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Week 9 2023 MHSAA Football Preview

3 games where both teams must win; 6 undefeateds projected to lose

Hi Everyone -

Goosepoop #81 is here!

Here’s the lineup for today’s note:

  • Computer Rankings: top 10 rankings for every division

  • Feature Games: projections for the week’s biggest games

  • Undefeated Matchups: projections for the week’s undefeated matchups

  • Undefeated No More: games where undefeated teams are expected to lose

  • ‘Bubble’ Games: games between teams that are on the bubble for the playoffs

  • Potential Playoff Rematches: games between teams that will likely rematch next week (Round 1 of the Playoffs)

  • Pick’ Em Games: games where our computer model thinks either side has an equal chance of winning

  • Coach’s Poll: the Week 8 Coach’s Poll is out!

Week 8 Computer Rankings

Week 8 Computer Rankings dropped on Monday night, and once again, the Instagram comment section was irate.

Here are the most frequent objections:

  • Belleville at #2 behind Rockford

  • Portage Central at #10, despite beating #6 Portage Northern

  • Undefeated Saline & Northville have both fallen out of our D1 top 10s

I don’t have good answers for objections #1 & #2… these are sensible comments. However, no matter how sensible the commentary is, we don’t adjust the algorithm. That would just make too much sense.

Finally, on #3, we’re in luck this week: both Saline and Northville play undefeated teams that are ranked ahead of them. Scroll below to see our previews on each.

(here’s the rankings - click into the post to see each division & read the 40+ comments)

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Week 9 Feature Games

Northville (8-0) vs. Belleville (8-0)

For the second straight year, two undefeated teams will square off for the KLAA Championship. Belleville, owner of the State’s longest win streak, needs no introduction. Their opponent, Northville, made quite a loud introduction themselves in Week 1 with their defeat of returning D1 semifinalist Clarkston. Since then, the Mustangs have continued to roll, but they’ve been docked by our computer (Northville is currently ranked #18 in D1, behind Clarkston). That’s likely due to a weaker schedule, which has since featured 0 teams ranked in the top half of D1. Well, that changes this week: Belleville is the #2 team in the State, rated only a smidge behind Rockford.

Saline (8-0) vs. Lake Orion (8-0)

A similar situation to what I describe above: Lake Orion has been firmly ranked in the D1 top 5 all year long, recently rising to their highest ranking of the year at #3. Saline, while also undefeated, has actually fallen out of our D1 Top 10. This is due to closer-than-excpected wins against Monroe and Ypsilanti Lincoln. If the Hornets can pull off the upset this Friday night, you can throw that data out the window (might as well throw the computer rankings out, too).

Orchard Lake St Mary’s (3-5) vs. Macomb Dakota (6-2)

You are not what your record says you are. Despite being 3-5, Orchard Lake is ranked as the #15 team in D2. They’ve just had the misfortune of playing the State’s 10th toughest schedule, which leaves them in a must win situation this Friday night. And that’s no easy task: to make the playoffs, OLSM must defeat Macomb Dakota, the #11 team in D1.

Gladwin (7-1) vs. Frankenmuth (7-1)

A re-do of last year’s D5 State Championship thriller. And guess what: it’s almost exactly the same situation. Our computer favors Frankenmuth once again, albeit to a lesser degree. Not that the spread mattered last time: the Flying G’s took home the D5 State Championship by winning 10-7 as a 10 point underdog.

Clinton (7-1) vs. Hudson (7-1)

I believe I have featured Clinton & Hudson every year that this newsletter has been running (that’s only 3x for those keeping track). Last year, they met as undefeateds in Week 9. That’s not the case in 2023: Clinton has a Week 1 loss to D5 #3 Notre Dame Prep, and Hudson just recently lost to Dundee, a team that is fighting for a playoff spot this week. But throw out the records: both Clinton and Hudson are rated as legitimate title threats in their Divisions (Clinton is #1 in D7, Hudson is #5 in D8).

Someone Has To Lose

Napoleon (8-0) vs. Addison (8-0)

Two undefeateds square off in a Cascades Conference crossover matchup. Napoleon is a returning D7 semifinalist, while Addison is rated highly in D8 (#9). If the computer’s right, expect an amazing finish.

Undefeated No More?

Almont (8-0) vs. Ogemaw Heights (7-1)

Ogemaw has been a computer favorite all year: they’ve been rated ahead of reigning D5 State Champion Gladwin, despite *LOSING* to the Flying G’s by two touchdowns in Week 1. We’ll see if their rating is correct when they take on the #1 team in D6, Almont.

Paw Paw (8-0) vs. Niles (7-1)

I love this matchup: little did we know we’d get the game of the year in the Wolverine Conference in Week 9. And this one has implications that ring much further than a conference championship: we currently rank both teams in the Top 10 of D4 (Niles is #3, Paw Paw is #8). If that weren’t enough, a rematch likely looms 2 weeks from now in the District Finals.

Denby (8-0) vs. De La Salle (6-2)

‘Bubble’ Games

To be clear: there are other games this week where *one* team must win to make the playoffs (see OLSM / Dakota above). HOWEVER, there are only 3 games where *both* opponents are almost certainly win or go home:

East Kentwood (3-5) vs. West Ottawa (3-5)

Dundee (5-3) vs. Ida (4-4)

Bad Axe (3-5) vs. Laker (4-4)

Is your team a lock to make the playoffs?

It’s tough to say, but our computer can help you figure that out

*NOT* 1-and-done

We’re projecting that FOUR matchups this weekend have a high likelihood (>30%) of happening again in Round 1 of the Playoffs:

Auburn Hills Avondale (7-1) vs. Warren Fitzgerald (4-4)

Belding (7-1) vs. Tri-County (7-1)

Petersburg-Summerfield (5-3) vs. Whiteford (8-0)

Davison (8-0) vs. Lapeer (5-3)

Who’s your team’s projected first round opponent?

How about their second round opponent?

Find out on Goosepoop Pro

Coin Flip

A whopping 5 games this week have a spread of less than a point:

Valley Lutheran (4-4) vs. Pinconning (2-6)

Saugatuck (7-1) vs. Schoolcraft (6-2)

East Kentwood (3-5) vs. West Ottawa (3-5)

Petoskey (5-3) vs. Clare (6-2)

Swan Valley (5-3) vs. Bullock Creek (5-3)

Don’t see your team’s game projected?

Don’t worry!

We’ve got every.single.game projected on Goosepoop Pro.

MHSFCA Coaches Poll

Last thing here!

The MHSFCA Coach’s Poll has been updated for Week 8

Check out how the State’s Coaches have teams ranked right here

That’s all for today guys!

Thanks again for reading my note.

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