The Climb, Part XIII: Number One

The Climb, Part XIII: Number One

Submitted by Dr. Sap on January 8th, 2018 at 10:13 AM

[Ed-Seth: This being the 20th anniversary of the 1997 National Championship, Michigan historian Dr. Sap is taking us game-by-game through it. Previously: Those Who Stayed (Colorado); The Hit (Baylor); The Stop (Notre Dame); The Captain’s Down(Indiana); Vengeance (Northwestern), Gut Check (Iowa), Six Picks (Michigan State), The Trap (Minnesota), Judgment (Penn State), The Crucible (Wisconsin) No Flags (Ohio State), The GOAT (Heisman)]

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Materials: Box Score, a TON of articles

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[Sara Stillman Archives/UM Bentley Historical Library]

POLL GAZING

On December 10, 1997, three days before the Heisman ceremony, an event occurred that mattered more to many football coaches than any outcome of any game that season: Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne announced his retirement. His #2 Huskers had finished the season undefeated, thanks notably to the “kick six” that saved an embarrassing loss to Missouri, whom they’d beat in overtime.

This was the last year of the bowl system that predated the BCS. Under that system four of the big conferences—the ACC, the SEC, the Big XII, and the Big East—had tried to organize a quasi-championship game by agreeing to put their best two teams in a rotation of the Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta Bowls. Noticeably absent from this agreement was the Big Ten and the Pac Ten, who were happy enough to send their champions to the “The Granddaddy of Them All,” thank you very much. This caused a lot of resentment: Not only had national championships been split too many times over the years because of the bowl alignments that didn’t match the best teams, but the Rose Bowl had cachet, history, and viewership that the rest of the games did not, and it didn’t seem right that two conferences could hog them all.

By Osborne’s retirement, this had finally been hashed out, and the BCS system would go into effect the following season. And once #2 Florida State was knocked off by Florida, a lot people wished Michigan could play Nebraska instead of Washington State.

Michigan was going to the Rose Bowl to face Ryan Leaf and the 10-1 Pac Ten champions of Washington State, who were just #8. While it was WSU’s first appearance in the Rose Bowl in almost 70 years, they weren’t exactly backing into this game. Even though some writers were saying that UCLA was the best team out west, WAZZU silenced their critics with upset victories over the Bruins as well as USC. The Cougars had the #2 offense in the country, and liked to spread the field by going five-wide, a matchup nightmare in an era when teams rarely had to play more than two cornerbacks in a game.

All things considered Michigan probably would have preferred to play the Huskers. Because Woodson didn’t need safety help the Wolverines would have been free to send a safety aggressively after the pitchman, and the Michigan interior defensive line would have been a steep upgrade over any competition Nebraska had yet faced. If you had to design the absolute worst possible matchup for the 1997 Huskers, the 1997 Wolverines wouldn’t be far off from the result.

Number 3 Tennessee, whom Nebraska would face because of the Bowl Alliance, was on the other hand a highly favorable matchup. Favorable and ominous in two respects: (1) The Cornhuskers would play a Top 5 opponent and (2) the Volunteers were overrated in ’97 thanks in part to their darling, senior QB who couldn’t win the big game (or the Heisman—tell your friends!). A Big Red victory seemed to be a sure thing. The question was just how big would the margin of victory be?

Towards the end of December, talk had started circulating that if Michigan barely beat Washington State and Nebraska throttled Tennessee there just might be a split in the voting for the National Championship. But folks back here in the Midwest wondered just how that could be possible? UM had a 69-1 margin (presumably Graham Couch) of 1st place votes over Nebraska in the AP (writers) Poll heading into the Rose Bowl and a 58-4 margin in the Coaches’. Even if the Wolverines struggled to defeat the Cougars, historically no #1 team that won its bowl game had ever dropped in one of the two major polls.

If you weren’t a coach with a grudge about the Heisman vote or the Husker quarterback’s mom or something there was no plausible reason to give Nebraska’s collection of favorable bounces versus mediocre competition the same respect as Michigan, who sat 11-0 versus one of the toughest schedules in the history of the game, and a hypothetical victory over YET ANOTHER top 10 team shouldn’t change that. And yet.

[After THE JUMP: A Leaf on the wind]

The Climb, Part X: The Crucible

The Climb, Part X: The Crucible

Submitted by Dr. Sap on November 13th, 2017 at 10:00 AM

[Ed-Seth: This being the 20th anniversary of the 1997 National Championship, Michigan historian Dr. Sap is taking us game-by-game through it. Previously: Those Who Stayed (Colorado); The Hit (Baylor); The Stop (Notre Dame); The Captain’s Down(Indiana); Vengeance (Northwestern), Gut Check (Iowa), Six Picks (Michigan State), The Trap (Minnesota), Judgment (Penn State)]

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November 15, 1997: #1 Michigan 26, #23 Wisconsin 16

  • also #2 FSU 59, Wake Forest 7
  • also also not that it should matter because they should have lost to lowly Missouri last week so they’re not passing Michigan unless Michigan loses or there’s some crazy B.S.: #3 Nebraska 77, Iowa State 14

Materials: Box Score. Articles. WH Highlights, Entire broadcast by j bakkar:

we’re going transcontinental baby!

POLL GAZING

Three times since Bo retired, Michigan had been ranked #1 during the season. All three times they had lost the next game. Following their convincing 34-8 victory at Penn State, 9-0 Michigan had finally earned the nation's top ranking in at least one poll – the Associated Press writers' poll that was released on Sunday, the day after Judgment Day. It was the first time in seven years that the Wolverines had earned the top position. In the USA Today / ESPN coaches' poll, the maize and blue moved up one spot to #2, behind Florida State.

"It feels real good," tight end Aaron Shea said. "It's really an exciting feeling. It's hard not to get excited. You just can't think about it. You have to go in like we did at the beginning of the season when no one gave us a chance. Now that we're #1 in the nation, we have to keep the same focus."

Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr, whom the players credited for their ability to avoid a letdown week after week, cautioned his squad against getting carried away by the ranking.

"To be ranked at this point in the season creates a pressure," Carr said. "I'm hoping the team and coaches embrace that pressure and use it to our advantage. Being the #1 team can also make you complacent and give you the feeling you're unbeatable. We aren't unbeatable. I certainly hope we won't become complacent."

In the meantime, the Wolverines were after one thing – the Big Ten title and a trip to Pasadena, California.

"We're a proud group of guys," tight end Mark Campbell said. "The great thing about this team is we know we still have a lot to do. Our goal wasn't to be 9-0, our goal was to go to the Rose Bowl."

Michigan, historically had not handled the #1 ranking very well:

[After THE JUMP: who’s afraid of a big young Sconny back?]

The Climb, Part IX: Judgment

The Climb, Part IX: Judgment

Submitted by Dr. Sap on November 6th, 2017 at 4:54 PM

[Ed-Seth: This being the 20th anniversary of the 1997 National Championship, Michigan historian Dr. Sap is taking us game-by-game through it. Previously: Those Who Stayed (Colorado); The Hit (Baylor); The Stop (Notre Dame); The Captain’s Down (Indiana); Vengeance (Northwestern), Gut Check (Iowa), Six Picks (Michigan State), The Trap (Minnesota)]

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November 8, 1997: #4 Michigan 34, #2 Penn State 8

  • also #1 Nebraska 45, Missouri 38 (OT) thanks to the “Flea Kicker”
  • also also #3 Florida State 20, #5 North Carolina 3

Materials: Articles. WH Highlights Part II. Entire broadcast by j bakkar:

watch the whole thing if you’ve got time.

THE HYPE

Week #8 was barely in the books when ESPN’s Beano Cook lit the fuse for the much anticipated match-up between #4 Michigan and #2 Penn State. While Michigan easily took care of Minnesota the week before, Penn State held on to beat Northwestern by only a single point. Much like UM, perhaps PSU had a “Trap Game” of their own?None of this mattered to the Howard Cosell-like curmudgeon, Cook.

To Beano, the unabashed East Coast lover of all things Notre Dame and Penn State, victory for JoePa was a mere formality the next week against Lloyd Carr and his Wolverines. So much so that on Saturday night, one week before the big game, he uttered the now famous phrase: “Don’t even bother showing up next week, Michigan. JUST SEND THE BAND!”

The buildup to the titanic clash of undefeateds was raised up another notch when at the Monday press conference in Ann Arbor, Charles Woodson didn’t shy away when asked what was on everyone’s minds:

just the nation?

Prophetically, Woodson also offered this nugget: "If everybody says that the Heisman Trophy is given to truly the best player in the country, I would think I'd have a legitimate shot at winning," he correctly offered.

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Penn State vs. Michigan’s band

No one in that room argued that point, and neither did Penn State head coach Joe Paterno when he said that he thought #2 was a great athlete and quite possibly the best EVER in college football history! JoePa’s compliments on Woodson start at the 5:17 mark in this clip here.

To ratchet up the pre-game hype even more, ESPN dubbed the historic weekend, “Judgment Day.” This wasn’t just because of the UM-PSU tilt. The ACC had their own epic clash of undefeateds as 3rd-ranked Florida State (8-0) was playing at 5th-ranked North Carolina (8-0), in Chapel Hill, NC. For all you Husker lovers out there, #1 Nebraska was playing at Missouri this same day and was expected to win rather easily.

The historical significance of this type of day in college football occurring so late in the season was best described by Beano Cook (at the 2:50 mark in this clip):

For those of you too young to know what Hale-Bopp was, there was a comet we could all just go outside and stare at for over a year

[Hit THE JUMP for the best game Michigan ever played]

The Climb, Part VI: Gut Check

The Climb, Part VI: Gut Check

Submitted by Dr. Sap on October 16th, 2017 at 4:06 PM

[Ed-Seth: This being the 20th anniversary of the 1997 National Championship, Michigan historian Dr. Sap is taking us game-by-game through it. Previously: Those Who Stayed, The Hit, The Stop, The Captain’s Down, Vengeance]

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October 18, 1997: #5 Michigan 28, #15 Iowa 24

Materials: WH Video, articles

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Sara Stillman/The Michigan Daily (via UM Bentley Library)

On the journey to undefeated, there’s always some moment you can point at when it seemed the fun was going to be over. Football seasons are long and weird, and even the greatest teams are more than capable of blowing one to a merely good one. For Michigan in 1997, a team that relied on its defense so much they rarely scored without starting in good field position, that moment came down 21-7 to an excellent Hawkeyes team.

Hayden Fry’s Hawkeyes boasted the #3 scoring offense in the country, as well as the leading rusher in the nation in Tavian Banks. They also had wide receiver/do-it-all athlete Tim Dwight whom Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr said would be the fastest guy on the field.

Fry once again had put together a solid Iowa team and Lloyd knew it. He also knew that in-state rival Michigan State—which had been climbing back to national relevance under Nick Saban—was looming on the UM schedule. Carr wanted his #5-ranked Wolverines to focus on #15 Iowa this week and worry about Michigan State the week after.

"The key to success in anything you do is being focused on the task at hand," Carr said. "We'll find out how good I was at making sure they remained focused. There are a lot of things in coaching that you don't have control over, and you certainly don't have control over what the players think and what they read and what they hear and how much time they spend on those things.

"What you hope as a coach is that they understand in achieving their goals it's very important to take care of today. Because if you don't, we all know what the results are."

It was a nice thought, if completely unheeded.

As for Hayden Fry, he had his own worries. The Head Hawkeye was expecting All-American cornerback Charles Woodson to be covering the dangerous Tim Dwight on almost every play, and in his usual humorous way, had an answer for that possibility.

"I'm hopeful they'll just sic Woodson on Dwight, and then we'll know exactly where he is on every play. If they do that, I'll just have Dwight come over and sit next to me on the bench. Then we won't have to worry about Woodson at all."

Cute. But would cute cut it against Herrmann’s Harassers?

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[Hit THE JUMP]

The Climb, Part II: The Hit

The Climb, Part II: The Hit

Submitted by Dr. Sap on September 11th, 2017 at 11:05 AM

[Ed-Seth: This being the 20th anniversary of the 1997 National Championship, Michigan historian Dr. Sap offered to revisit a game a week so you can re-live it all in real time. These articles are part-story, part videos so make sure you watch those.]

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Sept. 20, 1997: Michigan 38, Baylor 3 [Boxscore]. 2-0 (0-0 Big Ten)

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Michigan turned to Woodson when the offense needed a spark. [Bob Kalmbach, courtesy UM Bentley Library]

A team is a team, a win is a win, and it’s hard to find fault in a team that wins 38-3. But after a brilliant opening game against an expected national power, Michigan did not exactly thrash an overmatched opponent like they were expected to. The offensive line could not get much push against an overmatched DL. The passing game felt clunky. The defense were playing on their heels. Getting past their big opener might have revised expectations to three losses instead of the usual four, but watching them the next week you’d think it would take a miracle machine to take down the monsters on the back end of the schedule. But then, the Baylor game was also the moment you realized Michigan might have one of those. Offense, defense, or special teams, when the Wolverines needed a big play they could get one. It wasn’t luck. It was the most outstanding player in college football. It was Charles Woodson. And it was totally unfair.

After looking so good against Colorado the week before and moving up in the national Rankings to #8, the game against Baylor was supposed to be no contest. While it pretty much was, looking back, it also proved to be a microcosm of the 1997 season for Lloyd Carr’s team.

Sure Michigan won, 38-3, but to say that the Maize and Blue didn’t look as crisp and as sharp as they did against the Buffaloes was the understatement of the year. The defense held up their end of the bargain by not giving up a touchdown for the second straight game. Even though Chris Howard was moving the chains and freshman Anthony Thomas was moving the pile, the offense was getting bogged down with penalties and dropped passes. It was painfully evident that there was no playmaker on that side of the ball who could hit the homerun. The Special Teams were anything but, as they dropped a snap from a punt, missed a field goal and Charles Woodson even fielded a punt inside the UM 5-yard line and was tackled for no gain. There was plenty of work to do coming out of this game, as the Wolverines looked nothing like a National Championship team at this point in the season.

[Hit THE JUMP unless you are the mother of a Baylor receiver]

The Climb, Part I: Those Who Stayed

The Climb, Part I: Those Who Stayed

Submitted by Dr. Sap on September 6th, 2017 at 11:06 AM

[Ed-Seth: This being the 20th anniversary of the 1997 National Championship, Michigan historian Dr. Sap offered to revisit a game a week so you can re-live it all in real time. These articles are part-story, part videos so make sure you watch those.]

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Tuman’s 53-yard catch and run was most of the offense Michigan needed to put away the Buffs.  [Sara Stillman/The Michigan Daily, via UM Bentley Library]

It’s difficult to believe that twenty years ago the Michigan Football team started on their trek to an improbable National Championship. Back in 1997, the Wolverines were not on anyone’s radar to stand alone and undefeated at the end of the season.

While most think the journey started with Game 1 against Colorado, the ascent to the summit actually had its beginnings a few years earlier. When Gary Moeller was unceremoniously relieved of his coaching duties in 1995, Lloyd Carr steadfastly delivered a stern message to anyone who cared to listen: “Don’t shed any tears – we don’t want your tears…MICHIGAN WILL BE BACK!”

The first step on the National Championship Ladder was to make sure Lloyd had a team to coach. Carr ended up inheriting a team that wasn’t sure it wanted to play without Mo on the sideline.

Once that issue was resolved, Lloyd cleared his own personal rung on that championship ladder when the “interim” label was removed from his coaching title in week 11 just before the Penn State game in 1995. A victory over Ohio State was a nice surprise, but after losing to Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl, Michigan finished a meh 9-4. After having won five consecutive Big Ten Titles from 1988-1992, it had now been three long years since Michigan last went to Pasadena.

While the 1996 season didn’t deliver the goods either, the Wolverines upset the Buckeyes once again, before losing to Alabama in the Outback Bowl to finish 8-4. Going back to 1993, that made it four consecutive 4-loss seasons in Ann Arbor—YIKES! The Michigan Football Team was starting to look and sound like a Bruce Springsteen song – One Step Up and Two Steps Back.

The offense in particular was on a bad trajectory. Bo’s best offensive coaches had been Moeller and Jerry Hanlon. Carr had neither, promoting RBs coach Fred Jackson to run the offense in 1995 and ‘96. Despite excellent recruiting, the passing game withered, especially once off-field issues caught up to Griese and led to Scott Dreisbach starting much of 1996. Neither instilled much confidence in the fanbase, whose preference was for redshirt freshman Jason Kapsner to break through. Prior to the 1997 season, Jackson stepped back down to his running backs role, and Carr promoted offensive line coach Mike DeBord in his stead. This made a certain sense: Moeller, Hanlon, and Bo himself had all been line coaches at heart.

THE TEAM?

Michigan post-Bo had begun to recruit like a national power, but attrition had whittled them down considerably. Injuries had decimated the offensive line, which was going to be starting two redshirt freshmen on the left side. Just four guys from the vaunted 1993 class—Zach Adami, Glen Steele, Rob Swett, and walk-on Brian Griese—made it to their 5th years (only Damon Denson and Will Carr played out their eligibility in four). The '94 class had lost 5-star DE Rasheed Simmons, slot-like receiver Anthony Williams, and important depth LB Tim Laws. It left a mauling right tackle in Jon Jansen, a punishing backfield of Chris Howard and Chris Floyd, a pair of useful tight ends in Jerame Tuman and Mark Campell, and some defensive players who hadn’t yet lived up to their hype: Juaquin Feazell, Chris Singletary, Sam Sword, Clint Copenhaver, Marcus Ray, and Andre Weathers.

The heart of the team was the 1995 class, who had committed to Moeller and arrived to find Carr. Transfer and former walk-on Eric Mayes was the team captain and defensive leader. Tai Streets was their one good receiver. Daydrion Taylor was a limited but hard-hitting safety. Chris Ziemann and Steve Frazier were generalist, okay offensive linemen. Josh Williams, Rob Renes, James Hall and Patrick Kratus were up-and-coming DL. Clarence Williams was a nifty back in the Jamie Morris mold. DiAllo Johnson was a ludicrous athlete still in search of a position. Project recruits Tom Brady and Aaron Shea were not quite ready to challenge deep depth charts at quarterback and tight end. And then there was Woodson, that rare athlete who’d starred as a freshman, built on that as a sophomore, and was ready to take on new challenges as a fully formed junior. He would have to, since he was the team’s best cornerback, returner, safety, and receiver.

This looked, for all the world, like a team one year away from really competing.  Too many positions would have to be filled by second-year players, albeit highly regarded ones. Free safety Tommy Hendricks had been rated the best at his position out of high school. Aforementioned RS freshman linemen Steve Hutchinson and Jeff Backus were the platonic ideals of left guard and left tackle, respectively. JUCO transfer Russell Shaw could help fill the gap at receiver behind Streets.

All of this set up the 1997 season just perfectly for the Maize and Blue.

NO EXPECTATIONS

College Gameday paid a visit to Ann Arbor to kick off the 1997 season and with the game a tossup, Lee Corso had the audacity to pick Ralphie The Buffalo over Willie The Wolverine!

You know the rest. Newly minted Defensive Coordinator Jim Herrmann unleashed a ferocious and attacking Wolverine defense (sound familiar?) that Rick Neuheisel and Ralphie didn’t see coming – neither did the Michigan faithful. The D made watching Michigan Football fun again and the Michigan Stadium crowd just couldn’t get enough of their excitement and energy.

Brian Griese was a very Elvis-Grbac-like 21 of 28 passing for 258 yards and 2 TD’s. For #14 though, the nugget underneath all those stats was an incredibly well-placed, well-thrown and accurate ball. I’m sure Tom Brady was taking notes from the sidelines. Griese’s poise and steady play was the perfect calming and cerebral influence the offense needed. While the defense was playing lights out and flying all over the gridiron, the field general that was Griese was methodically carving up the Buffaloes and it was a sign of things to come that year for him and the offense.

After the 27-3 dismantling of Colorado, the postgame comments sounded like this:

Amazing to hear how similar Jim McElwain and Rick Neuheisel sound!

Box Score:

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Dear Diary Has a Marvelous Tenacity of Life

Dear Diary Has a Marvelous Tenacity of Life

Submitted by Seth on February 27th, 2015 at 1:08 PM

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But No That Blocked Punt Against CMU Was Totally Worth It.

Alum96 decided to go into excruciating detail on the upcoming cliff, and which spots will need to be addressed. Like “two OL recruits in two years” he also pinpointed the situation:

we only recruited 9 defensive players in 2013 and 4 in 2014.  That's a middling 13 players - of which one is already gone (Ferns).  12-ish defensive players is what you generally get in 1 class, not combined in 2.

Two years out you want to have more in the tank than:

  • DEs: Poggi, Marshall, S.Johnson, R.Jones
  • DTs: Hurst, Mone, Pallante (if he doesn’t stay at FB)
  • LBs: McCray, Winovich, Furbush, Wangler
  • CBs: Dawson, Watson, Washington
  • S: Kinnel, Peppers if he isn’t in the NFL

Some of these guys are not going to work out. Attrition happens. And if by some miracle both are avoided this is a one-deep. There’s time to fill the gaps if Harbaugh can find in the 2016 class the kinds of guys who can ball like an All-Big Ten player before they can buy a beer. Of course he can do that because HARBAUGH.

Another way to mitigate this would be to get redshirts on some of the juniors or sophomores they don’t need as much this year. No way: Taco and Jourdan Lewis are starting, Dymonte is the current guy they roll in for the nickel (at safety; Peppers moves down to the slot). Probably no way: Gedeon is the first LB in after the starters (but if McCray…), Mone is currently 2nd on the NT depth chart (but if Pipkins…). So Michigan could maybe late-shirt Delano Hill and Channing Stribling, leaving six scholarship cornerbacks and four safeties available for 2015.

/shakes fist at 2013 special teams

Bring Back the Molly McGannon Memorial Children of Yost Section

Our official chronicler of the student section SaddestTailgateEver addressed the changes at Yost as the student section was shrunk, split, and shoved off to the (wrong) side, while prime property was roped off for the usually empty opponents’ parents section:

That is a full-blown, fully mapped DMZ that you better keep stepping through and not stop. So now we have students that don’t fit in Section 17, stuck above row 10 in Section 18, and a bunch of needlessly empty seats below them. And for what? So these parents can have some elbow room to look at their sons’ backs?

This also puts the parents right in front of the “c-ya” cheer, and has led to altercations, and staff stepping in on behalf of the parents who usually started it. To that I’ll add that the glare in the revamped old barn is like stepping onto the bridge of the J.J. Abrams Enterprise.

R.I.P. Spock.

I don’t have the heart to tell him what that place was like when I had season tickets circa 2000. Yost would be best if it acknowledged what it is—a raucous throwback to 1920s-style sports fandom—but it’s hard to see the administration trying to re-engineer that feel since the Goss/Martin ADs barely tolerated the Children of Yost.

What they can do is cut the feed to the RAWK MUZAK they blare in your face, put the opponents’ families in the obstructed overhang seats (this is a compromise; I would prefer gibbets), and put the students front and center, then look away and let the atmosphere fill in organically.

[Hit the jump for people talking about bad calls and the 1997 Championship]

This Week's Obsession: The Other 97s

This Week's Obsession: The Other 97s

Submitted by Seth on January 14th, 2015 at 12:15 PM

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the base play

The Question:

Ace: After the title game, it's time to wash the bad taste out of our mouths. Thinking back on the 1997 title team, who was your favorite player to watch other than Charles Woodson? Answer should be your choice at the time, so unless you've always been obsessed with line play I'm going to be a little skeptical if one of you answers Steve Hutchinson.

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The Answers:

Alex Cook: I was four-and-a-half years old at the time and have no recollection of this team whatsoever. I'm going to graduate this spring / summer, so, uh, yeah 1997 was a while ago.

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Seth: Dude don't forget people knew Hutchinson and Backus then. Freshman linemen were almost unheard of in recent memory, so Lloyd announcing two would start was a big part of why September expectations were for "another four-loss season."

hutchbackus
It's not like two freshman offensive linemen went totally unremarked, Ace.

(The contempt with which I used to say those four words embarrasses me now).

Through that season there were Daily stories and Replay mentions about Hutchinson and Backus: going to Blimpy's for the first time, having to buy Spots for the seniors, boilerplate "pick things quickly" stuff from coaches, yada yada. However I personally read those articles a few years later in the archives, and also developed my appreciation for Rob Renes only after hitting campus in 1998 and being exposed to frat brothers and editors who worshipped him.

As my high school notebooks will attest, I was a fan of Dhani Jones. He was so fast tracking down guys wherever on the field, and always appeared around the ball, and was only a sophomore. He really stuck out in the Penn State game, and I remembered him having a ton of sacks (a Bentley lookup reveals six). And his name was Dhani, and he had a fro, and they said he was a straight-A student, and back then I believed in the student-athlete hooey a lot more. If he had played in the time of YouTube he'd be an MGo-Favorite easily.

Dhani was only marginally ahead of a bunch of that front seven. The way Keith Jackson would say "Clint Copenhaver" you thought Copenhaver was some sort of defensive god. James Hall would chase quarterbacks into their nightmares. Sam Sword and Glenn Steele because it's not enough that we destroy your offense we have to literally send guys named for medieval weaponry at you. Either of those guys would be my pick after Jones (I loved sacks).

And I liked A-Train, a big-time recruit when that was just becoming a thing, and so damn fast. When I bought my jersey freshman year it was between 7 and 32; I went with the former because Henson was my grade.

[After the jump: we loved everybody]

Quite Possibly the Most Important Photo You Will Ever See

Quite Possibly the Most Important Photo You Will Ever See

Submitted by Seth on July 11th, 2013 at 10:24 PM

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This was sent to me from HTTV volunteer copy editor Becky Long, who in 1998 was on the sidelines as UM cheerleader Becky Long. The wide-angle:

Hoke_points_at_stuff2

Click gets you full size, which is just 300kb or so (to a 1998 hard drive that's huge) but plenty for your need. That need is to cast this image in your head until the most Brady Hoke thing ever has claimed its rightful place next to Don't Make Lloyd Angry, and the Bo-Canham-Bump Press Conference in the Hall of Before-He-Was…

To my knowledge, until now the best Hokepoint from the Before-Time known to the internet was that overused thing with the uncharacteristic headset. Bonus: We now have a photo to use when we talk about Rob Renes and genetic nose tackles.

That is all.

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Diary

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Diary

Submitted by Seth on September 1st, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Trapped in enemy territory, their far smaller band weakened by attrition and fearing the superior recruitment of the unchallengeable and suppressive French, the English cower in fear and mull surrender, but for those bowered by their once mocked, portly, stalwart and heroic monarch. Cloaked as a commoner he walks amongst his men.

NARRATOR: With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty; that every wretch, pining and pale before, beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks; A largess universal, like the sun, His liberal eye doth give to every one, Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all. Behold, as may unworthiness define, A little touch of Harry in the night.

And so our scene must to the battle fly; Where- O for pity!- we shall much disgrace, with four or five most vile and ragged foils, right ill-dispos'd in brawl ridiculous, the name of Agincourt. Yet sit and see, Minding true things by what their mock'ries be.

Enter the KING.

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(Hover over the links to see which diary is which)

WESTMORELAND: O that we now had here but nineteen-ninety seven's men of England, that have not eligibility today.
 
KING:

What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin; If we are mark'd to die, we are enough to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men recruited, the greater share of honour. God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It yearns me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires.

But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive. No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England. God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour as one man more methinks would share from me.

For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more! Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made, And crowns for convoy put into his purse. We would not die in that man's company that fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian!

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He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd, and rouse him at the name of football season come again. He that shall live this day, and see old age, will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, and say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, and say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, but he'll remember, with advantages, what feats he did that day. Then shall our names, familiar in his mouth as household words: Brady the King, Shoelace and Omameh, Kovacs and Campbell, Demens and Floyd, Barnum and Schofield and Roundtree, Lewan and Toussaint, Hopkins and Gallon and Mealer, Roh, and Black, and Washington and Morgan, Gordon and Countess and Hagerup and Gibbons and Moore, be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red!

This story shall the good man teach his son; and Opening Weekend shall ne'er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remembered--

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile. This day shall gentle his condition, and gentlemen in England now-a-bed shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day!

(Take the jump, or close the wall up with our English dead)