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MHSAA Week 9 Preview
4 matchups of undefeated teams highlight Week 9 action
As promised in our Week 8 Wrap-Up, we’re sending along a short preview to get you ready for the last week of the season.
This week we’ve got the following sections:
An in-depth review of the 4 games between undefeated teams (The Biggest Games)
Playoff Wizard user predictions for the 4 games between 0 and 1 loss teams (The Bigger Games)
A listing of the 6 games between 1 loss teams (The Big Games)
A quick rundown of the 4 games between teams within 4 spots of playoff contention (Life on the Bubble)
Before you dig in, a quick heads up - given the start of playoffs next week, we will be releasing our Wrap-Up Report one day early this week (Sunday). This is because we’ll be releasing our Playoff Preview package on Monday, post Selection Show.
Make sure you subscribe below so you don’t miss out on either!
The Biggest Games
Back from the dead is our preview of all games between undefeated teams. This was put on ice last week given that Week 8 featured 0 such games.
This week features 4 matchups of undefeateds, and a series of Goose Dropping ‘Firsts’: this is the first week teams from D6, D7, or D8 have been featured in this section (we’ve only been posting for 3 weeks, so give us a little slack).
Here’s the matchups:
Troy (D1, 8-0) vs. Bloomfield Hills (D1, 8-0)
Kingsley (D5, 8-0) vs. Traverse City St Francis (D7, 8-0)
Lansing Catholic (D6, 8-0) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (D7, 8-0)
Jonesville (D6, 8-0) vs. Addison (D8, 8-0)
Now let’s jump into the stats…..
Troy at Bloomfield Hills
Strength of Schedule (Total # of Wins by Opponents Played): 22 (T) vs. 21 (BH) Advantage: Troy
Strength of Schedule (Opponent’s Average Margin of Victory): -5.9 (T) vs. -9.7 (BH) Advantage: Troy
Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points)1: 16.1 (T) vs. 15.4 (BH) Advantage: Troy
Offensive Production (Avg Pts Scored): 20.0 (T) vs. 35.3 (BH) Advantage: Bloomfield Hills
Defensive Production (Avg Pts Allowed): 6.6 (T) vs. 10.5 (BH) Advantage: Troy
Playoff Wizard User Prediction (% of Playoff Wizard Submissions w/ Respective Team Winning): 66.7% (T) vs. 33.3% (BH) Advantage: Troy
I will preface everything I say here with the fact that these teams’ league, the OAA-B, is a bit insulated from the rest of Division 1. Because each has played only one non-conference game, we don’t really know how good they are. Their non-conference wins themselves are not so convincing: Troy’s came over 2 win Edsel Ford, with Bloomfield’s coming over 1 win Kettering.
So, despite being undefeated, these teams do not have the strongest of resumes. This shows up again if you compare either’s average points per game to the rest on this list: at 20.0, Troy has by far the lowest offensive production of our 8 previewed teams this week.
That said, both teams do have a good win over an otherwise undefeated Berkley; Berkley themselves defeated a now 7-1 Livonia Clarenceville in Week 7.
From a comparative standpoint, both teams’ win over Berkley was dead even: Bloomfield Hills defeated Berkley 13-10 in Week 1; Troy defeated Berkley 10-7 last week.
So this one is difficult to call: Troy owns all of the strength of schedule metrics, but not by much. Bloomfield scores more points, but against their toughest mutual opponent (Berkley) they mustered only slightly more.
The Playoff Wizard users certainly want the dream season to continue: 2 out of 3 of them are calling for Troy to take the OAA-B title, wrapping up their first undefeated regular season since 1997.
Recap of Troy’s win over Berkley last week (Goose Droppings)
Traverse City St. Francis at Kingsley
Strength of Schedule (Total # of Wins by Opponents Played): 28 (TCSF) vs. 26 (K) Advantage: Traverse City St. Francis
Strength of Schedule (Opponent’s Average Margin of Victory): -4.2 (TCSF) vs. -6.6 (K) Advantage: Traverse City St. Francis
Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 14.6 (TCSF) vs. 13.0 (K) Advantage: Traverse City St. Francis
Offensive Production (Avg Pts Scored): 49.4 (TCSF) vs. 41.2 (K) Advantage: Traverse City St. Francis
Defensive Production (Avg Pts Allowed): 10.4 (TCSF) vs. 7.8 (K) Advantage: Kingsley
Playoff Wizard User Prediction (% of Playoff Wizard Submissions w/ Respective Team Winning): 68.9% (TCSF) vs. 31.1% (K) Advantage: Traverse City St Francis
In what is sort of a backyard battle (about as backyard as it gets up North), we have last year’s D7 runner-up (St Francis) traveling 17 miles south to face undefeated D5 Kingsley. The winner will be crowned champ of the NMFL-Legends Division.
Kingsley is no slouch themselves: they technically have not lost a game since a 2019 semi-final against Lansing Catholic Central; 2020’s season ended on a forfeit to Reed City. In total, of the 29 games they’ve actually played in the last 3 years, they’ve lost just this one. This includes 2 wins over St Francis, whom they defeated 36-23 last year and 26-7 the year prior.
From a more current perspective, both teams have played a very similar slew of opponents: their strength of schedule metrics are almost identical, and both teams have the same signature win over an otherwise undefeated Grayling.
That said, Kingsley has been playing people slightly tighter, as evidenced by their margin of victory over Grayling: they won 24-20; St Francis won 32-15.
In a game that is otherwise very difficult to predict, it seems the Playoff Wizard users are favoring this comparative margin of victory quite heavily: 68.9% are predicting a St Francis win.
Preview of the game (Record-Eagle)
Lansing Catholic at Pewamo-Westphalia
Strength of Schedule (Total # of Wins by Opponents Played): 28 (LC) vs 31 (PW) Advantage: Pewamo-Westphalia
Strength of Schedule (Opponent’s Average Margin of Victory): -0.6 (LC) vs. -2.3 (PW) Advantage: Lansing Catholic
Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 16.1 (LC) vs. 14.2 (PW) Advantage: Lansing Catholic
Offensive Production (Avg Pts Scored): 38.6 (LC) vs 42.1 (PW) Advantage: Pewamo-Westphalia
Defensive Production (Avg Pts Allowed): 17.0 (LC) vs. 4.0 (PW) Advantage: Pewamo-Westphalia
Playoff Wizard User Prediction (% of Playoff Wizard Submissions w/ Respective Team Winning): 38.9% (LC) vs. 61.1% (PW) Advantage: Pewamo-Westphalia
This is perhaps the most interesting matchup of our 4 features this week: LCC, the larger, private school is traveling to face Pewamo-Westphalia, their smaller, public opponent.
Both teams have outstanding pedigrees: LCC won the D5 state title in 2019 alongside of PW, who was winning the D7 title the same year.
Again, this one is tough to score: both have very similar resumes, with PW defeating 4 teams with winning records, and LCC defeating 3. LCC may have the best single win of the bunch, with their Week 6 defeat of Portland, who owns the State’s only victory over DeWitt.
One interesting note is LCC’s defense, which gives up quite a few points for an undefeated team (17.0). This metric puts them as the worst defense of our 8 previewed teams this week.
The Playoff Wizard users seem to be favoring this metric heavily, as 61.1% of them have PW coming out with a victory.
Preview of the game, go to 2:47 of the video (Lansing State Journal)
Jonesville at Addison
Strength of Schedule (Total # of Wins by Opponents Played): 25 (J) vs. 26 (A) Advantage: Addison
Strength of Schedule (Opponent’s Average Margin of Victory): -7.7 (J) vs. -1.4 (A) Advantage: Addison
Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 9.8 (J) vs. 11.3 (A) Advantage: Addison
Offensive Production (Avg Pts Scored): 46.8 (J) vs. 48.0 (A) Advantage: Addison
Defensive Production (Avg Pts Allowed): 7.1 (J) vs. 16.9 (A) Advantage: Jonesville
Playoff Wizard User Prediction (% of Playoff Wizard Submissions w/ Respective Team Winning): 46.7% (J) vs. 53.3% (A) Advantage: Addison
In what is Goose Dropping’s first-ever visit to Division 8, we have two teams having their best seasons in a while. Jonesville is 8-0 for the first time since 2002; for Addison, it’s 2006.
Both teams score a lot of points, but, similar to LCC, Addison gives up more points than you think (16.9 - almost 3 scores a game).
Schedule-wise, the comparison is also difficult: both teams have common opponents in Springfield and Union City, and both won those games by large margins. That said, Addison allowed both teams to score more points in each game than Jonesville.
Playoff Wizard Users are similarly split: they’re calling for an Addison win, but it’s right down the middle (53.3%). Perhaps they’re weighting the home field advantage here.
Preview article on Jonesville from the beginning of the year (Mlive)
Preview article on Addison from the beginning of the year (Mlive)
The Bigger Games
This week there are 4 games between undefeated and 1-loss teams:
Brownstown Woodhaven (8-0) vs. Gibraltar Carlson (7-1)
Marine City (8-0) vs. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (7-1)
Gladwin (8-0) vs. Standish-Sterling (7-1)
Ubly (8-0) vs. Bad Axe (7-1)
Here’s a quick rundown on how Playoff Wizard users are picking each game:
Looks like people are picking paper upsets in half of these games, with the crowd favoriting underdogs Pontiac Notre Dame Prep and Bad Axe (Almost 2 out of 3 people are favoriting PNDP!).
The Bad Axe / Ubly matchup is also notable as it would have been in our “Biggest Game” section had Bad Axe not received their first loss of the season last week.
Other Big Games
Beyond our 4 Biggest Games and 4 Bigger Games, there are 6 games between 1-loss teams this week.
Romeo vs. Anchor Bay
Hartland vs. Belleville (KLAA Championship)
Whitehall vs. Reed City
Muskegon Oakridge vs. Muskegon Catholic
Negaunee vs. Ishpeming Westwood
Bishop Foley vs. Clarkston Everest (Prep Bowl @ Ford Field)
While we normally don’t do this, since this week is the last week of the regular season, we’re offering a little treat: below are the Playoff Wizard user picks for each of these games.
Of note is the Hartland / Belleville matchup, which will crown the KLAA champion.
Additionally, Bishop Foley & Clarkston Everest are playing for the CHSL Intersectional Championship at Ford Field.
Life on the Bubble
In a continuation of last week’s new section, we’re highlighting the games between teams within 4 spots of playoff contention this week.
Brighton (#352, D1) vs. Livonia Franklin (#30, D2)
Troy Athens (#30, D1) vs. Auburn Hills Avondale (#30, D3)
Mattawan (#32, D3) vs. Battle Creek Central (#32, D3)
Detroit Cody (#33, D5) vs. Detroit Osborn (#30, D6)
Given that this is the last week of the regular season, these games can be thought of as an extension of the playoffs - lose this week and you most likely won’t be playing Week 10.
Once again, should be a great week all around. Thanks for reading!
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Bonus points are as calculated by the MHSAA for purposes of playoff seeding. This metric is similar to another one that we include here (Total # of Wins by Opponents Played), but it also takes the division of the opponent into account, rewarding teams for playing larger opponents. So, this metric captures not only how many wins that a team’s opponents have had, but also what division those opponents have been in. For more detail on how these are calculated, see this link.