Monday, October 03, 2005

Expectations have officially lowered

With a Michigan St. win on Saturday, two things that never happen would’ve happened. Michigan St. would’ve been 5-0, ranked in the top 10, and Michigan would’ve been 2-3 firmly out of the top 25 and in danger of finishing under .500 for the season. Instead, Michigan won, and none of that happened. Michigan St. is now out of the top 15 and Michigan is back in the top 25. “Crisis averted” for Michigan and “things back to normal” for Michigan St.

However, things aren’t that simple for Michigan. Michigan St. wasn’t favored over Michigan because of its personnel. If you were to start a team comprised of players from UM and MSU, I’d suspect that the makeup would be something close to 70% UM players and 30% MSU players. Michigan St. was favored in this game because they have a coaching advantage. There’s really no other way of looking at it. John L. Smith has a roster full of players that Michigan didn’t want. Yet, he came into the game favored. So, nobody should be surprised that Michigan won this game. They should’ve won this game just like they should’ve beat Wisconsin and Notre Dame. Michigan “should” beat Minnesota. In fact, they “should” beat everyone remaining on the regular season schedule with the exception of Ohio St.

For many in the media, Michigan running the table to the Ohio St. game will stand as confirmation that Michigan is performing up to standard. I mean, who could argue with being 6-1 in the conference with a chance at another Big Ten championship going into the Ohio St. game? That’s been the UM story since 1997. They underachieve to the point that it ruins any chance at a National Championship and then supposedly make up for it by beating a bunch of teams that they should beat (i.e. Michigan St., Minnesota, Penn St., Iowa). Ohio St. is the only team in the Big Ten right now that has a roster that’s even close to Michigan in terms of caliber of athlete. Despite the fact that Michigan St. was favored, Michigan has by far the better roster. This was the case with Notre Dame and Wisconsin, and it is the case in 80% of the games that Michigan plays.

I fully expect Michigan to “win out” until the Ohio St. game. Michigan will lose and then Lloyd Carr and his players will once again harp on the fact that they “turned the season around” and “entered the final game of the season with a chance at the Big Ten Championship”. Michigan will pound on a mid-tier school in a bowl game only further confirming Carr’s brilliant coaching job this season. Then, Lloyd and Co. will inevitably say, “what more can you ask for?” And I will say, “apparently, nothing.”


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Lloyd is the one who did the better coaching in this game... playcalling was good and the defense played well, particularly in coverage. And obviously the key to the game in the end was when they used up as much of the clock as possible in regulation to set up the field goal. Wasn't the coaches fault that they missed the kick.

Michigan State seemed as undisciplined under John L. Smith as they have under everybody else. Sparty simply gets too fired up and cocky and ends up making mistakes.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with m fan, did you ever watch the team under Bobby Williams? He utterly dismantled every facet of discipline that the team exuded before Saban split. Under John L., they behave like the marine corps compared to Williams.

State's weakness without question is pass protection. The kicker could use some skills as well.

I knew that Michigan would rebound from their loss last week. If they had won, they'd be the overconfident ones.

Anonymous said...

Actually, if UM has more talent than "80%" of the teams they play, that should correspond to somewhere between a 10-3 and 11-2 regular season. UM finishes at 9-3 or 10-3 typically, which sounds dead on with the 80% estimate.

Jake said...

You can't blame the missed fg on Lloyd but UM had plenty of time to punch it in the end zone and remove all doubt. If a 4th down came up then, by all means, kick the fg. But, I put the missed fg on Lloyd--not because Rivas missed but because UM didn't necessarily have to put the game in the hands of the kicker. Rivas blew the kick. That's on him. But, Michigan was dominating MSU with the run. It was only when Michigan tried to be conservative that they ruined the last drive and almost lost the game as a result. Lloyd definitely didn't blow this game. I'll give him that but MSU was favored over UM because of the perceived coaching advantage MSU has. It certainly wasn't because of State's personnel.

Anonymous, you said that 80% corresponds to something like 10-3 or 11-2. When was the last time Michigan won 11 games or lost 2 games? Also, while it is true that Michigan has a talent advantage over 80% of its opponents, it's not true that Michigan has a talent disadvantage against the remaining 20%. I would venture to say that there isn't a team on Michigan's schedule that has a talent advantage over Michigan. Some might be equal but nobody has a more talented roster. A 9-3 record would correspond if Michigan was better than 80% and worse than 20%. That's not the case. Out of those 3 games against teams that are not in the 80%, Michigan should have a 50/50 chance to win based on talent. That would put the expected season somewhere around two losses which I would take in a heart beat. I would welcome a two loss season with open arms.


Powered by Blogger