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Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Everybody is into the "guessing game" right now, trying to figure out the "odds" of Michigan State and/or Michigan beating Ohio STATE or winning the B1G Championship or advancing to the College Football Playoff or making the Rose Bowl or whatever!

But there are no actual "odds", only performance-realities that lead to game-outcomes that lead to humans voting on their favorite teams. It's not like there is a post-season tournament at the highest level of college football; that's reserved only for the lower divisions of the sport. So it should be obvious by now that the "best" team in the country may not make the Final Four, because that quartet is hand-picked by humans based on their opinions (and/or outside influences).

All that said, it's possible to have a great college football season without being in the so-called "championship game". MSU proved that clearly the past two years. And that's not to say the Spartans can't get into that little social club at the end of the season, it's just that the recipe to be chosen has not changed substantially due to losing last weekend. Michigan State will have to win its last three regular season game plus the league championship to have a shot at the top three bowl games, and that was always true.

So let's freshen-up the MSU resume' by reviewing the recent performances of the teams they have already defeated this year. The eight vanquished opponents went 4-3 last week (one team with a bye) while three became bowl-eligible. Here's a list of those teams, with their current records:

  • 6-3 Western Michigan
  • 6-3 Oregon
  • 6-3 Air Force
  • 5-4 Central Michigan
  • 2-7 Purdue
  • 3-6 Rutgers
  • 7-2 Michigan
  • 4-5 Indiana
  • 39-33 combined season record

The eight teams Michigan State has beaten so far this season are generally "better than" the seven teams Michigan has defeated. The Spartans record of 8-1 is clearly better than the Wolverines record of 7-2. MSU beat UM head-to-head (on the road). Mark Dantonio has gone easy on his opponents while Jim Harbaugh has run-up-the-score in every game he didn't lose, inflating his team statistics by passing regularly and going for two-point conversions despite a three-score second-half lead.

So how can Michigan fans continue to feel
so superior to Michigan State?

This oddity is a continued manifestation of the most delusional fan-base in college sports, following the fifth-most-overrated college football team of the past quarter-century. Sure, UM COULD win-out, same as Illinois and Toledo. But the Wolverines have their hands mighty full with two road-games and a date with Ohio STATE yet to go. It is clearly more likely that Michigan would lose all three games than it is that they would win all three games.

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  1. Do you really think Michigan is a fraud, do you not see the improvement from this team in less then a year with Harbaugh?

    I see so many similarities between Jim's first year and Coach D's. I worry that Spartan fans are becoming the very thing Dantonio warned of.

    I get it, you like to poke the Wolverines, but I think sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. That team is getting better.

    1. No, I never said that Michigan was a "fraud". But we don't have to call a spade a spade, either. Our purpose here is to BALANCE the BIASED SPORTS MEDIA regarding their public persona painting of UM. We are looking for the negatives and casting some light upon them. We don't feel a need to present positives about UM since the sports media goes so far overboard in doing so already.

      The consensus in the sports media was that UM would win seven (7) games this year. I thought that was inexplicably low as an estimate, and upon review, I believe it was a deliberate low-ball prediction to create a "reason" for heralding them upon winning eight games or more.

      My over-under pick for total wins this season was 8.5 for UM and 10.5 for MSU. My view was that 8 wins was as likely as 9 wins for UM, as it was silly to think the new guy couldn't do better than the old guy, and that it was likewise a bit wishful to think MSU would waltz into Columbus and spank Brutus.

      SO FAR BOTH OF MY TOTAL WIN PREDICTIONS ARE RIGHT ON SCHEDULE. If MSU wins two of the remaining three, they get 10 wins, right inside my prediction pocket. If UM loses one or two of their remaining three, they are likewise right where I predicted them to be. I would say the overwhelming likelihood right now is that both teams fall within my two-game prediction frame.

      But we are not here to fluff up the anointed ones. And yes, some Spartan fans are getting out of control. But no, UM is not doing any better than what I thought, at least so far as total wins. Don't be surprised if they have a dropoff next season, or only land at the same level they achieved this year.

      BTW: I don't see much comparison between Dantonio's and Harbaugh's first year. Our guy inherited a program with a worse winning record in recent years and much worse recruiting leading up to his taking the job. Harbaugh has a relatively loaded cupboard by comparison. I'm sure Dantonio would have won more than seven games that first year if he'd had the talent levels enjoyed by Harbaugh this season.

  2. Question: Should Michigan be the highest ranked 2 loss team? I seriously don't know enough data to form a solid on opinion. Just wondered what SM82, '76 and Phil Dunphy's brother thinks.

    1. Phil's my cousin.

      Florida St, Miss St, Northwestern, UCLA, and Wisconsin are the only other two loss teams in the CFP Rankings. As far as who should be ranked highest, eh who cares? None of those teams or Michigan will get into the playoff. In all honesty, with the playoff the rest of the rankings seem kind of pointless. A New Year's Six invite is still just a consolation prize at this point.

    2. Oh - That's right. I should have known. If you were Phil's brother, I would have seen you TV.


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