Welcome back to Goosepoop, newsletter #54!
Today is our twelfth of fourteen weekly preview guides. We’ve got the following sections in store:
Big Games: A brief overview of the State’s biggest game
Fun Facts: A smattering of other ‘fun facts’ about Week 12 matchups
Other Info: General football information (polls, etc.)
One other note: if you haven’t yet caught up on what happened last week (round 2 of the Playoffs), I highly suggest you start with our weekly wrap-up, which went out Monday.
Within, we’ve ranked each division’s remaining 8 teams!
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Week 12 Big Games
We’ve reached the point of the season where there are no easy picks for game of the week.
For instance, let’s look at D1. We’ve got great matchups in every quarterfinal:
#1 Caledonia takes on a red-hot Grand Ledge a week after the Scots’ biggest win of the year. Is there let-down potential?
#2 Belleville takes on their toughest opponent to-date in DCC. Do the Tigers continue on trend?
#3 Dakota is undefeated and has perhaps the State’s toughest defense. But is that enough to stop Cass Tech, who is coming off of two straight top 10 victories (Southfield & West Bloomfield)?
#4 Clarkston takes on returning State Finalist in Rochester Adams. The Wolves previously won earlier this season by 10 points. Are they capable of repeating?
Consider the above your preview for each - given the lack of a clear favorite here, we’re headed down a handful of divisions for our game of the week.
Yes, we’re dropping all the way to D4: our game of the week is #1 Whitehall vs. #2 South Christian.
To give you a sense of the scope on this game, here’s a few fast facts:
Both teams are 11-0
Whitehall is the State’s 2nd best offense (points per game wise)
South Christian beat 3X defending State Champion GR Catholic Central this year, the only team to do that since 2019
Beyond this, we’ve also got these teams rated as the top two teams in the division. Expect the winner to be the clear favorite at Ford Field a few weeks from now.
Let’s jump into the stats:
Whitehall is the favorite, by just about a touchdown. The difference in this projection is Whitehall’s offensive rating: we think that unit is about 11 points better than South Christian’s.
One way to view this difference is from the South Christian perspective: our model doesn’t think the Sailors are capable of holding serve with Whitehall.
If they are (or if the Vikings turn the ball over multiple times), this game will swing towards South Christian’s favor.
Expect a fun one either way.
4 Sets of Fun Facts for Week 12
Top 5 Overall Games
We already (briefly) previewed each of the top 5 games that are in Division 1, but check out the spreads:
A 13 point margin of victory would be Belleville’s closest game all season
We’ve got Dakota as a favorite, but only by 1 point over Cass Tech
In Clarkston / Adams r2, we expect the Wolves to win, but by less than last time: our model thinks it will come down to PATs
The Best Game in Every Division
On the divisional side, there’s a few things to point out:
Negaunee and Gladstone face off for the second time this year in the battle of the UP’s best. The Miners won last time, but our model thinks it will be closer this time around.
In D7, TCSF takes on Ithaca in a matchup that will feature two of the State’s highest scoring offenses this year. The Jackets are a heavy underdog, but we’d pose the same question as we do for South Christian above: can their offense hold serve with TCSF? If so, expect the spread to narrow.
Tracking the Champs
If you read our Week 12 Wrap-Up, you’d know that we dropped two of our returning State Champs last weekend (Pewamo-Westphalia and Hudson).
We are now down to only 5 in this category. Of the group, we project to lose only one this week: Lansing Catholic is a 22 point underdog to West Catholic.
However, don’t be surprised if either GRCC or or Detroit MLK loses as well. The 5/6 point spreads on those games imply each team has a ~60% chance of winning, which means there’s a high probability chance at least one team loses.
Games Where Undefeated Teams are Projected to Lose
There’s only one undefeated team projected to lose this week, and we already told you about them (South Christian).
Beyond that game, there are two undefeated teams who are projected as favorites, but only slightly: Dakota is a 1 point favorite over Cass Tech, and Napoleon is a 1 point favorite over Monroe SMCC.
How many teams will remain on Survivor Island for Week 13?
Here’s some other fun facts that the model is throwing off this week:
Game w/ the highest over/under: (75)
Clarkston vs. Rochester Adams
Game w/ the lowest over/under: (31)
Goodrich vs. Orchard Lake St Mary’s
Pick ‘em Games: (0)
No Pick’em Games This Week :(
Other Useful Information
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 3 of the Playoffs.
Check back here on Monday for recap & updated computer rankings
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What is your system predicting for the other Division 5 games and Millington/Reed City?
Would love to know the spread on the Franklin game this week Goosepoop