Playoffs: Week 2 Spreads

Rockford / Cal r2, Davison/Clarkston, Cass / Southfield

Hi All!

Welcome back to Goosepoop, newsletter #52!

Today is our eleventh of fourteen weekly preview guides. We’ve got the following sections in store:

  1. Big Games: A brief overview of the State’s biggest game

  2. Fun Facts: A smattering of other ‘fun facts’ about Week 11 matchups

  3. Other Info: General football information (polls, etc.)

One other note: if you haven’t yet reviewed what happened last week (round 1 of the Playoffs), I highly suggest you start with our weekly wrap-up, which went out Monday.

Within, we’ve got rankings for the remaining 10 teams in each Division!

(link below)

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Week 11 Big Games

Unlike last week, there are no difficult choices this week: our top game is Rockford / Caledonia, round 2.

Here’s why we’re picking this one:

  • this game is between the top 2 teams in D1 (per our computer model)

  • this game is between the top 2 teams in the State (per our computer model)

So let’s jump into the analysis. Last time out, our model set a spread of Caledonia -5.5. Here’s what we told you was driving that number:

We’ve got a 5.5 point spread on this game, in favor of Caledonia. If you look closer, you’ll see why the spread is set this way: while both teams have nearly identical offensive ratings, Caledonia’s defense is about 6 points better.

You know how the story goes from there: Rockford flipped our model on its head, prevailing by a WIDE margin, winning 38-15.

Since this victory, our model has rightfully switched Rockford and Caledonia in the D1 rankings: Rockford is #1, and Caledonia is #2. However, our model has not separated the two teams by as wide of a margin as you might expect: Rockford is rated as a mere 0.3 points better than Caledonia.

A look at Caledonia’s game last week against Grandville shows you why: they bested a very good Dawgs team by 22, a margin of victory similar to Rockford’s margin over the Dawgs in Week 6. From the model’s perspective, Caledonia is clearly capable of performing at a level similar to that of Rockford’s.

Now, being capable and actually delivering are two different things. If you compare the Week 9 result to our computer model’s original expectation, you’ll see the biggest risk standing in the way of Caledonia performing at this level: their offense. While Caledonia’s defense performed about at spec the first time around (they allowed 38 points versus an expected 33), their offense severely underperformed, mustering only 15 against an expected 38.

So, this is the key question you must believe in order to support our computer model’s spread: can Caledonia score 28+ against the Rams? If so, we will have ourselves a ball game Friday night. If not, expect this one to be all Rams.

4 Sets of Fun Facts for Week 11

Top 5 Overall Games

Beyond our headliner matchup, we’ve got 4 other amazing games this week. Here’s some quick stats for you:

  • Davison / Clarkston is a rematch of Week 1, where the Cards won by 7. This time out, our model has them by 9.

  • Cass & Southfield scored 110 points when they met in Week 1. For Week 11, we’re predicting only 79 (and also a Cass Victory)

  • Mona & FHC is a matchup that really should be happening in the Semis, as we have those two teams rated #4 & #3 in D2, respectively. Expect whoever wins this toss-up to find themselves playing the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

The Best Game in Every Division

We already told you about how our D1 & D2 games should really be being played in a later round. Well, that’s not the end of it; we’ve got two other semi-final level games occurring this weekend:

  • #1 GR West Catholic plays #3 Constantine

  • #2 Hudson plays #3 Lumen Christi

In both games, the favorite is projected to win by a touchdown. From a historical perspective, that’s ~60% odds that they win.

Lastly, keep an eye on the Riverview / Tecumseh game. That’s this week’s lone undefeated matchup: at the very least, one team will be falling off survivor island.

We’ve got Tecumseh by 2, but that’s basically a 50/50. Expect a good one.

Tracking the Champs

Seven of eight returning State Champs remain, with Chelsea the lone team to lose last week.

This week, we’re predicting that all but Pewamo-Westphalia will advance. However, Lansing Catholic is only favored by 4 over Ovid-Elsie, so the Cougars could certainly fall off as well.

Games Where 9-0 Teams are Projected to Lose

Beyond the Riverview / Tecumseh matchup, there are 5 games where an undefeated team is projected to either lose or win by a spread of only 3 points or less.

4 out of 5 of these games are projected within 1 point, with Bishop Foley being the lone double digit underdog - we’ve got returning State Finalist Michigan Collegiate favored by 16 over the Ventures.

Superlative Matchups

Here’s some other fun facts that the model is throwing off this week:

  • Game w/ the highest over/under: (80)

    • Fruitport vs. Whitehall

  • Game w/ the lowest over/under: (31)

    • Lansing Catholic vs. Ovid-Elsie

  • Pick ‘em Games (2)

    • Rockford vs. Caledonia

    • FHC vs. Mona Shores

Other Useful Information

Playoff Brackets

At the link below, you can check out the updated playoff brackets for all 10 MHSAA divisions:

That’s all for today! We hope everyone has a great Round 2 of the Playoffs.

Check back here on Monday for recap & updated computer rankings

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