FanPost

Hoegher's 2014 Previews: WALMART WOLVERINES

Better late than never, right?

NOTE: All of the numbers and figures that follow are based on my ratings system, which is derived from scoring data going back to 1930. For more explanation, see my primer here: [LINK]

Data gathered from the wonderful resources provided by Sports-Reference, James Howell, cfbstats.com, and Phil Steele.

PAST PERFORMANCES OF VARYING QUALITY

Michigan - Historical Overall Ratings

Michigan - Historical Offense & Defense

Michigan - Historical Win% & "Luck"

I'd make fun of Michigan for only managing one national title over that span, but this is the Big Ten. So... yeah.

"BEST" and "WORST" (since 1930, 9953 total teams)

Rk Year Team Adj Rk Res Rk Conf Record Adj Off Yr Rk Adj Def Yr Rk Luck Yr Rk SOS Yr Rk N.C.
24 1933 Michigan 53 14 West 7-0-1 3.13 1 0.23 5 7% 33 1.06 2 Y
33 1947 Michigan 36 93 West 10-0 2.80 1 0.37 9 5% 39 0.35 34
35 1940 Michigan 25 224 West 7-1 2.91 1 0.25 2 -1% 67 0.96 3
36 1948 Michigan 61 15 West 9-0 2.25 2 0.26 1 9% 18 0.62 10 Y
82 1985 Michigan 77 133 B10 10-1-1 1.45 11 0.29 1 -1% 64 0.44 2

1933 Michigan (Coach - Harry Kipke)

Conf Record Luck (wins) rk Adj Off rk Adj Def rk Adj Eff rk Adj Marg rk
West 7-0-1 +0.6 33 3.13 1 0.23 5 0.93 1 2.90 1
Total Teams Rating rk Opp-O rk Opp-D rk SOS rk Variance rk
127 2.32 1 1.71 4 0.58 1 1.06 2 1.88 106
Gm Wk Date H/V Opponent FCS Record Opp Rk Off Rk Def Rk PF PA OT W/L W-Lk
1 4 Oct-07 H MichiganState ~ 4-2-2 50 52 52 20 6 ~ W 97%
2 5 Oct-14 H Cornell ~ 4-3 57 31 83 40 0 ~ W 98%
3 6 Oct-21 H OhioState ~ 7-1 8 9 13 13 0 ~ W 79%
4 7 Oct-28 V Chicago ~ 3-3-2 49 53 48 28 0 ~ W 91%
5 8 Nov-04 V Illinois ~ 5-3 16 23 16 7 6 ~ W 74%
6 9 Nov-11 H Iowa ~ 5-3 7 2 57 10 6 ~ W 78%
7 10 Nov-18 V Minnesota ~ 4-0-4 30 24 37 0 0 ~ T 81%
8 11 Nov-25 V Northwestern ~ 1-5-2 71 114 24 13 0 ~ W 97%

This was a great team. We'll come back to this discussion later, because...

Rk Year Team Adj Rk Res Rk Conf Record Adj Off Yr Rk Adj Def Yr Rk Luck Yr Rk SOS Yr Rk N.C.
6449 1958 Michigan 5848 7521 B10 2-6-1 1.12 44 1.19 86 -6% 84 0.44 16
6678 2008 Michigan 6057 7747 B10 3-9 0.93 71 1.01 74 -10% 108 0.21 10
7044 1967 Michigan 7006 7010 B10 4-6 0.83 82 1.09 79 -4% 77 -0.13 88
8046 1962 Michigan 8248 7508 B10 2-7 0.60 105 1.17 83 12% 14 0.56 7
8186 1934 Michigan 8117 8209 West 1-7 0.41 123 1.07 87 -7% 96 0.58 15

1934 Michigan (Coach - Harry Kipke)

Conf Record Luck (wins) rk Adj Off rk Adj Def rk Adj Eff rk Adj Marg rk
West 1-7 -0.6 96 0.41 123 1.07 87 0.28 112 -0.66 105
Total Teams Rating rk Opp-O rk Opp-D rk SOS rk Variance rk
125 -0.78 109 1.55 3 0.84 22 0.58 15 0.38 6
Gm Wk Date H/V Opponent FCS Record Opp Rk Off Rk Def Rk PF PA OT W/L W-Lk
1 4 Oct-06 H MichiganState ~ 8-1 61 47 72 0 16 ~ L 15%
2 5 Oct-13 V Chicago ~ 4-4 57 43 71 0 27 ~ L 6%
3 6 Oct-20 H GeorgiaTech ~ 1-9 108 97 111 9 2 ~ W 57%
4 7 Oct-27 H Illinois ~ 7-1 47 36 61 6 7 ~ L 11%
5 8 Nov-03 V Minnesota ~ 8-0 5 2 48 0 34 ~ L 1%
6 9 Nov-10 H Wisconsin ~ 4-4 91 113 60 0 10 ~ L 36%
7 10 Nov-17 V OhioState ~ 7-1 2 3 13 0 34 ~ L 1%
8 11 Nov-24 H Northwestern ~ 3-5 83 73 89 6 13 ~ L 31%

This was a terrible team and they played the immediate following season. Let's leave aside the discussion of whether these are truly the "best" and "worst" Michigan teams of the last 84 years (obviously my metrics are not the final word on this) and lets just focus on the inarguable facts.

1933 Michigan went undefeated, beating five teams with a winning record. Their lone blemish came in a scoreless tie on the road against an undefeated (well, they had four ties) Minnesota team. 1934 Michigan won a single game, that coming against a 1-7 Georgia Tech team.

1933 Michigan shut-out five teams, including a 7-1 Ohio State team and the aforementioned Minnesota team. 1930's scoring levels were a bit different from today (~11 pts/gm across all teams), but they never gave up more than 6 pts. 1934 Michigan got shut-out five times and gave up more than 25 pts (again, huge for 1930's levels) thrice.

Again, these teams played in adjacent seasons to each other. Sudden declines in the quality of play aren't unheard of, of course. Ohio State went 6-7 the year after winning the Sugar Bowl, but that had a decent explanation in unexpected coaching and player turnover. Michigan had the same coach, and played prior to WWII having any sort of drastic effect on team rosters. Obviously, there wasn't a conference change in the offseason.

There's also the matter that this isn't just a case of a good team regressing. This is arguably the best team in Michigan history (post-1930) immediately regressing into arguably the worst team in Michigan history (post-1930). Even Charlie Weis couldn't pull that off in one season.

SIDE NOTE FOR 1933 MINNESOTA: four ties? That would be awful.

FUTURE PROJECTIONS OF SUSPECT VALIDITY

Michigan Proj Rk - 24 (out of 129)

Off Ret St - 7 (1 QB)

Def Ret St - 8

Conf Prj Rec Conf Adj Off rk Adj Def rk SOS rk C-SOS rk
B10 8-4 5-3 1.29 21 0.82 32 0.12 47 0.29 47
Gm Wk Date H/V Opponent Prj Rk Prj Off Prj Def W-Lk
1 1 Aug-30 H AppalachianState 124 124 120 99%
2 2 Sep-06 V NotreDame 33 47 21 46%
3 3 Sep-13 H MiamiOH 121 127 110 99%
4 4 Sep-20 H Utah 45 43 35 73%
5 5 Sep-27 H Minnesota 73 99 47 92%
6 6 Oct-04 V Rutgers 56 69 39 69%
7 7 Oct-11 H PennState 31 57 11 64%
8 9 Oct-25 V MichiganState 20 45 7 36%
9 10 Nov-01 H Indiana 58 11 109 85%
10 11 Nov-08 V Northwestern 51 55 51 66%
11 13 Nov-22 H Maryland 59 73 49 86%
12 14 Nov-29 V OhioState 5 8 16 17%

Michigan 2014 Profile (old projections)

Hoegher's Biased Perspective

I can't believe I'm going to do this, but y'all are hating on Michigan too much. I mean, I get it. The Wolverines sat at the top of the Big Ten for decades, with only Ohio State really there to offer any resistance. Now that they've hit a rough patch, why not pile on the insults and tales of inevitable regress? And if that's the point you're trying to make, that Michigan is not performing up to their historical standards, well I've got no quarrel there. Obviously.

But it's starting to reach the levels of Notre Dame anti-bias, where your disdain for the team in question is clouding objective judgement. Remember when OTE hosted Notre Dame Week a couple years ago as part of the Big Ten Preview? Remember how it was essentially just an excuse to talk crap about our neighbors from South Bend? Remember how they went 12-0 and booked a date in Miami with Alabama that season? Just saying.

So while trying to suppress my gag reflex, here are some points in defense of Michigan for the upcoming year

1) Devin Gardner is a great quarterback, without question. He's not perfect, because he's a college quarterback. His most high profile games resulted in losses or hilarious GIFS. But his passing numbers remain outstanding, and even more impressive when you consider the play of his offensive line. Please do not let your opinions or Gardner be swayed by the bray of condescending Iowa fans.

2) Brady Hoke is a legitimately good coach. His overall records at Ball State and San Diego State don't look that great (34-38, 13-12, respectively), but that require a heavy dose of context. Both Ball State and San Diego State were in the doldrums when he took over, and he built them into legitimately strong teams, showing steady improvement throughout his tenure. Maybe Michigan will turn out to be his Peter Principle, but he's shown the capacity to build programs up before.

3) The biggest problem (O-Line) has to improve, if only by default. This can also be called "The Indiana Fallacy" but we're looking for optimism here. I am admittedly a little more cautious about this point. Replacing Borges was fine and inevitable, but why is the O-Line coach not gone? Is changing up the play-calling really going to fix all that ailed them? Irregardless, it'd be hard to not expect some improvement from the O-Line, which would provide major dividends in the form of a competent run game and not-killing-the-quarterback.

4) Recruiting. Or, as Michigan State fans like to say: "meaningless words that mean nothing, shut up."

I'm not going to claim that Michigan's going to run away with the East or anything, though I'm tempted to say so just for the satisfaction of wagging my stick in all your faces if I turn out to guess right. But all these proclamations of "I DON'T KNOW BOB, I'D SAY 5TH IS THEIR CEILING, COULD GO -3 AND 15, YOU NEVER KNOW" seem a bit outlandish to me. But 9-3, tied for 2nd in the East? Yeah, I'll go with that.

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