Scuzz Model: Bye Week Breakdown
Nice little win this past weekend. I think we can all identify some areas for improvement, but I’m pleased the game didn’t come down to the final play, and the Cats were in Victory Formation for the end. As you’ll hear on this week’s podcast, my biggest concern for this team in the upcoming weeks is finding that killer instinct. They got a lot closer vs. Iowa, but were derailed by a fumble in the red zone. Since we have a week off, I thought I’d get the Scuzz Model update out early, so I can concentrate on some Big Ten Championship scenarios later in the week.
Big boost to the Cats’ efficiency this week. Both the D and O rates are improved (aided by wins from MN, IU, BC, etc). As a result the game-by-game probabilities have improved for all three remaining contests – even MSU, despite their big win over the weekend:
Fitz’s hopes of tying the NU career wins record in the regular season are still alive… the Cats will be underdogs against Michigan, and probably against MSU as well, but I like their chances vs. the Spartans – unlike in years past this is a good matchup for NU after the talent lost at the WR and QB positions for Sparty. Michigan has been so up and down it’s hard to know what to expect from them; I figure being in Ann Arbor will give them a boost, regardless of how they play this week vs MN.
Season to Date:
Let’s recap the season by looking at NU’s actual vs. expected efficiency performance by week. What is most compelling is that NU has increased their efficiency output against the Scuzz model’s expectations each week since the Penn State game.
If you break it down by offense and defense, not surprisingly to any of us, the defense has outperformed the offense. We can hope that the resurgence we saw last week with Kain Colter at the helm will continue as we hit the home stretch. Health in the secondary would be a boon to this team as well – good timing on our bye week in my opinion with two of the toughest games coming up.
The Already Obsolete BCS Championship Hunt:
Big upheaval this past week… now we wait for the remaining contenders to shoot themselves in the foot! Two more big games with LSU-Bama and USC-Oregon this weekend, but I really like the favorites to advance past both of those challenges. Given that there is a distinct possibility the top 5 teams could all finish undefeated… could the new 2014 BCS playoff be obsolete two years before its first unveiling??!! In all likelihood, 2-3 of these undefeated teams will lose, but I’ll be pulling for all 5 to make it out unscathed (and no, Louisville doesn’t count… their schedule / profile is clearly inferior to the rest). I still like K-State as the favorite to stay undefeated – though I can report that Notre Dame is quite good, and totally capable as well. Really wish we could have a playoff game of Kline vs Te’o for the Heisman and the chance to play Alabama (methinks the game against Bama could lack for excitment).
More later in the week, including picks for the weekend and more on the Cats and their chances in the Legends division.