Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Jun 2011

The Michigan Wolverines and the Power of Perception

The team profiles at SB Nation and Football Study Hall continue unabated. Today's is on a team that is not used to being so far down in the pecking order, the Michigan Wolverines.

Because Michigan is Michigan, the winningest program in college football history, the team that, until 2008, went 41 years between losing seasons, this statistical profile is simply not acceptable. Not when there are 111,825 fans attending each home game, not when the spirit of Bo Schembechler and Tom Harmon fills the air. If we're counting down based on recent performance, Go Blue is not supposed to have their turn for another couple of months!

Thanks to the odd current state of the Big Ten, Michigan is one of a few possible sleepers when it comes to getting to the conference title game. Hope you enjoy the profile.

Of course, the Wolverines aren't the only team to get the full stat treatment at SBN recently. Below is a list of everything that has been covered at SBN and Study Hall since the last update here:

2011 Preview Series
Young Man Blues And The Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights And Zero-Sum Gains
Risk Management And The N.C. State Wolfpack
Smooth Transitions And The Maryland Terrapins
51 Phantom And The Mississippi State Bulldogs
Volatility, Kanye And The Arizona State Sun Devils
Ceilings And The Kentucky Wildcats
Frat Boys, Phenomenal Mascots And The Akron Zips
The Bowling Green Falcons And Some Long-Standing Personal Grudges

The Toolbox
The Toolbox: Go After The Ball!

Topics Du Jour
Coaches, Stats, Turnovers and Turnarounds
Today's Twitter Argument: Paying Players

What I Love
What I Love: The 1990 Virginia-Georgia Tech Game
What I Love: Lehigh-Lafayette

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 09 Jun 2011

2 comments, Last at 10 Jun 2011, 7:36pm by Bill Connelly


by Aaron Brook's Good Twin (not verified) :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 3:20pm

"it is a complete joke to me that Dan Persa and Scott Tolzien received All-Big Ten honors over Robinson. He was punished for others' ineptitude."

He was also pulled in four games for lesser QBs because Denard Robinson had a knack for finding the wide open defensive back in pressure situations. And he ran up a lot of amazing stats on high school-caliber defenses. His teams were rarely in the games against better Ds.

by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 7:36pm

Michigan played against four Top 20 defenses according to F/+:

* Notre Dame ranked ninth in Def. F/+, and Robinson threw for 258 yards (1 TD, 0 INT) and ran for 244 against them.

* Illinois ranked 17th in Def. F/+, and Robinson threw for 305 yards (3 TDs with, granted, 2 INTs) and rushed for 62.

* Ohio State ranked third in Def. F/+ and dominated. Robinson threw for 85 yards (0 TD, 0 INT) and rushed for 105.

* Mississippi State ranked seventh in Def. F/+, and Robinson threw for 254 yards (2 TD, 1 INT) and rushed for 59.

So against four top 20 defenses, he averaged 232 yards passing (6 TD, 3 INT) and 118 yards rushing. Yes, Notre Dame skewed that, but still. Robinson is a front-runner quarterback, obviously -- when his team is down, he's not the guy you want having to make a play with his arm. But he can't be blamed because his defense was atrocious and put Michigan behind a lot, and if given the choice between Robinson, Tolzien and Persa, I'd have chosen Robinson every time.