, first, wasn't ND jumping the snap counting in the first game this year?  They were pretty heavily doing it in the first half at least.  And second, the whole point is that Dantonio saves a bunch of crap for just UM.  Like in 2016 when MSUs opening drive with their ineffectual run game featured every counter to every tendency they had displayed up until then and executed perfectly.  I think UM will know when the speed option is coming.  I am not confident they will prepare for the play action off of it.

09/24/2018 - 11:50am I have to strongly disagree…

I have to strongly disagree about MSU’s speed option on 4 and short.  Against UM it will the play action off that speed option they’ve been running in that situation for the past few years.  That’s the kind of long con Dantonio will plan for just the UM game.  I predict if they get into that situation, MSU will show obvious speed option, then Leweke will pull back and hit a wide open WR that faked blocking and streaming down the field wide open.

09/21/2018 - 4:19pm So I actually talked to the…

So I actually talked to the uncle of Troy Walters (Neb's OC) today.  He obviously thinks Nebraska is better than their record, noted they didn't get a first easy game (was cancelled) to work out the kinks and TOs killed them against Colorado.  And that in the long run, the thinks they'll be real good.

I then asked him the big question of whether Martinez is going to play.  He said that, get this, he didn't know.   So add that important information to the pile.

09/18/2018 - 11:34am Looking through the stats on…

Looking through the stats on the Team Rankings, I think a certain picture emerges.  The UM defense is elite on a down to down basis, doesn't give up many chunk plays, and as a whole doesn't allow a lot of yardage.  But this year's defense so far is giving up more points per play (in the 20s now as opposed to #2 in the nation in 2016), and the biggest thing is third down.  The last two years UM has been #1 in defensive third down conversion percentage.  This year, number 46.  To go along with that, UM is now #57 in sack percentage, as opposed to #1 the last two years.  I think this goes along with the 'feel' of the defense; it's great, but is giving up third downs by not pressuring the QB as we expected from the past two years.  

The question is, why?  I think the number 1 reason is lack of interior push and pass rush.  Losing Hurst probably affected this metric hugely.  Also, I'm not sure about the LBs.  They aren't racking up the sacks as much as previous years as well.  Are they not as effective on blitzes?  Is UM blitzing less and asking more coverage?

Also, the penalties are killing UM.  And the dropping of INTs.  How many drives would have been stopped early so far this year if the defense made the INT instead of dropping it or the opponent got a first down because of a penalty (sometimes legit, sometimes not).

09/18/2018 - 10:18am Yes, it's saying that with a…

Yes, it's saying that with a min of 3 FBS opponents, UM is the best in the country at preventing plays of 10+ yards.  Opponents are getting 10+ yards on a play 14.4% of the time.