Ohio State Ranked #4, Will Play Alabama in College Football Playoffs

cfpbracket

Ohio State will play Alabama on January 1st in the Sugar Bowl. Saban vs. Meyer, SEC vs. B1G.

All while Mark May and Rece Davis’ heads are exploding.

By The Numbers: Wisconsin

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Wisconsin
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 257.4 (12) 103.8 (8) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 246.0 (51) 156.6 (2) Passing Defense (ypg) Wisconsin
Pass Efficiency 168.6 (2) 104.9 (8) Pass Efficiency Defense Push
Total Offense (ypg) 503.4 (11) 260.3 (2) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 44.1 (5) 16.8 (4) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 145.6 (40) 334.3 (3) Rushing Offense (ypg) Wisconsin
Passing Defense (ypg) 188.3 (17) 147.8 (119) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State+++
Pass Efficiency Defense 108.4 (18) 127.5 (69) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State+
Total Defense (ypg) 333.8 (19) 482.1 (21) Total Offense (ypg) Push
Scoring Defense (ppg) 22.9 (29) 37.5 (15) Scoring Offense (ppg) Push
Turnover margin +0.42 (33) -0.17 (74) Turnover margin Ohio State
Penalty Yards/game 51.1 (58) 46.3 (41) Penalty Yards/game Push
Sacks (/game) 3.08 (12) 0.75 (3) Sacks Allowed (/game) Push
Sacks Allowed (/game) 1.92 (54) 2.92 (16) Sacks (/game) Wisconsin
3rd Down Conv. (%) 52.9 (4) 28.2 (3) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Push
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 37.2 (42) 40.5 (67) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Ohio State
4th Down Conv. (%) 52.3 (56) 46.2 (43) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Push
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 50.0 (54) 80.0 (4) 4th Down Conv. (%) Wisconsin+
Redzone Offense (%) 83.3 (59) 91.7 (122) Redzone Defense (%) Ohio State++
Redzone Defense (%) 83.8 (79) 85.7 (47) Redzone Offense (%) Wisconsin
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com

Ignore Hoke

He’s outta there! Brady Hoke is out as Michigan’s Head Football Coach:

Brady Hoke’s tenure at Michigan has been terminated, finally. The school’s interim AD Jim Hackett opted to move in a different direction. The decision, a fait accompli for quite a few weeks, surprised no one.

Back a couple years ago, a popular App had everyone playing Pictionary 2.0, called Draw Something.

ignorehoke_2I played quite a few rounds with my fellow MotSaG’er (and much better artist than me) Jason. The game started out innocently enough, each of us drawing something for words like butterfly and totem pole. Then Jason started adding a little flair to his posts:

Around this same time, there was another guy adding some “flair” to some of the things he was drawing. His instructions to his friend were to “ignore Hitler”. He then collected them in a Tumblr called (appropriately enough) “Ignore Hitler“. I told Jason I was saving his pictures and I was going to start a Tumblr called “Ignore Hoke”. We had a good laugh, and because I’m a lazy bum, I half-assed it and saved a bunch of his pictures but never actually followed through and started that Tumblr. Yet another quality opportunity to troll gone by.

I see those pictures on my phone all the time and I have a pang of guilt because that window of timeliness has come and go. But I’ve held on to the pictures nonetheless because they bring me joy.

And now, in honor of Brady Hoke’s firing, I FINALLY have a reason to share them here.

So, in the immortal words of Jason, IGNORE HOKE (click to behold the Hokeness in all its glory):

ignorehoke_12 ignorehoke_1

ignorehoke_13 ignorehoke_11

ignorehoke_10 ignorehoke_9

ignorehoke_8 ignorehoke_7

ignorehoke_6 ignorehoke_3

ignorehoke_4 ignorehoke_5

Previewing The Game: Ohio State versus Michigan

osuHelmetI’m still getting used to this whole “meaningful football after Thanksgiving” thing (don’t even get me started on the “college football in December” thing). I’m used to looking forward to whatever bowl game Ohio State will be playing in and not worrying about football on Black Friday.

There is a lot to be thankful for, though. These longer football seasons are great — more football is always better! We have a great team to cheer for and the outlook is promising. But most of all, we can be so so grateful that the Michigan football program is hot garbage and getting worse. This is probably Brady Hoke’s last game as a Michigan head coach. Their football team simply isn’t very good and the management of the program (heck, the whole athletic department) has been a disastrophe.

Last year Ohio State had an edge over Michigan talent-wise. Ohio State’s advantage is even more marked this year. We thought last year’s game was going to be a blow out. This year it will be a blow out. This isn’t a “throw out the records it’s a rivalry” game. This is a “one team is better in every aspect of the game” game and Ohio State needs to score a few more style points before entering the B1G Championship Game. Michigan will offer resistance, but it will not last very long. Even miracles aren’t going to help this time.

But they still have to play the game. Here are a few match-ups that should make things interesting.

Devin Funchess vs. Doran Grant – I mentioned this earlier this season but Doran Grant has been the most important piece of this year’s defense. He’s been steady, consistent and almost always in position to make a play. Whoever he is guarding is hardly ever targeted and he has silently been a huge part of this defense.

On the other side of the ball, Devin Funchess is the biggest offensive weapon Michigan has, and when he wants to be, he can be a nightmare to cover. The problem for Michigan is that he often doesn’t perform to the level he can and has been disappointing for huge chunks of the season. He hasn’t scored since Penn State and has only broken the 100 yard mark once this year. Physically, he should be unstoppable. He’s tall, athletic and a match-up nightmare.

Funchess has potential to do damage Saturday. Doran Grant has already shown he can shut down opposing team’s best receiver. Which Funchess shows up tomorrow will dictate if Michigan has any chance at all. If he’s targeted early and often and can get the better of Grant, it could get interesting. From my view, though, Funchess has one foot out the door and I expect a lackluster performance for Funchess in his last game as a Wolverine.

OSU’s OL vs. Michigan’s DL – The one bright spot for Michigan this year has been their defensive line and particularly against the run. They bring in a top ten rushing defense against Ohio State’s top fifteen rushing attack. The next match-up I’m interested in will be how the improved Ohio State offensive line does against Michigan’s defensive unit.

They will be without Frank Clark, arguably the best member of that line, but across the board they have size and talent that has been stout against the run. Ohio State’s line isn’t the same line that struggled against Virginia Tech. There are still moments where they struggle but they have are firing on all cylinders lately. It helps to have the threat of a running quarterback and two legitimate first-team backs to deploy. It has been fun to watch the line improve steadily each week.

Let’s take a moment now at this juncture during this period of giving thanks to give thanks for Ed Warinner and what’s he’s been able to do with a make-shift group of guys after losing four-fifths of one of the best lines Ohio State has had in two decades. It pains me to think what he could have done with the Brew Crew. A single tear is shed thinking what Beanie Wells could have done behind a Warinner-coached Brewster, Shugarts and Adams. It could have been beautiful.

But this game Saturday will be won in the trenches, as it is every “Game” and even with the past performance of Michigan’s defensive front, I like Decker and Company to take care of business.

Devin Gardner vs. the Turf – The turf got the better of this match-up last year. This year, I’m worried for Devin’s safety. The killer BEES (that’s what I’ve nicknamed the duo of Joey Bosa and Michael Bennett) have no doubt been looking forward to this game all season. They’ve seen how poorly the Michigan offensive line has protected Gardner this season and with little or no threat of a run game will be thinking rush the quarterback first. It’s possible that they will take his already broken body and finish the job. I’m legimately concerned for his well being.

devin_done

Let me take another moment to tip my cap to Devin Gardner. He’s the only Michigan quarterback I’ve had any respect for in a long time (maybe ever). It was easy to hate the very punchable face of Denard Robinson and that ever-present smile. Tate Forcier was a self-parody. Chad Henne, John Navarre, Griese, Brady, the list goes on. All loathsome human beings with zero redeeming qualities. But I’ve always been intrigued by Gardner. He’s been dealt a pretty crummy hand the past four years (coaches, running backs, the fact that he has to live in Ann Arbor) and seems to have taken it all in stride. I’ve got to give him credit for that.

He’s still going to die tomorrow.

Urban Meyer vs. Brady Hoke – My wife hates it, but when I play board games and card games with our kids, I don’t let them win. I play to win. Board games ain’t no joke in the el Kaiser household (ask Jeremiah about that time I threatened physical violence to his face over a game of Monopoly). Board games build character and losing is a part of life. If they beat me fair-and-square, I praise them for their strategy and cunning but I hardly ever lose. I feel it’s an opportunity to teach them being a good loser and I hope they’re learning strategies and how to play the game. It’s for their own good. We can’t learn to win if we never taste bitter defeat.

What I’m trying to say is that this game is going to be like Urban Meyer coaching against one of his elementary aged kids. Hoke is his inferior in every way (nope, not making fat jokes. Not here). Urban isn’t going to pull any punches.

In the end, like I mentioned earlier, this isn’t going to be close. There are some intriguing match-ups and, yes, sometimes The Game ignores trends and talent and just becomes a slugfest. I just don’t see that happening tomorrow in The ‘Shoe. I see it getting out of hand and Ohio State will prevail, keeping it’s conference regular season winning streak alive.

Ohio State 45
Michigan 20

Happy Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from those of us to all of you! Save room for some roasted wolverine on Saturday!

By The Numbers: Michigan

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Michigan
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 259.6 (14) 107.2 (9) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 251.7 (49) 194.6 (24) Passing Defense (ypg) Michigan
Pass Efficiency 170.8 (3) 126.3 (64) Pass Efficiency Defense Ohio State
Total Offense (ypg) 511.4 (10) 301.8 (9) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 44.3 (5) 20.6 (21) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 147.8 (41) 166.6 (63) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 182.5 (15) 162.8 (115) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State+++
Pass Efficiency Defense 104.6 (8) 105.4 (119) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State+++
Total Defense (ypg) 329.7 (19) 329.5 (117) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State++
Scoring Defense (ppg) 22.5 (30) 20.3 (115) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State++
Turnover margin +0.27 (42) -1.27 (122) Turnover margin Ohio State++
Penalty Yards/game 48.1 (46) 31.2 (5) Penalty Yards/game Michigan
Sacks (/game) 2.91 (18) 1.91 (56) Sacks Allowed (/game) Ohio State
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.09 (71) 2.64 (30) Sacks (/game) Michigan
3rd Down Conv. (%) 52.8 (3) 36.7 (42) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 36.3 (39) 38.2 (83) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Ohio State
4th Down Conv. (%) 50.0 (61) 26.7 (9) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Michigan+
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 44.4 (39) 33.3 (115) 4th Down Conv. (%) Ohio State++
Redzone Offense (%) 82.5 (69) 81.6 (53) Redzone Defense (%) Push
Redzone Defense (%) 81.8 (57) 87.9 (31) Redzone Offense (%) Michigan
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com

Indiana Preview: A David Versus Goliath Story

osuHelmetExcept David’s sling isn’t a strong leather strap, it’s a used Kroger grocery bag. He doesn’t have a pocketful of smooth river rocks, he’s got a handful aqua blue aquarium gravel.

He probably doesn’t stand a chance.

Things started out so well for Indiana. They were the talk of the B1G after taking out last year’s SEC West Champ Missouri in a game that stunned everyone.

hoosiervictory

The Hoosiers went on to lose every one of their Big Ten conferences games after upsetting Missouri. A letdown game after an emotional high like that can be expected, even forgiven. Six straight conference losses can’t be.

Indiana lost its starting QB, Nate Sudfeld in a loss to Iowa. Chris Covington, Sudfeld’s back-up did not impress against Iowa. True freshman Zander Diamont came under center against Michigan State when #2 QB Covington’s season was ended with an injury.

Maybe those six losses are excusable.

As bad as Indiana has played at QB, Tevin Coleman has been a steady constant for them. The second leading rusher in the nation (behind Melvin Gordon) but probably a better back than Gordon. (Proof? Look at the way Coleman runs versus Gordon. Gordon runs behind a better offensive line yet still looks to bounce it outside whenever possible to use his speed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But Coleman’s yards are man yards. B1G yards, between the tackles. Give me that any day of the week).

So that’s sets up one of the major story lines for Ohio State — can they stop the run. They struggled to stop MSU’s ground game and Minnesota’s Cobb had his way with Ohio State’s D. As was noted by our Ronnie Glickman, the currently constituted defense line is not built to stop a downhill rushing attack:

But, with Indiana operating with its fourth option at quarterback this year, there isn’t going to be much of a passing threat, which brings the safeties into the box to stop the running game. Doran Grant will probably draw coverage duties to shadow MotSaG favorite Shane Wynn, allowing the defense to focus on stopping the run. But without a space-eater like Jonathan Hankins, Bennett, Washington, Schutt and Company have their work cut out for them. Curtis Grant and freshman Raekwon McMillan will also have to step up their game as well.

On offense, there probably isn’t too much of a concern. Indiana’s defense is led by Linebacker T.J. Simmons, but I’m using “led” in very loose terms here. As you can see from the matchups in yesterday’s By The Numbers, Indiana can’s top anything on the defensive side of the ball. Ohio State’s offensive line will be too strong, J.T. Barrett too smart and the rest of his offensive weapons too quick for Indiana to hang around for very long.

I look for Ohio State to do what they’ve done since the Virginia Tech game — come out passing early, then establish the run by forcing teams to honor Barrett’s arm AND legs, and then let Ezekiel Elliot, Jalin Marshall and Curtis Samuel to do the rest.

At this point, Ohio State’s path to the B1G Championship Game should be academic. Indiana will prove a meatier test than Michigan (yeah, I said it) but it should be no more than a speed-bump.

By The Numbers: Indiana

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Indiana
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 263.1 (13) 173.9 (81) Rushing Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Passing Offense (ypg) 246.7 (50) 258.8 (104) Passing Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Pass Efficiency 170.9 (2) 133.6 (88) Pass Efficiency Defense Ohio State++
Total Offense (ypg) 509.8 (10) 432.7 (91) Total Defense (ypg) Ohio State++
Scoring Offense (ppg) 44.5 (5) 33.6 (106) Scoring Defense (ppg) Ohio State+++
Rushing Defense (ypg) 134.5 (30) 264.3 (11) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 189.4 (18) 146.4 (118) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State+++
Pass Efficiency Defense 107.7 (18) 103.9 (122) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State+++
Total Defense (ypg) 323.9 (17) 410.7 (63) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Scoring Defense (ppg) 22.0 (25) 25.1 (91) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State+
Turnover margin +0.50 (34) -0.60 (109) Turnover margin Ohio State++
Penalty Yards/game 50.4 (54) 65.7 (108) Penalty Yards/game Ohio State+
Sacks (/game) 2.90 (18) 2.10 (70) Sacks Allowed (/game) Ohio State+
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.00 (59) 2.00 (67) Sacks (/game) Push
3rd Down Conv. (%) 53.1 (4) 35.3 (28) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Push
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 37.5 (48) 29.5 (123) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Ohio State+++
4th Down Conv. (%) 47.1 (76) 71.4 (119) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 44.4 (39) 36.8 (109) 4th Down Conv. (%) Ohio State+
Redzone Offense (%) 83.0 (67) 97.4 (128) Redzone Defense (%) Ohio State+
Redzone Defense (%) 80.0 (44) 78.6 (95) Redzone Offense (%) Ohio State+
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com

Friday Open Thread: Minnesota

osuHelmetFor your Friday Open Thread perusal, a few links from your bloggers here at MotSaG:

Chip sees this as being a smash-mouth, BEE ONE FREAKING GEE three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-frozen-dust, football game. Man on man, strength against strength, as two teams line up and go at it.

The weather will be cold with possible snow, as the present weekend forecast for Minneapolis is for a high of 28 degrees. As Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said, “I don’t see it being a factor. … That’s the way it is in the Midwest so you deal with it”.

As always, you can see how these two teams stack up statistically in our weekly By The Numbers post.

When Ronnie took a look at which players to watch in Saturday’s game, he singled out the two middle linebackers who hope to stop the opposing running game. It sounds like they have the same style of play, but the edge might go to Minnesota:

Damien Wilson, Middle Linebacker

Wilson is the most NFL ready player on this Gopher roster. The 6’2, 242 pound linebacker leads the Big Ten in tackles with 88 and is beginning to play some of the best football of his career. Wilson is a do it all linebackers as he not only leads the team in tackles, but he also has recorded 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. Wilson will be anywhere and everywhere the Gophers need him to be on Saturday in order to try and contain this Buckeye offense. I would not be shocked to see Wilson have an upwards of 15-20 tackles on Saturday for the future NFL talent.

A lot of people are seeing this as a potential trap/letdown game, but I don’t see it like that at all. I think Urban is going to have the Buckeyes rolling. Their confidence is at an all-time high, this is another chance to put up a good victory against a ranked team, in front of a national audience. I don’t see any chance of a letdown. I say:

Ohio State: 45
Minnesota: 16

What say you?

By The Numbers: Minnesota

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Minnesota
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 260.2 (13) 137.6 (37) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 251.9 (47) 197.8 (26) Passing Defense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency 172.1 (2) 107.4 (15) Pass Efficiency Defense Push
Total Offense (ypg) 512.1 (10) 335.3 (21) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 46.0 (4) 21.3 (23) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 125.2 (21) 224.3 (28) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 201.0 (30) 140.2 (122) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State++
Pass Efficiency Defense 111.5 (24) 129.3 (68) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State
Total Defense (ypg) 326.2 (17) 364.6 (99) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State++
Scoring Defense (ppg) 21.8 (26) 30.7 (59) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State
Turnover margin +0.67 (25) +0.89 (14) Turnover margin Push
Penalty Yards/game 50.6 (50) 46.6 (40) Penalty Yards/game Push
Sacks (/game) 2.78 (24) 1.33 (27) Sacks Allowed (/game) Push
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.11 (72) 2.00 (71) Sacks (/game) Push
3rd Down Conv. (%) 51.3 (7) 38.4 (60) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State+
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 37.7 (49) 41.5 (62) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Push
4th Down Conv. (%) 47.1 (75) 66.7 (112) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 37.5 (26) 83.3 (2) 4th Down Conv. (%) Push
Redzone Offense (%) 84.0 (59) 92.0 (120) Redzone Defense (%) Ohio State+
Redzone Defense (%) 77.8 (34) 88.2 (30) Redzone Offense (%) Push
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com