Michigan failed to challenge itself out of conference for the second year in a row. With the weakness in the Big Ten, especially in the West division, Michigan is 9-0 headed into a critical game at Penn State.
Let’s get more specific about Michigan’s crap schedule. At The Power Rank, I specialize in making mathematical adjustments for schedule, and this has vastly different consequences for Michigan’s offense and defense.
Let me explain.
On defense, Michigan (30.8%) and Penn State (30.7%) have the best raw success rate allowed in the nation. These rates are significantly better than the college football average of 41.1%.
However, these two teams have faced opposing offenses of different strengths.
Penn State has most notably faced Ohio State, but West Virginia also has a top 25 offense. After my schedule adjustment, Penn State ranks 3rd. The Nittany Lions are predicted to allow a 32.8% success rate against an average FBS offense.
Michigan has not faced any good offenses. Of their opponents, Purdue last week ranks the highest at 56th in my adjusted success rate. Minnesota, Michigan State and Nebraska all rank 98th or worse.
After schedule adjustments, Michigan gets dropped to 16th. They are predicted to allow a 35.4% success rate to an average FBS opponent, and this drop due to schedule is more than double that of Penn State.
Penn State’s offense hasn’t excelled this season. However, QB Drew Allar’s dismal performance at Ohio State was most likely an outlier. He threw for 240 yards against Maryland last week, his season high against Big Ten teams.
In addition, Penn State has two talented running backs, Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen, who have underachieved this season. Overall, Penn State’s offense ranks 29th in my adjusted success rate.
On offense, schedule adjustments tell a different story for Michigan. They have a 53.0% raw success rate, 4th best in the nation. They have done this against some good defenses. For example:
- 54.1% against Nebraska (21st)
- 47.1% against Purdue (49th)
After schedule adjustments, Michigan’s offense still ranks 4th.
QB JJ McCarthy is in the Heisman conversation. In addition, WR Roman Wilson has vastly improved from last season, as he has 3.20 yards per route run this season. Any wide receiver with a yards per route run over three is considered elite, and Wilson had 2.14 in 2022.
My member numbers predict a total of 52.4 points in Michigan at Penn State. While the market has moved from 44 earlier in the week, there is still value in over 45 points, available at DraftKings as of Thursday at noon Eastern.
Here is a sample of predictions usually saved for paying members of The Power Rank.
CFB. Michigan will beat Penn State by 4.8 points on the road. DraftKings had Michigan -6.5 on Sunday when this market opened, but most books are now at Michigan -4.5.
NFL. Baltimore will beat Cleveland by 5.4 points on the road. In my adjusted numbers, the Browns defense is predicted to allow a passing success rate of 33.0%, the best in the NFL by almost 2% and significantly better than the 42.6% NFL average. On The Football Analytics Show podcast, football analytics expert Kevin Cole had Cleveland as a dark horse to make the AFC championship game despite Deshaun Watson.
NFL. Buffalo will beat Denver by 9.1 points at home. Denver beat Kansas City 24-9 in their last game. However, Russell Wilson had 87 passing yards after subtracting out sack yards and a 28.0% passing success rate. Denver was also +4 in turnovers.
Smarter sports betting in less than 5 minutes
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