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11/12/2018 - 3:04pm Is this thread, and…

Is this thread, and especially its title, an intentional troll of the thread police?

Has to be, right? 

11/12/2018 - 12:06pm OU gave up 46 to a 5-5 team…

OU gave up 46 to a 5-5 team.  They do not belong in the playoff.

11/12/2018 - 12:04pm Just beat IU, OSU, then NW. 

Just beat IU, OSU, then NW. 

11/12/2018 - 12:02pm Of course he will take the…

Of course he will take the Louisville offer. 

11/12/2018 - 11:57am No way.  Louisville is not…

No way.  Louisville is not going to wait until January.  They either have Brohm or they do not.  Will be over in the first two weeks of December. 

11/12/2018 - 9:10am Black did start the game. …

Black did start the game.  Michigan's first offensive play was a 1 receiver set.  Black was that receiver. 

He did not get the majority of snaps on offense, but did did get some.

He is very talented, so I am sure we are going to see him make important catches in the final three games (and then the playoff). 

Even though Docs have given him the 'all clear,' it has to take time to get 100% re-integrated in the offense.  But it will happen.  Too much talent there for it not to happen. 

11/12/2018 - 12:26am It is actually a pretty nice…

It is actually a pretty nice stadium.  Small but nice, as least as far as the sight lines and seats, etc.  Concessions are not great.  Announcer is terrible.  Huge lines at bathrooms (even mens) in the lower concourse, and not just at halftime.  Pro tip:  If you really gotta go, the bathrooms on the upper level don't have lines. 

Some are saying it was really cold.  Not really.  Mid 40s at kickoff, high 30s at the end.  Windy, but not crazy wind.  Below average for early November in NJ. 

The parking is mostly far and scattered.  They have plenty of free buses that take people to and from the parking.  So it is not a problem. 

The campus is just o.k.  Nothing special.  New Brunswick is...a lot nicer than South Bend (low bar) but not even close to a great town like Madison or Ann Arbor.  But you will find some decent bars and restaurants.

The stadium is sort of far from center of campus and the area of New Brunswick with restaurants and bars.  The campus is weird and disjointed and the stadium is removed from the central campus. 

Imagine it almost as though Michigan Stadium were located up on North Campus in Ann Arbor.  Would you walk from the Diag to a stadium located up by Bursley?  No. Sort of far, and even worse, not an enjoyable walk.  That is sort of the set up at Rutgers.

in 2016 the stadium was pretty full and the atmosphere was pretty good.  This year it was more flat.  About 55% full at peak. This was odd, because most of the seats were sold.  The RU official web site did not have many tickets for sale the days before, or the morning of, the game.  Also not a huge number of tickets on StubHub.  It seems that lots of RU fans decided to not attend, but also not sell on StubHub to Michigan fans.  RU is so bad this year that they have had terrible attendance all year, and a significant part of that may be no shows. 

The turnout in the student section was shockingly low. The student section is most of the south end zone.  And it never seemed to be more than 30% full, if that.  By the end there were more Rutgers band members than remaining students in the student section.  I mean in the 4th quarter it got down to about 75-100 students. 

Lots of Michigan fans. 

11/10/2018 - 11:50pm I'd like to believe that. …

I'd like to believe that.  But I can't.  Letting Peters more plays (perhaps 12 or so) with the kind of play calling they would use in a blow out is absolutely not going to put anything on film for OSU. 

11/10/2018 - 10:06am No compassion for the pilots…

No compassion for the pilots? 

11/07/2018 - 4:30pm Unpossible.

Unpossible.

11/06/2018 - 7:24am Famous quote from Winston…

Famous quote from Winston Churchill:  "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average Rutgers fan." 

 

11/05/2018 - 7:07pm Believe? Whatever.

Just…

Believe? Whatever.

Just pressure Haskins, figure out a way to limit their production on slants, rubs, and quick hitters, and don't let them get behind the D on long balls, and M will win by two scores.  Believe that.

 

11/05/2018 - 6:57pm OMG!  That's it.  There is…

OMG!  That's it.  There is your proof right there!  Refs are out to get Harbaugh.  No doubt about it.  Knew it!

11/05/2018 - 3:06pm Yeah, I know.

Half joking.

Yeah, I know.

Half joking.

But for the half not joking part...I wonder what their S&P+ raking would be based just on the last 4 games?  Probably terrible but still better than bottom 5. 

11/05/2018 - 3:03pm Interesting hypo. 

But it…

Interesting hypo. 

But it is hard to know how that would play out.  We have only seen Michigan and OSU play games that start out 0-0.

Who knows what kind of game plan JH would use if Rutgers is spotted 24 points?  Throw it deep to Tarik Black 12 times?  Five wide on 60% of the snaps?

Who knows what kind of game plan Meyer would use if MSU is spotted 24 points?  Have Haskins throw it 73 times?  Oh wait. He already does that.

OTOH, M v. NW was almost like spotting NW 17 points.

 

11/05/2018 - 2:55pm Rutgers best chance of…

Rutgers best chance of advancing the ball 40 yards would be by punting on 1st down and hoping Michigan fumbles the reception.

 

11/05/2018 - 2:52pm ESPN's match-up predictor…

ESPN's match-up predictor currently gives Michigan a 98.3% win probability, and Rutgers 1.7% win probability.

Three sort of serious questions:

1.  Give that they adjust win probabilities in real time during games, if Rutgers fails to run back the opening kick for a TD, does will Michigan's win probability immediately go to 99.9%?

2.  What goes into that 1.7% win probability for Rutgers?  Earth opens up on the visitor's sideline and swallows entire Michigan team? 

3.  What is the highest ever pre-kick win probability in the ESPN predictor model between power 5 conference opponents?  Ever higher than than 98.3%?  If so, which game?  Best guess:  if it ever happened it had to involve Kansas against a Big 12 opponent.  Pretty sure some of the very worst Kansas teams were worse than 2018 version of Rutgers. 

Bonus random thought:  Even if the game is fully decided before the half or early in the 3rd, beating the spread will depend almost entirely on how much playing time JH wants to get 2nd and 3rd string and/or whether JH thinks blowout style points will be important for getting a playoff spot.  Winning 63-3 (or thereabouts) could in some small way blunt the 'But Oklahoma's offense!...' argument within the playoff committee for the 4th playoff spot. 

11/05/2018 - 9:25am Michigan fans should ALWAYS…

Michigan fans should ALWAYS root for OSU to lose no matter the opponent or other implication, even against MSU. 

OSU having a 3 or 4 loss season (or better yet two in a row!) would be really helpful to M getting back to winning more Big Ten CC, beating OSU more than 50% of the time, returning Michigan to being the top program in the Big Ten, etc.

If OSU's "down" year is 10-2 (lost to Purdue and Michigan), second in the Big Ten East, and a Rose Bowl trip , then they will continue to be perceived (along with Clemson I guess) as the 1b to Alabama at 1a, and they will continue to recruit at a level second only to Alabama. 

Much better to have OSU lose 3 this year (Purdue, MSU, Michigan), and go to the Citrus Bowl (and hopefully lose to LSU or whoever). 

OSU having 3 or 4 losses, finishing third (!) in the East Division, and going to a secondary bowl this year breaks the notion that Meyer's program is unstoppable.  That opens up better results for M in head-to-head recruiting battles, etc., etc. 

So all of this talk of "I'd rather Michigan beat a 1 loss OSU than a 2 loss OSU" is...failing to see the the longer arc of things.

And so what if a Sparty win over OSU means that MSU finishes second in the East division?  As long a M avoids disastrous coaching hires (RRod and Hoke, and may Harbaugh remain for a decade more fingers crossed), MSU will never be as much of the threat to M returning to being the top program in the Big Ten as is OSU. 

 

11/05/2018 - 8:44am To be fair, Rutgers actually…

To be fair, Rutgers actually has improved a lot as the season has progressed.

They are no longer a bottom 10 team.

Now a bottom 20 team!

11/04/2018 - 12:59pm You are a grumbler, aren't…

You are a grumbler, aren't you? 

Who said I don't like it? 

I love it! 

And no, I never argued that Michigan should stop establishing base plays that set up later counters.

And I never argued that should abandon being an offense premised on getting 200+ yards on the ground.  

So stop arguing against a straw man.

11/04/2018 - 9:15am Don't think that is the…

Don't think that is the right question...

Try this question:  If I told you Michigan would beat MSU 21-7, but in fact M easily could have scored 35 or 38 but just sort of left 14 to 17 points on the field in the first half, would you think Michigan is ready to beat Alabama?

Don't get me wrong people.  M has a very good offense right now.  Sooo much better than in week 1. 

But Harbaugh now has M on the cusp of the playoff.  The bar gets higher. 

The metric is no longer beating MSU, Wisc., and Penn State (all somewhere in the 10-25 rank).  The metric now is beating Clemson and Alabama.  And the O, while already pretty good, will have to get better than 'lots of yards but few points in the 1st half'  to do that. 

An offense that ends up scoring a lot on the 2nd halfs, racking up about 400 offensive yards, but perhaps fails to finish drives well or score much in the 1st half, is not a problem at all--if you are playing 2018 Penn State, Wisc, or MSU.  But it does make getting the W against Alabama or Clemson much less likely.

The O is already pretty good.   And the pieces are there to jump up to the 'holy cow its impossible to stop these guys' level.  O has improved almost every week this season.  No reason to think that improvement process will stop.  

11/04/2018 - 12:06am I do not think we disagree…

I do not think we disagree at all.  If M had a terrible O unable to get very many first downs at all in 1st halfs then opposing Ds would not ever wear down (see MSU offense this year).  So it does help that M is able to rack up yards and several 40 yrd drives (if not a ton of points) in 1st halfs. 

But that only works well when your D is as good as M's D, and the opponent can't get many 40 yard drives too.  So that really leaves M's incredible D as the main reason that opposing O's eventually wear down. 

Further, M is a realistic playoff team now.  And for teams at that level saying 'hey, we got a lot of yards in the first half (but did not actually score much)' is not really so great.  Its o.k.  But it is not really the goal

So I guess I have a high standard.  But that is appropriate given that the goal this year is the finish November better than in 2016, get into the playoff, and then be good enough to beat Clemson or Alabama.

I mean can anyone really believe that 'we got a lot of yards but not many points' in the first half is going to be good enough against Alabama? 

Fortunately, the offense has gotten much better over the last 4 weeks and is already pretty good.  If they continue to add small wrinkles, improve, etc., they really can be ready to beat Alabama.

 

11/03/2018 - 11:10pm VaBlue gets it.  Well said.

VaBlue gets it.  Well said.

11/03/2018 - 11:08pm There is a lot of truth in…

There is a lot of truth in this.  It is not like M brings out some different offense for the 2nd half.  It is the same offense, with some smart 2nd half adjustments.

But isn't the main reason the offense has been much better in the 2nd half at converting plays/drives into points mostly due to the incredible D?

Against Wisc, MSU, and Penn State, the opposing Ds did get worn down later in games.  But that is not really because Michigan's O wore them down in the 1st half.

It is mostly because Michigan's D is so good that opposing Ds get very little rest between drives.  Opposing Os cannot sustain drives, so their Ds are on the field way too long.

Anyway, converting more scores in first halfs does not require the Harbaugh abandons the kind of offense M has been running.  Just requires a few select misdirection plays, or passes to TEs,  in the seam, etc.., here and there.  I bet we see more of that in the 1st half against OSU. 

11/03/2018 - 10:52pm You keep inventing things. …

You keep inventing things.  I never advocated a "high-risk high-reward offense."

There is no second half "payoff" to Michigan "not being a great first half team" (your words not mine). 

The idea that M scoring fewer points in the 1st half makes the Michigan offense better in the second  half is...totally false.

11/03/2018 - 9:08pm In 7 days

In 7 days

11/03/2018 - 9:00pm You are missing the point. …

You are missing the point.  First, who on this board has been calling for a "RichRod method" (whatever that is)?

Against Wisc, MSU, and PSU Michigan dominated the 1st half, but did not really convert that dominance into a lot of points.  

This habit is not some sort of master plan to wear out the opposing D for later in the game.  It is just that the O kind of lets drives stall too often in the first half of games against teams with decent or better Ds.

Don't think the people pointing out that the offense is not scoring as much as it should in first half is saying that the offense is terrible.  In fact the offense is pretty good.  But there is still plenty of margin for getting even better in the last 3 regular season games. 

The pieces are starting to come together.  But it is still not fully engaged and developed to the level needed to win in the playoffs against teams like Clemson or Alabama.  Still some things that need to be improved, and some wrinkles that need to be added. 

Tl:DR:  Offense is pretty good, has a lot of weapons, and is improving every week.  Still has to get better over the rest of November. 

11/02/2018 - 8:56pm Klatt is right.  No way…

Klatt is right.  No way committee can get this right.

10/31/2018 - 8:45pm Hey OP, this is a major red…

Hey OP, this is a major red flag. 

The person you marry MUST support you in terms of letting you do the stuff that is really important to you, and you should do the same with her.

 

 

10/29/2018 - 9:00pm In a way that is even more…

In a way that is even more interesting.

Why?  BC Michigan's run game started to get decent at some point (a bit past the mid-point of the season?) last year,  even despite no real passing game threat.

And then this year the run game is also pretty good, and has gotten better week to week, but using a very different mix of base play concepts--more zone and a lot less of the gap stuff than last year.

Shows that it does not necessarily take forever for an o-line to get decent at running a very different set of base plays.  That was another argument sometimes used in years past on why the M o-line was not great. 

Maybe it is simple.  Warinner is good at teaching this stuff.

10/29/2018 - 7:24pm As usual a great post.  Many…

As usual a great post.  Many things to think about from the OP.

Here is just one that jumped out (for no particular reason):  At the end OP says "Michigan is a shotgun zone team now.  Power is a constraint play."

Made me think of all the discussions on this board in years past about how Michigan could not be good at both zone and power blocking schemes.  Limited practice time and reps.  Gotta chose one ''identity" and get good at it.  Etc.  Etc.

Turns out that, at least this year, Michigan's o-line seems to be pretty good at both zone and power blocking schemes. 

10/29/2018 - 10:07am Fickell has turned U of…

Fickell has turned U of Cincinatti into a winning team quickly. 

OSU has to hire him.  In state recruiting ties.  OSU grad.  "Proven" winner. Meyer coaching tree.   What's not to like?

10/29/2018 - 8:49am "Urbs" does not exist.  No…

"Urbs" does not exist.  No such person has ever existed.

10/28/2018 - 9:01pm I am sure some one had done…

I am sure some one had done a statistical analysis somewhere, so...

In what percentage of college football games between power 5 schools does an 11.5 point favorite actually lose? 

Anyone know?

10/28/2018 - 7:31pm Watching the Michigan D play…

Watching the Michigan D play is incredible.  So much fun to watch them.  Been that way for three years. 

10/28/2018 - 3:25pm Better team does not always…

Better team does not always win.  Welcome to college football.

10/28/2018 - 2:49pm Penn State "OL is average."

Penn State "OL is average."

To me this is the position group match up of the game.  If the M d-line can really dominate the PSU o-line, this will be an easy win for M. 

So, how 'average' is the PSU o-line?

10/28/2018 - 2:30pm He did not look limited on…

He did not look limited on the TD run.

OTOH he did not have to make a hard cut. 

Anyone recall him making a run with a hard cut after the injury?

10/28/2018 - 2:21pm That's part of the fun of it…

That's part of the fun of it...

10/28/2018 - 2:19pm Alabama playing The Citadel…

Alabama playing The Citadel late in the season (or ever) should be a class I felony.

I mean, they get a bye/scrimmage in November.  Their entire OOC slate is preposterous.

10/28/2018 - 2:17pm The whole phenomenon of…

The whole phenomenon of teams with high end recruiting ending up being worse than the sum of their parts is...all to familiar to every Michigan fan during the Hoke years (and arguably some of the late Carr years).

Maybe that is OSU this year.  Meyer's last Florida team was like that, right?  They had racked up several monster recruiting classes, but then under performed.

10/28/2018 - 2:02pm I wonder if PSU might do a…

I wonder if PSU might do a bunch of empty backfield and spread out receivers stuff to force Bush to cover a guy and, thereby, move Bush away from being able to spy McSorley.  Might make it easier for McSorley to find running lanes when escaping the pocket if Bush is forced to cover a guy on the edge.

Futher wonder if D Brown will use Watson (extra DB) on passing down coverage against such empty sets to free up Bush to spy McSorley.

 

10/28/2018 - 1:45pm Seems you and I are destined…

EDIT: Oops.  double post

10/28/2018 - 1:45pm Seems you and I are destined…

Seems you and I are destined to disagree.  But hey, a good debate is fun, so here goes...

Is Wash. St. 'smoke and mirrors' on offense?  Like OSU, they are one dimensional.  One dimensional OSU still is a really good offense. 

'Points scored in conference games a quick proxy for...'  Why use such a poor proxy?  You are cherry picking data.  Just use advanced metrics.  They are better.  They don't artificially limit the data set to just 5 conf. games.  They adjust for quality of opponent, eliminate garbage time stuff, etc., etc.

OSU offense is no. 4 in S&P+.  Michigan O is no. 29.  It is not 'maligning' Michigan's pretty good, but not yet great O, to point out the facts.  

 

And if you think not scoring much in the 1st half against ND, NW, Wisc, and MSU is a feature not a bug...   Sorry man that is a bug. 

Harbaugh absolutely is NOT intentionally calling plays in the first half that reduce scoring probabilities in order to wear down the opponent for the 4th. 

Under performance on scoring in the 1st halfs does not produce any benefit in terms of winning 4th quarters or wearing down opponents. 

Case in point:  Would MSU have been less worn down if M had actually scored 10 or 14 more points in the second quarter instead of letting a bunch of drives that started with great field position stall?  No.  They would have been more worn down, and probably demoralized.

Pretty sure Harbaugh views the failure to score much in the first half against MSU and Wisc (despite otherwise dominating) as something he wants to fix/improve on, and NOT as part of some master plan to win the 4th quarter. 

Pretty sure Harbaugh wants to see M do better on first half scoring against Penn State than M did against MSU and Wisc.

Offense is getting better almost every week.  No.  29 offense is WAY better than in 2017.  All the tools are there for the offense to end up way better than no. 29 over the final 4 games.  Not there yet though... 

Finally, if M beats Penn State, M will be a favorite to win in Columbus.  But that does not mean the game plan M used against MSU will be the best game plan against OSU.  Good coaches adjust offensive game plans for the opponent.  Harbaugh is a very good coach. 

 

10/28/2018 - 12:35pm Have to disagree.  PSU will…

Have to disagree.  PSU will be a harder challenge than the MSU or Wisc games. 

Michigan D is phenomenal.  But that absolutely does not mean that the best offensive game plan for M against MSU is also the best offensive game plan for M against PSU or OSU. 

And if you do not think OSU's offense is going to be a real challenge...then I am glad YOU are not the coach. 

Adding up total points scored against Big Ten opponents is a terrible metric for judging an offense. 

Advanced metrics show that OSU has a top 10 offense, and by far the best offense M will face in the regular season.  Guess what?  Teams with top 10 offenses lose sometimes.  Ask Oklahoma.  Ask Georgia.  Ask Washington. Ask Wash. State. 

'OSU lost to Purdue therefore OSU offense is all smoke and mirrors' is a silly argument.

Finally, I did NOT "malign" Michigan's offense.  So what are you talking about? 

10/28/2018 - 12:11pm Too close to call for me too…

Too close to call for me too.

Just that Peppers was surrounded with different skill sets in 2016 than the skill sets that surround Hudson in 2018. 

Having a really fast and fully matured Devin Bush in 2018 changes the way Brown has to use Hudson.  Having a slower LB corps in 2016 affects the way Peppers was used.

Hard to make comparisons.  Both are great. 

Maybe a fast Devin Bush type LB is actually more important to the D. Brown D than a Peppers level athletic freak at viper?

10/28/2018 - 11:45am Yeah, this has been on…

Yeah, this has been on ongoing debate on this board all year.

I am in the camp that thinks that sort of offensive game plan--wear  down opponent, play great D,  field position--really is the best against MSU's pretty bad O.

But I think rotating towards a different offensive game plan is better against Penn State, and especially against OSU. 

Not calling for abandoning M's offensive identity or anything.  Just that M will need to play offense a bit differently against PSU and OSU than against a team like MSU or even Wisconsin (D not as good this year as PSU D).   

Am I nuts?  No.  PSU has a much better chance of getting to 30 than any team M has played so far.  They probably will not get to 30.  But they have a much higher probability of getting to 30 than MSU, NW, Wisconsin, or ND had. 

Therefore, to account for that change in probabilities, it is NOT crazy for M to adjust the offensive game plan accordingly.

IOW, it is NOT crazy to say that the ideal offensive game plan against MSU (terrible and injury riddled O) is also the optimal offensive game plan against PSU (McSorley, Hamler, not injury riddled...). 

10/28/2018 - 11:30am Agree with your post.  S&P+…

Agree with your post.  S&P+ is far from perfect and probably overrating PSU at no. 10.  More accurate with 12 games of data than 8.

But...say PSU is no. 17 or whatever.  No. 17ish beating no. 5ish?  That is not super rare.  

M really should win.  But if M squanders 1st have red zone chances...and Penn State is hanging within 10 or 12 at the start of the 4th...tipped ball interception gives Penn State a short field...Hamler gets behind the D on a rare bust...McSorley escapes a near sack and gets a big run...an untimely couple of penalties extend a PSU drive...

This is CFB.  Weird stuff happens.

If M really is a playoff team, then this is the game where they need to show that they can take control of things against a good opponent in the 1st half

Playoff teams do that.  M did not do it against Wisconsin or MSU.  Even though M clearly outplayed both in the 1st half of those games, the scores were still one score games at the half. 

Penn State is better than Wisconsin and MSU.  Michigan will  need its best offensive performance of the year to win. 

10/28/2018 - 11:09am A great post. 

Peppers 2016…

A great post. 

Peppers 2016 = Hudson 2018 is not wrong.  But...  Maybe Peppers had a greater impact in 2016 than Hudson has in 2018.

In 2016 the way M used Peppers on D sort of forced opponents to game plan around him.  Don't think that is true for Hudson in 2018 (even though is he is excellent).

In 2016 Peppers really took away so many outside runs, screen passes, etc.  He just blew up most everything on the outside/edge. Teams had to game plan around his individual skills/play.

Seems like M is using Bush's speed at LB (plus just the overall D, including Hudson) to limit those sorts of plays this year.  Not relying on the viper position to do this stuff in 2018 the way they relied on Peppers on 2016.

That is just my memory.  Stats may prove me wrong.  Don't know.

10/28/2018 - 10:44am Iowa D is sort of like MSU D…

Iowa D is sort of like MSU D, except less aggressive/risk taking. 

Both play really sound and don't make many errors/busts.  Both get production almost every year above what recruiting would suggest.