Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Enough Already

As is typical of virtually every BCS Title Game pairing, the moment the official announcement was made, the second guessers were in full swing, talking of how Michigan was “robbed”. Now, the naysayer’s and nit-pickers have moved into full gear, already announcing that Michigan would have given Ohio State a “better game” on January 8th, a full month before the game itself has been played.

Enough already.

Fact is, Michigan, you didn’t give Ohio State that much of a game the first time around.

Oh sure, the “final” score was 42-39 (was there any defense?).

Aware observers know that Michigan scored a meaningless TD with about 2 minutes left to narrow the score. However, in keeping the game that close, Michigan played an essentially perfect game offensively. They had zero turnovers, while Ohio State had 3.
Chad Henne threw for 267 yards, his second best output of the season. Mike Hart ran for 142 yards, his 3rd best total of the season. Michigan had 397 total yards against OSU, their 3rd best of the season.

Zero turnovers. Near season top days from Henne, Hart and the Michigan offense.

And still they lost.

Are we to believe Michigan could somehow be more perfect in playing Ohio State a second time? That they would again commit zero turnovers?

Not damn likely.

Michigan, your problem wasn’t offense.

It is your defense.

I can hear the Blue masses shout, “But we are sixth in the nation in total defense, allowing only 254 yards a game!”

You couldn’t even slow down Ohio State’s offense, much less stop them. They put 503 yards up against you, and made it look easy. Like junior high school easy. This, with Ohio State turning over the ball 3 times on offense.

Imagine if they only turned it over twice. Or not at all. It would have been a blowout.

Oh I know, we Gator fans are going to find out what a machine Ohio State is on offense. After all, OSU averages 410 yards a game on offense.

Well, how did Ohio State fare against the other 11 victims on its schedule on offense? The following list shows the OSU’s offense, in order of output, for the season –

Indiana – 540
Michigan – 503
Northern Illinois – 488
Minnesota – 484
Cincinnati – 444
Northwestern – 425
Michigan State - 421
Iowa – 400
Bowling Green – 387
Texas – 348
Penn State – 253
Illinois – 224

That’s right Wolverine fans, the only team Troy Smith and company laid more yards on was Indiana. Five and Seven Indiana, that is. Your defense wasn’t as effective at stopping the Buckeyes as Northern Illinois or Bowling Green.

What of the rest of your games, and those solid defense numbers? Well, they are a fraud.

The top offense you played all year was – surprise, surprise – Ohio State. The Buckeyes are ranked 15th in the nation, averaging 410 yards a game. Michigan “only” gave up 93 yards more than the season average to OSU.

The second best offense was Notre Dame at 22.

And that is the total of top 25 offenses played by Michigan.

Michigan’s own offense ranks 33rd nationally, at 375 yards per game. I know what you're thinking – Florida is worse.

Wrong again. Florida is 21st, at 398 yards per game. Only 12 less than Ohio State.

Smart voters knew that Michigan played its best game possible against the Buckeyes, and couldn’t win. In fact, as coach at Ohio State, Jim Tressel has beaten Michigan three times in a row, and 4 of 5.

A Title Game rematch would have made that mark 5 of 6.

Maybe no one can beat Ohio State. But letting some one else try makes all the sense in the world.


Keltic Gator said...

Excellent post. Very well thought out and researched. I'm going to link it in a post scheduled for tomorrow morning on O&BHue. Good work guys!

It will be in

Anonymous said...

Hey, instead of extrapolating, why don't we take a look at the defensive numbers for one common opponent that Michigan and UF played, Vandy. Vandy scord 7 points against Michigan and racked up 171 total yards. Against Florida, Vandy scored 19 points and racked up nearly 400 yards of total offense. How do you explain that wide difference?

FishFan-GatorMan said...

Gee, I don't know Mr. Anonymous maybe the fact that Michigan played Vandy in the first game of the year (all nice and healthy) and Vanderbilt was fielding a Sophomore QB that had completed exactly one pass in his collegiate career had something to do with it.

Meanwhile Florida played them in their 9th game immediately after playing Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and Georgia and week before the much anticipated match-up against Steve Spurrier and South Carolina.

Look what's done is done. You are the second best team in your own conference. The idea that you are also the second best team in the country is preposterous.

I hope for your sake that Michigan doesn't shit the bed against USC.

Scott said...

You make a fair point. Our defense did play very badly that day. But just as you say Michigan would be unlikely to duplicate their offensive production that day, I believe that Michigan's defense would do a lot better. A lot. Michgian's defense, through 11 games, was on pace to have the best rushing defense since the 1950's.

I've watched a little bit of UF this year and I think you guys are going to have trouble moving the ball on OSU. You guys do have a better pass defense than us, so maybe you will be more successful shutting Troy Smith down than we were. I see this being closer than a lot of bitter Michigan fans right now but I still think OSU wins.

Anonymous said...

"The idea that you are also the second best team in the country is preposterous. "

That idea is not preposterous. We very well could be the second best team in the nation. Our worst loss is to the best team. I agree it hasn't been proven that we ARE the second best, but we might be. I understand saying that there is no way Michigan should go because we already know they aren't as good as Ohio State, but it is no stretch of the imagination that we might be the 2nd best team.

JH said...

If you are just taking one game, taking the stats you like, and leaving it at that, then how about South Carolina. Way to dominate them by 1 point at home when their kicker decided to aim for the guys in blue and orange. Yeah, pretty awesome win. Or how about beating a sorry Florida State team that got their butts pounded in by Wake Forest by 30, by 7 points on a last 2 minute touchdown. I could go on, but see how stupid this is? The fact is both teams have positives and negatives and anyone who states the case is clear cut has clearly never gotten past middle school. You guys got in...leave it at that and stop downplaying Michigan. They're a great team worthy or respect, just like Florida. It's just the system that's "preposterous".

Anonymous said...

Thopse are excellent excuses, Mr. Fishfan, but again, that's the only team the two have in common. Michigan's defense physically dominated Vandy, Florida's didn't. End of story.

As for your comment that Michigan is second in its conference but can't be second in the land, that might be one of the dumbest sports statements ever.

In the NFL, wouldn't you say the two best teams are in the AFC, not the NFC? How many times in college basketball were the two best teams from the ACC? Other than your own little head, why can't the two best teams come from the same conference?

FishFan-GatorMan said...

OK, let the blog wars begin.

What I should have said is that the idea of the better loss is preposterous. Michigan may well be the second best team in the land but you can't prove that to me. What I do know is that Michigan had a chance when all the chips were at stake and they came up short. This is college football, not the NFL, chief. If we had a playoff, like they have in the NFL, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

We have more than 100 teams in almost a dozen conferences and precious little interconference play. The reason you know might know that the two best NFL teams play in the AFC is because there are only 32 teams in only two conference and they are compelled to play interconference games. Not to mention a 16 game regular season which has more statistical significance.

Boise State may be the best team in the country. We don't really know because we have limited information. We try to exprapolate what we can based on Strength of Schedule, statistical rankings, ec (all of which favor Florida over Michigan by the way).

And you don't think the fact that Vandy's QB had thrown all of 3 passes in college when Michigan played is relevant? Call it an excuse, I call it a fact.

And here's another fact: On January 8th the Gators will be playing for the National Championship.

js said...

Michigan has the 3rd best offensive output of its season against Ohio State, thus Michigan are playing "almost perfect". Still they lost, so they probably won't fare any better in a rematch. Fine, I follow the argument so far. Now, let me see it from the opposite end.

(Note: I was gonna go around and check the same stats for OSU but thankfully you've done all the legwork.)

Ohio State has its 2nd best offensive output of its season against Michigan (albeit with three turnovers, and only one of them forced). Why are you not saying that they are also playing "almost perfect"? Are we to believe Ohio State could somehow do the same thing when they play Michigan a second time?

Yeah. Exactly. Thanks, but no thanks. I guess it all depends on how you look at it.

And for your sake, I hope the Gators don't shit the bed against tOSU.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, your definition of "fact" needs a little work. The Sagarin SOS favors Michigan, not Florida. It removes poll bias from SOS. Also, playing on a neutral field, Vegas would install Michigan as a 6 point favorite. Seems that some people who are in the know have already decided which is the better team.

As for Vandy, yeah I think talking about the QB is an excuse, because they were physically dominated by Michigan, not by Florida. You can dial it up any way you want, but it is an excuse.

But let's get down to brass tax, which team has the better players. Michigan has a better QB, a better RB, I'll give you a wash at WR, Michigan is better on the OL and at TE. We have a better kicker. We have better Dline, linebackers while Fl has a better secondary. So, looking at it that way, I think I can say with confidence that Michigan is better.

FishFan-GatorMan said...

I stand corrected:

Florida 19
Michigan 13

Florida 9
Michigan 21

Florida 13
Michigan 15

Florida 11
Michigan 16

I couldn't find a SOS ranking for Wolfe or Billingsley (apparently they don't give the components of their rankings separately like the others, if you can find them I'll gladly post them).

The NCAA, incidentally, say Florida had the hardest schedule and Michigan had the second hardest.

FishFan-GatorMan said...

Oh and by the way, since you brought up point spreads, how many points was USC favored by in its game against UCLA?

Aaron said...

I think one thing you are not considering, and most definetely should in order for your results to be accurate, is that the field conditions were so poor and a bad field favors the offense. The reason why a poor field (one not caused by poor weather) is because defense is purely reactionary and when you're trying to adjust to cuts made by someone without any prior planning you're more likely to lose your footing than someone that knows they must cut and have an oppurtunity to prepare for it. If UM-OSU played on a football field worthy of High Schools you would have seen a performance that was more defensively orientated because the defense would be at a much lower risk to lose their footing while trying to keep up with an offensive player.

FishFan-GatorMan said...

Certainly it's believed in some quarters that a sloppy track helps the offense. I'm not aware of any way to factor that into a statistical analysis.

Urrdaman said...


The facts say Florida, not Michigan, has the best chance of beating OSU. While the Wolverines program has been on a constant down hill slide the last 6 years, Ohio State has been the clear dominator in the Big Ten. I have never heard of Michigan fans so eager to relieve a loss as bad as the last one. This has become commonplace for Michigan though.
Let's look @ the immediate reasons Florida (SEC Champs)were picked over Michigan(besides the fact that they were not Conference Champions). Florida played 10 bowl teams- beating 9 of them. They played 4 top 25 -beating 3 of them. Michigan played 7 bowl teams- beating 6. Played 3 Top 25 - beating 2. Playing 3 less quality opponents may be the reason Michigan was left out. For those in Ann Arbor, that means that Florida beat 50% more bowl teams than Michigan. The last 6 years have not been pretty for Lloyd Carr's Wolverine's. Losing 3 straight to Ohio State & 5 of the last 6. Also, Bowl Games have not been good for LLoyd, losing 3 straight and 4 of the last 5. At least Michigan has had the same coach the last 12 Years.

Florida , on the other hand, has their 2nd year coach ,Urban Meyer. He has only been a head coach for 6 years but has been coaching for 20. He might know a little about OSU considering he got his Masters Degree their and got his first 2 years coaching experience their in 86 and 87. In Meyer's short 6 year coaching tenure, he has put together quite a record vs the BCS conference's. 2-0 vs BIG TEN, 3-0 vs PAC 10, 3-0 vs ACC, 1-0 vs Big East, 4-1 vs Big 12. In his 2 years in the SEC, he is 13-4. He is also 3-0 in Bowl Games . He has won numerous Coaching Awards as well as the Victor , and Woody Hayes Trophy Award. So to say Florida has no chance ,to me, is pretty far off . I think they have a better than average chance of winning. By the way(a little trivia), Which conference gave Ohio State it's only 2 Bowl Game Losses in the last 6 Years? You can answer that if you know which BCS conference has not lost to Ohio State in a Bowl Game ..The SEC (7-0)...