Welcome back to Goosepoop, newsletter #57!
Today is our last weekly preview of the year. Within, we’re previewing each of this year’s State Final games.
One other note: a quick shoutout to my friends over at Great Lakes State Football.
This morning they released their State Finals Preview roundtable, of which I took part. It’s an easy listen, and it should give you even more insight into this weekend’s matchups than what I provide here.
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State Final Preview
Caledonia comes in as the favorite, which is counter to what many in the twitter-sphere might say. We’ve had them rated as our #1 team in the State since they knocked off Rockford in round 2 of the Playoffs, so no surprises there from our end.
What’s interesting is how this line has moved from last week: in round 4, we would have had the Scots by only 4. Since then, Caledonia overperformed against Clarkston, winning by 21 instead of a projected 12. Conversely, Belleville underperformed against Cass Tech, winning by 1 instead of a projected 7. Both of these results combined to move the line 2 points in Caledonia’s favor.
Good luck to both teams, should be a great game on Saturday afternoon.
After scoring one of the Semi Final round’s 3 upsets (they were a 2 point underdog against Dexter), the Rangers of FHC will have an even taller task: they come in as a whopping two touchdown underdog to reigning State Champion, De La Salle.
The difference here is DLS’s offensive rating: we rate the Pilots as 15 points better on O than the Rangers. Can FHC keep pace?
If their semi final performance is any clue (7 points scored in regulation), likely not: they will need to slow down DLS and win in a defensive battle. We project DLS to score 30 points, which would be their 3rd lowest all season; to win, FHC will need to hold them closer to where River Rouge held the Pilots back in Week 7 (19 points).
Our closest line this week is also the one with the most tradition. These two teams have a handful of State Titles between them, with Detroit MLK acting as the reigning D3 State Champion.
The model likes the Crusaders by two, which would be their third closest in-state result this year: only King’s two games against Cass rank ahead in terms of margin of victory.
Whatever the result, expect a handful of points (D3 is the second highest over/under this week).
The Martians of Goodrich are one of two State Finals newcomers in 2022. We’ve projected them to represent their side of the bracket since upsetting Freeland in round 2, and they’ve made good on that projection, cruising through both Orchard Lake St Mary’s and Riverview.
They will take on South Christian, who is no stranger to Ford Field, but has not been there in a few years. The Sailors have been rated in the top two of D4 all year long, and most recently took over the top spot after knocking out #1 Whitehall in the Regional Final.
We like the Sailors by 8 here, but be careful: Goodrich’s rating is surging, for two reasons:
They have outperformed the spread in each of the last 3 weeks
Their only loss, Frankenmuth, has also outperformed the spread in each of their last 3 games
Are the Martians underrated once again? We will find out Friday evening.
Our other Ford Field newcomer this year is Gladwin. The Flying G’s arrive by way of upset: they scored the largest upset of the Semi Final round, winning 28-21 over GRCC as a 4 point underdog.
Now, be careful of your impression of this win: because of GRCC’s impressive track record, you may be adjusting your expectations of Gladwin as a result of their victory. Frequent readers of our computer ratings would tell you this is a mistake: we’ve had Gladwin rated neck & neck with GRCC all year long, so this upset only minorly adjusts Gladwin’s rating upwards.
Said another way, we knew Gladwin was good before their game against GRCC. As such, their victory doesn’t tell us much we didn’t already know.
Which gets us to our next point: in the same neck & neck ratings of GRCC / Gladwin, we’ve also had one other constant: Frankenmuth as #1. The Eagles are quietly putting together one of the most impressive seasons in the State, with their closest victory coming in Week 1 over fellow State Finalist Goodrich, 27-2.
Most recently, Frankenmuth prevailed over Country Day, 38-0. This is why you see the large spread on this game: Country Day previously beat Notre Dame Prep by 14 in the District Final, and Gladwin only beat Notre Dame Prep by 6 back in Week 7. The model is very much taking this daisy-chain into account, assigning the Eagles as a 10 point favorite over the Flying G’s.
We’ll see if Gladwin has the upset in them once again on Saturday afternoon.
In Division 6, the UP’s lone representative will travel south to take on West Catholic, a team who is no stranger to Ford Field.
We’ve had the Miners as projected finalists since the start of the Playoffs, so this matchup is not a surprise at face value. What is a surprise, however, is the spread: 4 weeks ago, we would have projected the Falcons by 4. Now, we’ve got them beating Negaunee by a whopping 15 points.
What’s driving this movement in the line? West Catholic’s performance vs. the spread each of the last few weeks. Let’s take a look:
Week 11 vs. Constantine
Proj. Spread: WC -7
Act Spread: WC -26
Week 12 vs. Lansing Catholic
Proj. Spread: WC -22
Act Spread: WC -30
Week 13 vs. Clinton
Proj. Spread: WC -13
Act Spread: WC -19
That’s steady outperformance, coming against rock solid opponents: two teams were rated in D6’s top 5 all year (Constantine and Clinton), and the other was D6’s reigning State Champion (Lansing Catholic).
We’ll find out it if the trend continues this Friday.
Our largest spread of the week is in D7: we’ve got St Francis by 19 over Lumen Christi.
This projection might also be a bit of shocker, if you look only at the two team’s last meeting: TCSF played Lumen Christi in Week 1, winning by 7 in what was their closest matchup all year.
So what’s driving the difference (19 vs 7)?
Simply, the last two weeks: TCSF has played two very strong D7 squads, and has steamrolled them both, winning 63-0 over Ithaca and then 53-6 over New Lothrop.
These wins are evidence of a much improved TCSF team, and their rating has adjusted accordingly.
Do you like points? We expect that our D8 State Final will have plenty, as this game has the highest over/under of any in the State, with both teams expected to score 5 times a piece.
Currently, our model has OL Whiteford coming out on the other side of this affair: we like the Bobcats by 3. Alas, I don’t put too much stock in this projection: we’ve been wrong about Ubly for most of the year, putting out spreads that the Bearcats have absolutely blown out of the water time & time again.
So, I think there’s a high probability chance that Ubly is underrated here once again: if I were to bet against my model, I’d say that the Bearcats are the real favorite here. But just how much should we favorite them by? Likely less than their margin of victory over Iron Mountain (27). Maybe something in the two touchdown range?
It’s difficult to say - usually I rely on my model here!
We’ll find out the real answer first thing on Friday morning.
State Final Superlatives
First State Title Since
With a win this week, this would be each program’s first State Title since:
Warren DLS: 2021
Detroit MLK: 2021
South Christian: 2014
West Catholic: 2017
Lumen Christi: 2018
OL Whiteford: 2017
Here’s some other fun facts that the model is spitting out:
Best Offense: Belleville
Best Defense: Caledonia
Toughest Schedule: Caledonia
Longest Win Streak: Belleville
Shortest Win Streak: Detroit King
Most Dominant: TCSF
Furthest Travel: Negaunee
Most Tradition: Muskegon
Could Repeat: Belleville, Warren DLS, Detroit King
First Time: Goodrich, Gladwin
Finally, here’s some useful links to aid in your viewing this weekend:
State Finals Information
MHSFCA All - State Teams
These were just released today. At the link below, find the 32 players in each division selected to first team All-State:
That’s all for today! We hope everyone has a great State Finals!.
Check back here on Next Week for our Season Wrap-Up, where we’ll rank all 500 11-man teams.
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D3 - Muskegon Last won in 2017, they did not win 2007. They did however win in 2006 and 2008.