This is the final voting portion of the 2009 MGoShirt Alert, a design project that will enable MgoBlog readers to vote for an upcoming design in the new MGoBlogStore.
Throughout the course of mankind, there have been days where the choices of men alter the course of destiny forever. Today, gentlemen, is one of those days. After weeks of preparation and voting, success and failure, flotsam and jetsam, we have come to this day. Today we'll vote on the winner of the 2009 MGoShirt Alert.
I will once again go over the scoring that was used to determine the four finalists. As you all know, each of the fifteen entries were open to voting by the MGoCommunity to determine its success, rated on a scale of five stars to one star, with five being the most successful and one being the least. With that being said, each five-star vote was awarded five points, four-stars were given four points, three stars got three points, etc. All points for each shirt were then added up to a grand total, and that total was divided by the number of voters for each particular poll to determine the shirt's final average score. Obviously, a perfect average score would have been 5.00, with the lowest possible score being 0.00. No design received either.
Yesterday I did a final count on all shirts and re-did the math for one last consideration, and then ranked all fifteen designs according to their overall average score. It is, then, with great pride that I reveal the finalists:
Final Score: 4.31.
To my disbelief, yesterday's shirt recieved the highest overall score. There was legimitate concern about possible legality issues, and although we may have to make some minor tweaks to the design should it prove the winner, I am proud to say that I think we're okay on that front. I will admit that I did not expect the reception it received yesterday, but am nonetheless grateful.
2. THE DESMOND
Final Score: 4.03
Ah yes, our good friend Mr. Howard, the first Heisman trophy in Ann Arbor since the legend of Tom Harmon. There were many debates about tweaking this shirt, the text, the typeface, the foot, etc... but all in all this was our first consensus 'winner' of the entire contest. Certainly wearable by the exclusive MGoBlogger or the broad UM fan base, it's got undeniable mass appeal.
3. BRIAN'S AVATAR
Final Score: 4.02
Another late addition to the contest, this was the last design I did, after someone suggested it on an earlier entry. Modeled directly from Brian's own screen icon on the Blog, this shirt also raised suspicions of possible Imperial entanglements, and in fact WAS red-flagged and pulled for use of the Block M. You can't blame us here-- it's a Michigan web site and we're smart enough not to bite that hand. You'll notice the design has been tweaked from its original, now using a sans-serif and less exclusive "M" in the background of the design. We're officially good to go.
4. THE WOODSON
Final Score: 3.50
Charles Woodson, the man who put the swagger back into Michigan. I really enjoyed creating this shirt as well, and tried to let the design speak for itself. There were debates about this one as well, concerning the off-center alignment, the shadow of the Heisman, the silhouette of Woodson, etc. But make no mistake-- people were talking, and the shirt was well-received. (Dude, you really can't see the Heisman here??)
So we've made it to the Downtown Athetlic Club and we have our final contest finalists. Voting will start now and will remain open for the entire weekend, with a final post announcing the winner on Monday. Gentlemen, it's time to vote:
|pollcode.com free polls|
|WHAT DESIGN SHOULD WIN THE 2009 MGOSHIRT ALERT?|
|"MASCOTS" "THE DESMOND" "BRIAN'S AVATAR" "THE WOODSON"|
For the sake of authenticity, I thought you all might enjoy seeing how the rest of the shirts stacked up. Final scoring beneath the four finalists, ranked from highest to lowest, are as follows:
SCORE, followed by DESIGN
3.47 - SHIRT 11 – THE RETRO (Great news, sis!)
3.20 - SHIRT 01 – THE FORCIER
3.08 - SHIRT 05 – OL’ 98
2.84 - SHIRT 10 – THE NEW NEW MATH
2.82 - SHIRT 02 – SLOT NINJA
2.82 - SHIRT 04 – FAT CHARLIE
2.72 - SHIRT 09 – FORCIER/TACOPANTS
2.67 - SHIRT 13 – CHE ROD
2.20 - SHIRT 06 – QUIERO TACOPANTS
2.05 - SHIRT 08 – BARWIS HELL
2.01 - SHIRT 03 – THE PACK/THE WOLF
There you have it, people. I would like to again thank everyone for taking part, for sharing their thoughts and reactions, for the kind words and appreciation, and for just helping build up anticipation day in and day out. And I'll see you Monday when we unveil the final winner of-- THE 2009 MGOSHIRT ALERT!
A prediction on the 2009 season using a solid and proven mathematical model*
I believe that the two things in college football that will most dictate how many games you win are your quarterback and your schedule. There has been much written about the quarterback situation and I can’t add anything to that. I have seen little if anything, however, that focuses on the schedule.
Considering that Michigan plays 8 of 12 games, including the first four, at home, the schedule is as bad as it can be. If you break the games into three categories, likely win, tossup, and likely loss - 3 of the four tossup games are on the road where a team with a freshman quarterback is not as likely to do as well.
I grabbed as many polls as I could find (the ones that rank all 120 teams)**, recorded the rankings for Michigan and their opponents, dropped the high and low ranks, and averaged them.
There are several truisms concerning forecasts. One is that they are always wrong and the other is that when you aggregate forecasts the result is more accurate than the individual ones. Ask 100 people to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar and the average of all the guesses will be better than 90% of the individual guesses. Consolidate a bunch of moronic preseason college football polls and just maybe the result is something approximating intelligence.
Only the Sagarin poll ranked Delaware and he had them at 116 so I just used that as it seemed about right. I figured they wouldn’t be the worst team in division 1 but probably close to it.
I then created a simple model, starting every game as a 55-45 proposition in favor of the home team. I added/subtracted a point based on the difference in ranking, so a home team ranked #20 would be given a 75% chance of beating a team ranked #40 (55 + (40-20)). Given upsets in recent years, I topped it out at a 95% chance of winning or losing.
In the polls i used Michigan was ranked as follows; 35, 38, 41, 46, 47, 53, 55, 63, 77. Dropping the high and low the average is 49. The opponents average rankings are***:
WMU 73, ND 28, EMU 113, IU 91, MSU 29, Iowa 23
Del 116, PSU 11, Illinois 39, Purdue 76, Wisconsin 42, OSU 8
Based on those numbers here is a breakdown of what my simple model produces as an estimate of Michigan’s chances to win each of the games on their schedule.
WMU .79 likely win
ND .34 tossup
EMU .95 likely win
IU .95 likely win
MSU .25 tossup
Iowa .19 likely loss
Del .95 likely win
PSU .17 likely loss
Illiinois .34 tossup
Purduw .82 likely win
Wisc .38 tossup
OSU .14 likely loss
Total expected wins = 6.28 (sum of all percentages)
For this exercise I consider a likely win one of 75% or greater, tossup 25-75%, and likely loss less than 25%.
There are five likely wins (all at home), three likely losses (two at home), and four tossups (one at home). I would feel much better if the Big Ten Schedule was reversed, giving Michigan their road games at home and their home games on the road. Michigan would still likely win at PU and IU. Still likely lose at PSU and OSU, but have a better chance of splitting ILL/Iowa/Wis/MSU and ending with 7 or 8 wins. Michigan has to win one of the tossup games to get to the 6 wins my model predicts, and they will likely be the underdog in all of them.
The first two games should tell us everything we need to know. If M starts out 2-0 then an 8 or 9 win season becomes possible as the Illinois and Wisconsin games would look much more favorable. A 1-1 start points to 5 or 6 wins as it means we have lost our first tossup game and our ranking around 50 is probably correct. 0-2 means a season of 3 or 4 wins is coming as we have dropped one of our 5 likely wins and all the tossups start looking like losses.
The silver lining? Next year our quarterbacks will have a year of experience, and the Big Ten schedule is reversed, giving Michigan 2 winnable road games at Purdue and IU and 7 very winnable home games, leading to hopefully a 9+ win season. If Michigan can go from 3 to 9 wins over RRs first 3 seasons I would be pretty happy. Of course having lived through a two year quarterback battle between Demetrius Brown**** and Michael Taylor my happiness level may differ from your own.
Fast forward to 2012 when our quarterbacks are seniors and every player on the team is a RR recruit and…well…let’s not go there just yet. Last time I did that was in 2004. Looking ahead to 2007 when Henne and Hart would be seniors and Michigan would be in the BCS Championship Game….
*Model used was neither solid nor proven.
**the usual suspects, SI, Athlon, Sagarin, Rivals, Lindy’s, Sporting news, etc.
***If you are interested OSU (ranking range #5-#10) and PSU (range of #7-#15) had the closest consensus across the polls. The widest range of rankings fell to Illinois (ranked as high as #17 and as low as #63) and WMU (#34-#89).
****Demetrius Brown is awesome
Is whoever in charge of the Big Ten Network biased about which “Greatest Games” make the cutting room floor? Whether they know it or not, is there some internal bias towards Ohio State, Michigan State, or, say it isn’t so, Northwestern?
When ESPN Classic once constantly ran classic college football game programming, I had friends who would immediately complain that that the producers were biased and the channel was run by [insert rival school here] alums, because they "always show Michigan losing."
I was not convinced, as obviously one comment on one statistical data point (one game) is hardly convincing proof. However, I was always curious to somehow see if there was some bias in these programming decisions, and the BTN has given us a great opportunity to do so by listing every game which they label “Big Ten’s Greatest Games.”
[Obvious side note for people not paying attention: the Big Ten Network is biased towards the Big Ten, so clearly they only show games where a Big Ten team won OOC. I wanted to see if there was any suggestion of bias towards any specific conference teams].
I was curious, and deciphered the records of every Big Ten team in the classics upcoming in season 3. As Brian notes at the top, Michigan goes 5-4 in this season’s slate of classics, with 3 of those wins coming in out of conference (OOC) games.
After seeing some anomalies, I decided to look at all three seasons the BTN has aired this show. This provided 83 data points. Of these 83 games, 25 contests were Big Ten victories in OOC games or Bowl Games.
I give you the data first to see for yourself:
|Team||Overall Record||OOC W||Big Ten Record|
What jumps out: Penn State
The shocking statistic of the day is Penn State's record. They are 11-2. Compare that to the records hovering at 0.500 for OSU and Michigan. Penn State also has 4 games selected as some of the Big Ten’s Greatest Games when they were not in the conference - '83 Sugar, '84 vs BC, '85 vs Alabama, '89 Holiday Bowl.
Also, which their two losses in great games? Iowa in 2002 and Minnesota in 1999. Apparently they have never lost any close games to the two Big Ten powerhouses...
Notable games missing:
¨ 1999 - Michigan 31, PSU 27 - Tom Brady’s 10 point comeback road victory
¨ 2002 - Michigan 27, PSU 24 - First OT game in Michigan Stadium history
¨ 2005 - Michigan 27, PSU 25 - No description necessary
¨ 2003 - Ohio State 21, PSU 20
¨ 2002 - Ohio State 13, PSU 7
Do I believe that every one of these games should have been on the list? No. But none of them? Maybe the producers are saving the top flight great games for the headline games for the upcoming BTN seasons? Quite possibly.
Other interesting stats:
¨ Most selected - Michigan, with 25 games deemed “Greatest”
¨ Participation Ribbon - Indiana, with only 6 games
¨ Best winning percentage - Penn State, 0.846
¨ Best in-conference winning percentage – Indiana, 0.833
¨ Michigan is 2-3 vs Ohio State
¨ Michigan is 3-3 vs Michigan State, however that includes losses in 1990 and 2001, which, well, are obviously very controversial losses for Michigan
¨ Indiana, though selected the fewest, was 5-1 in their 6 games in conference
The other interesting numbers were Indiana and Northwestern, going 5-1 and 7-2, respectively. Their numbers were also not bolstered by any OOC victories. However, these sparkling records without OOC help for IU and NW could simply be the facts that:
a) They do not schedule marquee OOC teams to have an opportunity for good wins, and
b) They do not go to marquee bowl games and usually do not have the talent to win when they do make it to the interesting ones
c) Many of their wins against the traditional Big Ten powers are fascinating because they are simply expected, whether appropriate or not, to be the underdog
Conclusion? At the end of the day, I do not actually think this means anything, but it was certainly interesting. The Penn State anomaly is fascinating. Is the producer of the show a Penn State alum subconsciously, or just conveniently, forgetting about a 12 year stretch of failure against Michigan? Or are the producers just trying to push the bounds of the Big Ten Network further onto the east coast market, into New York and Washington DC, by pushing Penn State?
I do not know. It does show there is not an overwhelming bias against Michigan, if anything a slight lean for Michigan. If there is a BTN bias, I am glad it is not yet leaning towards Ohio State or Michigan State. Maybe it’s a testament to Michigan's prestige to have the most games coined “Greatest” so far, as it’s always a great game for someone else when they beat the Maize and Blue, or maybe the producers know that putting games which Michigan loses on the BTN will attract viewers from the other 10 schools in the conference (to root against Michigan). The same could be said for OSU’s similar record hovering around 0.500 - when they have a "great game" on BTN, fans will watch to see them lose.
[I should note: Michigan vs Florida in the Capital One Bowl from 2008 has been on BTN several times, however this game is not listed, so there still may be some games out there which are not included in these numbers.]
At the end of the day, this is simply another interesting distraction for me, and hopefully you too... The classics are great, but I could really use some live college football. Go Blue.
They had the golden gun award for accuracy as many of you know. Given to Tyler Bray pretty much every time. It was basically a Heaps, Bray, Montana, and Sims love fest about how they stood out a little more than anyone else. Clips were shown about them for the first twenty minutes.
Another thing that they showed was the players off the field. They went to the beach (Whoo!), Made fun of Phillip Sims not being able to swim, and showed Nick Montana win a NCAA 10 competition. Yay him...
Now for what everyone cares about- Devin Gardner
Oh one thing to point out he is not the only one who liked the safari hat.A few other of the guys were wearing them.
As for him in the camp, I couldn't tell you anything other than he threw the ball at least two times while he was there, because they were suckin' on Montana, Bray, Heaps, and Sims ball sacks. They had a nice little 2 minute interview with him where he was talking about trash talk with Boisture. He mentioned how Inkster was a small school in Detroit, how their track and football field was not great, and how they did not have all the nice equiptment other schools have. He said he kind of liked it because it keeps his teammates and he grounded. Other than that the only other time he was mentioned in the show was for third place on the last day in the accuracy competition.
Overall the show was ok. I guess I was expecting more Gardner. In fact, Joe Montana was shown more than at least six of the fucking QB's there...
Press release. Relevant games: 1986 Notre Dame(W), 1997 Notre Dame(W), 1995 Northwestern(L), 2001 Michigan State(technically a L), 1983 Iowa (W), 2000 Purdue (L), 1998 Rose Bowl (W), 1988 Ohio State (W), 1979 Ohio State (L).
The fall football season of The Big Ten’s Greatest Games is as follows:
- Dec. 29, 1989 – Holiday Bowl – #18 Penn State 50, #19 BYU 39
With BYU marching down the field in the final minute for the potential game-winning touchdown, Penn State’s Gary Brown stripped BYU quarterback Ty Detmer and sprinted 62 yards for the game’s final score. Halfback Blair Thomas led Penn State’s offensive attack with 35 carries for 186 yards and a touchdown. Detmer’s NCAA-record 576 passing yards weren’t enough for the Cougars.
- Aug. 31, 1991 – Champaign, Ill. – Illinois 38, East Carolina 31
Fighting Illini quarterback Jason Verduzco passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns as Illinois handed Jeff Blake and East Carolina their only loss of the season. The Illini jumped out to a big early lead and held on down the stretch as the Pirates’ late rally fell short.
- Sept. 13, 1986 – South Bend, Ind. – #3 Michigan 24, Notre Dame 23
The Michigan defense was on its heels for much of the afternoon as Notre Dame amassed 455 yards of total offense, but forced ND turnovers deep in Wolverine territory. The Fighting Irish failed to convert a golden opportunity with 18 seconds left as John Carney missed a field goal that would have likely won it for Notre Dame.
- Sept. 27, 1997 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – #8 Michigan 21, Notre Dame 14
After a two-year hiatus in this storied rivalry, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and Notre Dame coach Bob Davie faced each other for the first time. Notre Dame held a 14-7 halftime edge before the Wolverines eventually gained a 21-14 lead. In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame recovered three Michigan fumbles deep in Wolverine territory, but the Michigan defense held the fort all three times and Michigan stayed on track for the 1997 National Championship.
- Dec. 30, 1986 – Holiday Bowl – #19 Iowa 39, San Diego State 38
Iowa trailed 35-21 early in the fourth quarter before quarterback Mark Vlasic brought the Hawkeyes back with two touchdown passes and a two-point conversion to claim a 36-35 lead. With just 47 seconds remaining, the Aztecs converted a short 21-yard field goal to recapture the lead. But Iowa’s Kevin Harmon ran 48 yards to set up kicker Rob Houghtlin with the game-winning 41-yard field goal in the closing seconds.
- Oct. 7, 1995 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – #25 Northwestern 19, #7 Michigan 13
Northwestern defeated Michigan for the first time since 1965, a string of 19 consecutive losses. Wildcat defensive back Eric Collier set up the go-ahead score when he intercepted a pass from Michigan quarterback Brian Griese, giving Northwestern the ball at the Michigan 31. Northwestern quarterback Steve Schnur then capitalized on the turnover by completing a two-yard touchdown pass to Matt Hartl, giving the Wildcats a 16-13 lead, which they would ultimately turn into a 19-13 victory.
- Oct. 12, 1985 – State College, Pa. – #8 Penn State 19, #10 Alabama 17
Penn State came from behind to defeat Alabama 19-17 and hand the Crimson Tide their first loss of the season. The Nittany Lions went on to complete an 11-0 undefeated regular season. After Alabama scored the game’s first touchdown, Penn State climbed to a 12-7 lead, scoring all of their points on field goals. The Crimson Tide sliced the lead to two with a 45-yard field goal, but the Nittany Lions responded with an 11-yard touchdown pass from back-up quarterback Matt Knizer to push the game out of reach.
- Sept. 29, 2001 – Evanston, Ill. – #16 Northwestern 27, #23 Michigan State 26
With a mere 16 seconds left and down 26-24, Northwestern was buried inside its own 15-yard line when Zak Kustok’s “Hail Mary” pass was deflected into the hands of Northwestern wide receiver John Schweighar, who brought the ball within field-goal range. Wildcat kicker David Wasielewski then made a 47-yarder as the clock ran out to lift Northwestern to a 27-26 victory. The difference in the game was a pair of missed extra points by Michigan State, including one with 18 seconds left to play.
- Nov. 3, 2001 – East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State 26, #6 Michigan 24
This controversial game was settled on the game’s final play when Michigan State quarterback Jeff Smoker threw a touchdown pass to running back T.J. Duckett as time expired. The ending sparked much debate concerning the clock and timing of Michigan State’s winning touchdown. On the final drive, Smoker, who was sacked an astounding 12 times, drove the Spartans 45 yards in just over two minutes to hand Michigan its first conference loss.
- Nov. 27, 1993 – East Lansing, Mich. – #14 Penn State 38, #25 Michigan State 37
Penn State trailed by 20 late in the third quarter, but after an interception by Derek Bochna, Penn State’s offense exploded for three touchdowns in a span of about five minutes. Quarterback Kerry Collins had the second-best passing day in Penn State history, with 352 yards and three touchdowns, as the Nittany Lions edged Michigan State.
- Oct. 22, 1983 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – #10 Michigan 16, #12 Iowa 13
Michigan kicker Bob Bergeron drilled a 45-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining, keeping the Wolverines undefeated in the Big Ten. Iowa had erased a 10-point deficit by forcing three second-half turnovers, though it was an Iowa turnover that ultimately affected the game. Hawkeye running back Owen Gill fumbled the ball with 1:30 left to play, allowing Michigan to recover, advance and score the winning field goal.
- Oct. 7, 1995 – Minneapolis – Minnesota 39, Purdue 38
With less than two minutes to go, Minnesota quarterback Cory Sauter scored on a one-yard run and then completed a pass to Ryan Thelwell for the two-point conversion, as Minnesota rallied to defeat Purdue 39-38. The Golden Gophers had trailed 17-7 at halftime.
- Oct. 2, 2004 – Evanston, Ill. – Northwestern 33, #7 Ohio State 27
Noah Herron’s 1-yard overtime touchdown run was the difference in Northwestern’s 33-27 shocker at Ryan Field in Evanston. Though the Buckeyes rallied to score 10 points in the final nine minutes and force overtime, Northwestern handed the Buckeyes their first loss in Evanston since 1958. Herron scored three touchdowns and Mark Philmore had 134 yards receiving and a touchdown.
- Oct. 28, 2000 – West Lafayette, Ind. – #16 Purdue 31, #12 Ohio State 27
Purdue quarterback Drew Brees rallied his team for 21 points in the fourth quarter, including a 64-yard touchdown pass to Seth Morales with 1:55 remaining. Brees passed for 455 yards and three touchdowns. Purdue had three players with at least 100 receiving yards including Tim Stratton, Vinny Sutherland and Morales.
- Oct. 27, 2007 – Iowa City, Iowa – Iowa 34, Michigan State 27
Iowa freshman and third-string running back Jevon Pugh scored on a 1-yard run in double overtime, helping Iowa to a 34-27 victory over Michigan State. Hawkeye Albert Young had 179 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Iowa, and the Hawkeyes were able to recover from a 17-3 halftime deficit.
- Oct. 28, 1989 – Minneapolis, Minn. – Ohio State 41, Minnesota 37
Ohio State trailed Minnesota, 31-0, but staged an incredible comeback and defeated the Gophers 41-37, tying the record for the largest deficit overcome by a Division I-A team. In the first half, Buckeye quarterback Greg Frey completed just two of eight passes for 35 yards, and his two fumbles and an interception led to 17 Minnesota points. But in the second half, he was 18 for 23 for 327 yards. He also scored a touchdown and completed a pair of two-point conversion passes in the second half to spark the comeback.
- Oct. 10, 1981 – Madison, Wisc. – Wisconsin 24, #18 Ohio State 21
A sell-out crowd at Camp Randall Stadium saw Wisconsin end a 21-year losing streak against Ohio State. In the final minute before halftime, the Badgers used two Buckeye fumbles to turn a 14-6 deficit into a 17-14 lead. Quarterback Jess Cole found Marvin Neal for a 24-yard touchdown strike with 18 seconds remaining in the half. Moments later, on the half’s final play, Wendell Gladem drilled a 50-yard field goal. The Wisconsin defense intercepted Buckeye quarterback Art Schlichter three times.
- Jan. 3, 2006 – Orange Bowl – #3 Penn State 26, #22 Florida State 23
Two college football legends matched wits in the 2006 Orange Bowl as Joe Paterno and Penn State faced Bobby Bowden and Florida State. The Nittany Lions secured a 26-23 victory in an triple-overtime thriller. Penn State’s Kevin Kelly, who missed two earlier game-winning attempts, nailed a 29-yard field goal in the third overtime to win the game for the Nittany Lions.
- Oct. 12, 2002 – Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana 32, #23 Wisconsin 29
Indiana scored the game’s final 22 points to defeat Wisconsin for a second straight year. Hoosier quarterback Gibran Hamdan completed 24 of 36 attempts for 310 yards and four touchdowns, including a 20-yard scoring strike to Glenn Johnson with 2:16 remaining. The Hoosiers’ defense held Wisconsin quarterback Brooks Bollinger in check for much of the game, limiting him to just 113 yards on 11 of 23 passing.
- Oct. 7, 2000 – West Lafayette, Ind. – Purdue 32, #6 Michigan 31
Purdue erased a 28-10 halftime deficit behind quarterback Drew Brees, who completed 32 of 44 attempts for 286 yards and a pair of touchdowns to shock sixth-ranked Michigan. The final push in the Boilermakers’ comeback came from kicker Travis Dorsch, who had missed the go-ahead 32-yard field goal with just over two minutes left in the game. Dorsch recovered to kick a 33-yarder with four seconds to play to complete the comeback.
- Jan. 1, 1998 – Rose Bowl – #1 Michigan 21, #8 Washington State 16
Michigan wrapped up an undefeated season and captured the 1997 National Championship with a 21-16 victory against Washington State and quarterback Ryan Leaf. Michigan quarterback Brian Griese was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after throwing a Michigan Rose Bowl record three touchdowns and completing 18 of 30 passes for 251 yards. Tai Streets caught four passes for 127 yards, including a career-best two touchdowns, while the defense was led by Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson.
- Jan. 1, 2000 – Citrus Bowl – #9 Michigan State 37, #10 Florida 34
Michigan State kicker Paul Edinger booted a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give Michigan State a thrilling 37-34 victory against Florida under interim coach Bobby Williams. Spartan wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught a career-high 13 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns.
- Nov. 19, 1988 – Columbus, Ohio – #12 Michigan 34, Ohio State 31
It appeared as though Ohio State might deny Michigan a trip to the Rose Bowl after coming back from a 20-point halftime hole to take the lead with less than two minutes to go. But Michigan wide receiver John Kolesar returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards for a touchdown to lift Michigan to a 34-31 victory. The teams combined for 968 yards total offense.
- Nov. 17, 1979 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – #2 Ohio State 18, #13 Michigan 15
Ohio State’s Jim Laughlin and Ernie Andria teamed to block a Michigan punt midway through the final quarter and Todd Bell returned the bouncing ball 18 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Unbeaten and second-ranked Ohio State won despite two long touchdown receptions by freshman wide receiver Anthony Carter from Michigan quarterback John Wangler. All-American Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter threw for 196 yards.
I don't know if you've noticed, I know it snuck up on me, but the Michigan football season is only nine days away. Nine days isn't that long, but it depends on how you look at it I suppose. Using simple math, Usain Bolt could run approximately 9,000 kilometers in that amount of time (neglecting fatigue). Maybe ten days is an eternity.
It seems there must be a single word in the English language that completely describes the feeling in my, and every other Michigan fan's gut leading up to this first gameday of the 2009 season, but maybe not. If it does exist, it could be found by way of triangulation from the words anticipation, desperation, and ecstasy. I'm sure Horatio Caine could run that through some sort of futuristic literary tracking system and come up with the term.
This season isn't like the others I've experienced though. While I've been a fan since the first time I watched my normally reserved father scream like a little girl after a touchdown in our basement, dancing as well as any pale skinny dutch man can, it has never meant as much to me as it does this time around. The Wolverine faithful have been forced into the undesirable position of being apologists for a team that most love to hate. There has been conflict. Fans argue with other fans. Boos still echo within the Big House, rattling restlessly among the bleachers. Michigan has been brought to a knee, and now it gazes at us with a proposal.
All that is asked of us is our undying commitment. We are not asked to follow blindly and unquestioningly, but we must be patient.
I haven't decided where I'll be next Saturday yet. If some ticket options pan out I may be sitting on a bleacher seat in the Big House, otherwise I may watch the game with family, or by myself. Wherever I am, I'll be nervous. My knees will bounce, and my teeth will serve as an interim nail-clipper. I'll be silent, mostly. Breaths will be short and seldom, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I will cheer in the same way I have always cheered: without words, except for the occasional "GO GO GO GO GO!" (I'm a Wolverine Shia LeBouf, obviously...) Beyond that, it's all going to be guttural noises signifying disgust and yelps of pleasure, sprinkled with a (hopefully more than) occasional joyful scream.
I wouldn't have it any other way. Each and every week during the season, we collectively remove our hearts and offer them to the team for protection. Occasionally they are dropped and trodden over, but we do not pull them back to ourselves even in the event of cardiac arrest because we know there will always be one play, one moment, one image that will rub the paddles together and scream "CLEAR!" bringing our pulse back in a single adrenaline fueled instant.
So stand by me Michigan fans, and bravely sing The Victors in the face of our adversaries. More importantly, stand by our team, as they attempt to bring back what we have all fallen in love with using only their bare hands and fatigued bodies. Join me as I pound the air with my fist, proclaiming on behalf of these players, the keepers of our dreams, "HAIL! HAIL! To Michigan, the Leaders and the Best."