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Date Title Body
11/20/2015 - 4:28pm As long as it it's not


10/09/2015 - 2:33pm What, no sliding field goal hold gif?

Brian, I am dissapoint.

10/05/2015 - 1:04pm Will Likely

I don't understand why Maryland doesn't line up Likely in the slot and at least run some fakes off him. It's not like they've got anything else going on offense. Do they just have Norfleet-itis?

09/24/2015 - 12:36pm Kansas v Rutgers?

I'd consider bringing the Ugly Game of the Week out of retirement for that. Holy moly.

08/07/2015 - 9:07am I was partial to

"Drink as much milk as your little belly can hold. At all times"

12/05/2014 - 5:22pm It occurred to me

The coaching tenure of these guys is so short, almost nobody gets long enough to see it. I mean, this was Hoke's first year with All His Players. The trend should still be there, if you can truly "coach-up" your players, the performance improvement should be there from the start. That's the idea - you have a known quantity, in this case the recruiting rankings of the players, and can compare them between coaches.

I also figured that with a top-5 recruiting class, the odds would be in your favor of getting some talented freshmen on the field (like Peppers, except for his knee).

12/05/2014 - 3:15pm Synopsis

It's a combination of two other advanced metrics, FEI and S&P+.

FEI: A scoring rate analysis of the remaining possessions then determines the baseline possession efficiency expectations against which each team is measured. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams, win or lose, and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.

S&P+ takes into account success rate, equivalent points per play, drive efficiency, and adjusts for opponent quality.

I chose it as a way to measure relative success/failure of a team, without using simpler stats like yardage, record, or points. All these advanced stats take those factors and create a ranking from them. I specifically chose F+ since it's a combination of two other advanced stats (like I used 247's aggregate recruiting rankings).

12/04/2014 - 9:30am Add one more relevant data point - wins

Seth, can you add a line for wins on the graph, so we can see how experience tends to equate with wins? I see 2011 sticking out there, and hopefully that will correlate to exceeding expectations next year.

11/07/2014 - 3:06pm Never mind Brian,

where's the Mathlete been? Did he look at our numbers and jump out a (hopefully 1st story) window?

06/19/2014 - 12:25pm Prince Ali, wonderful he, Ali-ababa...

Yes, the Pep Band needs to play the theme from Alladin if he ever makes it to Ann Arbor.

The KU student government has a good point. If the Michigan student section is around 20,000 seats, at $300 each, that's $6 million in revenue to the AD. The AD has an annual budget of $137.5 million, so giving student tickets away for free would only impact them by less than 5%. Heck, cutting season student ticket prices to $100 for the season would still raise $2 million, impacting budget by less than 2%.

01/28/2014 - 11:51am Beilein Teams Don't Foul

Hypothesis: winning percentage correlates with low foul rates. I'd expect that giving fewer intentional fouls at the end of the game would lead to lower foul rates for good teams.

For example, Saturday's game had 16 fouls for Michigan, 22 for State. Eight of those 22 came in the last two minutes.

How to verify this, I have no idea.

09/11/2013 - 3:28pm A thought for future analysis (maybe)

Have you ever looked at using other statistical categories for qualification?

I mean, would using median instead of mean (average) influence ranking at all? That would throw out the outlier plays, possibly at the expense of penalizing quick-strike teams.

In a similar vein, would standard deviation serve a similar function to categorize offensive/defensive efficiency? I realize that would reward "grind-it-out" offenses and "bend-but-don't-break" defenses, but categorizing Getting Torched/Homerun play frequency might be interesting.

08/06/2013 - 11:48am You're secretly using hex, aren't you?

B1G would be the Big 17, if G was a valid hex code.


07/23/2013 - 4:13pm And that's why Braylon's #1 scholarship is dumb

Why does Braylon get to say who gets AC's #1?

07/12/2013 - 12:31pm As someone who was at that Rose Bowl,

I don't remember needing a jacket.

Wunderground says a high of 71 for January 1, 1998.…?

04/24/2013 - 3:10pm Thanks!

I guess I didn't expect such a random distrubution of TDs for given yardage. If kicking 40 yards gives a 10% chance of TD, and 50+ is only 25%, then kicking deep doesn't seem like a negative.

04/17/2013 - 12:24pm If you're looking for something to do,

it's not very exciting, but I'm curious about the concept of "outkicking the coverage." Specifically, do longer punts give more variance and more chance of a long return? Is there an optimal length of punt to maximize distance and minimize return?

It seems to me that kicking, say, 35 yards and forcing a fair catch is a safer play than punting 50+ and having a potential return for TD. But I'd be curious if the data shows that longer punts are more likely to give up a longer return.

02/06/2013 - 4:51pm Nothing about Kiffin and USC?

Nothing about Kiffin and USC? Oh, I see...

01/22/2013 - 11:42am Or, make it connect-the-dots

Travel around, randomly tweeting locations. Make those locations spell the name/logo of your school of choice.

11/20/2012 - 12:34pm I say screw it



Michigan State
Ohio State

Penn State









This makes the B1G Championship game a formality, and opens the door for promotion/relegation.

10/12/2012 - 12:58pm Wow, I have a fan

There's a number of reasons I quit doing the UGotW.

1. I started to feel bad about picking on EMU every week.

2. I have a whole lot less time to preview/review the games, between a new job and a little future Wolverine

3. The amount of content really picked up, so I felt like there wasn't a big need for one more diary.

4. I wanted to do the Pick Six review, but never heard back from the guy who took all the votes.

5. I can't think of #5.

If there's really a subculture of people who read it (besides me, you and Seth), I will think about bringing it back.

09/25/2012 - 5:35pm Also, your author page is messed up


is only showing stuff from May/June.[email protected]%20MGoBlog/blog


does work, though.


It just feels like the whole of sbnation is yelling at me.

09/13/2012 - 10:41am How ridiculous is Denard's EV last week?

Have you ever had a +20 EV, let alone almost +0.5 per play?

08/13/2012 - 12:57pm Once this is done

somebody needs to build these rosters in NCAA '13, build playbooks and let them fight it out.

08/03/2012 - 4:01pm Drupal Module?

Their demo site

seems like it would do the trick. No idea how well it would scale, but it's an option.

06/28/2012 - 2:10pm Conference Champs

I think the deck is getting stacked to avoid LSU v. Alabama III. Having said that, I do think that the committee will prefer a 4th conference champ over the runner-up from another one, simply for the money going to that conference. And I think that makes it harder for the independants/mid-majors to make it in. I just expect it to be Big-10, SEC, Pac-12, Big-12 more or less every year.

In 2011, the Big 10 would have been shut out of a large pile of money. But I think we'll see a lot of situations like 2010, where I predict that Wisconsin gets in over Stanford, simply because the Pac-10 already has a team in the playoff. Or 2008, where it could very well be Oklahoma, Florida, USC, Penn State just to spread the teams around.

Once the mid-majors combine into a big enough conference to raise enough of a stink is when we'll see the next change (to 6 or 8 teams, or a play-in game or something).

05/18/2012 - 12:52pm 300m hurdles

Only because I'm a former hurdler. Anything above high school runs 400m hurdles outdoors. That's why that record has stood for 20+ years - no one runs it in professional competition.

But that's still a pretty good time.

05/04/2012 - 10:07am Context

"Raping their fanbase" is probably not appropriate when discussing Penn State.

04/12/2012 - 10:11am Trafalmadore

I would have thought it sounds much more like the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

03/08/2012 - 2:04pm Average?

Personally, Seth's looks the best to me, but if you average them together you get:

Blue Yellow


02/29/2012 - 10:46am As someone married to a Kansas grad,

forcing you to watch Local State U beat up on a 15 seed when Kansas (always Kansas) is suffering an incredible upset across the country

I can confirm this statement is true.

But I don't think Michigan v. ND UTL should count as Random Michigan game, but point taken.

02/13/2012 - 10:31am Offensive Goals

I agree that the "staying ahead of the chains" adage is like "establish the ground game", "win between the tackles", or any number of meaningless announcer-isms. Staying ahead of the chains is only meaningful based on your offensive strategy. If you're playing Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust, then you're expecting 3 plays of 3 or so yards to move the ball. If you're playing Mike Leach's Air Raid, you're expecting 1 play of 10 yards. West Coast/Spread/Run and Shoot fall in between, say, 2 plays of 5 yards to keep moving. I guess it's a way to try and quantify offensive efficiency, but not much else.

Imagine an offense where all you do is throw Hail Mary's. Your success rate would be terrible, but your effectiveness would probably be reasonable (complete 2 or 3 a game, and you've got a shot).

Looking forward to some numbers.

01/26/2012 - 1:24pm He may have good backpedal,

but how are his hips?

01/18/2012 - 2:35pm Sheed's Jingle Bells

I always wondered what a Biz Markee and Wesley Willis duet would sound like. Now I know.

12/02/2011 - 1:40pm I think #2 is the best solution

I don't know what happens with baseball/hockey players once they are drafted, aside from the pro team keeping the rights to the player. Do they get a stipend from their team?

But I do think that it does make the college game a noticeable step down from pro games, since the best players are in the pros as soon as they're capable. Compare that to college basketball/football and the skill-level doesn't seem to drop off as much.

I think a position that give some power to the players is best for them. You get a guarenteed 4 or 5 years unless you are ruled ineligible, and are free to leave after any season. I don't know what to do directly about the problem of agents, but maybe this would decrease their demand.

11/21/2011 - 1:39pm Caught that at the end of their game on Saturday

Oklahoma drove down the field to set up the scoring TD. The brought in the aforementioned huge QB (dude looked like a TE), a FB and a TE/H-back. They just plowed into the endzoe to be down one. It looked like Stoops was going to run it again to win, but the offense got a false start called and they kicked to send it into overtime.

I don't know if we have enough huge guys to pull it off, though. Maybe Devin/Hopkins/Koger.

11/17/2011 - 1:00pm You can keep saying it, but it doesn't make it true

There can be no doubt that the tempo of the offense was a significant reason for poorer performance of the defense in 2010.

1. You ignore special teams totally. Last year we had 4 FGs all season. This year, we have 8 already. That's 12 more points that need to be controlled for. Removing 4 of those to put us on pace with last year gives PPP of 0.508. Otherwise you're attributing the scoring to the offense, which isn't the case.

2. I concede that deleting OT is valid, in that playing with the short field skews the scoring numbers. However, deleting the entire game should not be valid. The first 4 quarters of the game should stand on there own.

3. The season ain't over. If you're want to compare apples to apples, compare 2010 through Purdue to 2011 through Illinois. Also, last year's SOS was higher, so that level of opposition should be controlled for as well.

BTW, turnovers are NOT primarily a matter of just luck but are a result of better performance. Better performing offenses will have fewer turnovers, better performing defenses will force more turnovers.

Here's the turnover rank for the top 20 teams scoring defence from the NCAA:

TO rank name
59 TCU
26 Boise St.
30 Alabama
49 West Virginia
12 Ohio St.
18 Missouri
45 Iowa
49 UCF
49 Nebraska
12 Stanford
2 Oregon
72 Clemson
36 Northern Ill.
59 Pittsburgh
72 Temple
94 Syracuse
77 Louisville
7 Boston College

No correlation. Ditto for offense (I'll save you the chart). Look at the numbers. Out of 600 to 700 plays, 30 TOs is about 4%. Even if it was 10 TO, it's still 1.5%. It's just too small a factor to matter.

11/16/2011 - 12:45pm 4th and 1

What's your thoughts on the 4th and 1 from the 1 to go for it? I plugged the numbers into the calculator Brian posted yesterday and came up with this:

Stat Go4it Punt FG Att
Success Rate: 0.68 - 1.00
EP Success 6.4 0.16 2.4
EP Fail: 0.53 - 0.3
EP Total: 4.52 0.16 2.40
Break-Even: 0.32    
Stat Go4it Punt FG Att
Success Rate: 0.68 - 1.00
WP Success 0.93 0.91 0.94
WP Fail: 0.91 - 0.91
WP Total: 0.92 0.91 0.94

That says to me that you have a 68% chance of scoring a TD and a 100% chance of scoring a FG if you kick. The EP total is about double for going for it, but do you really need the points? The total WP is higher for making the FG than for scoring the TD, so it seems like a good idea to kick when already up 14.

11/14/2011 - 12:29pm Kick, dammit, kick!

I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I would have had no problem with kicking on 4th and 1 the first time. You put yourself up three scores, and take the momentum of the goal line stand out of the crowd. Now it turned out to not matter, but I kept looking at the scoreboard into the 3rd quarter and thinking "17-0 would be much more comfortable."

Anybody know offhand the odds of getting a safety when the opponent has 1st and 10 from their own 1? I'd imagine that it's pretty low, even factoring in chances of scoring from the short field after a punt. If you ask me, I'd put 3 on the board every time. If you need 7, go for 7. If you can get points, get points.

11/11/2011 - 4:31pm I vote

that if we lose, Brian does a video podcast, dressed like the guy from Masterpiece Theater.

Also, I think both sides run the Kitchen Sink offenses, and it turns into a trackmeet again. 48-40.

11/09/2011 - 5:35pm You might say

*puts on glasses*

he's going to be merciless...


11/08/2011 - 12:45pm Correct

The owl isn't technically an optical illusion, but it's still interesting.

11/01/2011 - 12:10pm Brandon

If I had to sum up Michigan in one word, it's tradition. So hopefully all the RichRod "Michigan Man" stuff can refocus the fanbase on where we came from and what "The Michigan Difference" is. It's not monetizing every aspect of the gameday experience to be financially competitive. It's celebrating Yost, Bo, Crisler and all the players that made our tradition of excellence.

How Dave Brandon can see that well enough to hire a guy like Hoke to unite the fans and not see it well enough to bust out new uniforms for the State game is beyond me. And I'm firmly in the camp that tradition supercedes what the recruits/players want. You are the team, the team is not you.

10/31/2011 - 3:11pm Since we're channelling Douglas Adams

There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. ... The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt. That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground. Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard. Clearly, it is the second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.

All Michigan has to do is miss the ground. Mess up less than the rest of the division and we win by default. I'm still not worried about anyone else on our schedule (and I still believe we would be State 3 out of 5 times).

Having said that, I'd rather get into a mediocre bowl over a BCS bowl. The rest of the NCAA is such a trainwreck that I'd rather draw into the Weedeater Bowl against Cincinnati or Virginia or UCLA and get the bowl jinx off our back. I'm not looking forward to drawing Alabama or Oregon or Oklahoma. Give me a bowl win and build Hoke a statue.

10/25/2011 - 1:54pm Wiki, my one and only reference for anything

According to the wiki page (which is as much research as I do for this thing), TCU bought the land in 1869, but by 1872 the Chisholm Trail (hey, neat auto-linking, wiki) had turned the neighborhood into "Hell's Half-Acre", so TCU moved to Thorp Spring, then to Waco, then back to Ft. Worth in 1910.

So I think the school bought the land, saw what the neighborhood looked like, and got out of town. Not that I blame them.

10/17/2011 - 1:09pm The same ESPN

that's been pushing Vonzante Burfect all season as a player who "plays hard, except for that whole personal foul thing." They were talking about him on Gameday and said they basically thought he should play more like last year.

10/13/2011 - 2:57pm Stats?

As much as I love this column (and I do), I wonder if the aggregate +/- numbers don't tell the whole story. As Brian usually points out, those numbers go up/down based on the number of plays.

Would a distribution chart be more useful? Show median, high, low +/-, then the % of plays that total -2. -1. 0, +1, +2, etc. That would show plays where everything goes wrong, plays where somethings go wrong and some go right, and plays where everything comes up unicorns. It would also remove some of the variance from a large +/- on a given play. Would you rather have three +1s or one +3?

10/11/2011 - 10:23am As an out-of-state-er

<blockquote>Outside of the state they're the reason non-sports fans often wonder why Michigan shirts are sometimes green.</blockquote>

It's much more likely that an average fan wouldn't know the significance of either school. I constantly get asked "Did you go to Michigan or Michigan State? Which is which?"

I then proceed to mix up Colorado/Colorado State or Lincoln/Omaha or Austin/College Station just to piss them off.

09/30/2011 - 2:54pm 39

6 TDs, 3 missed XPs

5 TDs, 2 mised XPs, 2 FGs

5TDs, 1 missed XP, 1 FG, 1 safety... and a partrige in a pear tree.

09/28/2011 - 10:20am Similar data?

Would just using the first 4 games from last year to compare to the first 4 games of this year make any difference? That would throw out Illinois, Ohio, and MSU (and the other MSU). That would be a little more of an apples-to-apples comparison.

Looking at the NCAA stats, through week 4 last year we were the #64 scoring defense, and #93 total defense. This year we are #71 total defense and #13(!) scoring defense.