LAST WEEK RECAP
During the Week 11 Bye, we looked at 2018 & 2019 through 9 games, and we kept an eye on what to expect in the final 3 games.
NEXT UP: vs. Michigan State: 35th, 9.8
PREGAME SP+: Michigan by 12.7, Michigan Win Probability 77%
Bill Connelly’s metric system is now dialed in with eleven weeks worth of data. With that said, the SP+ spread has moved in Michigan’s direction by only 1.2 points, with a small 2-point bump in Win Probability.
Michigan Offense (43rd) vs. Michigan State Defense (11th)
Michigan’s offense has not been quite as good as expected, but the Spartan defense hasn’t either. When I have watched Michigan State games in 2019, it feels an awful lot like watching the Wolverines in 2017. This defense is good, but they just cannot maintain a high level of play for a full 60 minutes. A lot of that is because the offense does not give them breaks in time of possession or field position. But, the Michigan State defense is also prone to making mistakes that turn into explosive plays. Offensively, Michigan has shown that they can be effective against top defenses. The Wolverines have played three top 10 SP+ defenses (Wisconsin, Iowa, & Penn State), plus Notre Dame is 23rd. The key will be whether Josh Gattis’ group comes out of the bye week sharp enough to exploit the inevitable MSU mistakes for big plays.
Michigan Defense (4th) vs. Michigan State Offense (84th)
The match up between Michigan’s defense and MSU’s offense will determine whether this game remains tight, or gets out of hand. The Spartans will definitely want to turn this game into a rock fight by grinding out first downs and playing the field position game. As Don Brown has transitioned to multiple fronts, and mixed in more zone coverage, Michigan has allowed some yardage but has tightened up on scoring opportunities. In this game, MSU would gladly march between the 20 yard lines and milk the clock. The Wolverines must turn the rivalry game energy and emotion into a laser focus on run fits during standard downs. Once they’ve forced Michigan State into passing downs, Michigan will be looking to create havoc.
PREDICTION: As bad as the Spartan offense has been, SP+ thinks their special teams are worse. They are currently ranked 108th nationally. This doesn’t bode well for the field position rock fight strategy that I expect from Mark Dantonio. I was happy to hear Jim Harbaugh using “High Alert” as the program mantra this week. This season was reduced to a one-game season in October. Potentially winning this game is the last shred of opportunity remaining the Spartans. Dantonio will have them playing at their highest level, but that won’t be good enough. #LeaveNoDoubt
Michigan 24 Michigan State 7 (PRESEASON Michigan 17 MSU 13)
MICHIGAN RESUME UPDATE (11/11/2019), 7-2
- SP+ Overall: 15th (↓4), 19.9
- SP+ Offense:43rd (↑3), 32.3
- SP+ Defense: 4th (↓1), 12.3
- SP+ Special Teams 70th (↓1) -0.1
- CFP Rank: 15th (↓1)
- AP Poll: 14th (same), 744
- Coaches’ Poll: 14th (same), 731