mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
Last week Upchurch and I descended beneath Afternoon Delight (On E. Liberty between 4th and 5th) to dig through the treasure trove of Michigan Memorabilia at the Ann Arbor Sports Memorabilia Shop.
Slideshow of the photos we took lives here:
...including a video panoramic of the store. They're going to be running a small sponsorship for a couple of months on the site. If you're a collector or if you've just got cool Michigan stuff sitting around, give Kenny Magee a cal at 734-222-9000 or email him at email@example.com. Or visit the store:
255 East Liberty St. Lower Level-Suite 231
Ann Arbor Michigan 48104
Two Michigan Players have received weekly honors from the Big Ten
Michigan's James Ross III named #B1G Co-Freshman of the Week after posting a career-best 12 tackles against Iowa.
This is also Devin's second consecutive Offensive Co-Player of the Week (in three starts).
Ohio State spent much of the 2010 season demonstrating that it was possible for both teams to lose a football game. But can both teams win a geme?
Visitors to Oberlin, OH on an autumn Saturday who happen to join the throng of hundreds at Savage Stadium and spend some time perusing the program for the day's football game might be surprised, if they're Michigan fans, to learn that Oberlin's all-time record against Michigan is 1-8-0. Oberlin is, after all, one of the 85 opponents Michigan claims an unblemished record against.
The late Geoff Blodgett, professor of American history at Oberlin and before that a wide receiver on the football team, spent some time in the archives and wrote a brief article on the disputed game in the Oberlin Alumni Magazine.
I recommend the piece. It's a great window into the world of college football in the 1890s--one part cutthroat mercenary competition in the style of Vonnegut's Player Piano (Oberlin had hired John Heisman away from the University of Pennsylvania not just to coach but to play!) and two parts glorified backyard pick-up game, officiated by subs from the two sides and with rules made up on the fly ("guys, we need to shorten the second half--the last train home leaves at 5 and we aren't going to be done in time to make it." "ok, we'll stop playing at 4:50.").
The latter went about as well as you'd expect. With the 4:50 deadline approaching and Michigan up by 4, Oberlin's Charles Savage ripped off a 90-yard run from scrimmage, tackled from behind by George Jewett at the Michigan 5. Blodgett picks up the story:
Two plays later Oberlin made its final touchdown. Score: Oberlin 24, Michigan 22, with less than a minute to go. As Michigan launched its last drive, the referee (an Oberlin sub) announced that 4:50 p.m. had arrived, time had expired, and the Oberlin squad trotted off the field to catch the train. Next the umpire (a Michigan man) ruled that four minutes remained on the game clock, owing to timeouts that Oberlin's timekeeper had not recorded. Michigan then walked the ball over the goal line for an uncontested touchdown and was declared the winner, 26 to 24. By that time the Oberlinians were headed home clutching their own victory, 24 to 22.
To Oberlin, well, damn it, a deal is a deal, the train is leaving the station and it's not as if there were alternate transportation options in 1892. To Michigan it must have seemed a lot like the guy that wins a big pot at the poker table, stuffs the winnings in his pocket, checks his watch and says "oops, gotta go."
I don't know how the dispute could have been adjudicated then--it's not as if there were any established procedures for it--and it's surely impossible now that all the relevant facts have been buried with the participants (what was really agreed at halftime? when did 4:50 really strike? what was the deal with the missing timeouts?).
As far as I can tell, the NCAA has recognized both team's claims to the victory. That seems fair--it makes a better story, and the double victory helps restore a little balance to the football universe after all the vacated wins of recent years.
1. Geography does not matter anymore.
2. The coasts have all the power. The midwest is a shrinking demographic and as the industrial base eventually erodes, the B1G is chasing the engines of the current economy - NY/NJ (and all of the money that trickles down from Wall Street) and DC (and all of the largesse of the federal government). [Note: I live in the NYC metro area and there are lots of Michigan alums here (with disposable income) chomping at the bit to see Michigan games w/in 2-3 hours travel time.]
3. B1G is NOT an elite academic conference. With all due respect to Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana (limited only to the Kelley School of Business), the rest of the B1G is a mediocre academic conference. Maryland and Rutgers fit right in - i.e., they are mediocre state schools (or slightly worse, since they are in states that only respect private universities).
[EDIT ON 3: I think all I really meant to say here was that Maryland and Rutgers are really no worse than the bulk of the B1G (excluding, Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana (which, in my humble opinion, are much better academic schools than the average B1G school)).]
4. CONSOLIDATION. Just like in any other industry, consolidation brings strength and economies of scale via creative destruction. TV networks want to sign deals with a few powerhouse conference "brands". If you're in one of these new "brands", you are relevant; if not, then you might as well be DII or DIII.
5. The future is nothing like the past. Those who can cherish the past, but accept the future are the happiest folks of all. This applies to any change, whether it be changes to athletic conferences, job changes or national/international changes.
[PERSONAL NOTE: I just got power back a few days ago!!! Hurricane Sandy was awful(I will post pictures when I have some time). I missed a few football/basketball games w/o tv, but I'm thankful for MGoBlog because I was able to check in from time to time to watch highlights of the games. Thanks all!]
Now that Maryland is officially joining the B1G, with Rutgers soon to follow, let's get your tinfoil hats out and figure out WHY*
I think my favorite somewhat-crazy idea is that this is a big F U to Notre Dame. When all the conference expansion hoopla was happening everyone pretty much figured that there were going to be 4 conferences left, with 16 teams each. The 4 conference champs get the 4 football playoff spots. Made enough sense.
The question is which of the 5 "power conferences" would get destroyed and join the other 4. Well, the B1G is making a move to insure that the ACC won't survive with any clout. The B1G, SEC, and PAC12 are on great footing and sure to make it. They have their own networks, best financial footings, and (historically) great teams and rivalries.
The BigXII has Texas and Oklahoma after being raided by the SEC. The ACC is getting raided by the B1G.
The SEC is at 14 teams, with room for 2 more to become a Superconference. The B1G will be in the same spot now, and the PAC12 needs to figure out which 4 teams it can get to join them. Texas and Oklahoma are the obvious answers, with maybe Boise and another team I'm not thinking of. The SEC will take FSU and probably Clemson.
ND will have a choice, do they stay in the ACC/BigXII conglomerate with the likes of Duke and Baylor? Or do they become a member of the B1G?
What's your tinfoil hat telling you? How does this all shake out?
*Besides TV markets and Money. because those are the real, boring answers