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Preview 2018: Heuristics And Stupid Prediction.

Preview 2018: Heuristics And Stupid Prediction. Brian September 1st, 2018 at 11:10 AM

Previously: Podcast 10.0A. Podcast 10.0B. Podcast 10.0C. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Tackle. Interior Offensive Line. Defensive Tackle. Defensive End. Linebacker. Cornerback. Safety. Special Teams. Questions: Offense. Questions: Defense.


Turnover Margin


The theory of turnover margin: it is pretty random. Teams that find themselves at one end or the other at the end of the year are likely to rebound towards the average. So teams towards the top will tend to be overrated and vice versa. Nonrandom factors to evaluate: quarterback experience, quarterback pressure applied and received, and odd running backs like Mike Hart who just don't fumble.

Year Margin Int + Fumb + Sacks + Int - Fumb - Sacks -
2007 0.15 (41st) 14 15 2.46(33rd) 14 13 2.17 (67th)
2008 -.83 (104th) 9 11 2.42(33rd) 12 18 1.83 (57th)
2009 -1.00 (115th) 11 5 1.83(68th) 15 13 2.33 (83rd)
2010 -0.77(109th) 12 7 1.38(98th) 15 14 0.85(10th)
2011 +0.54 (25th) 9 20 2.31 (29th) 16 6 1.38 (33rd)
2012 -0.69 (99th) 7 11 1.69 (69th) 19 8 1.38 (28th)
2013 +0.38(33rd) 17 9 1.9 (64th) 13 8 2.77 (109th)
2014 -1.33 (124th) 5 5 2.4 (49th) 18 8 2.2 (63rd)
2015 -0.31 (92nd) 10 2 2.5 (32nd) 10 6 1.4 (28th)
2016 +0.54 (24th) 13 6 3.54(5th) 7 5 1.69 (39th)
2016 -0.31 (90th) 10 7 3.23(8th) 10 11 2.77 (111th)

Michigan again struggled to acquire turnovers despite a dominant defense. Whether that's something Don Brown's system is causing or just bad luck is in the eye of the beholder. You could make a case that zone-heavy teams are more likely to get interceptions, and Michigan is not at all a zone-heavy team.

Turnovers lost really could have been worse, but if you look at fumble luck and PD:INT ratios it seems like Michigan once again got boned by Lady Luck. Per S&P+ Michigan's "expected turnover margin" was +5.2 and should have been 25th; instead it was –4 and 90th.

Seems like the same level of defensive havoc and a necessary improvement in pass protection and general sanity level at QB would reinforce the expected turnover numbers, leading one to project a large improvement in this department. But I'm wise to you, universe. Michigan's turnover margin will remain inexplicably bad.

[After the JUMP: position switches are minimal]

Position Switches

Jibreel Black Ohio State v Michigan 8THB4vo8SwAl[1]

Theory of position switches: if you are starting or considering starting a guy who was playing somewhere else a year ago, that position is in trouble. There are degrees of this. When Notre Dame moved Travis Thomas, a useful backup at tailback, to linebacker and then declared him a starter, there was no way that could end well. Wisconsin's flip of LB Travis Beckum to tight end was less ominous because Wisconsin had a solid linebacking corps and Beckum hadn't established himself on that side of the ball.

The dossier of position switches is thinner than it's ever been.

Tackle switcharoo. This ends up with Jon Runyan Jr at left tackle and JBB at the same spot he was last year. While there's a ton of concern for tackle in general, the position switching aspects are minimally concerning.

Ruiz to center. Zero concern, he was born to center.

Some enbeefening DL changes. Kwity Paye is backing up both DE spots and is headed towards anchor. Carlo Kemp and Donovan Jeter are DTs. None of these people are slated to start.

That's it.

An Embarrassing Prediction, No Doubt

Worst Case Barring Extreme Injury Scenarios

Uh, that's a bear of a schedule right there. The general bloody-mindedness of the universe being an established fact, another 8-4 regular season would be a Fun Time Had By All. 8-4.

Best Case

It's not reasonable to expect Michigan to run the table against so many potential pitfalls, especially with an offense that might get shut off entirely by the Bosas of the world. 11-1

Final Verdict

This looks like a 10-2 kind of year in which the identities of the 2 radically change perceptions of what actually got accomplished.

9/1 @ Notre Dame Tossup
9/8 WMU Must win
9/15 SMU Must win
9/22 @ Nebraska Must win
9/29 Northwestern Lean to win
10/6 @ Maryland Must win
10/13 Wisconsin Tossup
10/20 @ MSU Tossup
11/3 Penn State Lean to win
11/10 @ Rutgers Must win
11/17 Indiana Must win
11/24 @ Ohio State Lean to loss

Iowa, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota

9-3 looks more likely than 11-1 by some distance.

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Snake Oil Steve

September 1st, 2018 at 11:41 AM ^

10-2, losses to Wisconsin and @ Ohio State. 

Mayfield and Hudson are starting tackles by Week 5.

Stomping of whoever the team plays in a NY6 bowl.

Shea (and everyone other than Gentry) return on offense next year. Depending on the number of early entries from Bush, Hudson, Hill and Long depart, team is a bona fide national title contender next year and first year in Harbaugh's tenure that the talent level and more importantly depth of talent is within neighborhood of OSU.

In reply to 10-2, losses to Wisconsin… by Snake Oil Steve


September 1st, 2018 at 4:12 PM ^

Isn’t Mayfield only the nominal 2nd string because Stueber is hurt? 

In reply to 10-2, losses to Wisconsin… by Snake Oil Steve


September 1st, 2018 at 4:21 PM ^

If we’ve replaced two starting tackles by Week 5, inserting a true freshman and a redshirt freshman who switched positions, there is no way we go 10-2.  Certainly we’ve already lost to Notre Dame in this scenario.  That’s how we get to 8-4.

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Picktown GoBlue

September 1st, 2018 at 11:44 AM ^

I’ll go with Tigger over Eyeore. 15-0

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September 1st, 2018 at 11:44 AM ^

This feels all-too rational. Yes I AM a homer but I sense that we run the table in the games that are not tossups on paper, win two out of three in the mid-season [email protected] gauntlet, and beat a sagging OSU team on the road that is dogged by bad Urban vibes all year. That leaves tonight. Which is of course winnable. I like our D and the idea of our new mobley-throwey-runney type QB so I like our chances. 11-1 heading into the conference championship game may not be quite rational but I likey anyway. Go Blue!

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September 1st, 2018 at 11:47 AM ^

I agree regarding Penn State being a lean to win. Franklin was on the hot seat before he hired Moorhead, who was a revelation. Moorhead and the best player in the country nicely concealed the fact that Penn State's OL was still putrid last year. Now that Moorhead and Barkley are gone, I think we'll see that McSorley is a very good quarterback, but not someone who can carry a team by himself. I still think they'll be good because it usually takes a couple years for the previous OC's impact to completely wear off, but PSU's offense will take a big step back. I like Don Brown v [not Moorhead] much better than last year's matchup. 

Ty Butterfield

September 1st, 2018 at 11:47 AM ^



September 1st, 2018 at 11:47 AM ^

Home/away are backwards for Neb/NW/Maryland, should be Neb, @NW, MD

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September 1st, 2018 at 11:49 AM ^

You switched NU and NW. It's @NW, vs NU.

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September 1st, 2018 at 11:54 AM ^

This must be the year. Not many 9-3 scenarios that aren't a flaming disaster for the program, at least from outside the locker room, and really that's all that matters for the next two crucial recruiting years. 

Michigan must win. Certain 10-2 scenarios look really good--lose today, lose to Wisco or MSU, but then finish the season beating OSU? That's really good. Even, potentially an outside shot at the playoff.

Lose to MSU and OSU? That's probably a grave disappointment and the bowl game, probably without some of our pro prospects, is a high-pressure affair. 

10-2 isn't unreasonable. But we need better. Go into OSU 10-1, and then, finally, win. It's our turn. 

That's not a prediction. It's hope. 


September 1st, 2018 at 12:05 PM ^

9-3 sounds most reasonable.  I assume ND is a slight lean to a win, but I think they get tripped up by someone later on.  MSU looked like butt yesterday, but they could be 1-11 on the season and still play their asses off in that game.

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September 1st, 2018 at 12:06 PM ^

But I'm wise to you, universe. Michigan's turnover margin will remain inexplicably bad.

This plus One million. I’m an eternal pessimist, thus, a Michigan fan.

Those who stay will be bitterly disappointed. But, Go Blue!

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Hotel Putingrad

September 1st, 2018 at 12:14 PM ^

It will be a special season. Won't predict a record or final outcome, but they will get to Indy this year.

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September 1st, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

We should know a hell of a lot more after this game. Go Blue!


September 1st, 2018 at 12:19 PM ^


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September 1st, 2018 at 12:25 PM ^

Low expectations, hungry and talented team. Feels like 2006. I think 11-2 with the first loss on a bs call in Columbus and a 2nd loss in the playoff.  


September 1st, 2018 at 12:29 PM ^

Win tonight and this team will only have one loss heading into Columbus. Lose tonight and I think we have at least two going into Columbus. Tonight is such a momentum game for this team. 

Go Blue!

Wolverine 73

September 1st, 2018 at 12:43 PM ^

This team will beat both OSU and MSU.  There will be a loss or two in there, but those games will be wins.

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In reply to This team will beat both OSU… by Wolverine 73

Mr. Elbel

September 1st, 2018 at 1:37 PM ^

If this is true, I am ok.

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September 1st, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

11-1 regular season. (13-2 overall) Lose to Wisky at home due to Patterson missing the game with an injury, but win out and then beat the Badgers to win the B1G championship. Win our semi-final playoff but lose to Alabama in the final. 

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September 1st, 2018 at 12:46 PM ^

If we go 10-2 and want playoff hopes to stay alive, today almost has to be one of those two. We absolutely have to win the east unless we get some fortunate 11-1 scenario where we lose a tiebreaker and manage to sneak in a la Bama

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