2018 Week 9 Total Conference Wins Outlook

2018 Week 9 Total Conference Wins Outlook

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 1st, 2018 at 10:10 PM
Now on the heels of Improvement Week, Team 139 can pick up where it left off with its Revenge Tour with renewed vim and vigor. With the prospect of settling the third of four outstanding scores, victory in this case will yield sweet validation, vindication, and vengeance.

B1G Expectations - 2018 Week 8 Total Conference Wins Outlook

B1G Expectations - 2018 Week 8 Total Conference Wins Outlook

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 24th, 2018 at 9:39 PM

B1G Expectations.PNG

2018 Week 8 Total Conference Wins Outlook

"So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise."

- Pip
 (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

B1G Expectations - 2018 Week 7 Total Conference Wins Outlook

B1G Expectations - 2018 Week 7 Total Conference Wins Outlook

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 19th, 2018 at 2:54 PM
At seven weeks into the season and just past the midpoint, we've witnessed the emergence of the capabilities and true character of this Team 139, and the prognosis is good! The love affair between the fanciest of fancy stats, the S&P+, and your ever-lovin' Maize-n-Blue is back on, and it's getting pretty hot and heavy. Indeed, the S&P+ currently holds Michigan in the realm of CFP contender at the #4 position, which is also tops in the B1G. Even ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) is warming up to the Wolverines, putting them at #6, yet still third in the B1G behind the Buckeyes and a two-loss Penn State. Somewhat less smitten, but perhaps more realistic, is the Power Rank, which puts M at #7, between the Buckeyes and Nits, as well as one spot behind the Fig-things. Curiously, both FPI and S&P+ place Notre Dame below Michigan at #9 and #10, respectively. One thing they can all agree on, however, is that Sparty is well in the high teens, with S&P+ putting them at #33. As of now, Penn State is essentially out of contention for the B1G East with two losses in the division to 2 of the 3 other teams that would otherwise have a chance. Michigan can ensure that MSU is even worse off by defeating Sparty on Saturday, the odds of which are in Michigan's favor.

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Ohio State

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Ohio State

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 21st, 2017 at 11:45 PM

Michigan vs. OSU Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis

Introduction

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics or the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

So with that, on with the matchup analysis.

Executive Summary

Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Yelp!

The Five Factors Matchups

Here you have the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics. As of the beginning of this week, the S&P+ margin stands at 10.3 points in favor of the Buckeyes. Of the first four, which are the ones that contribute to the margin prediction, the Buckeyes have an edge in three - including the factor that is weighted most heavily: Efficiency. The other metric (Field Position) is a statistical push. The Wolverines manage save face and avoids sweep by posting a sizeable advantage in Turnover Margin, which alas, is the one factor that is most influenced by luck. Of course, Michigan’s luck this season has been predominantly of the bad variety, so that sounds about right at this point.

Some notable characteristics in this grouping include:

  • OSU has the #1 Offense in Efficiency going against UM’s #1 Defense in the same category, which makes the OSU Offense look about average.
  • OSU is in the top 25 in all categories on offense and defense except offensive Explosiveness (#42) and Turnover Margin (#38).
  • Other than defensive Efficiency, UM is in the top 25 in only offensive & defensive Field Position, and Turnover Margin.
  • The UM Offense is rated lower than the OSU Defense in all metrics, with the most significant disparity being in Efficiency.
  • The UM Defense rates close to even with OSU Offense in Efficiency and Field Position, but is well below the OSU Offense in Explosiveness and Finishing Drives.

Woof!

Rushing Matchups

In going up against Ohio State, Michigan barely manages to avoid a clean sweep by the Buckeyes in the Rushing metrics. While OSU exhibits considerable advantages is most categories including the overall metric, UM’s only net advantage comes in metric that is arguably the least significant of the set: Power Success.

Notable characteristics in this group include:

  • OSU is #2 in both the offensive and defensive overall Rushing S&P+ metrics, while UM is #13 and #11, yielding a significant advantage for OSU in Rushing S&P+.
  • OSU also registers as elite in both offensive and defensive Rushing Success and Opportunity Rates, as well as defensive Adj. Line Yards and offensive Stuff Rate.
  • OSU is top 12 in all else except in the offensive and defensive Explosiveness metrics (#41 and #22, respectively), which are derivative of the Efficiency.
  • Explosiveness is the only metric in which the UM offense is rated above the OSU defense. Alas, the UM defense falls apart in the Explosiveness metric.
  • UM is elite only in defensive Power Success and Stuff Rate.

Woof.

Passing Matchups

Once again, Michigan barely manages to avoid a clean sweep by the Buckeyes, this time in the Passing metrics. While OSU exhibits considerable advantages is most categories including the overall metric, UM’s only net advantage, which is a marginal at best, is in Passing Success Rate.

The continued atrophy of the Michigan passing attack, as well as its pass protection, are manifest in these metrics. That’s not to say that the Buckeye passing attack is particularly robust. This will say it better: OSU QB J.T. Barrett still ranks a pretty solid #1 in the B1G with a 166.3 QBR, #1 in yards, #3 in YPA, #1 in TDs, and only 3 INT’s not thrown to Iowa. As for UM’s QB, “Ask Again Later.”

Notable characteristics from this group include:

  • The OSU Offense is elite in the overall Passing S&P+ and Passing Success Rate. The Michigan Defense is elite in the same metrics, plus Adj. Sack Rate.
  • The UM Offense is rated well below the OSU Defense in all four metrics. 

Woof.

Standard Down Matchups

It seems inevitable that the Wolverines can do little to resist a Buckeye clean sweep of the Standard Down matchups. None of the matchups are even very close. The notables are:

  • The Buckeyes are top 25ish in all offensive and defensive metrics in this group, and are elite in five of the ten, including both the overall offensive and defensive SD S&P+ metrics.
  • The UM Defense is competitive with the OSU Offense overall, as well as in Success Rate and SD LYPC. The UM Defense also has an edge in Sack Rate, but is deficient in Explosiveness.
  • The UM Offense is rated well below the OSU Defense in all metrics in this group.

Woof.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan manages to capture only one of the four base metrics, yet manages to capture – by a vanishingly small margin - the overall PD+ metric! One thing to keep in mind is that a Passing Down metrics are not measures of passing efficacy per se. These metrics are situational, in that they reflect performance in down-and-distance situations that are usually, but not necessarily, approached using passing plays. Clearly, the PD LYPC metric implies a rushing play on a passing down – and this is where UM has often excelled in the past - whereas PD Sack Rate would imply a drop back of some sort (a passing play or play action).

Anyway, the biggest advantage in this group for either team is Michigan’s edge in PD Explosiveness. This would suggest that the Buckeyes are not a significant threat to go deep on passing downs (perhaps this Buckeye team’s only weakness), so these situations may be prime opportunities for Don Brown to press the OSU Offense to get them further behind the chains.

Some other notables are:

  • The OSU Offense and UM Defense are both elite in the overall PD S&P+ metric, which brings the OSU Offense down to a shade below average.
  • The UM Offense and OSU Defense are both top 25 in overall PD S&P+, which brings the UM Offense down to a shade below average.
  • Both the OSU Offense & Defense are about average in PD Sack Rate, while the UM Offense is as bad as the UM Defense is good.

Yelp.

Conclusion

Oh, how I long for the days of seeing matchup charts that are predominantly and overwhelmingly maize-and-blue-colored. The only hope now is that UM pulls a real patsy for whatever mid-tier, late-December, cold-weather, empty-stadium [Your Corporate Trademark Here]-Bowl it gets placed into. Otherwise, the charts may not be much different until next season, I hope?

It would be good if scoring could be kept low, but given this offense, the defense will be fortunate to keep OSU at bay for a half. The intangibles like turnovers, hidden yards, penalties and weather will need to factor significantly in Michigan’s favor to tilt the balance enough to escape with a win. Michigan’s execution will need to be – if not dominating – at least mistake free, while inducing the Buckeyes to be the error-prone combatant.

As with Wisconsin, should Michigan attempt to pass, step one will be to minimize the Buckeye pass rush. In other fancy stats, the Buckeye Defense currently ranks #8 in Overall Havoc (UM is still #2), as well as #1 in DL Havoc. Therefore, failing step one, step two will be to duck before…

It seems like the best option will be more of the same emphasis on the blocky-catchy types and heavy sets – particularly multi-TE/H-backs.

Here’s hoping that:

  • John O’Korn somehow develops enough pocket instincts to stand and deliver, yet also avoid getting hospitalized.
  • Harbaugh has secreted away an entire set of unused and heretofore un-filmed packages featuring variations on waggles, play-actions and mis-directions.

Yet we all know, as the late, great Lou Reed once sang:

You can't depend on no miracle
you can't depend on the air
You can't depend on a wise man
you can't find 'em because they're not there

You can depend on cruelty
crudity of thought and sound
You can depend on the worst always happening
you need a busload of faith to get by, ha!

And so, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis.

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Wisconsin

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Wisconsin

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 16th, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Wisconsin

Introduction

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the previous Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Michigan at Wisconsin Matchup Analysis

So, on with the matchup analysis!

The Five Factors Matchups

Here are the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics that compose the actual S&P+ ratings from which the game scoring margin is derived. As of the beginning of this week, that margin stands at 9.9 points in favor of the Badgers. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the projected scoring margin are not uniform and, a team has control of only the first four. Of those first four, the Badgers have an edge in two, and the other two are a statistical push, including the factor that is weighted most heavily: Efficiency.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is slightly below average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which knocks the UM Offense down to well below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is also well above average, however, the UM Defense remains the elite-est, holding steady at #1 in this category. The net matchup gives a slight advantage to Wisconsin in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is actually above average, but the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is slightly below average, but the UM Defense is well below average, which boosts the Wisconsin Offense to slightly above average. The net matchup gives a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is now well above average following the short-field extravaganza that was the Maryland game, but the Wisconsin Defense is equally good. The matchup, which is the average of the two (not the geometric scaling as with the first two), pulls the UM Offense down to being perfectly average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is above average, which pulls the Wisconsin Offense down to about average as well. The net matchup, is a negligible Field Position edge for Wisconsin.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, the UM Offense is above average, but the Wisconsin Defense is elite (ranked #2). This matchup, also a simple average, knocks the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is above average. The net matchup is a considerable advantage for Wisconsin in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Margin

Michigan has continued to improve in this metric since Brandon Peters took over at QB, but at this point is unlike to turn the corner for the season with its Turnover Luck; whereas Maryland has had more good luck than bad this season. What this means is that Michigan’s actual turnover margin has significantly lagged expected turnover margin based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended). It’s been a similar story for the Badgers thus far, however they are at least on the plus side of the actual turnovers measure. Setting luck aside however and just comparing the statistically-based expected turnover margin, Michigan is actually well above average (ranked #11, up from #16), whereas Wisconsin has not created so many opportunities (ranked #19). The net difference amounts to about 1.3 PPG. Thus, the net matchup is a slight edge for Michigan in Turnover Margin.

Rushing Matchups

In going up against Wisconsin, Michigan almost manages to achieve a clean sweep in the Rushing metrics! Indeed, Michigan captures a net advantage in five of the six Rushing matchups, with the exception being – as you may have guessed – Explosiveness. Most importantly though, Michigan captures the overall metric matchup. Here remains UM’s best path to victory. So with that, on to the Rushing matchups.

Rushing S&P+

The aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Remarkably, even after the erosion of its rushing metrics in the Maryland game, the Michigan Offense is remains well above average (holding at #12); but, the Badgers Defense is aboeve average, which pulls UM down closer to average. On the other side, the Badgers Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks Wisconsin down to well below average. The net result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in the aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, the UM Offense is about average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which drops UM to well below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is top ten (#6, up from #9). The net matchup in the end is still a slight advantage in Rushing Success for Michigan.

Rushing Explosiveness

In Rushing Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, however the Wisconsin Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down a good chunk. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is slightly above average, while the UM Defense is well below average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Wisconsin by a sizeable margin.

Adjusted Line Yards

In Adjusted Line Yards, the UM Offense is top ten, but the Badger Defense is above average, which is a drag on the UM Offense. Meanwhile, the Badger Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is nearly top ten, which knocks the Badger Offense down below average. The net matchup result is sizeable advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Line Yards.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is about average, while the Wisconsin Defense is slightly below average, giving a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense, which takes the Badger Offense down to below average. The net is a slight advantage for Michigan in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, the UM Offense is now top ten, while the Badger defense is well below average, which tweaks the UM Offense even higher. On the other side, the Badger Offense is slightly above average, while the UM Defense remains elite, which sends the Badger Offense down even further. In the end, the matchup balance is a significant advantage for Michigan in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, the UM Offense is above average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well below average, which benefits the UM Offense. The Badger Offense is well above average, while UM Defense is elite. Think “space hogs” like Moe Hurst and Brian Mone. So, in the end, the matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

In stark contrast to the Rushing metrics, the Passing matchups turn out to be a clean sweep by the Badgers. The continued atrophy of the Michigan passing attack is manifest in these metrics. That’s not to say that the Badger passing attack is particularly robust, yet, Badger QB Alex Hornibrook still ranks a solid #2 in the B1G with a 155.6 QBR.

Passing S&P+

The aggregate Passing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which drops the UM Offense into a black hole. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is elite, which drops the Wisconsin Offense a good chunk. In the end, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in overall Passing S&P+.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Wisconsin Defense is elite, which drops the UM Offense into a black hole once again. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is the elite-est (maintaining its #1 status in this metric), which drops the the Badger Offense a good chunk. The net is still a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the average UM Offense is pulled down by the well above average Wisconsin Defense. On the other side, the above average Badger Offense is boosted by the below average UM Defense. Thus, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Passing IsoPPP.

Adjusted Sack Rate

Adjusted Sack Rate is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. However, it is not a contra-metric as is typical with the other Sack Rate metrics. You can blame Bill Connelly…

The UM Offense is bottom ten, and to make matters worse, the Badger Defense is top ten, which obliterates the UM Offense into nothingness. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well below average, while the UM Defense is elite, which pummels the Wisconsin Offense mercilessly. In the end, the net matchup result still looks like a considerable advantage for Wisconsin in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Standard Down Matchups

Wisconsin captures 2 of the 4 Standard Down matchups as well as a slight edge in the overall matchup with Michigan. The Wolverines’ maintain an edge in SD Line Yards per Carry, which speaks to the efficacy of its gap-blocking power run game on offense; and the big bodies of Hurst and Mone that eat double-teams on defense and free Khaleke Hudson or Devin Bush to fly to the ball carrier.

Standard Down S&P+

The aggregate Standard Down S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which knocks  UM Offense down a chunk. On the other side, the Badger Offense is also above average, but UM Defense is nearly top ten, which pulls the Badger Offense down a chunk. The net matchup result is a marginal advantage for Wisconsin in overall Standard Down S&P+.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, the UM Offense is slightly below average, but the Badger Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down. On the other side, the Badger Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is elite (ranked #2, back up from #5), making the Badger Offense also look well below average. The net matchup result ends up being a negligible edge for Michigan in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness (IsoPPP)

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense is about average, but the Badger Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down. On the other side, the Badger Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is well below average, giving the Badger Offense a tweak. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense remains above average, while the Badger Defense is slightly above average, which is a drag on the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is top ten, dragging the Badger Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in SD Line Yards per Carry.

SD Sack Rate

In SD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is well above average, which could not be much worse for the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is not so hot, while the UM Defense has managed to retain its elite ways (ranked #4, down from #2). In the end, the net matchup result is still a slight advantage for Wisconsin in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan manages to capture only one of the three base metrics, yet manages to capture the overall PD+ metric. One thing to keep in mind is that a Passing Down metrics are not measures of passing efficacy per se. These metrics are situational, in that they reflect performance in down-and-distance situations that are usually, but not necessarily, approached using passing plays. Clearly, the PD LYPC metric implies a rushing play on a passing down – and this is where UM excels - whereas PD Sack Rate would imply a drop back of some sort (a passing play or play action). Although some marginal improvement may have been seen in the Maryland game, the sample size was decidely small, and so drop backs are still a risky thing with this UM Offense. As Woody Hayes once said, “There are only three [sic] things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad.” He wasn’t even including a potential sack in that cogent synopsis, since sacks counted as runs in those olden times.

Passing Down S&P+

The aggregate Passing Down S&P+ metric is an un-inverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here the UM Offense is surprisingly well above average, while the Badger Defense is above average, which knocks the UM Offense down a bit. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is nearly top ten, but the UM Defense is elite (climbing back to #2 in this overall metric), which sends the Badger Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in Passing Down S&P+.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which drops the UM Offense to below average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is also top ten, but the UM Defense is the elite-est (climbing back to #1 from #3), which also drops the Badger Offense to below average. The net matchup result is a slight advantage for Wisconsin in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), the UM Offense is well above average, but the Badger Defense is as well, which pulls the UM Offense lower than average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense , which in turn pulls the Badger Offense down to about average. The net matchup result ends up as a marginal advantage for Wisconsin in PD Explosiveness.

PD Line Yards per Carry

In PD Line Yards per Carry (LYPC), the UM Offense is well above average, while the Badger Defense is above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to about average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense, which knocks the Badger Offense down below average. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in PD LYPC.

PD Sack Rate

In PD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), as everyone should know by now, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is well above average, which pushes the UM Offense sack rate over 1 in 6. On the other side, the Badger Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is top ten, which degrades Badger  Offense to about 1 in 10. Still, the net matchup result is a significant advantage for Wisconsin in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

Well, it was fun while it lasted, but the days of seeing matchup charts that are predominantly and overwhelmingly maize-and-blue-colored has come to an end.

The efficiency and success rate matchups alone suggests we can expect to witness a slobber-knocking sludge-fart of a game. Scoring will be low, and the intangibles like turnovers, hidden yards, penalties and weather may factor significantly in the outcome. That said, execution will be critical to avoid the adverse effects of such elements of this game we call Football in general, and Big Ten Football in particular.

So how can Michigan sneak out of Mad-town with a victory? The LYPC advantages for Michigan are largely attributable to the power and gap-blocking schemes in its rushing offense. If UM chooses to reverts to zone-blocking as it did against Maryland, this advantage will be lost, as evidenced by the chart. Michigan has the bodies and the proficiency to make this work. The uptick in OL performance actually began with the MSU game, and the trend in LYPC (as Mathlete pointed out a couple weeks back IIRC on the podcast?) is steady and consistent … until Maryland, when zone-blocking was for some inexplicable reason given a new emphasis. Phooey on that. UM needs to stick with its Power, Iso’s and Counters.

Should Michigan attempt to pass, step one will be to minimize the Badger pass rush. In other fancy stats, the Badger Defense currently ranks #1 in Overall Havoc (UM is #2), as well as #1 in LB Havoc, #1 DB Havoc and #1 in PD to INC. It also ranks #3 in regular old sacks. Therefore, failing step one, steps two and three will be…

So, this might suggest more of the same of what was seen in the Maryland game. An emphasis on the blocky-catchy types and heavy sets – particularly multi-TE/H-backs - and the tackle-over has worked on occasion as well. These sorts of things could be effective to keep the Badger defense guessing as to who’s blocking or running a route. Also, continued use of the waggle, with its pulling protection, may work as far as keeping Peters clean while buying time to take a shot or two downfield - preferably on first down or second-and-short situation. This also might also be a good time to resurrect that shovel pass UM ran once at IU that got whistled before it went anywhere. Let’s not forget the mesh, either, should UM persuade the safeties to back off. It’s high time to run a couple or three of those.

So, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis!

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Maryland

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Maryland

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 8th, 2017 at 11:00 PM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Maryland

Introduction

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the previous Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Michigan at Maryland Matchup Analysis

So, on with the matchup analysis!

The Five Factors Matchups

Here are the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics that compose the actual S&P+ ratings from which the game scoring margin is derived. As of the beginning of this week, that margin stands at 10.4 points in favor of Michigan. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the projected scoring margin are not uniform and, a team has control of only the first four. Of those first four, UM has an advantage in two, and Maryland holds an edge in two. However, the factor that is weighted most is Efficiency, and that is the factor in which Michigan hold the greatest advantage.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is below average, while the Maryland Defense is well below average, which gives the UM Offense a bit of a boost. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is also well below average, while the UM Defense remains the elite-est, moving back up to #1 in this category. The net matchup gives a significant advantage to Michigan in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is actually above average, but the Maryland Defense is well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is also well below average, which boosts the Maryland Offense even higher. Explosiveness is really the story for this Maryland team, both in creating them on on offense, while mitigating them on defense. The net matchup gives a sizeable advantage for Maryland in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is about average, while the Maryland Defense is above average. The matchup, which is the average of the two (not the geometric scaling as with the first two), pulls the UM Offense down to slightly below average. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is just above average, which boosts up the Maryland Offense. The net matchup, is a slight Field Position edge for Maryland.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, the UM Offense is about average, while the Maryland Defense is well below average. This matchup, also a simple average, gives a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is above average, while the UM Defense is about average. The net matchup is a slight advantage for Michigan in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Margin

Michigan has improved, but has yet to turn the corner with its Turnover Luck; whereas Maryland has had more good luck than bad this season. What this means is that Michigan’s actual turnover margin has significantly lagged expected turnover margin based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended), and it’s been just the opposite for Maryland thus far. Setting luck aside however and just comparing the statistically-based expected turnover margin, Michigan is actually well above average (ranked #16), whereas Maryland has not created so many opportunities (ranked #33). The net difference amounts to about 1.9 PPG. Thus, the net matchup is a sizeable edge for Michigan in Turnover Margin.

Rushing Matchups

In going up against Maryland, Michigan almost manages to achieve a clean sweep. Indeed, Michigan captures a net advantage in five of the six Rushing matchups, with the exception being – as you may have guessed – Explosiveness. Most importantly though, Michigan captures the overall metric matchup. Here again is born UM’s best path to victory. So with that, on to the Rushing matchups.

Rushing S&P+

The aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Remarkably, some way, the Michigan Offense is well above average (at #12, up from #21); but, the UMd Defense is about average, which leaves UM about the same. On the other side, the UMd Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks Maryland down to well below average. The net result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in the aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, the UM Offense is about average, while the Maryland Defense is below average, which boosts UM slightly. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is well below average, but the UM Defense is top ten (#9, down from #8). The net matchup in the end is still a sizeable advantage in Rushing Success for Michigan.

Rushing Explosiveness

In Rushing Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, however the Maryland Defense is also well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down a good chunk. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is also well above average, while the UM Defense is well below average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Maryland by a sizeable margin.

Adjusted Line Yards

In Adjusted Line Yards, the UM Offense is well above average, while the UMd Defense is below average, which gives a slight boost to the UM Offense. Meanwhile, the UMd Offense is about average and the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks the UMd Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is considerable advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Line Yards.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is about average, while the Maryland Defense is below average, giving a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the UMd Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is well above average, which takes the UMd Offense down a chunk. The net is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, the UM Offense is now well above average, while the UMd defense is well below average, which gives the UM Offense a tweak. On the other side, the UMd Offense is approaching rock bottom, while the UM Defense remains the elite-est, which sends the UMd Offense down even further. In the end, the matchup balance is a tremendous advantage for Michigan in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, the UM Offense has improved and is now above average, while the UMd Defense is well below average, which benefits the UM Offense. The UMd Offense is well below average, while UM Defense is elite. Think “space hogs” like Moe Hurst, with some Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich sprinkled in. So, in the end, the matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

The Passing matchups are technically a mixed bag with Michigan capturing 2 of the 3 metrics, but the aggregate metric is well in Michigan’s favor. If there is to be any game this season in which Brandon Peters’ wings are to be completely unfurled and allowed to catch some air, it’s against this team.

Passing S&P+

The aggregate Passing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is below average, but the UMd Defense is just as bad, which pushes the UM Offense up to about average. On the other side, the UMd Offense is slightly above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which pushes the UMd Offense to well below average. In the end, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in overall Passing S&P+.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, but the UMd Defense is just as bad, which pushes the UM Offense up to about average. On the other side, the UMd Offense is also just as bad, but the UM Defense is the elite-est (returning to #1 in this metric). The scuttlebutt is that the UMd Offense is obliterated into nothingness. The net is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the average UM Offense is pulled down by the well above average UMd Defense. On the other side, the well above average UMd Offense is boosted by the below average UM Defense. Thus, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Maryland in Passing IsoPPP.

Adjusted Sack Rate

Adjusted Sack Rate is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. However, it is not a contra-metric as is typical with the other Sack Rate metrics. You can blame Bill Connelly…

The UM Offense is bottom ten, but fortunately, the UMd Defense is nearly as bad (with only 13 non-garbage time sacks on the season), which makes the UM Offense look not so bad. On the other side, the Maryland Offense is well below average (giving up 24 non-garbage time sacks), while the UM Defense is elite, which pummels the Maryland Defense mercilessly. In the end, the net matchup result looks like a significant advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Standard Down Matchups

Michigan captures 3 of the 4 Standard Down matchups as well as the overall matchup with Maryland, with UMd’s only advantage of course coming in SD IsoPPP. It’s been noted before but is worth repeating that UM’s defensive scheme under Harbaugh, and under Don Brown in particular, is typically weak in the Explosiveness metric - these results are no different - and it’s not a bad thing. What’s important is that it is usually offset by a strong Success Rate metric, which is born out in these results as well.

Standard Down S&P+

The aggregate Standard Down S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the UMd Defense is slightly below average, which gives the UM Offense a tweak. On the other side, the UMd Offense is also above average, but UM Defense is significantly above average, which pulls the UMd Offense down below average. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in overall Standard Down S&P+.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, but the UMd Defense is just as bad, which boosts the UM Offense to about average. On the other side, the UMd Offense is well below average, and the UM Defense is elite (ranked #5, down from #3), making the UMd Offense also look well below average. The net matchup result ends up being a considerable advantage for Michigan in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness (IsoPPP)

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense has improved to slightly above average, but the UMd Defense is well above average, which pulls the UM Offense back down. On the other side, the UMd Offense is also well above average, while the UM Defense is well below average, giving the UMd Offense a nice boost. The net matchup result is a considerable advantage for Maryland in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense has improved to above average, and the UMd Defense is well below average, which further benefits the UM Offense. On the other side, the UMd Offense is near rock bottom, while the UM Defense is top ten, pulling the UMd Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in SD Line Yards per Carry.

SD Sack Rate

In SD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), the UM Offense is well below average, while the UMd Defense is about average, which leaves the UM Offense unperturbed. On the other side, the UMd Offense is well below average, while the UM Defense is back to its elite ways (ranked #2, up from #7). In the end, the net matchup result is still a considerable advantage for Michigan in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan manages to make a clean sweep of all the metrics, with the net result being a significant advantage for Michigan. One thing to keep in mind is that a Passing Down metrics are not measures of passing efficacy. These metrics are situational, in that they reflect performance in down-and-distance situations that are usually, but not necessarily, attacked with passing plays. Clearly, the PD LYPC metric implies a rushing play on a passing down, whereas PD Sack Rate would imply a passing play.

Passing Down S&P+

The aggregate Passing Down S&P+ metric is an un-inverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here the UM Offense has advanced to a level that is surprisingly well above average, while the UMd Defense is below average, which boosts the UM Offense even further. On the other side, where the UMd Offense is slightly above average while the UM Defense is elite (slipping to #3 in this overall metric), which sends the UMd Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in Passing Down S&P+.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense has moved up to slightly above average, while the UMd Defense is below average, which boosts the UM Offense up even further. On the other side, the UMd Offense is also well below average, while the UM Defense is elite (holding steady at #3), which sends the UMd Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), the UM Offense has improved to be well above average, while the UMd Defense is above average, which erodes the UM Offense somewhat. On the other side, the UMd Offense is slightly above average, but the UM Defense has improved to be above average, which pulls the UMd Offense down slightly. The net matchup result ends up as a slight advantage for Michigan in PD Explosiveness. This is the only Explosiveness category that Maryland does not have an advantage.

PD Line Yards per Carry

In PD Line Yards per Carry (LYPC), the UM Offense is now well above average, while the UMd Defense is below average, which tweaks the UM Offense up slightly. On the other side, the UMd Offense is perfectly average, and the UM Defense is well above average, which knocks the UMd Offense down a chunk. The net matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in PD LYPC.

PD Sack Rate

In PD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), as everyone should know by now, the UM Offense is well below average, but the UMd Defense is even worse, which helps the UM Offense considerably. On the other side, however, the UMd Offense is well below average, while the UM Defense is elite, which degrades UMd beyond all reality. ThE net matchup result is a tremendous advantage for Michigan in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

It’s been fun while it lasted, but the days of seeing matchup charts that are predominantly and overwhelmingly maize-and-blue-colored may be coming to an end. That said, this Team 138 has still made significant progress metrics-wise in recent weeks, most noticeably on the offensive side of the ball, including even the Penn State game. One might argue that the level of competition has something to do with it the past two weeks, but the metrics now are opponent adjusted, so there’s that. Clearly, there is still a great deal of room for improvement. This Maryland matchup is going to be the last and best opportunity for an offensive tune-up, particularly in regard to the passing game. The metrics suggest the most benign of all possible pass-rush environments, which may finally enable Brandon Peters to stand in the pocket long enough to make accurate downfield passes. Of course, that also depends on receivers being able to get open, but at least Peters appears to have some inkling of ability to throw a receiver open. This really needs to be done at some point if for no other reason than to get it on film - for those who will be viewing it in the next couple of weeks – and demonstrate that a downfield threat exists, and needs to be respected. Nonetheless, Michigan would be remiss to not move forward with continued emphasis on the rushing attack. Just seeing how tantalizingly close the Wolverines got to having two 200-yard rushers in one game for the first time in history on Saturday makes the progress this team has made all the more impressive. There really is no reason why reaching that milestone should not be a goal for this game with Maryland.

On the other side, once again, Michigan’s Defense can reasonably expect to shut down the Maryland Offense for the most part. Nonetheless, Maryland’s explosive tendencies will always be lurking about throughout the 60 minute game. If nothing else, those tendencies (and Michigan’s) may well enable Maryland to avoid a shutout.

So, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis!

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan vs. Rutgers

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan vs. Rutgers

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 27th, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan vs. Rutgers

Introduction

Woohoo, here we go! It’s the Advanced Stats (S&P+) Matchup for Michigan’s re-emergent rivalry with Rutgers!

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the previous Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Michigan at Rutgers Matchup Analysis

So, on with the matchup analysis!

The Five Factors Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_5factors_matchup.png

Here are the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics that compose the actual S&P+ ratings from which the game scoring margin is derived. As of the beginning of this week, that margin stands at 13.4 points in favor of Michigan. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the projected scoring margin are not uniform and, a team has control of only the first four. Of those first four, UM has an advantage in three (two of which are narrow). Rutgers holds a narrow edge in the fourth.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Rutgers Defense is about average, which pushes the UM Offense down a bit more. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is below average, while the UM Defense remains elite, but has slid down to #2 in this category. The net matchup gives a considerable advantage to Michigan in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is about average, but the Rutgers Defense is above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is nearly rock bottom, but the UM Defense is also well below average, which boosts the Rutgers Offense a bit. The net matchup gives slight advantage for Michigan in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is about average, while the Rutgers Defense is above average. The matchup, which is the average of the two (not the geometric scaling as with the first two), pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is only average, which boosts up the Rutgers Offense. The net matchup, however, is a slight Field Position edge for Rutgers.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, the UM Offense is below average, but the Rutgers Defense about the same. This matchup, also a simple average, gives a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is about average. The net matchup is a slight advantage for Michigan in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Margin

Both teams have a history so far this season of having poor Turnover Luck. What this means is that both Rutgers and Michigan’s actual turnover margin has significantly lagged expected turnover margin based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended), with Rutgers’ luck being just a shade better than Michigan’s sorry luck. Setting luck aside however and just comparing the statistically-based expected turnover margins, Michigan is actually well above average (ranke #9), however Rutgers, not unlike Penn State, is elite (ranked #3!). The net difference amounts to about 1.7 PPG. Thus, the net matchup is a sizeable edge for Rutgers in Turnover Margin.

Rushing Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_Rushing_matchup.png

In going up against Rutgers at least, UM manages to almost achieve a clean sweep. Indeed, Michigan captures a net advantage in five of the six Rushing matchups, in addition to the overall metric matchup. Here again is born Michigan’s best path to victory. So with that, on to the Rushing matchups.

Rushing S&P+

The aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Somehow, some way, the Michigan Offense is well above average; but, the RU Defense is also above average, which pulls UM down a bit. On the other side, the RU Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks Rutgers down to well below average. The net result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Rushing S&P+.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, the UM Offense is well below average, while Rutgers Defense is closer to average, which pushes UM downward. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is close to average, but the UM Defense is top ten (#8, down from #3). The net matchup in the end is still a sizeable advantage in Rushing Success for Michigan.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is above average, however the Rutgers Defense is actually well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down a good chunk. On the other side, the Rutgers Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is well below average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Rutgers by a sizeable margin.

Adjusted Line Yards

In Adjusted Line Yards, the UM Offense is well above average, and the RU Defense is a shade above average, which shaves a bit off the UM Offense. Meanwhile, the RU Offense is about average and the UM Defense is also well above average, which knocks the RU Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is considerable advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Line Yards.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is below average, while the Rutgers Defense is about average, leaving the UM Offense about the same. On the other side, the RU Offense is below average and the UM Defense is well above average, which takes the RU Offense down even further. The net is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, the UM Offense is above average, yet the RU defense is also above average, which takes the UM Offense down to about average. On the other side, the RU Offense is approaching rock bottom, while the UM Defense is the elitist - ranked #1 in this metric – which sends the RU Offense down even further. In the end, the matchup balance is a tremendous advantage for Michigan in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, both offenses are close to average. The difference is in the defenses: the RU Defense is below average, while UM Defense is top ten. Think “space hogs” like Moe Hurst, with some Brian Mone sprinkled in. So, in the end, the matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_Passing_matchup.png

The Passing matchups are technically a mixed bag, but the net is well in Michigan’s favor.

Passing S&P+

The aggregate Passing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is below average, while the RU Defense is top ten, which pushes the UM Offense to well below average. On the other side, the RU Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is the elitest (ranked #1 in this metric), which pushes the RU Offense to well below average. In the end, the net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in overall Passing S&P+.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, OK? Also, the RU Defense is above average, OK? OK, so that takes the UM Offense down a notch further. No worries. Not a big deal. The reason is because, the RU Offense is even more below average, and the UM Defense is elite (ranked #2, down from #1, in this metric). The scuttlebutt is that the RU Offense is obliterated into nothingness. The net is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the perfectly average UM Offense is unperturbed by the comparably average RU Defense. On the other side, the rock-bottom RU Offense is boosted by the well below average UM Defense, but to no avail. The net matchup result is still a sizeable advantage for Rutgers in Passing IsoPPP.

Adjusted Sack Rate

Adjusted Sack Rate is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. However, it is not a contra-metric as is typical with the other Sack Rate metrics. You can blame Bill Connelly…

Here is where Rutgers strengths are manifest. The UM Offense is bottom ten, and fortunately, the RU Defense is even worse, which makes the UM Offense look above average. Yet, on the other side, the Rutgers Offense is top ten, and even though the UM Defense is well above average, it still leaves Rutgers at a very high level. In the end, the net matchup result looks like a significant advantage for Rutgers in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Standard Down Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_SD_matchup.png

Michigan captures 3 of the 4 Standard Down matchups as well as the overall matchup with Rutgers, with RU’s only advantage coming in SD Sack Rate, and a tie in Explosiveness. It’s been noted before but is worth repeating that UM’s defensive scheme under Harbaugh, and under Don Brown in particular, is typically weak in the Explosiveness metric - these results are no different - and it’s not a bad thing. What’s important is that it is usually offset by a strong Success Rate metric, which is born out in these results as well.

Standard Down S&P+

The aggregate Standard Down S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense has improved and is now above average, while the RU Defense is about average, which leaves the UM Offense unchanged. On the other side, the RU Offense is also below average, while UM Defense is significantly above average, which pulls the RU Offense toward rock bottom. The net matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in overall Standard Down S&P+.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, but the RU Defense is below average, which gives the UM Offense a slight tweak. On the other side, the RU Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is elite (ranked #3, down from #2), making the RU Offense also look well below average. The net matchup result ends up being a sizeable advantage for Michigan in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness (IsoPPP)

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense remains well below average, while the RU Defense is slightly above average, which pulls the UM Offense lower still. On the other side, the RU Offense is rock-bottom-the-worst, while the UM Defense is only a few shades better, giving the RU Offense a tweak upward. The net matchup result is a push in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense is slightly below average, and the RU Defense is well below average, which improves the UM Offense. On the other side, the RU Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is elite (ranked #4, down from #3), pulling the RU Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in SD Line Yards per Carry.

SD Sack Rate

In SD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), the UM Offense is well below average, but the RU Defense is even wose, which improves the UM Offense effective Sack Rate. On the other side, the RU Offense is actually top ten, but the UM Defense is as well (ranked #7, down from #3), to the detriment of the RU Offense. In the end, the net matchup result is still a sizeable advantage for Rutgers in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

2017w09_Mich_Rutg_PD_matchup.png

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan captures 3 of the 4 matchups as well as the overall matchup, with the net result being a significant advantage for Michigan. However, what remains to be cause for concern in these matchups is pass protection, something that RU excels at on Defense and simply avoids by not passing at all on Offense.

Passing Down S&P+

The aggregate Passing Down S&P+ metric is an un-inverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here the UM Offense has dropped to the point of being perfectly average, while the RU Defense is above average, which drops the UM Offense to below average. On the other side, where the RU Offense is well below average while the UM Defense is elite (moving up to #2 in this overall metric), which sends the RU Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in Passing Down S&P+.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense has dropped to well below average, while the RU Defense is above average, which pushes the UM Offense down even further. On the other side, the RU Offense is also well below average, while the UM Defense is elite (up to #2 from #3), which sends the RU Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), the UM Offense is about average, while the RU Defense is slightly below average, which leaves the UM Offense about the same. On the other side, the RU Offense is near rock bottom, but the UM Defense is below average, which tweaks the RU Offense upward. The net matchup result is still a sizeable advantage for Michigan in PD Explosiveness.

PD Line Yards per Carry

In PD Line Yards per Carry (LYPC), the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the RU Defense is about average, which leaves the UM Offense unperturbed. On the other side, the RU Offense is near rock bottom, and the UM Defense is well above average, which sends the RU Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a significant advantage for Michigan in PD LYPC.

PD Sack Rate

In PD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), as everyone should know by now, the UM Offense is well below average, but the RU Defense is slightly worse, which helps the UM Offense considerably. On the other side, however, the RU Offense is nearly top ten, while the UM Defense is above average, which degrades RU a bit. However, the net matchup result is still a significant advantage for Rutgers in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

After the throttling that took place last week at the hands of the Nittany Lions, it’s good to finally see some matchups that are, if not entirely maize-n-blue-colored, at least predominantly so. Overall, UM has the advantage in all the categories of metrics, and the majority of the sub-metrics. Some of this shift is attributable to some noticeable improvements in offensive metrics, but most of the shift is attributable to a change in the level of competition. Happy Homecoming, yo!

Michigan’s Defense can reasonably expect to shut down the RU Offense, and absent any field-flipping catastrophes, should reasonably expect to shut them out. On the other side, Michigan will still need to be wary of its pass protection going up against this Rutgers DL that is anchored by standout Sebastian Joseph at the Nose. Even passing on standard downs could prove hazardous against the RU front, so Michigan’s running backs had better be ready to set their blocks when it comes time to run play action. That said, it would be reasonable to expect Michigan to stick to running the ball as much as possible - which should prove effective – and take control of this game by possessing the ball and running down the clock. Passes may come, but they will be few and far between, and would be more likely to come on first down, or 2nd and short, and be in the form of shots down the field as opposed to chain-moving high-percentage passes, only because high-percentage passes are a bit of a misnomer for this Michigan offense.

So, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis!

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 6 Total Conference Wins Update

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 6 Total Conference Wins Update

Submitted by Ecky Pting on October 13th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Big_Ten_Conference_logo.png Expectations

“Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”

- Pip     
  (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

Spin Up

At six weeks into the season now, the midpoint is upon us. The time for the true nature of the combatants to emerge is nigh. The quality of competition continues to ratchet up, and the schedule grants no quarter to those who may seek pause to collect themselves, to make … improvements. Such opportunities have come to pass, ignominiously. Suddenly, this Team 138 finds itself at a crossroads. All of its goals still remain ahead, yet the prospects for achieving them have taken an alarming hit, with the margin for error now approaching zero, with a new dependence on the the failure of the one who shall not be named. Now is the time when this Team 138 finds its character … and goddamit, it’d better be one with some serious Steel in the Spine!

Schedules, Spreads & Win Probabilities

So, with that, it’s on to the analysis here, which now focusses on the all-important in-conference slate, so as to make a closer examination of the prospects for the teams to make it to the B1GCG in Indy the first Saturday of December.

B1G East Schedule Rundown

The tables of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the ratings following week 6. The last table in each set simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their  expected in-conference win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.

S&P+ Results

The confidence with which the Buckeyes expect to reclaim the B1GE title continues to grow week-by-week. For the first in over a month, its expected conference win total exceeds 8 wins. Although, the Buckeyes’ lead over the Nits has narrowed to 0.8 wins. Such are the spoils of the Wolverines’ loss to MSU, who have relinquished its 3rd placed position to Sparty. Sparty now stands at close to 6.0 B1G wins (up from 4.7 last week), while the Wolverines have dropped to 5.2 B1G wins. In the aggregate, OSU remains favored in all of its remaining games, the smallest margin being 9.3 points when they visit Ann Arbor. The other contenders (and the definition of the term is being stretched here) – PSU, MSU and UM – remain underdogs, respectively, in one, two and three games apiece. PSU is a double-digit dog to OSU, whereas all of M’s deficit margins are by less than double-digits score, so there’s that.

Looking ahead, S&P+ shows Michigan favored by just over 6.5 points in its next game vs. the Hoosiers, for a win likelihood of 67%, or about 1:2 odds.

Two others – Indiana and Maryland – are maintaining the bubble of bowl eligibility and claim the middle ground of the B1GE. The Hoosiers, who added a late season OOC game to make up for the one that got cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, vanquished Charleston Southern and raised its expectations 3.6 B1G wins.The Terps lag Sparty by another 2.0 B1G wins, and are on the outside trying to get back in after being pummeled by the Buckeyes.   It could not be much worse for LOLRutgerz, who are underdogs in all of its remaining games.

 

FPI Results

The disparity between the S&P+ and FPI results appears to have narrowed this time around. FPI also has Ohio State favored by more than one score in all its remaining games, and leads the B1GE with 8.3 expected conference wins, and a similar margin of 0.8 expected wins over next-best PSU. The FPI results still show Michigan hanging in there at third-best, but lagging PSU by a whopping 2.8 margin at 4.8 expected wins. Penn State has only one game with deficit margin: at OSU by just over 9 points. The Wolverines, meanwhile, have a deficit margin in 3 games (PSU, Wisconsin & OSU), all in 10 to 12 point range.

Looking ahead, FP has Michigan favored by 6.5 points (nearly identical to the S&P+ margin) in its next game vs. the Hoosiers, for a win likelihood of 67%, or about 1:2 odds.

Suffice it to say at this point, UM is firmly ensconced among the other teams in the middle tier, many of whom are on the verge of bowl-eligibility. MSU, Maryland and Indiana are all within a margin 1.2 expected wins. FPI concurs that LOLRutgerz can be left for dead.

 

Power Rank Results

The Power Rank has taken a tack that mixes things up a good bit, coming out with Penn State on top of the B1G East at 7.6 expected conference wins, yet PSU remains an underdog in one game, at OSU, by about 1 point. The Buckeyes still trail the Nits by about 0.4 expected wins, but OSU is still favored to win out, albeit by the thinnest of margins (including by only 1.4 points at Kinnick Stadium, and 3 points at the Big House). Things could get interesting. PR puts the Buckeyes at only 7.2 expected B1G wins, with Sparty lagging another 1.4 expected wins behind. UM, now in the four-spot, is riding bitch in the B1GE at about 5.0 expected conference wins. So, the three-maybe-four contenders are within 2.6 expected wins of each other, with half the season remaining, more or less.

Looking ahead, Michigan is favored by just under 5 points in its next game vs. the Hoosiers, for a win likelihood of 63%, or about 3:5 odds.

A narrower range of 2.3 wins extends from UM to next-to-last place Indiana. The Hoosiers, at 3.5 expected B1G wins, are sitting on the bubble boundary for bowl eligibility. If it can manage to steal one of its next four games in which its less than a double-digit dog and close with a win over the Boilers, the Hoosiers will likely be bowl-bound.

B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected total conference wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last multiline plot (bottom right) is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.

S&P+ Results

The S&P+ distributions for conference wins now shows a growing separation not only among the three or four contenders at the top, but for the entire division all the way down to lowly LOLRutgerz. OSU maintains its position 8-win mode, however, PSU has also popped up for a share of it. The difference is that OSU leans strongly toward winning out, while PSU still has a significant lean toward a 7-win mode. Now third-best, MSU has grabbed sole possession of the 6-win mode, leaving Michigan behind in a balanced, 5-win mode. As of now, the likelihood of the Buckeyes going undefeated in the B1G has increased to over 40.0%. The likelihood of PSU running the table stands at just of 9%.

As for the others, the Hoosiers have also popped up to grab the 4-win mode, separating themselves from the Terps who still occupy the 3-win mode. Meanwhile, S&P+ woe begotten LOLRutgerz is peaking at the 2-win mode leaning toward the worse.

FPI Results

As expected, the FPI results show a broader separation at the top. OSU, the #2 team in all the land, has pressed its lead to the limit, and its distribution now exhibits an 9-win mode, but still with a lean toward 8 wins. Right behind OSU is PSU occupying the 8-win mode. From that point, a 3-game separation follows before picking up Michigan and Sparty, who both exhibit 5-win modes. OSU registers a better than 44% chance of winning out. PSU’s chance of going undefeated ticked up slightly to nearly 14%. From there, the next closest teams (Indiana and Maryland) have nearly identical distributions with 4-win modes with strong leans toward 3 wins.

Power Rank Results

As noted above, the Power Rank continues to predict the tightest race of the three ratings in the B1GE. The difference is that here PSU claims the highest mode of 8 expected B1G wins. Close on the Nits’ heels are the Buckeyes with a 7-win mode leaning strongly toward 8 wins. Back one notch from there is Sparty, balanced on a 6-win mode, and likewise Michigan is balanced on a 5-win mode. PR show PSU with a slightly better than 17% chance of winning out, followed by OSU at just over 10%. Maryland has sole occupancy of the 4-win mode, followed closely by the Hoosiers nearly split between the 3-win and 4-win modes.

B1G West Schedule Rundown

The next two tables of schedules shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G West based on S&P+ and FPI week 1 results. Again, the last table in each figure simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their  expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings per se.

S&P+ Results

No big news in the B1G West. The S&P+ results still show the Badgers’ more than 3 expected wins ahead of next-best … Purdue? That’s what passes for excitement in the B1GW these days. The Badgers are in a sense in contention with only themselves for the B1GW title. The Badgers are the only team in the West – in the entire Big Ten, even - expected to win all of its games, with its toughest matchup still expected to be when Michigan comes to Camp Randall. Michigan remains the only Wisconsin opponent that is less than a one-score underdog. At that point, of course, the Badgers should have already locked up its bid to Indy. Anyway, the only notable change is an expansion of the Badgers margin by a half win to 3.3 expected wins over the Boilers. An invitation to the B1GCG in Indy seems nearly a foregone conclusion for Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, Purdue, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota are all within 1.6 expected B1G wins of each other. Purdue as mentioned has percolated to the top of the bubble after Nebraska getting pummeled by the Badgers. Further coalescence in the middle of the B1GW can be anticipated.

To summarize, here are the final B1G standings as projected by S&P+:

2017w06_SP_Expected_Standings

FPI Results

The FPI results for the B1G West show the Badgers with and even wider lead than does S&P+, now at cool 8.0 expected B1G wins. With a margin now in excess of 3.6 wins over next-best Northwestern (who it has already beaten) at 4.4 expected wins, the Badgers only risk may be stooping getting down on its hands-and-knees prostrating itself to the level of its competition. As with S&P+, FPI expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts Michigan, yet even then the Badgers are favored by nearly 10 points. As for the second tier, less than 1.2 expected wins separate the middle five teams in the B1GW.

To summarize, here are the final B1G standings as projected by FPI:

2017w06_FPI_Expected_Standings

Power Rank Results

Like in the B1G East, the Power Rank results for the B1G West show a much tighter and more competitive race to Indy. PR shows the Badgers at the top, with 7.2 expected B1G wins. Wisconsin’s lead over next-best Iowa has expanded to a margin of 2.2 expected wins. Contrary to the other ratings, PR expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts division rival Iowa, with a margin of just over a field goal. The Boilers and Huskers both lag the Hawkeyes by about 1.1 wins at 3.8 expected B1G wins, with the ‘Cats just another 0.2 further back. PR’s love for the Boilers continues to grow.

To summarize, here are the final B1G standings as projected by the Power Rank:

2017w06_PR_Expected_Standings

B1G West Expected Conference Wins Distributions

S&P+ Results

The S&P+ chart shows the expanding void between the Badgers and the morass that is the remainder of the B1G West. The Badgers are firmly ensconced in a balanced 8-win mode. As such, Wisconsin is the only team in the B1GW with any prospect for going undefeated, which now stands at just over 28%.

Purdue is now next-best, and claims sole possession of the 5-win mode, but leaning heavily back toward 4 wins. The next four teams are clustered between the 4-win and 3-win modes, not the least of whom is Nebraska – but that may change this week after OSU hangs another half-a-hundred on the Huskers. Dropping out of the bottom is of course, Illinois, standing alone the 1-win mode.

FPI Results

FPI tells a similar story as S&P+ as to the Badgers’ separation from the rest of the B1GW. The Badgers are holding steady in an 8-win mode, with a strong lean toward going undefeated. It has the best and only prospect for going undefeated in the B1GW, at just over 33% (about 11 points less than OSU). The next-best is Northwestern, who shares a 4-win mode with Purdue, Nebraska and Iowa, but leans strongly toward 5 wins. On the lower side of that jumble in the middle is Minnesota, popping out in a 3-win mode. FPI shows the Illini sinking toward rock bottom with a 1-win mode, worse than even LOLRutgerz.

Power Rank Results

Trying to make things at least a little interesting as noted earlier, the Power Rank predicts a slightly more competitive B1GW race. PR has the Badgers in a 7-win mode, but now leaning strongly toward 8 wins. The door is beginning to close for next-best Iowa, who stands alone as the closest competitor with a balanced 5-win mode. The next three – Purdue, Nebraska and Northwestern – all share the 4-win mode trying to at least keep pace and hoping for some calamity. Meanwhile, the Gophers had dropped down into a balanced at a 3-win mode, but managing to stay ahead of the Illini, who have regressed into the 1-win mode. Wisconsin still has the best and only prospect in the B1GW for going undefeated at about 11%, about equal to OSU’s chances, and 6 points less than PSU’s chances.

Overlay Redux

Just to wrap things up with a quick visual summary, here are the combined overlays of the total wins probabilities broken out by division, sized for download and quick-reference on your smarty-pants phone.

S&P+ Results

FPI Results

Power Rank Results

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

P.S. As a bonus for scrolling this far, here’s a link to the complete volume of 2017 week 6 charts, which includes a few bonus nuggets not presented in the diary.

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 4 Total Conference Wins Update

B1G Expectations: 2017 Week 4 Total Conference Wins Update

Submitted by Ecky Pting on September 29th, 2017 at 9:30 PM

Big_Ten_Conference_logo.png Expectations

“I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”

- Estella Havisham (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens)

Spin Up

Another week’s worth of sample size growth, and with a smattering of in-conference matchups included, the linkages among teams become meshed to higher degrees. The influence of the preseason conjectures continues to wane, although somewhat prolonged due to acts of God such as hurricanes. Still, what remains consists of the best of all possible stats. These are the stats that reveal the true nature of teams and their comparative prospects for success. These are the stats that offer a glimmer of hope and a rumble of impending doom. These are the stats that are suitable for use in flying off a handle, jumping to a conclusion, or even goading a rival.


Schedules, Spreads & Win Probabilities

With the non-conference portion of the schedule behind us, the analysis here can turn its focus upon the all-important in-conference slate and make a closer examination of the prospects for the teams to make it to the B1GCG in Indy the first Saturday of December.


B1G East Schedule Rundown

The tables of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the ratings following week 4. The last table in each set simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their  expected in-conference win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.


S&P+ Results

So with the obfuscation of the non-conference segment removed, the true balance of power in the B1GE is revealed. For the S&P+, that balance tilts toward the Buckeyes, who lead the B1GE with 7.6 expected conference wins. The Nits trail by 0.7 wins, and the Wolverines another 0.7 wins behind the Nits at 6.2 expected wins. Also carrying over from last week is the the fact that OSU remains favored in all of its remaining games, including by almost a field goal when they visit Ann Arbor. The other two contenders - Penn State and Michigan – remain underdogs, respectively, in one and three games apiece.

Two others - Michigan State and Indiana - persist in the bubble of bowl eligibility and claim the middle ground of the B1GE. At not quite 4 expected conference wins, Sparty may have a losing record in conference, but could make it to an early-December, cold-weather, empty-stadium toilet bowl. The Hoosiers lag Sparty by another 0.3 B1G wins, but could get screwed bowl-wise since their game at FIU was cancelled and could only get to 2-0 OOC. Meanwhile, the Terps are in world of hurt, being reduced to playing their 4th string QB after such a bright beginning. It could not be much worse, but worse it is for LOLRutgerz, who like the Terps are underdogs in all but one of its remaining games.

Looking ahead, S&P+ shows Michigan favored by just over 15 points in its next game vs. Sparty, for a win likelihood of about 84%, or about 1:5 odds.


FPI Results

The FPI results still differ considerably from those of S&P+, the most notable difference being that Ohio State is favored by more than one score - and nearly double-digits - in all its remaining games. OSU leads the B1GE with just over 8 expected conference wins, nearly a full win better than next-best PSU. The FPI results show U-M lagging by another 1.8 wins behind PSU at 5.3 expected B1G wins. Penn State has a single deficit margin, to OSU, by greater than one-score to OSU. The Wolverines, meanwhile, has a deficit margin in 3 games (PSU, Wisconsin & OSU), all by double-digits. What’s more, FPI also shows U-M favored over the Terps by just over 4 points, and over the Hoosier by just over a single score.

FPI has the same teams on the verge of bowl-eligibility, just in a different order: Maryland, Indiana and Michigan State. FPI concurs that LOLRutgerz can be left for dead.

Looking ahead, Michigan is favored by just over two touchdowns in its next game vs. Purdue, for a win likelihood of 83%, or about 1:5 odds.


Power Rank Results

Now here is where the fancy stats get a little interesting. The Power Rank concurs with S&P+ & FPI in putting OSU at the top, but only with about 6.6 expected B1G wins. U-M is next best with about 6 expected wins, putting Penn State in the three-spot with about 5.8 expected B1G wins. PR projects a much tighter race, with a good number more losses in the mix. Those potential losses would be to … the Terps? PR appears to like the Terps a lot, to the extent that they’re underdogs by only a PAT to PSU and UM when each visits College Park. Moreover, PR has no team favored in all of its remaining games. Indeed, PR has OSU as an underdog to your ever-lovin’ Maize’n’Blue. PSU is an underdog to OSU, and UM is an underdog to PSU, (and Wisconsin).

Looking ahead, Michigan is favored by just under 15 points in its next game vs. Sparty, for a win likelihood of 83%, or about 1:5 odds.


B1G East Expected Conference Wins Distributions

The bar plots below show the expected total conference wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also flagged on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last multiline plot (bottom right) is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.


S&P+ Results

Contrary to the logjam that the S&P+ distributions looked like for overall wins last week, the distributions for conference wins show a clear separation among the three contenders at the top. The Buckeyes’ loss to the Sooners is of course irrelevant for this analysis. OSU, PSU and Michigan each have sole possession of the 8-win, 7-win and 6-win modes, respectively. OSU shows a slight lean toward 7 wins, and Michigan shows a strong lean up toward 7 wins. Both have about the same likelihood of 7 wins. As of now, the likelihood of the Buckeyes winning out in the B1G is 19.0%. The likelihoods of Michigan and PSU winning out stands at at about 2.0% and 6.5%, respectively.

As for the others, Sparty and the Hoosiers share the 4-win mode, with the Hoosiers leaning slightly toward 3 wins. Meanwhile, S&P+ woebegotten Maryland now has a distribution that is nearly indistinguishable from LOLRutgers, peaking at the 2-win mode.


FPI Results

The FPI results show a broader separation at the top. OSU still leads at the 8-win mode, with a strong lean toward winning out. PSU is at the 7-win mode with a strong lean toward 8 wins. Meanwhile, Michigan down at the 5-win mode, but nearly even with the 6-win mode. The OSU distribution shows a very tight variance, which means its loss components are smaller and concentrated in fewer games than most other teams. The result is OSU having a 35% chance of winning out. Yet, PSU’s chance of winning out holds at about 8%, but Michigan’s chances of doing the same are negligibly small.

From there, the next closest team, Maryland, has sole possession of the 4-win mode, followed by the Hoosiers and Sparty sharing the 3-win mode.


Power Rank Results

Meanwhile, the Power Rank continues to predict the tightest race of the three ratings in the B1GE. OSU shows an edge occupying the 7-win mode with a 5% chance of winning out. UM and PSU share the 6-win mode with nearly indistinguishable, balanced distributions. Both have just under a 2% chance of winning out, while OSU’s likelihood of winning out is just over 5%. Maryland has sole occupancy of the 5-win mode, the best look of the ratings for the Terps. Sparty and Indiana lag behind at the 3-win mode, both nearly even with the 4-win mode.


B1G West Schedule Rundown

The next two tables of schedules shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G West based on S&P+ and FPI week 1 results. Again, the last table in each figure simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their  expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings per se.


S&P+ Results

Watching the B1GW feels like watching paint dry grass grow. Next rotation, same groove (BTW, has anyone reading this ever actually heard a broken record?). In the B1G West, the S&P+ results show the Badgers’ death grip on the top position. The Badgers are in a sense in contention with only themselves for the B1GW title. The Badgers are the only team in the West expected to win all of its games, with its toughest matchup expected when Michigan comes to Camp Randall. Someday M fans will feel confident in going on the road and winning a big game. Maybe after the satisfyingly salty win at Ross-Ade Stadium, that will be someday soon-ish? Michigan remains the only Wisconsin opponent that is less than a one-score underdog, so there’s that. At that point, of course, the Badgers may well have already locked up its bid to Indy, so maybe UM sneak out with a win over the Badgers’ 2nd string? Anyway, with a margin in excess of 3 expected wins over the next closest competitors, now Northwestern and Minnesota, an invitation to the B1GCG in Indy seems nearly a foregone conclusion. And so it goes, the Wisconsin cake walk shimmies on:


cake·walk
ˈkākˌwôk/
noun

informal. An absurdly or surprisingly easy task, such as the Wisconsin Badgers 2017 NCAA football schedule. "winning the B1GW title should be a cakewalk"

Meanwhile, Northwestern, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa within one expected B1G win of each other. Purdue continues to bubble up from the bottom despite dropping a game to Michigan. Purdue is now a full expected win ahead of the Illini and is less than a game back of Iowa, who also has one conference loss thus far.


FPI Results

The FPI results for the B1G West show the Badgers with and even wider lead than does S&P+, with better than 7.7 expected B1G wins. With a margin excess of 3.1 wins over next-best Minnesota, the Badgers only risk may be stooping to the level of its competition. As with S&P+, FPI expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts Michigan, yet even then the Badgers are favored by double-digits.

As for second tier, less than a tenth of an expected win separate the ‘Cats from the Gophers. Another 0.3 wins back are the Hawkeyes, and FPI has puts the Boilermakers next with 3.8 expected B1G wins, putting them close to bowl-eligibility. Poor-damn-Huskers continue their decline, but still hold a 1.2 expected win edge over bottom feeding Illinois.

Power Rank Results

The Power Rank results for the B1G West also show the Badgers at the top, but with only about 6.7 expected B1G wins. Wisconsin’s lead over next-best Iowa is by a much more competitive margin of 1.6 expected wins. Like the other ratings, PR expects the Badgers toughest match will be when it hosts Michigan favored by just under 4 points. The Gophers lag the Hawkeyes by just 0.4 at 4.7 expected B1G wins, with Northwestern just another 0.3 behind Iowa. PR doesn’t have the same love for Purdue as the the other ratings, placing the Boilers only 0.5 wins better than the Illini.


B1G West Expected Conference Wins Distributions


S&P+ Results

The S&P+ chart graphically illustrates the enormous separation between the Badgers and the B1GW peleton, apparently drafting behind one another waiting for one of the other teams break away. The Badgers are firmly in the 8-win mode, with a slight lean back toward the 7-win mode. As such, Wisconsin has the best prospects for winning out and having an undefeated season in the entire B1G at a cool 20%. No other team in the B1GW has anything close to a chance.

Northwestern and Minnesota come in at technically the 5-win mode, but both are nearly evenly split onto the 4-win mode. Nebraska edges Iowa with a slight lean toward the 5-win mode from the 4-win mode they both occupy. A game back from there is Purdue at the 3-win mode, while Illinois stands alone at the bottom in the 2-win mode.


FPI Results

FPI concurs with S&P+ regarding the Badgers’ separation from the rest of the B1GW competition, placing them in the 8-win mode with the best prospect for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at greater than 25%. No other team in the B1GW has a chance. The next-bests are Northwestern and Minnesota with 5-win modes that are nearly even splits with the 4-win mode. From there, the Hawkeyes and Boilers share the 4-win mode, with the former leaning toward 5 wins, and the latter toward 3 wins. The Huskers are clinging to their “it could be worse” mentality in the 3-win mode, as it looks over its shoulder at the Illini in their 2-win mode.


Power Rank Results

Trying to make things at least a little interesting, the Power Rank predicts a slightly more competitive B1GW race. PR has the Badgers balanced in the 7-win mode, leaving the door open for next-best Iowa and Minnesota. The Hawkeyes and Gophers have nearly identical distributions with balanced 5-win modes. From there, the Wildcats are at a 4-win mode, but pushing hard toward 5 wins. Also in the 4-win mode are the Huskers, but with a slight lean toward 3 wins. Meanwhile, the Boilers are firmly balanced at a 3-win mode, managing to stay ahead of the Illini in the 2-win mode. Wisconsin still has the best prospect for an undefeated season in the entire B1G at about 7%, just edging out OSU’s chances. No other team in the B1GW has a chance.

Overlay Redux

Just to wrap things up with a quick visual summary, here are the combined overlays of the total wins probabilities broken out by division, sized for download and quick-reference on your smarty-pants phone.

S&P+ Results

FPI Results

Power Rank Results

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

P.S. As a bonus for scrolling this far, here’s a link to the complete volume of 2017 week 4 charts, which includes a few bonus nuggets not presented in the diary.