Wednesday, June 6, 2007

APP Breakdown: The Big Ten (Eleven)

I guess I should really speed this up so I can get to the conference projections before it's too late. Preseason magazines are already on the shelves at your local Barnes and Noble, Hastings, Piggly Wiggly, and Jimmy John's Nudie and Football Mags Store. I was hoping for some surprises in the Big 10 with this breakdown, and there were a few, but as for the top offenses and defenses, nothing is all that different from the yardage standings. Regardless, Illinois should be excited for their potential improvement in 2007.

Without further ado, here is the Total Offense Adjusted Performance Percentage (TOAPP):

1. Ohio State 109.1
2. Iowa 107.7
3. Minnesota 106.4
4. Wisconsin 106.1
5. Purdue 105.8
6. Indiana 102.9
7. Michigan 98.9
8. Illinois 95.1
9. Northwestern 93.8
10. Penn State 91.3
11. Michigan State 82.8

The biggest surprise probably isn't that Iowa was #2 or Michigan State was #11, but that there wasn't a big gap from 1 through 10. From Penn State up to Ohio State, there was only an 18 percentage point difference. In the other 5 major conferences, the gaps are much, much larger. It seems that having a good offense doesn't necessarily mean you'll be competitive in the Big 10, even though the Buckeyes did win the conference. Oh, and since I only mentioned it earlier - IOWA AT NUMBER TWO?! Drew Tate was average, but the Hawkeyes had a better pass offense than rush offense. Wide receivers Andy Brodell and Dominique Douglas return for 2007 with a better QB in Jake Christensen. And don't forgot the return of RB Albert Young. Iowa could be the #1 offense in the conference this season.

Best Rush Offense (Best ROAPP):

I would've guessed Michigan or Wisconsin, honestly, but this makes sense. The funny thing is, Ohio State had a better B10 rushing game than passing game. Then again, could it have been because Troy Smith and the boys put up huge numbers early in games, then ran their two studs to get the game done with? Probably. But they scored a 140.0, which is damn good in any conference. The loss of Antonio Pittman will hurt, but Chris Wells averaged more yards per carry. He'll have to shoulder the load in 2007.

Worst Rush Offense (Worst ROAPP):

Michigan State was actually 37 percentage points worse than the 10th worst rushing attack, Penn State. The Spartans scored a 47.2, which is almost Stanford bad (43.3). Javon Ringer actually played quite well, but missed most of 5 games and only got around 14 carries per game anyway. When you have a back who has averaged over 6 yards a carry in 2 seasons, you need to give him the ball. Without Stanton, they'll have to. Maybe the coaches *were* screwing it up.

Best Pass Offense (Best POAPP):

Not really a surprise with this one. Purdue always seems to sling it around very well. They were only 2% better than Minnesota, though, which is weird. The Gophers typically run very well and Amir Pinnix wasn't a slouch. Brian Cupito is gone now, so don't expect another 2 spot for Minnesota. Purdue, however, returns a small army on offense, including all of their skill positions. They should have a larger victory in POAPP post-07.

Worst Pass Offense (Worst POAPP):

In memory of the mascot Chief Iliniwek, we'll use this logo. Illinois and Juice Williams couldn't throw the damn ball. This was actually the only area where Illinois didn't excel. Original starter Tim Brasic was God awful, so Juice and the Illini are in better shape because of it. Experience is essential - just ask women. The nightmare had to be over after Juice and the Gang threw for a whopping 65 yards against Northwestern. Not Ohio State or Michigan ... Northwestern. It should only get better.

Now for the other side of the ball, Total Defense Adjusted Performance Percentage (TDAPP):

1. Wisconsin 133.7
2. Michigan 132.2
3. Ohio State 131.9
4. Penn State 115.9
5. Illinois 113.5
6. Iowa 92.7
7. Michigan State 91.5
8. Northwestern 87.9
9. Purdue 83.4
10. Indiana 83.0
11. Minnesota 79.7

Two things stick out: 1. If you want to compete for a Big 10 Title, play some damn defense, and 2. Illinois is high again. I'm telling you right now, Illinois is going to a bowl game in 2007. They might end up 7-5 or 6-6, playing in a pre-Thanksgiving Day Bowl, but from 2-10 to 6-6 is a good turnaround. Zook is the B10's Jeff Tedford. Take a crummy team and get them to respectability, but never elite. I expect that kind of growth from them. Breaking news: Purdue doesn't play defense ....... still.

Best Rush Defense (Best RDAPP):

This wasn't even close. The Wolverines scored the best BCS conference RDAPP, with a 264.8! That's over 100 percentage points better than Ohio State (164.6), who in any other year, would have had a guaranteed 1st place RDAPP. 264.8?! Are you freaking serious? The 8 B10 opponents that Michigan played averaged almost 1,078 yards in B10 play. Michigan held them to 407. 407 yards in 8 games, or 50 yards per game. That's amazing. Of course, there's no chance in hell they do it again in 2007.

Worst Rush Defense (Worst RDAPP):

Yuck. Purdue was 22 percentage points behind Indiana. I guess Anthony Spencer was only a pass rush specialist, because he did not help in the trenches. The Boilermakers scored a 59.3, which is not quite Stanford bad, but awful nonetheless. Their pass defense was solid, so if they can somehow clog the run games of their opponents, they could begin to legitimately challenge for the conference's top spot.

Best Pass Defense (Best PDAPP):

Wisconsin was a good defensive football team in 2006, period. Their RDAPP was 4th in the conference, behind two amazing scores from Michigan and Ohio State. Their PDAPP is 139.8, 22 percentage points ahead of Ohio State. They held the 2nd best passing offense, Minnesota, to under 100 yards. The scary part is that they return a boatload of starters from that defense. If Wisconsin can get Donovan ready, they could take the conference and make a run at the BCS Title Game. Maybe.

Worst Pass Defense (Worst PDAPP):

Ahha! So, you can toss it around, then you give it to the other team, and they toss it around. It's like backyard football, but without the sweaty t-shirts, fat slobs, and 5 Mississippi rush counts. The Texas Tech game is the perfect game to define the season for the Gophers. They were bad (78.5), but not awful. Still, 9 of the 11 teams in the conference scored 92 and above, so maybe 78.5 is farther back than I originally thought.

Okay, as in every APP Breakdown, you start to get tired, overloaded, etc. The last part, though, is the most important part. Complete Adjusted Performance Percentage, where we find out who was the best performing team in the Big 10. Where does your team rank?

1. Ohio State 120.5
2. Wisconsin 119.9
3. Michigan 115.6
4. Illinois 104.3
5. Penn State 103.6
6. Iowa 100.2
7. Purdue 94.6
8. Minnesota 93.1
9. Indiana 93.0
10. Northwestern 90.9
11. Michigan State 87.2

Movers and shakers for 2007? Illinois and Iowa are the two I'd watch for, based on CAPP alone. Of course, you have to take into consideration the teams' CGVRs, TO ratio, losses to graduation, etc. Watch for those two clubs, though. Purdue might take a small step back; Minnesota, as well.

I hope to have the ACC or Big 12 up by Tuesday or Wednesday, maybe sooner. Comments make me happy.

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