Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why computers are better than people at this whole prediction thing...

I was flipping through the only two rankings I can find that rank all of Division I-A: The Sagarin Computer rankings and the Sports Illustrated power rankings.

In particular, I was curious where the rankings had Notre Dame and Michigan relative to each other.

n the computer ranking, Notre Dame was consistently ranked ahead of Michigan, whereas in the human ranking Michigan was ahead of Notre Dame.

And the more I thought about this, the more the human rankings bugged me.

Michigan started the season ranked in the top 5. Notre Dame was stuck somewhere in the 40s, if I recall correctly.

Notre Dame played top 15 teams back-to-back, one of them an away game in front of 110,000 fans.

Michigan played a I-AA opponent and an unranked team, both at home. losing both.

Based upon what these two teams have done on the field this season, by what rationale could you rank Michigan ahead of Notre Dame?

Notre Dame has a bad rushing offense, and a mediocre passing offense. Michigan has a pass defense that is horrible, and a rushing defense that isn't much better. Notre Dame's defense has been good against the pass, bad against the run. Michigan's offense has been decent wth the run, and not so good with the pass.

But more importantly, Notre Dame has faced a much higher caliber of opponent through the first two games. Statistics are a little misleading this early in the season, but I defy anyone in the country to convince me that Georgia Tech and Penn State do not have, at minimum, top 15 defenses (if not top 10, or even top 5). And Notre Dame has struggled on offense as a result. Alternately, I defy anyone in the country to make a case that Michigan's opponents are top 10 offenses. Oregon may be pretty good, but you can't convince me that Appalachian State's offense would be top 15 in Div. I-A.

What I'm trying to say here is that Notre Dame's offense has struggled against top defenses. Michigan's defense has struggled against pedestrian offenses. In the end, Notre Dame is simply better prepared going into this game than Michigan is.

Which is why the computers are better. The only reason that Michigan is still ranked ahead of the Irish in the human polls is that they were so overhyped, that they have much further to fall down the rankings.

I expect Notre Dame to come out early, hit Michigan in the mouth, and turn the crowd of 110,000 Michigan bandwagon fans against the home team.

Notre Dame will find an offense against this Michigan defense, mark my words. Michigan sucks. Michigan is possibly the worst defense in the BCS conferences right now (except for maybe Louisville). And they will get embarassed again Saturday afternoon.


OC Domer said...

Good analysis. This season has been painful for the Irish, but we were unranked to start the year and have played two very good teams. This season must be excruciating for Michigan. They were a Top 5 team gunning for a Championship, and they have lost to a Div-IAA team and were destroyed by an unranked team in the Big House. That's gotta sting. Ironic that after we have been abused for two weeks, I'm actually more optimistic about beating Michigan now than I was two weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really matter who looks more prepared on paper, or in our minds. I want them to show up and play and not have the offense lay an egg again. Win or lose, play like this isn't your first time putting on football pads!

Hoss said...

Ok here comes the expert (since Mr. Neil won't give me a ghost writer appearnce.) The game will be won by whoever has the most HEART!!! Look, if you are Michigan your heart was broken by App St. Then you look to rebound against the Ducks yet you falter once again. Notre dame had a beating at home by GT and then another by Penn St on the road. Both teams will be starting a freshman QB. Both defenses have been on field WAY to long. It is going to come down to which team digs deeper in their HEART and wants to win this game.
Being the "homer" that I am, I hope ND finds their HEART and wants it more. My first prediction in this game is
ND 16
That is if no one on either side plays to their ability. My second prediction with playing with HEART and ability and this is the way I see it most likely to happen:
ND 24
MICH 17.
I hope that it is the 2nd prediction, and not the first, only beacuse the 2nd will show the team embracing Jimmy Clausen as the QB now and for the future and he throws 2 TD'S and Allen runs in another. Because if this happens with long sustaining drives, it gives Tommy Z and the boys on D getting rest for a Michigan offense that sputtered last week. However, give The Michigan offense led by Mike Hart this week, as many downs as they can get, and it will come down to to the kicking game and who can out kick who.
Find your HEART!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. I think this is one of the better Notre Dame blogs out there.
But I am interested in your opinion on something:
my confidence in Charlie has been shaken in the past two weeks (like so many other people). I still really like him as our coach (he is an ND guy), and praise him for his continued success with recruiting. However, I am beginning to fear that coaching in the NFL vs. coaching the College ranks requires two very different skill sets. Here is my anecdotal evidence: the overwhelming majority of coaches that have coached at both levels have only been successful at one, but not both levels (Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban just to name a few). I still don't recall any coach that has successfully conquered both. Heck, no one even comes close. This seems to indicate that a very, very different set of skills is required to succeed in each. And by "succeed", I mean getting to and winning the Championship game. What do you think? It seems that Charlie, in spite of his successes in his first two years, is still learning the nuances of the college game. I can only hope he figures it out in the next couple of years.

By the way, I expect a very closely contested ball game this Saturday: ND 20 - Skunk bears 17

Go Irish!

Anonymous said...

DJ transfers to NIU. See BGS or Bloy for details

Anonymous said...

Wow, we're bad. Pathetic. Not improving.

Anonymous said...

it is clear today, u don't know what the hell u are talking abaout