Illinois: The Numbers Game

Juice Williams and the Illini have struggled mightily to put points on the board.

Juice Williams and the Illini have struggled mightily to put points on the board.

This week’s edition of The Numbers Game looks at how well Michigan measures up to the Fighting Illini. Big chart? Yes, please.

[table id=14 /]

*Strength of Schedule taken from CBSSports.com's rankings

Legend:

Difference between 0-10 in national rank: Push
Difference between 11-25 in national rank: michiganlogothumb
Difference between 26-50 in national rank: michiganlogothumbmichiganlogothumb
Difference between 50-100 in national rank: michiganlogothumbmichiganlogothumbmichiganlogothumb
Difference greater than 100 in national rank: michiganlogothumbmichiganlogothumbmichiganlogothumbmichiganlogothumb

The Upshot:

Uh, that’s a lot of M’s? I said last week that it was rare to see a statistical breakdown paint such a clear picture of a game as the breakdown between Penn State and Michigan. Well, this week’s breakdown paints an even clearer picture: Illinois is very, very bad. They’ve won exactly one game this season. That game was against Illinois State. The closest they’ve been to a victory against an FBS team is 10 points (they’ve lost 24-14 twice, against MSU and Purdue). They can’t score, and they can’t defend. They can’t even put together a decent return (although, for some reason, they can cover kickoffs).

Simply put, if Michigan loses this game, than all of a sudden the howls of discontent that sounded after the Penn State game gain credence. I still maintain that they were not legitimate last week, but if we lose, somebody needs to be held accountable. The 2009 Illini are even worse statistically than the 2008 Wolverines and the 2007 Fighting Irish. I fully expect a bounce-back victory, and a resounding one at that. Anything less will be very, very disconcerting.

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