Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Michigan Scorigami

This will make more sense in a minute.
Very early in the comments on Brian Cook's MGoBlog game column on the Iowa game, a poster noted that it was remarkable that this was the first every 10-3 Michigan victory.  This was immediately noted that a Michigan "Scorigami" would be a fun thing.  Yes, yes it would.  Challenge accepted.

As explained at NFL ScorigamiScorigami is a concept thought up by Jon Bois. It is the art of building final scores that have never happened before in NFL history. Due to the unique nature of how points are scored in (American) Football, where it is impossible to score 1 point on its own, as well as the rarity of the 2 point safety and 8 point touchdown and 2 point conversion, there are a lot of scores that are possible, but have never happened. For more info, check out the video made by Jon Bois about Scorigami.

Now, Michigan Scorigami would be a little different, because we would want to know every score relative to how many points Michigan scored in a game.  So we would not have the blacked-out bottom half like you would have in the NFL version, because Michigan points are what matter.  With this in mind, we went to work.

We meticulously copied the data from every season page at the Bentley Historical Library's U-M football page (we were a little surprised to learn we had not already done this.)  1,335 games later (we hand entered the 2019 season results), we sorted, we added locations for each game (using the Bentley data as well as Wikipedia's season pages), we cleaned up the team rankings, adjusted the data on attendance so it would sort, and turned every result into a Michigan score column and an opponent score column.  (That the Bentley listed the Michigan score first every time made this possible without having to hack and slice the data.)  After learning Excel has issues with pre-1900 dates, we had to convert the date data into a Month, Day, and Year column so it was sortable.  We then did a two-variable CountIf and built the matrix.  As we did this, we learned some things.  One of which was that we accidentally pasted the 1977 season results in again instead of pasting in the 1978 results (thank you oddball Northwestern score for helping me see that.)

1). Michigan's 130-0 win over Buffalo in 1901 totally screws up our ability to condense the entire matrix in a meaningful way.  To wit:
You can't even read it but that one yellow fleck in the top right corner is the 130-0 game.  At the center bottom, you will see the legendary 67-65 3OT classic against Illinois during the Rodriguez era.
That other yellow fleck near the bottom left.  Yeah, we're not talking about that, but you know dang well what it is.

2). The commenter was correct, Saturday's game against Iowa was Michigan's first-ever 10-3 victory.  Old-timers would immediately, however, remind you that it was not Michigan's first-ever 10-3 result, as USC defeated the legendary 1969 team in the 1970 Rose Bowl by a 10-3 margin with Bo in the hospital recovering from a heart attack.

Interestingly enough, Michigan had twice previously won 10-4 games against Notre Dame in 1888 (the second game where Michigan was in South Bend to "teach" the Irish the game.) and against Vanderbilt in 1906.)

3). Michigan has pitched 347 shutouts over 1,335 games.  That means historically, 26% of all Michigan games have ended in the Michigan defense shutting out the opponent.  That is an artifact of the 19th-century game, but it's still remarkable to consider.  Michigan has 81 different shutout based Scorigamis, including, remarkably, a pair of 88-0 wins in 1902 and 1903 against Albion and Ferris State respectively.

4). Michigan has scored one point in a game, once.  As many of you will immediately know, it was Michigan's first-ever game against Racine in 1879.  The vagaries of the old scoring rules in the pre-20th-century game help Michigan generate more Scorigamis.  No team has ever scored exactly one point in a game against Michigan.

5).  Michigan's most common result?  A 14-0 victory, which has happened 18 times. most recently in 2000 against Michigan State.  Next most common?  A 21-0 result, which has happened 16 times, most recently against Navy in 1964.  0-0, 28-0, and 35-0 each come in next most frequently with 12 occurrences.

6). Four Three of Michigan's five results have been Michigan Scorigamis this year, with the 24-21 result over Army being the only non-unique result (the most recent 24-21 win prior to Army?  That UConn game in 2013 that we all agreed to forget about.) (Edited to add: 10/9/19 at 8:00 PM EDT: Rutgers 52-0 score had previously occurred twice.  Poor coding in the initial version prevented the two previous games from showing up initially.  We regret the error.)

7). In wanting to avoid doing unnecessary coding, I took all results where 50 or more points were scored and entered them by hand.  I did not have the game associated with it, just the result, like the aforementioned 67-65.  But like many of you, I knew immediately what score 31-51 was.  I immediately knew 39-62 (ugh).  I immediately knew 51-54 and 14-52.    12-58 and 0-56 (Michigan's worst-ever shutout loss) stumped me.  Turns out they are both....Cornell?!?  The shutout in 1889, the other in 1891.

8).  The most points Michigan has given up in regulation and won?  47, against Indiana in 2013. #chaosteam

9). Unrelated to Scorigami, but I found this fascinating while sorting the data.  Of the 100 largest announced crowds Michigan has ever played in front of, only one, 2017 Penn State (73rd largest), is not at Michigan Stadium.  Also unrelated, Michigan is 9-13 all-time in overtime games.  The sole loss, bleeping 4OT in State College in 2013. (Edited to add: The Bentley did not have MSU 2009 and OSU 2016 listed as OT games.  This has updated in the data.)  (It amazingly has two identical results in OT, 23-20 wins over Iowa in 2005 and Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl following the 2011 season.)

10). Of the 12 highest point totals on Homecoming (the Bentley is really good about noting which game is Homecoming, so it went into the spreadsheet), 7 of them have come against Minnesota, including a Homecoming record 63 against the Gophers in 1992.  Conversely, the 10 points scored by Michigan on Homecoming this past weekend were the fewest on Homecoming since...2002, when they scored 9 against...well, Iowa.  (Difference there, Brad Banks' Iowa scored 34.  (Since that game, Michigan has averaged 34 points on Homecoming.)

11). The most points Michigan has ever scored while ranked #1 in the nation?  70, against Navy in 1976.  The fewest?  0, against Minnesota in...oh dang it, 1977.

Anyway, that's all we have for now.  We encourage you to look at the data and play around with it yourself.  If you find mistakes, please let us know, we're happy to fix them.  But as a goof, we hope you enjoyed this.  Our thanks to everyone who helped make this possible.

1 comment:

Misopogon said...

Early Michigan really wanted Cornell to be our big rival. For Michigan it meant a connection to the East, where the real action was (see: having to teach Notre Dame how to play football just to get a game with them). But when Cornell had a bad season they decided to cancel the Michigan game on Thanksgiving, offered Minnesota, then bailed on Minnesota after the Gophers had pre-sold tickets. Back then teams routinely scheduled games mid-season, so it wasn't that big a deal for Michigan to make up the game, with a return trip to Chicago and a trip out to boomtown Kansas City the week before. But it really soured the chance for Cornell to become our big end-of-the-year rival, and with that went any chance that Michigan could sneak into the East. Rather than being the western outpost of the Ivy League, we would be the eastern edge of the West.