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MHSAA Week 12 Preview
There are 4 Top 6 matchups on deck for Regionals Weekend
As promised in our Week 11 Wrap-Up, we’re previewing the largest games happening around the state this weekend.
Of the 32 matchups going down, there are only 4 occurring between top 6 seeds:
#4 Grand Blanc (11-0) vs. #1 Rockford (11-0)
#4 Traverse City Central (10-1) vs. #3 Caledonia (10-1)
#6 Allen Park (9-2) vs. #1 Detroit MLK (10-1)
#4 Beal City (10-1) vs. #6 Carson City-Crystal (10-1)
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Grand Blanc (#4) at Rockford (#1), Saturday 1PM
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 57 (GB) vs. 60 (R)
Strength of Schedule (Avg Opponent Point Differential): 1.3 (GB) vs. 3.0 (R)
Offensive Production: 39.3 (GB) vs. 39.8 (R)
Defensive Production: 16.0 (GB) vs. 14.8 (R)
Last Meeting: 2011 Regional Final. Rockford won, 30-28.
Common Opponents: None
Best Win: Rockford over Caledonia, 17-14
Worst Loss: N/A (both undefeated)
The best game on our slate this weekend is on the West side of the State, where undefeated Rockford hosts undefeated Grand Blanc in a matchup of Division 1 heavyweights.
The two have met before, exactly one decade prior, in a similar matchup: Rockford took home the Regional crown then, narrowly defeating Grand Blanc by 2.
I expect this matchup will be very similar: both of these teams own nearly identical resumes (although Rockford has the edge in both metrics), and both teams have nearly identical scoring metrics (again, Rockford has the edge in both).
With only a slight edge for Rockford discernable from the stats, its useful to delve into common opponents: the two teams don’t share any immediate ones, but Rockford did beat Caledonia who beat Holt 41-14 in Week 1. Grand Blanc just got done beating Holt in Round 1 of the Playoffs, but by a narrower margin, 25-6.
So everything points to a Rockford victory, albeit perhaps a narrow one.
Mother Goose’s Pick: Rockford
Traverse City Central (#4) vs. Caledonia (#3) @ Grandville, Friday 7PM
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 62 (TC) vs. 56 (C)
Strength of Schedule (Avg Opponent Point Differential): 2.4 (TC) vs. 0.7 (C)
Offensive Production: 48.8 (TC) vs. 34.6 (C)
Defensive Production: 12.8 (TC) vs. 12.8 (C)
Last Meeting: Never
Common Opponents: None
Best Win: Caledonia over Mona Shores, 49-12
Worst Loss: DeWitt over Traverse City Central, 47-27
I just got done telling you the Rockford/Grand Blanc matchup was our best one this week. Well, call this one a very close second. Both of these teams have been on a tear of late: Caledonia just got done beating Mona Shores 49-12 in Week 11, and Traverse City Central hasn’t scored less than 49 points since Week 6.
So the momentum from both teams is there. As for which one is better, all of the metrics point you towards Traverse City Central: their strength of schedule has been tougher, and despite the stronger schedule, they are scoring two more touchdowns per game.
But Caledonia has perhaps the best win of the bunch, with their victory last week over Mona Shores. And from a loss perspective, Caledonia’s is also better: they only lost to undefeated Rockford by 3, while Traverse City Central lost to 10-1 DeWitt by 20. Lastly, don’t forget that Caledonia also has the location advantage, as Traverse City Central will be traveling in a long bus ride down to Grand Rapids Friday afternoon for the game.
Still, I take the side of the metrics here: TCC’s points per game is very, very high, and this hasn’t come against slouch competition. I’ve got the Trojans in a close one.
Mother Goose’s Pick: Traverse City Central
Allen Park (#6) at Detroit MLK (#1), Friday 7PM
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 59 (AP) vs. 62 (MLK)
Strength of Schedule (Avg. Opponent Point Differential): 0.0 (AP) vs. 8.8 (MLK)
Offensive Production: 34.0 (AP) vs. 41.4 (MLK)
Defensive Production: 14.6 (AP) vs. 18.9 (MLK)
Last Meeting: 2018 Regional Final. MLK won, 54-15.
Common Opponents: None
Best Win: MLK over Cincy Moeller, 39-29
Worst Loss: Harper Woods over Allen Park, 32-21
Detroit MLK is one of the only #1 seeds that this newsletter has yet to cover this year. Most of that is due to us not starting until Week 7: none of MLK’s games over that time period have qualified for ‘Big Game’ material.
Well, that ends this week. Tomorrow night, 6th seeded Allen Park will travel to MLK in a matchup of top 6 Division 3 opponents. From a SOS standpoint, MLK’s route to this point has been tougher than AP’s: MLK played two out of state juggernauts in Carmel (IN) and Moeller (OH), plus had two games against their rival Cass Tech.
It’s not like Allen Park hasn’t played tough opponents (9-2 Carlson, 9-2 Woodhaven, 9-0 Riverview); it’s just that their total strength of schedule does not reflect MLK’s. This is best shown by comparing the average opponent point differential of the two teams: King’s opponent’s win by nearly 9 points, while AP’s are breakeven.
This differential tells you something when you compare MLK & AP’s own production metrics: while both are winning by a similar margin of victory, MLK’s wins have come over tougher opponents.
Give me the Crusaders here.
Mother Goose’s Pick: Detroit MLK
Carson City-Crystal (#6) at Beal City (#4), Friday 7PM
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 48 (CCC) vs 58 (BC)
Strength of Schedule (Avg Opponent Point Differential): -6.3 (CCC) vs. 2.1 (BC)
Offensive Production: 39.7 (CCC) vs. 38.0 (BC)
Defensive Production: 14.0 (CCC) vs. 8.1 (BC)
Last Meeting: Never
Common Opponents: Morley Stanwood. Beal City won 36-0; CCC won 40-8
Best Win: Beal City over Sand Creek, 14-12
Worst Loss: Ravenna over Beal City, 21-20
This week’s Division 8 matchup is similar to the AP/MLK one: both teams own identical records, but each took different routes to get there. Carson City Crystal’s 10 wins have come against teams with a collective 48 wins this year; Beal City’s opponent’s have 10 more wins (58). This dynamic also shows up in the average opponent point differential, where Beal City’s opponents have won by an average of 2 points, compared to CCC’s, which have on average lost by 6.
When you pair this with each team’s production metrics, the picture gets even clearer: despite the tougher schedule, Beal City’s margin of victory is higher than CCC by almost a touchdown. Beal City also owns the best win of the bunch, defeating Sand Creek 14-12 in Week 8.
Now, there is a chance that Beal City doesn’t play to their potential: they do have the worst loss of the two teams, losing 21-20 to Ravenna in Week 1. But I’m discounting this heavily as it was nearly 3 months ago.
Mother Goose’s Pick: Beal City
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