+1 for "watched [Ohio] haul John friggin Cooper off the field on their shoulders like he'd just been fired for lying."
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.
+1 for "watched [Ohio] haul John friggin Cooper off the field on their shoulders like he'd just been fired for lying."
They would have kicked Nebraska's ass if they'd had the chance to play them.
Then I had sit there and relive these events all over again. Some, I remember like it was yesterday. Others... I had really forgotten the sting, until now. Thanks alot, sadist.
I deeply deeply hoped that you were only joking about this post when you mentioned in our terrible commisserating on twitter.
I was at that game in the 2nd row, and Roundtree's tackle at the one was devastating. Even worse were the four stuffed 1 yard run attempts, completely took the wind out of the sails of all the UM fans in attendance as well as the team right in front of us. That was definitely the worst UM moment I've seen in person
Colorado in 1994 I don't mind as much, as that moment was actually the catalyst for my becoming a Michigan fan in the first place, as I wrote about in a diary for the board here: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/18-years-ago-today-my-trek-michigan-fandom-began but my family was devastated by that, I remember.
This thread is NSFW.
Not Safe For Wanting to Live.
That block by Burke was outfuckinstanding, and still in no way a foul.
When I got to 'Are you ready for this?' before the jump, the thing that came to mind was that scene in The Untouchables where Malone leads Ness and his men to the Post Office warehouse where Capone stored some of his liquor.
Malone: "lf you walk through this door, you're walking into a world of trouble. There's no turning back. Do you understand?"
And then I clicked through. And now I've renewed pain I thought I had forgotten.
This game wins just broke me. Watching that inbred looking Beilema's team run the ball 19 yes ninefuckingteen consecutive plays against a MICHIGAN defense was the most painfull, frustrating and humiliating thing I've experienced as a 30+ year fan of UM.
I guess for me, some last second freak play like Colorado or the once in a lifetime game by a guy call the rocket are easier to digest than watching a team just take away your manhood slowly, methodically and theres absolutely NOTHING you can do about it and THEY know it. RR could have been fired in the post game press conference and it would not have been soon enough for me at that point. Its that game that I point to and say NEVER AGAIN!! more than any other single event, even more than the horror it stands as like a beacon reminding everyone that lived through it that without defense, you have nothing more than a house of cards.
It may be an unpopular opinion, but the savage drubbing at the hands of Dennis Dixon and Oregon the week after The Horror feels even worse to me. Oregon broke the Big House's mystique that day, and it didn't return until Hoke's rainsoaked debut against Western Michigan.
Robert Smith said on ESPN after The Horror that we'd come out and basically mutilate Oregon the following week, because, you know, we're Michigan an' shit.
I'm not sure, but I think that might be the last time he ever said anything remotely positive about Michigan.
That game was insult to the previous weeks injury. We would have lost to Oregon Southeastern State Junior College that week after our hearts were ripped from our chests the week before...
I don't think I ever wanted a win for an individual player as badly as I wanted Michigan to beat Minnesota Duluth for the sake of Shawn Hunwick. His story and what he accomplished is amazing, but it would have been all-time college hockey lore if they had won. I'm done now. I don't want to think about it.
This haunted me for years, the offense was on fire and ready to get back on the field. If this one play would not have taken place Michigan could have been in the title game. It still hurts so much to this day.
But I was at the '88 game against Miami (YTM) when they scored SEVENTEEN F*CKING POINTS in under 7 minutes to win the game. That was the single most soul-crushing game I have ever witnessed. We were beating the snot (16 point lead) out of the defending national champions with less than one quarter of play left and completely folded.
I'm going back to bed now. I want my mommy.
That was a bitch. Watched that game on a BLACK AN WHITE TV in my dorm room. Jimmy Johnson is still a douch.
Why make me relive the endless sorrow of the NW game in 2000? I was at that damn game. I was thinking we had dodged a bullet and were going to win, but not feeling good about winning at all given the defense looked like the Keystone Cops, and then Anthony bursts through a huge hole and drops the ball. The remainder of that game was pure agony.
I did get to experience the other side of this when we beat Illinois 67-65 in 2010. At least I was able to leave that game feeling crappy about winning, but also feeling it was a horrible game to watch based on the defensive ineptitude of Michigan and GERG.
I was at that game too. I think this ought to qualify us for some kind of disability benefits or something.
My beautiful twin nieces were born that day, then that game happened that night... All things considered, I was still smiling, but probably a strange smile at that...
I was there too, and my wife decided to call me in the stands with 11 seconds left in regulation and tell me she's pregnant with our first child. I still remember the fumble as clear as day. Was a hell of.a game.
I don't like the Webber timeout mostly because it defines the Fab Five and that's not how I hoped to remember them, but even without the travel and timeout, we still had to score with little time against a good NC team. The Colorado game was in the bag until a bolt of lightning struck us down.
If we go back farther, the Phantom Touchdown still rankles.
Wow, thanks for ruining my Thursday. Colorado game might be my personally watched #1. I didn't know that a remote could crack the glass of a tube TV until then.
The call in '06 on that Crable hit will always haunt me. Troy Smith was still inbounds.
To this day I seriously get fired up every time I see that. My hands are shaking right now.
That's the one. That one will always stay with me until the day I die. I may see more like it, but that one will always stay with me. It goes against everything I was taught about how to play. Finish the hit. Go 100% within the lines. I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing and what happened next and I will forever.
Ruined my day.
Maybe it's because this is my first game as a student, but isn't this basically a long road to inevitably crowing THE HORROR?
BiSB, I hate you.
Ugh. My chest hurts from reading this.....
I hope for my sanity they're not as "good" in the next two regions.
App State and it isn't even close.