Down 17 points, around 6 minutes to go. Think we were about on the 30. Rodriguez punts. That was when I knew the grand experiment wasn't going to work out.
that is nice bonus change
No Twitterverse this week. Instead, we shall plumb the depths of our collective sadness.
We live in some the headiest of times of modern Michigan fandom. The basketball team is coming off a NCAA runner-up season and it is bringing in another bumper crop of highly-ranked recruits. Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison are in the early stages of assembling some sort of Megazord. Michigan’s facilities are new and shiny and fantastic. But to move to the future, it is important to understand the pain of the past.
So, with a few weeks before anything actually happens in the sports world, this seems like a good time to try to answer a simple, cathartic question: what was the worst moment to be a Michigan fan?
Like the Highlander, there can be only one. So I guess this is our search for the Lowlander. Use whatever criteria you wish, but bear in mind what we’re trying to determine. We’re limiting the competition to the 1990’s and on. Obviously crappy things happened before that, but many of us can’t remember too much farther back. The events in question have been divided into four regions:
We’ll cover the first two regions this week, and the other two soon enough.
I’ve included some concise arguments for and against the thing in question being the worst thing ever. As a palate cleanser, for each entry I’ve also included a comparable event that went Michigan’s way. The wonderful Yang to the craptastic Yin, if you will. When you’re done reading, Vote HERE: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/99RQK2Y.
Again: read. THEN VOTE. Then cry a little.
Are you ready for this? I mean, we’re gonna pick at some serious wounds here. Okay. Let’s do this. (after the jump)
Abombination in Michigan - Michigan led by 12 points with just over 2 minutes left, and by 5 points with 0:06 on the clock and Colorado on its own 37 yard line. And, well...
Kalin Lucas - Michigan hadn't beaten State in basketball in thousands of years, but they had played the fifth-ranked Spartans close all night, and held a one point lead in the last ten seconds. Kalin Lucas then buried a long jumper, and DeShawn Sims missed a lob leaner at the horn. Sad Peedi.
Spartan Bob - Michigan led their 2001 game at Spartan Stadium by four points, but Michigan State had driven inside the Michigan five yard line with 17 seconds left (not cool, Jeremy Lesueur). Smoker scrambled to the 2, but was tackled in the field of play. The clock ticked down, and then it just kinda stopped. A TJ Duckett touchdown later, we had us some controversy and much lamentation.
Ben Brust - Michigan held a three point lead over the Wisconsin Fightin' Handcheckin’ Shooter-Undercuttin’ Gingers on a Tim Hardaway 3-pointer. All that remained was to avoid THIS:
Evan Turner - An upstart Michigan team was making a late-season bid to make the NCAA tournament, and held a two point lead in a crucial game. Their opponent had an inbound play with a couple of seconds left, and a ridiculous three-point prayer broke Michigan hearts.
Death to Backboards - An upstart Michigan team was making a late-season bid to make the NCAA tournament, and held a two point lead in a crucial game. Their opponent had an inbound play with a couple of seconds left, and a ridiculous three-point prayer broke Michigan hearts.
Fall of Tiny Jesus - After standing on his head against North Dakota, diminutive/fun-sized/mighty mite/scrappy/Eckstein goaltender Shawn Hunwick had Michigan an overtime goal away from a national title. Unfortunately, it also left them an overtime goal away from sadness.
Gong Show - Ref screw job. In a season somewhat like this year, Michigan made a spirited run through the CCHA tournament to keep The Streak alive, and reached the Regional Final against Rico Blasi's bro-tastic Miami (NTM) squad. Michigan put the puck in the net off a brief (brieeeeefffffffff) scramble in front of the net in the first overtime, but the goal was waived off because the CCHA was a Gong Show of epic proportions. Referee John Gravallese claimed he lost sight of the puck (presumably because he relies on echolocation like a bat, or because he was terrible at his job), and intended to blow the whistle. Miami went on to score in double-OT.
Ariel Bond/Michigan Daily
Webber's Timeout - You all know the story. Down by two points in the 1992 NCAA Championship game, Chris Webber grabbed a rebound with about 20 seconds left, traveled, dribbled down court, and called a timeout that did not exist. UNC got two free throws, the ball, and the National Title.
Pitch it to Breaston – Here’s a scenario for you. You're Tyler Ecker. You're at the 2005 Alamo Bowl at the end of the Year of Infinite Pain (boy, how that label looks now). It's the last play of the game, and you're down by four. You're in the open field. Steve Breaston is next to you in the open field. He is Steve Breaston. You are, I remind you, Tyler Ecker. You have the ball. Steve Breaston does not have the ball. What should you do?
Crable NOOOOOO - Football Armageddon featured #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan. Midway through the 4th quarter of a well-fought game, Michigan was down 4, and OSU faced a 3rd down just across midfield. Troy Smith threw an incomplete pass, and Michigan was about to get the ball back with a chance to regain the lead. Except...
The 15-yard penalty kept the drive alive, and OSU scored to effectively put the game out of reach. Saddest of Pandas.
Roundtree at the One - In 2009, Michigan was 5-3, and held a 13-7 lead on a very beatable Illinois team when Tate Forcier hit Roy Roundtree for what appeared to be a 77-yard touchdown. After a review, it was (correctly) determined that Roundtree was down at the one yard line. Four straight stuffed running plays later, Illinois had the ball and some sort of magical momentum-juju. They drove 99 yards for a touchdown, and then tacked on another 24 straight points for good measure. Michigan lost the game 38-13. At one point the scoreboard read 19-7 Michigan. That’s… something
2003 Frozen Four - There’s nothing fancy about Michigan’s loss to Minnesota in the 2003 National Semifinal. It was just… blerg. MIchigan held a 2-0 lead late in the 2nd period, but lost the lead within a few minutes. Michigan dominated the overtime, but a soft-looking goal ended things.
Goodnight Sweet Ulnar Nerve – Not sure I’m ready to talk about this one yet. Denard was a quarterback, then he scrambled for like 6 yards, then he wasn’t a quarterback anymore. Russell Bellomy stepped in, and was… well, not Denard. The resulting loss also may have cost Michigan a Bo Division title.
You remember this one. I wrote about it. Michigan was up 5 with under a minute left in a game that would have given them a share of the Big Ten regular season title, as well as a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Poor free throw shooting saw them down 1 with a few seconds left, and Jordan Morgan’s putback somehow didn’t fall.
High and Tight, Train – This was the birth of Michigan’s decade-long struggle with spread teams, but Michigan had this one in hand. With a five point lead with under a minute left, Anthony Thomas took a handoff, busted through the right side of the offensive line, and headed to daylight. Without the ball.
The loss basically gave Northwestern a Big Ten title that would have been Michigan’s. We still love you, A-Train.
Down 17 points, around 6 minutes to go. Think we were about on the 30. Rodriguez punts. That was when I knew the grand experiment wasn't going to work out.
We need the anti-post.
A glorious schadenfreude filled post detailing the same disappointment we've inflicted on legions of other fans since the dawn of sport.
YES PLEASE. Complete with pics/ messageboard screen shots if possible.
OSU - 1969 - Bo's grand entrance steps all over "Best Team Ever".
OSU - 1976, '77, '78 - Three in a row.
OSU - 1985 - Harbaugh to Kolesar.
OSU - 1986 - The Guarantee.
This absolutely has to happen. Remy Hamilton in '94. Gallon Cloaking Device. Kolesar goes nuts in the waning seconds against OSU in '88. Braylonfest obviously. 2-0 win over NoDak in the Frozen Four. Pretty much anything connected with the name "John Cooper." The Trey. Trey getting the steal to lead us to victory over Sparty. Touchdown Manningham. Where's the Threat?
There, that's like half the work right there for you, BISB! Please put together the Ultimate Other People's Ennui Showdown once we wrap this bad boy up!
Michigan over Alabama, 1987 season.
Michigan over Ole Miss, 1990 season.
Michigan over Arkansas, 1998 season.
Michigan over Alabama, 1999 season.
Michigan over Auburn, 2000 season.
Michigan over Florida, 2002 season.
Michigan over Florida, 2007 season.
"ESS EEE SEE!!"
I have a couple of thoughts...
For the Thoroughly Unenjoyable Region - 2003 @ Oregon
For: Coming off an epic bitch-slapping of ND and being everyone's new sexy contender for the BCS title game. The 2003 squad is definately one of those "what could've been" teams.
Against: Pooping the bed against Iowa two weeks later because our special teams just suck.
Yang: 1997; Michigan 28, Iowa 24
For the General FML Region - 2010 vs. MSU
For: Showdown of 5-0 teams with Denard at his Denardiest ending in utter disappointment, plus unprecedented 3rd straight loss to Sparty, plus being trolled by Juggalos on every street corner within a mile of the stadium
Against: Emperor Rich Rod has no clothes. Dead man walking, just hasn't laid down yet
Yang: 2004 - Braylonfest. Runner-up 2012 - Drew Dileo is the mother-fucking threat.
I am absolutely astounded that there has been no mention in the post or the comments about the Appalachian State game.
They have not been forgotten. They are very highly seeded in the General FML Region
At least in App State you thought we would win until the end. We were thoroughly embarrassed pretty much from the start at the Oregon game the next week. Dennis Dixon made us look like Pop Warner kids, especially on the fake statue of liberty touchdown where he walked in. It was one of the only times I thought the Michigan players quit before the game was over.
Close second for me would be Brad Banks' 2002 Iowa squad that rolled us 34-9 at home, the first time I saw big blue lose live at the Big House. Heartbreaking and humiliating.
I didn't realize this was just the "Daggers" region. Still, I'm lucky there were no daggers near me when that happened.
Who the hell is Appleachian State?! Another B1G team? I can't keep track anymore...
I don't understand. The Appalachain State game is not until 2014. Why would it be mentioned in this post?
Fuck this post. Seriously.
I mean, bang up job putting this together. But why?
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to NOT KNOCK IT DOWN OR PITCH IT TO BREASTON.
I remember being at Lincoln Station in Chicago for that game. A crappy bar in Lincoln Park and almost no one was paying attention to that kickoff. No even sure we had sound on that game anymore. I kindof made a scene, screaming GO! and knocking over my beer.
I don't think that one yard would have made as much of a difference as we all hope.
2009/2010 Michigan reminded me a lot of some of the 2000s Mizzou teams I had the misfortune of rooting for. Those teams displayed a tendency that we dubbed "The Mizzou Fade," in which Mizzou would shoot out to an early lead, appear to have everything in hand, and then completely blow it in the second half. This came in microcosm and macrocosm versions, as the "good start, terrible finish" tendency was often duplicated across the course of a season as 5 - 1 starts turned into 6 - 6 finishes.
I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that even with a touchdown to go up 20 - 7, the "Michigan Fade" that was on display pretty consistently in 2009 and 2010 would very likely have still dragged Michigan to a loss in that game.
I'm sorry, but the pain of the Yin FAR outweigh the joy of the Yang. In addition, there is no Yang to something like The Horror - that would require Michigan beating the AFC Pro Bowl team or something.
Wow. Why don't you give me a papercut and pour lemon juice on it too?
in the nominated "Dagger" games, at least when it comes to football. I understand that the vast majority of MGoBloggers are young enough to be my kids, and that I'm a fossilized relic of the dim misty past that nobody under the age of 60 gives a shit about. That's the way life is, and it doesn't bother me at all.
However, in terms soul-searing, black doom-shrouded, all-encompassing head-in-the-hands disaster, not having the '72 OSU game (Harry Banks scored the late go-ahead touchdown but officials ruled he never crossed the goal line), or the more famous '73 and '74 games, is an oversight. None of the Michigan fans who grew up with Michigan going routinely to bowl games each and every year can understand what it was like to sit home three straight bowl-less holiday seasons after seeing Michigan go 30-2-1 (as RoanDave helpfully pointed out).
Maybe there should be a "Classic" or "Senior" or "Depends" division?
It's certainly incomplete. But my knowledge base does not extend before the 90's, and I didn't want to force others to engage in my macabre self-flagellatory exercise.
It's mind-bottling to consider that UM fans born in '93 or later will have no direct memories of the Kordell Stewart game. To them, it's as dusty and moldy and emotionally irrelevant as the 10-10 tie is to you younguns. Each generation has its own unique stretch of UM trauma.
who had the string of bad-luck, no-luck bowl games that Bo did in the Rose Bowl. He never, ever, caught a break when he needed one in Pasadena.
.....That was a hard loss.
as the yang to the #4 OT loss in '11. i sat next to him and his dad for the frozen four.
no #5 clearly hurt worse, since we had it won not once but twice. we go to that frozen and i think we win it all. if memory serves, that one was play here at ford field. one last F you gong show!!!
Can someone please explain all the Gong Show hate for the Miami game? It was an NCAA tournament game and Gravellese is a Hockey East ref, no CCHA involvement. We actually won the CCHA tournament the week before.
I was living in Boulder with two Michigan housemates and after the first half, we decided to watch the rest of the game at a bar near the CU campus. It will be fun, we said. We made sure the CU students had ample opportunity to hear "Hail to the Victors" through the third and fourth quarters. When Westbrook hauled down that pass, the place erupted and time honestly stood still. Instantly there were faces, mean faces, surrounding us screaming horrible things I've only said to my wife. And parents.
Worse? The local ABC affiliate used the last five seconds of the game as their station identification. How many times did I hear hear Keith Jackson say "Incredible!"? Oh, like, every hour.
I have never heard the stadium quieter than after that catch. Like people leaving church after a "You are all going to Hell" sermon.
Wasn't the coach of NU in 2000. It was Randy Walker's second or third season.
Even if Weber doesn't call the timeout and Michigan scores the winning basket, it then gets yanked away due to the infractions. So it should be part of the overall FML bracket probably. That timeout only hurt at the time.
My nomination for the FML bracket, Michigan Winning the National Championship in 1989. Without that Bo doesn't hire Fisher.
Now before you destroy me, realize that I was a Freshman that year and winning that was the single greatest Sports event I have been any part of. I was even in the band the played at Crisler to welcome the team back. Happiest I've ever been with Michigan Sports.
How the hell is the 2010 game against Penn State not on this list?
The Well-That-Was-Thoroughly-Unenjoyable Region hasn't been shown yet, and I'm pretty sure that's where that monstrosity fits. There was never anything that might have been there, and it was slow torture instead of a dagger.
would you ever post this? A compilation of all of the absolute worst things to happen to Michigan sports in recent memory. I don't want to ever see anything about that Minnesota-Duluth game ever again. I wish I could -1 this
Now I'm all depressed and pissed off. Thanks, internet.
that was one of the damnest things I've ever seen. I suffered shock like no other game I can remember. Other piss-me-off's include interference on DHoward in endzone, CharlesWhite's phantom TD in RoseBowl, and the others you all mention.
Definitely a tie for my worst moment between Appalachian State and Crable NOOOO.
I guess a special consideration was given to the Mississippi State Game AKA "Rich Rod's Last... Stand?" I think that one hurts me more than the whole 3-9 year because we actually were given some promise, NAY, some hope of success, and we all know that you can't truly feel the depths of despair without that glimmer of hope that is to be snatched away.
I can't believe the NU '00 game is that low of a seed.
And the soul-crushing quality of the '03 Frozen Four loss is way underrated. Even after the tie Michigan came hauntingly close to winning it.
You could have an entire region composed entirely of heart-breaking season-ending overtime hockey losses from the Red Berenson era. Perhaps with '97 thrown in as a wildcard. And probably should.
Overtime is the worst thing ever:
2008: #1 seed and best team by a mile, got down 3-0 early because Billy had a meltdown, tied it up at 4-4 to go to OT and then lost to ND in OT. Should've won the title that year
2010: Rage against the referees. Twice we got totally jobbed in that game. 1) Miami poked the puck out from under Hunwick's glove when he had it covered 2) Waving off Kevin Lynchs GAME WINNING GOAL THAT WAS AN ACTUAL GAME WINNING GOAL BECAUSE THE REF LOST THE PUCK. We lost on 2OT. So much rage. We f'ing won that game. Should've gone to the frozen four in DETROIT with all the momentum and fans behind us.
2011: As BiSB just so kindly reminded me, the national title game was an ultimate soul-dong kick because it was Hunwick and a magical run and we just couldn't finish off one of the greatest sports-underdog stories ever. Damn it all. We lost 3-2 in OT.
2012: After tying the game against Cornell late and coming awfully close to winning it out-right in regulation, we immediately forget what hockey is and allowed Cornell to win 3 minutes into OT.
Overtime is awful for Michigan hockey. I remember being fairly shocked when we beat UNO 3-2 in OT at the beginning of the 2011 tournament because Michigan always ends their season by losing in OT
That's just the last 5 years. In addition to those and the ones already posted in the OP, there are lowlights like the BC loss in '04, the triple-OT Maine loss in '95, the single-OT loss to Paul Kariya on that same Maine team in '93, and...
The flukey, seeding conspiracy OT loss to an LSSU team coached by Berenson kryptonite Jeff Jackson at Munn. That was as loaded as any Michigan team ever. When, at the Frozen Four, Jackson was asked if he thought the Lakers were the best team, he said, "The best team isn't even here."
I'm going to go vomit now.
That was kind of a big deal around here.
I think that game was the biggest ref hack-job I've ever witnessed happen to Michigan sports. The puck was in the net. We scored, we won but it called back because the ref...lost the puck. I will never not be furious about that game
We won that game and should have gone to the Frozen Four in Detroit. F those refs
In my humble opinion, this is not close.
I was at the Colorado game in 94. It wins the contest for the worst to EVER HAPPEN PERIOD. Not just the worse thing in Michigan sports history.
KNOCK IT DOWN!!! The ball's been touched, just F*&%KING TACKLE WESTBROOK!!!!! Moeller, - WHY YOU NO RUSH MORE THAN THREE!!!!!!!
WHY??, Why? whyyyyyyyyy????
/closed door to offce so soft sobbing doesn't distract co-workers.
//looks up number for therapist last visted in 2008-2010.
While these are all painful moments in my life nothing touches the two streaks broken by RR and that WTH 3-3-5 defense. Born in 1976 never to endure a below .500 season until....never in December or January did I not have to figure out how I was going to cut away from my PSU family to watch OUR bowl game during Holiday activities until... But if I had to pick a moment it was every time after we gave up 30-40 points and we broke the D huddle the next game in that stupid 3-3-5.
Im trapped in a glass case of emotion
Two of the most memorable Michigan events I have attended are on there: 2006 @ OSU, and 2011 vs. Minn-Duluth. Now I am just sad.
God that '94 Colorado loss was hard. MAN.
As a student manager I was directly across from Stewart when he heaved that ball, winding up Coach Carr's cords on the sideline. Lloyd and Coach Mattison were hugging, literally hugging each other as they set up for that final play. Coach Carr had handed me his headset and began walking up the field to get a view of the pass from deeper in the secondary. I was winding up the cord, at the Buffs' 30 yard line, when Kordell reared back and I yelled "keep dreaming my man! You ain't got that kinda arm!!" Turns out, he did. He threw that thing from his own 27 to our 3.
As the ball went up in the air a few players (all taller than me) stepped out in front of me and I lost my view. I just put my head down and kept winding the cord, smiling and waiting for the crowd to erupt. Instead, the stadium gasped and went dead. I mean DEAD. I looked up the sideline just as a fellow manager turned around and threw his hands up over his head in dispair. I yell out "what?!" and he blubbers "they fucking caught it!"
That game just felt HUGE at the time. We were coming off of 5 straight Big Ten titles (4 outright) from '88 to '92 and then the year before, my first year as a manager, we go 8-4. We had been 4-4 at one point in '93 (after that horrible Wisconsin game in Madison), but blasted through the rest of the season, beating down an OSU team that thought it was Rose Bowl bound and thrashing NC State in the Hall of Fame Bowl. We felt really good going into '94.
Before the Colorado game, the '94 team had *secret* talks of making a national championship run. Not just "Rose Bowl" talk as tradition dictates, but actual national championship talk. Coach Moeller wasn't even discouraging it. We had an experienced QB, Wheatley was back, a huge and talented O-line, Mercury and Amani, and a veteran defense. We beat Notre Dame in South Bend the week before and we figured we we're on our way. Then... Stewart to Westbrook and that damn SI cover. "THE CATCH!"
Then we ended up on the cover of SI again a month later after another heartbreaking loss, this time to Penn State. We lost to Wisconsin two weeks later (back to back losses to the Badgers was unheard of back then) and then dropped the final game in the 'Shoe to a pretty crappy OSU squad and watched them haul John friggin Cooper off the field on their shoulders like he'd just been fired for lying. This was the game where various pieces of equipment "came up missing" from our locker room inside OSU's stadium, including Wheatley's helmet and other rather essential items. A bowl win against Colorado State to end the season was of little solace (although San Diego was nice).
Jesus 1994 sucked. Even after all we've endured since; from the Season of Infinite Pain, the Horror on through the Rich Rod years, 1994 will continue to live in infamy.
That really was a cool story, Bro.
Had we won, I'm convinced that '94 would have turned out completely different. That game was a momentum killer for the rest of the season.
and the thing is... we knew it. The team experienced tough losses the prior year and bounced back to finish strong because we just knew we weren't putting it all together. The Colorado loss was completely different. There was no feeling of "we're going to be fine" it was a feeling of "we blew our shot, just play out the string."
For the rest of the season we beat the teams we were supposed to beat (had too much talent and too good of coaching for anything else) but we lacked something against Penn State that I would directly attribute to the Colorado loss. The coaches tried, they said and did all of the things that had worked the year before ("our goals are still in front of us!") but for the players... it was different. Maybe its a good example as to why we should always keep the talk centered on the Big Ten Championship. I dunno.