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2023 MHSAA Football Regional Championships Preview
West Catholic / Catholic Central, Rockford / Davison, & More
Hi Everyone -
Goosepoop #85 is here!
Here’s the lineup for today’s note:
Feature Game: projections for this week’s biggest game
Two Rounds Too Soon: projections for a game that should be happening two weeks from now
Undefeated Matchups: projections for the week’s undefeated matchups
Undefeated No More: other games where undefeated teams are expected to lose
Pick’ Em Games: games where each side has an equal chance of winning
Over / Under Superlatives: games with the highest (and lowest) projected point totals
[NEW SECTION] 8-Man Projections: we project each of 8-man’s semi final games
[NEW SECTION] UP Title Drought: conjecture on whether the UP’s 11-man title drought ends this year
[NEW SECTION] Back-to-Back-to-Back Upsets: are we likely to see 3 straight upsets from a team?
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3rd Annual Playoff Preview Guide
I know we’re already halfway through the Playoffs, but if you want to keep my projections honest, you can reference the guide that I dropped 2 weeks ago:
If you’d rather not read the guide, you can listen to my commentary on the GLSFB podcast from 2 weeks ago as well….
Please keep me honest!!!
Week 12 Feature Game
Grand Rapids Catholic Central (10-1) vs. Grand Rapids West Catholic (11-0)
The returning D6 State Champion takes on their crosstown rival, a team who has a lengthy State Championship history of their own.
This one is sure to be a dandy, even more so because it hasn’t happened since the programs last met in 2021’s District Final.
In that one, my computer had a quite a close spread, but still favored Catholic Central. The Cougars promptly blew that line out of the water, cruising to a 44-6 victory.
What will happen this time? In 2023, the computer has flipped towards West, and is leaning a bit heavier their way:
Spread: West Catholic -9
Win Probability: West Catholic 65%
But wait: let’s not just take our computer’s line at face value.
Let’s dive *ONE LEVEL* deeper, and see if there are any insights.
Here’s West Catholic’s Week-Over-Week Computer Rating Chart:
Notice that WC’s rating has been fairly steady since around midseason. That’s not surprising - the computer is most accurate after it gets 5-6 weeks of data.
Here’s Catholic Central’s Week-Over-Week Rating Chart:
This is where it gets juicy. In our system, Catholic Central’s rating has taken a dive of late, starting with Week 9.
What’s causing this?
It’s their opponents: since Week 9, Catholic Central has played opponents that they’ve been far better than (70+ point spreads in some cases). Because they’ve not covered the spread in any of those 3 weeks, the computer model has docked them each time.
Is this fair to do? Probably not. In each of these games, a running clock was present at halftime. That means Catholic Central very likely could have hit their projected point spread - they just chose to let up, as many teams do.
So, let’s take a look at CC’s rating with these three games thrown out. How does that adjust the point spread?
Spread: West Catholic -1
Win Probability: West Catholic 51%
A much, much closer game. Like I said - should be a dandy.
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Two Rounds Too Soon
Per my Computer Model, there’s only ONE game this weekend that *should* be a State Championship. And it’s in D7.
Clinton & Lumen Christi have been rated #1 & #2 in D7 for most of the year, respectively. However, just this last week, Lumen flipped Clinton for the #1 spot.
Will our projection hold? Recall that LC has a lengthy history of upending our projections: they were ~19 point underdogs in last year’s D7 final, a game which they won.
Clinton (10-1) vs. Lumen Christi (10-1)
Spread: Lumen Christi -2
Win Probability: Lumen Christi 52%
What round is your team expected to lose in?
Find out on Goosepoop Pro
Someone Has To Lose
Davison (11-0) vs. Rockford (11-0)
Our D1 #1 (Rockford) takes on our D1 #4 (Davison) in a Saturday night special.
Both teams are undefeated, and both have spent time at #1 this year. The difference is their trend lines: Rockford’s rating has been steadily increasing, while Davison’s has been declining, with closer-than-expected wins over Lapeer & Grand Blanc driving most of the decline.
So which Cardinal team will show up? If it’s their early season form, expect a battle (Davison would have been favored if this matchup took place in Weeks 3 or 4).
As for what we think now, it’s a bit more lopsided, in Rockford’s favor:
Spread: Rockford -17
Win Probability: Rockford 82%
Ubly (11-0) vs. Ithaca (11-0)
After this week, Ithaca will have played the D8 #2 (Fowler), #3 (Ubly), and #8 (New Lothrop) to start the playoffs. That is the toughest draw in the State.
Will they keep it rolling? They aren’t favored in this one, but they weren’t favored against #2 Fowler, either.
Spread: Ubly -3
Win Probability: Ubly 53%
Whiteford (11-0) vs. White Pigeon (11-0)
We haven’t talked about White Pigeon much at all this year. And that’s to our detriment: WP has proven the model wrong time and time again, slowing raising their computer ranking by defeating the spread each of the last few weeks.
Do they have the upset in them again?
Spread: Whiteford -11
Win Probability: Whiteford 73%
Undefeated No More?
Just 18 undefeated high school football teams remain in the State of Michigan (including 8-man).
If our computer’s right, SIX of these teams will drop off this week (this includes the three all-undefeated matchups above). Here’s the three others:
Gaylord (11-0) vs. Forest Hills Central (10-1)
Spread: Forest Hills Central -22
Win Probability: Forest Hills Central 88%
Portland (11-0) vs. Niles (10-1)
Spread: Niles -11
Win Probability: Niles 73%
North Muskegon (11-0) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (10-1)
Spread: Pewamo-Westphalia -3
Win Probability: Pewamo-Westphalia 53%
Like last week, there are no true PICK’EMs. However, we do have one, 1-point spread:
Everest Collegiate (9-2) vs. Riverview Gabriel Richard (7-4)
Spread: Gabriel Richard -1
Win Probability: Gabriel Richard 51%
Over / Under Superlatives
Lowest Over / Under
(there’s a tie)
Goodrich (10-1) vs. Haslett (8-3)
Over / Under: 35
Spread: Goodrich -20
Win Probability: Goodrich 85%
Gaylord (11-0) vs. Forest Hills Central (10-1)
Over / Under: 35
Spread: FHC -22
Win Probability: FHC 88%
Highest Over / Under
Walled Lake Western (10-1) vs. Mason (11-0)
Over / Under: 70
Spread: Mason -7
Win Probability: Mason 59%
8 Man Final Four Projections
Special treat this week: we’ve got projections for all four 8-man Semi-Finals.
Pickford (10-1) vs. Indian River Inland Lakes (10-1)
Spread: Pickford -11
Kingston (9-2) vs. Martin (9-2)
Spread: Martin -20
Martin recently avenged their early season loss over our Computer’s #1 8-man team, Gobles. With the win, they are the Computer’s favorite to win D1, a feat which they accomplished last year as well.
Lake Linden (8-3) vs. Marion (10-0)
Spread: Marion -26
Deckerville (9-2) vs. Lenawee Christian (11-0)
Spread: Lenawee Christian -20
Marion & Lenawee Christian are the only undefeated teams in 8-man left playing, and both seem on a collision course for the D2 State Final.
UP Title Drought Over?
Is this the year that the UP 11-man title drought ends?
I posted this yesterday, and several of you guys had comments on how it plays out.
Check them out in the Tweet right here.
One more fun fact: only THREE 11-man teams have scored back-to-back upsets in the Playoffs.
Will the magic continue?
We think so: there’s a 63% chance at least one of the three shown above wins this weekend.
Don’t see your team’s game projected?
We’ve got every.single.game projected on Goosepoop Pro.
Check it out right here
That’s all for today guys!
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