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11/15/2018 - 8:41pm I think that 16 is too many…

I think that 16 is too many. The reason that college football is so fun is that it every game is seemingly life or death for playoff hopes. Yes, this perpetuates this issue that you're illustrating, but a 2 or 3 loss team making the playoffs just means that a loss means nothing. The more teams that you add to the playoff, the less claim that the last team in is going to have to being the best team in the country. It's like when the 18-0 Patriots lost to the Giants. Everyone knows that the Patriots were the better team (and more deserving), but had the giants been 17-1 going into the game, the winner of that game might have actually been thought of as the better team. More games outside the playoff with a limited number of playoff games reduces variance and leads to better claim for the champion.

I'm partial to an 8-team playoff with auto-bids to conference champions in the top 12 or 15 and fillers with the remaining best teams getting in. This year, that would mean Bama/Georgia, Clemson, ND, Michigan/OSU, Oklahoma/WVU, WSU, UCF, and probably a team that lost in a conference championship game (current top 6, 8, 11). Last year it would have been Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, OSU, USC, UCF, Bama, and Wisconsin (top 6, 8, 12).

I am actually hoping for Georgia, Oklahoma or WVU, Michigan, WSU, ND, Clemson, and UCF to win out so that as many deserving teams get left out of the playoff as possible, which would probably lead to an immediate increase in the size of the playoff.

All of this is kind of beside the point, though.

11/15/2018 - 7:11pm Resume S&P+ is kind of a…

Resume S&P+ is kind of a weird metric that is hard to define what it is telling you. It's not telling you strength of schedule, so you can't use it to say that Notre Dame's schedule is not solid. It is, however, using strength of schedule and margin of victory. If anything, it's saying that 13 teams would theoretically have a better margin of victory against their schedule. I have a few problems with this approach.

The first is that it doesn't seem to take into account wins and losses, e.g. a 21-point win and 7-point loss is not the same as two 7-point wins against the same two teams.

The second is that the difference between a 1-point win and a 7-point win is much greater than the difference between a 7-point win and 14-point win, which is also much greater than the difference between a 14-point win and 21-point win. He caps wins at 50 points, but he need to do something like the log or sqrt of the score to prevent teams that run up the score from pushing teams like win games by close-to-comfortable margins down too far.

The third is that there doesn't seem to be a distinction made between which team those points came against. So, a 7-point win against a top 5 team should mean more than a 7-point win over a top 25 team.

ND's second best win is Stanford, who is currently 25th in S&P+, and their third best is USC at 36. We have wins over 13, 17, and 32, although OSU is 8.

You are right that had Michigan played Arkansas, we likely wouldn't be having any conversation about this right now assuming that we won the rest of our games. I look at the schedule like the routine in gymnastics or figure skating. Each move/game adds potential to your score, but if you falter because you made it too difficult, then you get deducted points. Faltering once on an otherwise extremely difficult routine/schedule can still allow you to win, but a competitor that nails theirs with slightly less difficulty is still likely to pass you. Had we beat ND, but lost to OSU and gone 12-1 still, we might still be in. Had we beat Arkansas, but lost to OSU and gone 12-1, we are probably tied with Washington State.

If Michigan gets shut out of the playoff, the reason will be that the playoff is not sized properly. Brian has done a post in the past about the proper size of the playoff and decided 6 would be best most years. The fact that there is a good chance at multiple 12-1 P5 teams and a 13-0 G5 team are shut out of the playoff is a problem.

11/15/2018 - 5:11pm Again, I'm not trying to say…

Again, I'm not trying to say that there isn't bias, just that if you want to point out the bias it helps to use the proper tools. That's why I included that last bit.

Syracuse is in a weird position because they and LSU are the only 2-loss P5 teams and, while they don't have any wins over very good teams, their two losses are on the road to the two teams probably playing the the ACC championship game. I don't really have a problem with them where they are at because it will be sorted out when the play ND and BC over the next two weeks. Assuming that Syracuse loses to ND and BC beats FSU, one of Syracuse and BC will be ranked in the 20-25 range, which is fine. That's not going to make a difference for Clemson if they lose a game to Duke, South Carolina, or Pittsburgh.

The one that I have a problem with is Mississippi State as their best two wins are likely to finish the season at 7-5.

11/15/2018 - 3:52pm Because of this, the railing…

Because of this, the railing against the committee's corruption, bias, incompetence, hidden agenda, etc. is misplaced.

This is what I'm getting at without trying to say it because the committee could be corrupt, biased, and incompetent still. If Michigan moves down in the rankings for a 1-loss SEC or ACC team in the coming weeks, then I could see arguments of bias still potentially being valid. Until then, the CFP rankings match pretty well with calculated results and there isn't much to justify a conspiracy theory at this point.

11/15/2018 - 3:27pm I used a specific case, that…

I used a specific case, that everyone here is familiar with, as an example and you are inferring more than I intended it to mean. I agree it's possible for Michigan to play a significantly more impressive schedule in a general sense, but I don't think they've done it this season if Notre Dame wins out. I don't think that SOR or most other rankings will show that either.

I explained my thoughts on Resume S&P+ and its flaws and uses.

And, the fact is that, without looking at head-to-head, Notre Dame beat a top 5 team, according to most predictors, and Michigan has not. That weighs significantly on resume rankings and will buoy their schedule over ours. It's possible, if Michigan State, Wisconsin, PSU, etc. win out that our strength of schedule improves and pushes us past them, but the same can be said about their schedule.

11/14/2018 - 1:21pm That's really not true. Big…

That's really not true. Big Ten had 8 conference games until 2016. ACC just went to 9 games this year. The Big 12 went to 9 games after going to 10 teams and a round robin. They were at 8 games when they had 12 teams. The Pac 12 is the only major conference that went to 9 games when the 12th game was added.

11/14/2018 - 12:48pm 2006 is up there. Winning…

2006 is up there. Winning that game could have led Henne, Hart, and Long to leave early as well as Carr retiring. We get a promotion from within instead of RR, Mallett sticks around, etc.

11/14/2018 - 12:44pm This is what I want so badly…

This is what I want so badly. Michigan vs. Washington State in the Rose Bowl, Bama/Georgia in the Sugar/Peach, Oklahoma/WVU in the Fiesta/Cotton, Clemson in the Orange. Throw in ND, UCF, and a second SEC team and you have some seriously fun matchups along with a system that gives everyone a shot.

11/13/2018 - 4:02pm There isn't a predictor that…

There isn't a predictor that I'm aware of that doesn't have Michigan favored by 5+ on a neutral field. Even in the game we played, given the box score, S&P+ would have given us a 60% chance to win that game, i.e. if we played 10 games at their field, we'd be expected to win 6 of them. We just happened to catch one of the 4 where they beat us.

11/11/2018 - 2:09pm It's possible, but they…

It's possible, but they almost lost their chance at the division and conference yesterday before MSU decided to give the game away. If they had anything, they would have used it. They can always install it this week, though.

11/11/2018 - 12:12pm The next two weeks, Georgia…

The next two weeks, Georgia plays UMass and Georgia Tech, roughly equivalent to Rutgers and Indiana. We play OSU, which is a better game than Auburn. If we win out, scheduling won't be the reason we get passed. S&P+ doesn't really care who you play, but how you play against them. It doesn't look at scores, but instead yards, efficiency in scoring positions, etc. If we lose ground, it's because we didn't play as well as we were expected to.

11/09/2018 - 1:04pm Bama, Clemson, ND, Michigan…
  • Bama, Clemson, ND, Michigan win out.
  • Georgia loses to Auburn.
  • LSU loses at TAMU
  • Oklahoma State beats both WVU and Oklahoma
  • Winner of the Oklahoma WVU game loses to winner of Texas/Iowa State
  • UCF loses a game
  • Washington State loses to Washington.

That's probably the minimum.

11/09/2018 - 11:03am Thanks. I tinkered around a…

Thanks. I tinkered around a lot to get to this. I wanted to come up with a simple algorithm that is still mathematically sound. I had certain goals and this is the only way that really fit all of the goals. While I don't know that it's necessarily the best way to rank teams for the playoff, this becomes a pretty close proxy for what the committee is trying to do and lets me spot check for bias.

As for the mathematically sound part, I found some cool features of this method. For example, the top 24 teams currently have a positive score. Bill C complains a lot about 25 being an arbitrary cutoff and it changing every week. He's right about the latter, which is something that I tried to solve with this method, but top 20-25 seems like a natural cutoff. If 130 teams were ranked on a bell curve, 20 would be at least 1 standard deviation above average. I've also noticed that the top 14 have a score of at least 1 and the top 5 have a score of at least 4. Bama is the only team that has a chance to reach a score of 9 by the end of the season. So, there are these natural tiers built into it.

I started working on it a week or two ago, after Joel Klatt started spouting off about it. I think I'll wait to see how this formula progresses through the season, but I might sub in some other rankings like FPI, Sagarin (especially his recency one), or a composite. In the offseason, I think I might try to build my own predictor, not with beating the spread in mind, but as my own ranking system based on game theory rather than arbitrary cutoffs, e.g. determining garbage based on the game itself rather than an arbitrary cutoff like 21 points.

11/09/2018 - 10:37am I think we are on the same…

I think we are on the same page at a high level on all of this. A couple of things, though.

I don't take W/L record into account at all. A team losing to the top 4 teams in S&P+ and beating 5-9, giving them a 5-4 record, would have a ranking of 3rd. Similarly, a team beating a completely average team, like Northwestern, 9 times would be 6th. The way that I look at it is that we might know that a team is good, but building a resume is akin to showing your work in math in the sense that you shouldn't get full credit if you're not playing anyone. I don't think that Bama should be getting any more credit for UCF's schedule than what UCF is getting. If you're a better team, play better opponents and show it. I weight so that two top 5 teams playing has a lot of upside and little downside, e.g. if Michigan had beat ND, Michigan would be the #1 team in the country ahead of Bama right now and at the end of the season and ND would be 9th right now with a chance to climb a few spots depending on losses.

As for the ACC teams, they may not have played anyone, but neither have a lot of teams. Who do you move up ahead of Boston College, for example? MSU? I don't even have them ranked. Sure, they beat PSU, but they lost to ASU and Northwestern. Penn State? Maybe, but it would be on the backs of their wins against Appalachian State and Iowa. Texas beat Oklahoma, but lost to Maryland. Your best options are Fresno State and Buffalo, which you already said would be weighting W/L too heavily.

And I agree with you about Resume S&P+. I think that he created an alternate S&P+ that doesn't really seem like a good predictor or resume evaluation, at least compared to what the committee is trying to do. On the Resume-Predictor spectrum, it seems to be just a hair inside Predictor, which really doesn't give it much use.

11/08/2018 - 5:47pm After Joel Klatt pointed…

After Joel Klatt pointed this out, I started looking into it and got super pissed off about it. I don't like how Resume S&P+ takes points into account (caps at 50, would prefer lower cap or a scale). I also don't trust ESPN because I feel they are likely biased and there isn't much insight into how they do things. So, I created my own ranking system based on S&P+ rankings and wins/losses without MOV, that I'm pretty happy with, to try to prove the bias.

  1. Alabama
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Michigan
  4. Clemson
  5. LSU
  6. Georgia
  7. Central Florida
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Ohio State
  10. Kentucky
  11. Washington State
  12. West Virginia
  13. Cincinnati
  14. Utah State
  15. Army
  16. Boston College
  17. NC State
  18. Fresno State
  19. Penn State
  20. Boise State
  21. Texas
  22. Iowa State
  23. Syracuse
  24. Florida
  25. Buffalo

The ACC all seem to be within 3 spots of the CFP by this method. Florida is still +9 and UCF is -5, but I can chalk that up as outliers.

So, to answer your question, I tried to prove that to be the case, but ended up showing that the CFP is ranking resumes pretty well if they aren't looking at MOV. Any debate about their accuracy should be based around using MOV in some way as that will move the list closer to best teams instead of best resumes.

11/08/2018 - 5:18pm I'd like to point out that…

I'd like to point out that while CFP says they are looking for the best teams, they are actually looking at resumes. The statistical models used are all predictors, i.e. they ARE looking for the best teams, not resumes. Bill Connelly created Resume S&P+ and ESPN split FPI into FPI (predictor) and SOR (resume) because S&P+ and FPI shouldn't be compared to the rankings.

Now, they still don't line up perfectly, but Resume S&P+ has Syracuse at 29 and SOR has them at 27, for an average of +15 instead of +34. Kentucky is 22 and 7 for an average of +3.5. NC State is 37 and 15 for an average of +12. Boston College is 28 and 18, for an average of +6. I think that pretty well illustrates the point that this is comparing apples to oranges.

I know that Resume S&P+ is using the scores of the games, but I don't know if SOR is or if they are capping them differently. I don't believe the committee is using MOV, so that could be the remaining difference here.

11/08/2018 - 4:30pm They'll get the "s" back…

They'll get the "s" back when they earn it.

11/07/2018 - 2:48pm FWIW, ESPN split FPI into…

FWIW, ESPN split FPI into FPI (best team) and SOR (Strength of Record, best resume). FPI has them ranked 12th and SOR has them ranked 6th.

11/07/2018 - 2:21pm We're arbitrarily ranking…

We're arbitrarily ranking teams and using an arbitrary cutoff to decide what is a good vs. bad team. We are only looking at two of four categories: wins vs. good teams and losses vs. bad teams. The other two are wins vs. bad teams and losses vs. good teams, which are basically expected outcomes by a borderline top 25 team. If unranked team A beats unranked team B, we are ignoring that game for team A's record in this analysis, but including it in team B's record. While the Big Ten has more unexpected wins and unexpected losses, the other conferences just consolidated expected wins and losses. None of this really makes sense as a useful piece of analysis, which is what I was trying to point out.

11/07/2018 - 1:39pm No it's not. Bill Connelly…

No it's not. Bill Connelly has his resume S&P+ - which I don't think is perfect, but is at least objective - and has LSU (7) ahead of OSU (10), WVU (13), and ND (18). Comparing them with S&P+ rankings:

  • Beat 5, Beat 11, Beat 15 on the road, Lost to 1, Lost to 27 on the road
  • Beat 12 on the road, Lost to 25 on the road
  • Beat 33 on the road, Beat 42 on the road, Lost to 31 on the road
  • Beat 4, Beat 35

LSU has beaten a lot of good teams. They lost to a team against whom every team in the country would be expected to lose. WVU hasn't played anyone relevant. OSU escaped PSU and got pounded by Purdue. The only reason that ND is even in the conversation is because they beat us. The rest of their schedule is hot garbage.

Your assertion that 2-loss teams shouldn't be ahead of 1-loss teams would only lead to teams scheduling the easiest possible schedules to avoid the risk of a second loss. If you don't take into account strength of schedule, you might as well get rid of rankings and just look at teams with the best records, which would put UCF at 4th.

11/06/2018 - 4:46pm Oh yea, there he is...Turt…

Oh yea, there he is...Turt Kaylor.

11/06/2018 - 4:42pm Ok, and let's look at losses…

Ok, and let's look at losses to teams not in the top 25.

  • Big Ten: ASU, Temple, Kansas, Buffalo, Duke, Akron, BYU, EMU, Missouri, USF, Colorado, Troy
  • SEC: Colorado State, North Texas (Both from Arkansas, apparently their Rutger)
  • Big 12: Maryland, Iowa, Duke, Ole Miss, Nicholls
  • Pac 12: Auburn, Nevada, BYU, Houston, SDSU
  • ACC: Purdue, Indiana, Old Dominion, USF, Cal, ECU

So, the Big Ten has twice as many bad losses as the next worst conference, the ACC, which is hovering in that 5-6 range that seems to be normal. The only SEC team to have a bad loss OOC is Arkansas.

11/06/2018 - 3:55pm I don't play, but it looks…

I don't play, but it looks like Fortnite.

11/06/2018 - 2:02pm WTF is he talking about?

WTF is he talking about?

  • 2017 Alabama's offensive S&P+ score: 33.6 (23rd overall)
  • 2018 Michigan's offensive S&P+ score: 34.2 (24th overall)
  • 2017 Alabama's defensive S&P+ score: 13.8 (1st overall) 
  • 2018 Michigan's defensive S&P+ score: 10.0 (1st overall)

Michigan is basically a replica of 2017's NC team in terms of style and advanced stats.

11/06/2018 - 1:15pm Rookie contracts are…

Rookie contracts are basically set now and last 4 years with a 5th year option. Moving from the second or third round into the first is a huge deal as it sets the floor of your earning potential much higher.

11/06/2018 - 10:33am He will likely want a…

He will likely want a coordinator title in the future and we might have to give it to him. OSU promoted him to OC and promptly fired him for his playcalling, which is how we were eventually able to land him. Maybe the co-OC title along with the pay increase will be enough. He's old enough that he can't realistically be looking to climb the ladder much more.

11/06/2018 - 10:29am Re: The Pick 6 stat:

We…

Re: The Pick 6 stat:

We have 6 passing TDs allowed this season.

  • Bomb against Brad Hawkins in the ND game
  • Coverage bust between Hawkins and Long in SMU game (Hawkins credited with coverage)
  • Rub route against Glasgow in SMU game
  • Rub route against Hill in SMU game
  • Garbage time TD against Hill in Wisconsin game
  • MSU trick play

Pick sixes:

  • Metellus against SMU
  • Watson against Maryland
  • Hill against Wisconsin
  • Watson against PSU

So, not only is the starting secondary more likely to score a TD than allow one, but they also haven't had a game where they've allowed more passing TDs than pick sixes. 

11/05/2018 - 5:37pm I mean, the last two years,…

I mean, the last two years, we had John O'Korn as our QB - last year's on the road - and we still won.

11/05/2018 - 4:15pm "If live-ball fouls by both…

"If live-ball fouls by both teams are reported to the referee, the fouls offset and the down is repeated (A.R. 10-1-4-I and VII). Any player who commits a foul that mandates disqualification must leave the game.

Exceptions:

1. When there is a change of team possession during a down, and the team last gaining possession had not fouled before last gaining possession, it may refuse offsetting fouls and thereby retain possession after completion of the penalty for its foul (A.R. 10-1-4-II-VII).

2. When all Team B fouls that occur before possession changes are governed by postscrimmage kick rules, Team B may refuse offsetting fouls and accept postscrimmage kick enforcement."

So, exception 2 allows the receiving team to decline a penalty on the kicking team before the kick as long as there was not an offsetting penalty by the receiving team before the kick. This is so that they can choose to retain the ball seeing as they didn't commit a foul until after receiving the ball. They can also choose to accept the penalty if they don't like the spot or turned the ball over and want a rekick.

11/05/2018 - 4:02pm Technically, no one is…

Technically, no one is allowed in that 3-yard white stripe along the sideline. Most of the time, refs ignore it because there are bigger fish to fry. In this case, the official running the sideline ran into a coach and that is an auto-flag.

11/05/2018 - 1:58pm You think that we'd be in…

You think that we'd be in trouble with a RS sophomore, but in less trouble with a true freshman?

11/05/2018 - 1:50pm "highest road spread"

"highest road spread"

11/05/2018 - 1:49pm USC was at home. This is for…

USC was at home. This is for the team on the road. I still don't think it's true, but that game doesn't match the category.

11/05/2018 - 12:50pm "During a free kick, if a…

"During a free kick, if a Team B receiver gives any waving signal that does not meet all of the requirements of a valid fair catch signal, and subsequently catches the ball behind the B-25 yard line the ball belongs to Team B at its own 25-yard line"

11/05/2018 - 12:04pm Not to mention that if we…

Not to mention that if we get into that 2/3 game, we don't have to be the first team to try to topple Bama and could potentially face Oklahoma/WVU/Clemson in the final instead.

11/02/2018 - 1:45pm The question is: If it was…

The question is: If it was roughly even betting at 10.5, why did people all of a sudden start betting on Michigan enough to move the line to 12.5? That's a huge shift a day before the game. If this had happened on Monday, your reasoning makes more sense. Seemingly, something changed to make people bet on Michigan.

10/30/2018 - 11:12am It's not irrelevant. The…

It's not irrelevant. The committee isn't likely to move teams around if they keep winning. That becomes important when comparing to Oklahoma. If Bama, Clemson, ND, and Oklahoma are ranked ahead of us, then our ranking becomes an important point. Similarly, if LSU and/or Georgia are ranked ahead of us, a close loss to them might not cause Bama to fall past us. This is an insight as to where we stand in the committee's eyes and whether we need some breaks in our favor beyond just winning out.

10/25/2018 - 11:59am I agree with this. What does…

I agree with this. What does RB look like next year? I don't think that Evans is going to be an every-down back. Tru doesn't seem to have the speed to punish a defense once he breaks through. Between the two of them, I think you have a competent backfield. One of the younger guys could have a breakout year next year, though. With the line improving, we may not need a grind it out back next year. If the line is consistently generating 3 yards, Evans may be the one to capitalize on that.

10/24/2018 - 3:23pm That 30% came from running…

That 30% came from running 10,000 simulations with random errors in polling in either direction. So, that means that the 7,000 ended up one way and 3,000 ended up another. He repeatedly said that the margin of error in polling is generally 2-3%, which was more than enough to swing the odds.

That being said, beyond predicting games, I'm not sure how he can say they have a better shot than us. We'd be in nearly identical situations. The only thing I can think of is that they are running their ELO on the back end to determine it.

10/24/2018 - 2:51pm Our defense looks like it's…

Our defense looks like it's ready to reload at this point. A starting DL of Paye, Solomon, Dwumfour, Uche looks like it is going to be just fine. We have guys that can fill in at LB, but it will be like DT this year where it is still an obvious step down, but just not a liability. We lose Watson and Kinnel in the secondary, but we have enough guys to step in that there should be basically no drop off. As we continue to develop 4* and 5* players, this defense will slowly lose these weak spots and become a more consistent, cohesive unit.

Honestly, from what I've seen of Shea and McCaffrey, QB is going to get an improvement next year regardless of whether Shea stays. RB is the only place that won't see improvement and that still has a lot of options to fall back on. If Shea decides to stay, he's walking into a better all-around team with a home schedule to die for. If he wants to stay and show what he can do while trying to win a championship, next year is the year.

10/24/2018 - 1:42pm Where would the performances…

Where would the performances of our last two opponents' QBs be on that new scale?

10/24/2018 - 1:24pm I think they are propped up…

I think they are propped up more by who rather than how they have played. Utah State and Penn State are both pretty high. Teams with front loaded schedules are ranked higher and the teams with back loaded schedules will catch up.

10/24/2018 - 1:20pm I think the last few games,…

I think the last few games, we've held our opponents to 50ish downs. It would be interesting to see metrics based on turnovers per down and downs per game as I think we might be top 5 in the latter and much better in the former than #80.

10/23/2018 - 3:45pm 11-1 Alabama wouldn't jump a…

11-1 Alabama wouldn't jump a 12-1 conference champion. They jumped in last year because OSU had two losses against Oklahoma, who made it in, and to Iowa by 31 points. What that would do, though, is guarantee Michigan doesn't play Bama, and possibly avoid Clemson's defense by putting us in a 2 vs. 3 matchup with either ND, LSU, or Oklahoma.

10/23/2018 - 3:11pm Sure there is. Bama, Clemson…

Sure there is. Bama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, Washington State, and UCF all win out. Oklahoma gets a rematch against Texas in the conference championship, Michigan gets a 9-3 Purdue, WSU gets some other barely ranked team. Michigan and Oklahoma have similar records and resumes. Considering that they have two relatively equal teams, they decide to avoid a potential rematch and give the other team a shot. Or, they decide to pit 4 undefeated teams against each other and punt on the choice between 1-loss teams.

I don't think that's likely, but to say there is no way they leave us out is kind of ridiculous. Honestly, a situation like that is ideal for the future because it really pushes the issue of expanding the playoff to 6 or 8 teams.

10/22/2018 - 10:29am He said that Purdue is the…

He said that Purdue is the best team in the Big Ten.

10/22/2018 - 9:16am Honestly, expanding from the…

Honestly, expanding from the current system is one of the easiest things to solve. Right now, we have 6 bowls that rotate for 2 semi-final games and then the final game is bid on.

  • Move to 8 teams
  • Rotate the same 6 bowls and have the other 4 host the quarter finals.
  • Any conference champion in the top 15 gets in.
  • Any undefeated team gets in.
  • After that, fill in the rest by ranking.
  • Rather than seeding, the first four bowls continue their conference affiliations, so B1G and Pac-12 still play in the Rose Bowl and select teams for good matchups.
  • Teams will be seeded in the semi-finals.

Almost nothing changes except now the other 4 bowl games are part of the playoff and everyone gets a fair shot.

10/19/2018 - 9:48am I fell the same way about…

I fell the same way about this game as I did the one two years ago. In that one, MSU scored on their first drive and then Michigan went on a 30-3 run before letting MSU score two TDs in the 4th, leading to the awesome fumble return that put the game away.

I just think that MSU will have something scripted for us on the first drive and we come out of the gates slow to make everything freak out a bit. Michigan slowly turns it on and pulls away. MSU scores in garbage time. It's the same thing that happened last week and similar to what happened at ND and NW.

10/16/2018 - 5:05pm Down: 1 Distance: 15 on Own…

Down: 1 Distance: 15 on Own 40 -- Pass by Shea Patterson complete to Jared Wangler for 60 yds TOUCHDOWN

Ok

10/16/2018 - 1:53pm I think there may be some…

I think there may be some indirect correlation between getting to third down and your ability to convert on third down. We are 101st in % of first downs coming on first or second down. That and actually being able to convert on 3rd down means that we are going to have a lot more 3rd downs than other teams. More datapoints means less deviation whereas teams with fewer 3rd downs could potentially have wide swings based on making/missing 1-2 conversions. If teams that tend to get first downs on first or second down get to third down, that means that something likely went wrong and are probably in a worse situation than teams that play for 3rd down, which leads to lower conversion rates.

The other thing to look at is our standard downs success rate in which we are ranked 5th. That means we are steadily moving down the field compared to other teams that may be getting yardage more in chunks. Two completions gets you a first down. Two incompletions give you 3rd and 10. Two runs give you 3rd and short and the third run gets you a first down.