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How Michigan football, Washington match up according to advanced analytics services

Games aren’t played on paper, but if they were, Michigan football wouldn’t have to sweat playing Washington in the national championship game.

The Wolverines will be facing off against a formidable Washington offense but Michigan has the defense to match. On the other side of the ball, the Huskies struggle a bit defensively, and while statistically, the maize and blue aren’t putting up huge stats, they still have one of the best offenses in the country according to the advanced analytics.

Michigan will certainly have a tall task as games aren’t played on paper. Intangibles such as who wants it more in-game, injuries, penalties, and more could decide the game. But the advanced analytics do favor the maize and blue in this one.

Here is what five services are saying.

Stats-O-War

Parker Fleming has Michigan football ahead in nearly every category with the exception of rush rate over expected on either side of the ball. He gives the Wolverines a 61.43% chance of winning with an expected score of 30-26.

PFF

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Unlike some of the other advanced analytics we’re looking at, which are more predictive in nature, PFF simply rates and grades what teams have done. In that light, the Wolverines are ranked higher than Washington on defense and not too far off offensively.

Michigan

Washington

Overall

1 (95.2)

10 (92.3)

Offense

6 (90.2)

3 (93.3)

Defense

1 (95.4)

37 (85.5)

Special Teams

33 (78.7)

12 (85.1)

ESPN SP+

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

SP+ is run by Bill Connelly and is predictive in nature. Per Connelly:

SP+ is indeed intended to be predictive and forward-facing. It is not a résumé ranking that gives credit for big wins or particularly brave scheduling — no good predictive system is. It is simply a measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football. If you’re lucky or unimpressive in a win, your rating will probably fall. If you’re strong and unlucky in a loss, it will probably rise.

Michigan, in this one, stands pretty high above Washington.

Michigan

Washington

Overall

2 (31.0)

12 (18.8)

Offense

12 (36.5)

4 (41.8)

Defense

1 (7.3)

44 (23.9)

Special Teams

7 (1.8)

47 (0.8)

FEI

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

FEI looks more at efficiency and here’s we’re looking at the opponent-adjusted ratings (meaning: Michigan gets no credit for beating up on bad teams). Still, the Wolverines are No. 1.

Michigan

Washington

Overall

2 (1.39)

9 (..97)

Offense

5 (1.35)

4 (1.35)

Defense

2 (1.51)

27 (.67)

ESPN FPI

Finally, we’re looking at ESPN FPI, which was much derided at the beginning of the season due to ranking teams like LSU above Michigan football. While it was prescient with Texas, it missed pretty widely with the Wolverines. Still, it’s been quite rectified, as yet another service that has the maize and blue at No. 1.

FPI is fully predictive and has Michigan as the favorite to win the national championship.

Michigan

Washington

Overall

1 (28)

12 (18.2)

Win NC game

75%

25%

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire