Redefining a "successful" season

Submitted by taistreetsmyhero on November 14th, 2017 at 5:03 PM

What is a "successful" season?

There has been a lot of discussion recently about what defines a "successful" season. Regarding this year, many arguments follow something like, "I predicted the regular season record would be between 8-4 and 10-2. So, given the youth and injuries, this season could be seen as decent if Michigan plays well against Wisconsin and OSU but loses, and 'successful' if they win at least one out of the two last games."

At face value, this seems reasonable enough. We all knew coming into the season that it was probably going to be a rebuilding year. Michigan has been decimated by key injuries. And winning 8 or 9 games...well, you may feel uneasy scoffing at that considering Michigan only did it twice during the era of Henri, the Otter of Ennui.

--Harbaugh finally started Henri on Prozac.--

But the fact is that record alone is a pretty meaningless metric for determining whether or not a season is successful. Nobody's preseason projections had Florida as a tire fire or Air Force as bad. Very few people predicted a loss to MSU (granted, they are better than expected). And if you had polled MGoBloggers before the season and asked, "How many wins against opponents with winning records will Michigan have going into the Wisconsin game," users answering 0 would have been negged to oblivion Bolivia.

                                                                         

Is a win always Win?

As with everything in life, defining success was so much easier back in the day. The steps were simple:

  1. Toe meets leather at high noon.
  2. Michigan stomps on inferior teams.
  3. Michigan beats Ohio State regularly.
  4. Michigan owns Michigan State.
  5. Michigan wins the Big Ten.

Under Bo, Michigan followed that Winning For Dummies formula to the tune of an overall record of 194-48-5, with 13 Big Ten titles, and 11/21 seasons featuring at least 10 wins. He went 11-9-1 against OSU and 17-4 against MSU.

--TaiStreet's Law: As a discussion about success at Michigan grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Bo approaches 1.--

Credit (or blame) Bo for the Michigan fan's fixation on 10 wins as a basic measuring stick for a successful season. When Harbaugh took over for the floundering Hoke, Michigan hit the 10-win threshold his first season after the impressive demolition of Florida in the Outback Bowl. Harbaugh's team followed it it up with another 10-win season the next year, in which they were only an imaginary inch short of real glory. There are many valid reasons why Harbaugh's first two seasons are viewed as successful, but measuring up to that 10-win mark is certainly a main one.

Unfortunately, this simple metric leaves a couple pink elephants in the room. For one, Michigan plays more games now than they did during the Bo era. In the 9 seasons with 10 wins under Bo, Michigan's winning percentage was 86%. Compare that to the 77% mark of a 10-3 season. In the modern era, Michigan has an extra built-in cupcake win every season.

The next issue to discuss is that Bo was playing in the era of the Big 2, Little 8. Outside of Michigan and OSU, there were no consistently good Big Ten teams. Under Bo, Michigan played an average of 5.57 games/season against teams with winning records. Compare that to Harbaugh's first two seasons, where the number was 6.50 games/season. Now, there is typically 1 additional [at least decent] opponent for Michigan to prove itself against each season than there was under Bo.

The last major obstacle to making this an apples-to-apples comparison is results against rivals. As outlined above, Bo beat OSU with regularity and owned MSU. While his tenure at Michigan is still in its infancy, Harbaugh has yet to replicate those results.

With these contextual factors added to the discussion, it's becoming clear that there are several key components to measuring a successful season. I thus set out to create a standardized season scoring metric to get a better sense of how Michigan seasons compare to one another.

The Season Score Metric

--All data comes from Sports Reference. Note, they only record the AP poll rankings--

In order to create a standardized season score metric, I went through each Michigan season since Bo's first year and recorded the following:

  • Wins
  • Win %
  • Quality wins: Wins against opponents that were ranked (in the AP poll) when they played Michigan AND finished with a winning record, OR wins against opponents that finished the season ranked (In the AP poll)
  • Bad losses: Losses against opponents that were not ranked (in the AP poll) when they played Michigan AND were not ranked (in the AP poll) at the end of the season
  • Wins against opponents that finished the season with winning records
  • Win % against opponents that finished the season with winning records
  • Results against OSU, MSU, and bowl game
  • B1G championships

The season score is thus calculated as follows:

(Wins x Win%) + Quality Wins - Bad Losses + (Wins vs. Opponents with Winning Records x Win% vs. Opponents with Winning Records) + 5 if Beat Ohio + 3 if Beat MSU + 3 if Win Bowl + 5 if B1G Champion

To see this in action, here is how it looks for Michigan's best season, the 1997 championship:

  • 12 wins x 100% Win%: 12 points
  • 6 Quality Wins: +6 points
  • 0 Bad Losses: -0 points
  • 7 Wins vs. Opponents with Winning Records x 100% Win% vs. OwWR: +7 points
  • Beat OSU: +5 points
  • Beat MSU: +3 points
  • Won Bowl: +3 points
  • B1G Champions: +5 points
  • Total: 41 points

Some major caveats apply to making this a true apples-to-apples comparison:

  • Quality wins are based only on AP poll
  • A win vs. the #1 team is treated the same as a win vs. the #25 team
  • The relative strength of OSU and MSU in a given year is ignored
  • The B1G is much more competitive now than in previous years
  • Shared vs. outright B1G Titles are ignored
  • All advanced stats are ignored

However, this metric still provides a ton more context to the season than record alone. And, at the end of the day, the Winning For Dummies formula hasn't changed at all, it has simply gotten harder to follow. Edit: see comment section for some more justification of this metric.

So, how does it all stack up?

(Here is a link to the google sheet with all of the information for anyone interested.)

Average Season Results by Coaches
Coach Seasons Season Score Wins Win% Quality Wins Bad Losses Wins vs. OwWR Win% vs. OwWR OSU W MSU W ND W Bowl W B1G Champ
Moeller 5 20.45 8.80 73.4% 2.2 0.60 3.60 53.7% 60% 60% 40% 80% 60%
Carr 13 20.21 9.38 75.4% 3.0 0.54 4.15 59.2% 46% 77% 56% 46% 39%
Bo 21 19.55 9.24 78.8% 1.6 0.38 3.29 59.9% 52% 81% 40% 29% 62%
Harbaugh 2 15.09 10 77% 3.0 0.50 3.50 53.6% 0% 50% NA 50% 0%
Hoke 4 8.51 7.75 60.4% 1.0 2.0 3.25 38.4% 25% 25% 50% 33% 0%
Rich Rod 3 0.24 5 40.3% 0.3 2.67 1.33 15.3% 0% 0% 67% 0% 0%

When you factor in the importance of beating your rivals, winning the Big Ten, and finishing the year strong with a bowl win, it becomes clear that win totals alone aren't enough to measure the success of a season. This shows that Bo, Carr, and Moeller had nearly identical success at Michigan, and they all prduced at a tier above what Harbaugh has managed so far.

Here are the ten best seasons by this metric:

Year Coch Season Score Record
AP Rank
Quality Wins Bad Losses Wins vs. OwWR Losses vs. OwwR Beat OSU Beat MSU Beat ND B1G Champ Bowl Game
1997 Carr 41.00 12-0 1 6 0 7 0 Y Y Y Y Y
1980 Bo 29.97 10-2 4 3 0 4 2 Y Y N Y Y
1986 Bo 28.47 11-2 8 3 1 5 1 Y Y Y Y N
1988 Bo 27.88 9-2-1 4 2 0 5 2 Y Y N Y Y
2003 Carr 27.83 10-3 6 4 0 5 3 Y Y Y Y N
2000 Carr 27.55 9-3 11 3 0 3 2 Y Y NA Y Y
1989 Bo 26.97 10-2 7 3 0 4 2 Y Y N Y N
1991 Moeller 26.97 10-2 6 3 0 4 2 Y Y Y Y N
1990 Moeller 26.75 9-3 7 3 0 6 3 Y N N Y Y
1971 Bo 26.33 11-1 6 1 0 3 1 Y Y NA Y N

Harbaugh's 2015 team comes in at #28 w/ 15.99, and last year's team is at #34 w/ 14.20. For those of us who never watched Bo teams, this gives some better context to judge the Season Score metric. While last year's team was definitely a more talented team than the 2015 unit, it is not unreasonable based on end results for its overall success score to be worse.

For another comparison, Hoke's flukish 2011 squad is ranked #15 with a score of 23.75. Again, it's hard to believe that team was better than either the 2015 or 2016 Harbaugh squads, but there is something to be said for beating OSU (regardless of how bad they were) and winning a BCS bowl. What it does suggest, however, is that looking at the score metric by itself does not necessarily predict future seasons' success.

Projecting this season's score

Michigan is currently sitting at 8-2, with 0 quality wins, 0 bad losses, 0 wins against opponents with winning records in 2 games, and a loss to MSU. All that is good for a season score of 6.40.

But, there is theoretically a huge range of final success for this season. Just for fun, let's look at all of the possible end results:

Rest of Season Results Season Score* Record Rank (out of 49 seasons)
LLL 4.92 8-5 43
WLL 7.43 9-4 42
LLW 9.43 9-4 42
LWL 12.41 9-4 36
WLW 13.49 10-3 36
WWL 15.49 10-3 29
LWW 18.49 10-3 24
WWLL 19.14 10-4 21
WWLW 21.93 11-3 18
WWW 22.11 11-2 18
WWWL 23.93 11-3 14
WWWW 30.86 12-2 2

*Note: I looked at the Massey game predictor to determine the likely outcomes for our previous opponents' final games. No previous opponent is expected to gain a winning record. However, in the highly unlikely scenario where Michigan wins the B1G East division, it would probably only be possible if one previous opponent does gain a winning record.

So now we have some real context for how relatively successful this season can finish. Obviously, the most likely outcome of the season will see Michigan finish (by some combination) between 8-5 and 10-3. Let's look at how those season scores compare to previous Michigan ones:

  • A score of 4.92 puts the season score between those of the 8-4, 2001 Carr team and the 7-6, 2013 Hoke team.
  • Scores of 7.43 or 9.43 puts the season score between those of the 8-5, 2012 Hoke team and that 2001 Carr team.
  • Scores of 12.41 or 13.49 puts the season score between those of the 9-4, 1995 Carr team and the 8-2-2, 1975 Bo team.
  • A score of 15.94 puts the season score between those of the 10-3, 2015 Michigan team and the 8-4, 1993 Moeller team.
  • A score of 18.49 puts the season score between those of the 9-0-3, 1992 Moeller team and the 10-0-1, 1992 Bo team.

Tl;dr

With all of this information, I think it is reasonable to argue that this season can be called "successful" if Michigan does (at least) either of the following:

  • Beat OSU
  • Beat Wisconsin AND win the bowl game

 

 

Comments

ChiBlueBoy

November 14th, 2017 at 5:26 PM ^

While very interesting, there are a few things that bother me a bit with your analysis:

1) Prior coaches could share BIG 10 championships and get 100% credit. With the division of the league and a playoff, that is now impossible, and makes it harder for Harbaugh under this scenario. Under the prior system, with all teams playing each other, Harbaugh would have likely achieved at least a shared championship last year. Seems more fair to only give credit to outright championships or, at a minimum, a percentage credit for shared.

2) Seems to give a lot of weight to beating rivals without taking into account the record of the rival. For example, Bo's first victory over OSU was a huge upset and shouldn't have the same weight as Hoke in 2011. A win over a juggernaut rival makes a season far more successful than merely beating a 3-9 MSU.

3) If you're judging successful seasons, then it seems a bit unfair to judge the coach, per se. I'd rather couch it as X had more successful seasons, rather than a total value on the coach. Along the same thinking, I would break up credit for transition years--partial credit to the exiting coach and partial credit to the new coach. 

taistreetsmyhero

November 14th, 2017 at 5:58 PM ^

Though this post is so massive you probably missed it.

Regarding your first point, Michigan would not have won a share of the Big Ten in either of Harbaugh's first two seasons. Moving forward, I could add points for winning the division (maybe 3 if you win the division and lose the conference title game). But that doesn't affect any existing season scores. Also, while it is obviously much harder to win the B1G now, does that mean we should no longer expect to win it? Should we no longer gauge a season's success on whether or not we win it? And when you're arguing with your Sparty or Buckeye acquaintance about Michigan's glory years, do you only count the number of outright B1G Titles? I don't think so.

I also acknowledge your point #2, and I was going to build in the rivals' win% into the scoring system, but I got lazy. However, it is mitigated somewhat by the fact that Bo's 1969 win against OSU gets 1 point for being a quality win, whereas Hoke's 2011 win does not. Is Hoke's win 5/6ths as good as Bo's? No. But, it is at least somewhat mitigated. Maybe I will go back and fix that (easy fix, but time consuming).

And wrt point #3, I mean...people make comparisons between coaches using way less context than this. There was a diary not too long ago about coaches in Year 3 and projecting their eliteness based on record alone. While interesting, it was way more shallow of an analysis.

ChiBlueBoy

November 14th, 2017 at 6:24 PM ^

I do note that you acknowledge these limitations. I also appreciate trying to put some numbers to something that will always be subjective (in Jr. High I created a mathematical formula to determine if someone was "attractive," so the desire to quantify the subjective resonates with me).

In the end, all of this is very subjective, and I imagine that each of us would come up with a different formula. For some, your outcomes will match their internal sense. For others, there may be other factors that are owed less or greater weight. Personally, I give the last couple seasons greater weight as "successful" then your formula, in part for: 1) the context of the prior seasons (i.e., I would take into account the relative success (or lack thereof) of the prior season); and 2) winning percentage (to me, it's sort of the ultimate gauge and, when speaking of coaches, over time tends to even out statistical outliers.

Tuebor

November 16th, 2017 at 1:20 PM ^

Harbaugh would not have won last year.  PSU, OSU, UM, and Wisconsin all played each if you include the title game.

 

Excluding the title game UM was 7-2 in conference, OSU and PSU were 8-1 in conference with PSU holding head to head, and Wisconsin was 7-2 in conference.  How does Harbaugh get a share of the big ten title in that scenario?

g_reaper3

November 14th, 2017 at 5:37 PM ^

This is great.

One mistake in the first paragraph. You refer to “negged to oblivion”. Pretty sure on this blog you mean “negged to Bolivia”!

Thanks again for posting.

OwenGoBlue

November 14th, 2017 at 6:01 PM ^

Quantifying and ranking Michigan's seasons is a fun exercise, and certainly one we could debate the metrics of for days on end. Appreciate the grind you put in and the snapshots provided. The caveats you include are really big ones but the season score is an interesting idea.

Defining something as complex as a football season into a binary "successful" or "unsuccessful" is easy on the extreme ends but difficult in the middle. Ultimately a ton of context is needed and even that context is subjective; I don't know that there will be a consensus opinion on 2017 short of winning out.

To me there are a range of outcomes that could make this season a successful one:

  • Winning the next two games (duh)
  • The two scenarios you described above 
  • A playoff run in the next 1-3 years would define 2017 as a successful team-building year with so many young players gaining valuable experience regardless of remaining 2017 outcomes

taistreetsmyhero

November 14th, 2017 at 6:22 PM ^

Major caveats aside, if this team goes 8-5, it would (by my metric) be clearly the most hollow 8 win season in the last 49 years. If they get to 9 wins but lose to OSU, it would be the most hollow 9 win season in the last 49 years.

ND objectively sucked balls last year, but should last season be considered a successful rebuilding one given their turn around this year? What about MSU?

Your argument is more one of whether or not individual season success matters, and whether or not it is valuable as a predictor for upcoming seasons. As I said in my post, it probably doesn't. But, I don't think you can retroactively call a previous season good based on future ones.

OwenGoBlue

November 14th, 2017 at 8:32 PM ^

My last bullet was meant to illustrate how subjective and context-driven defining a successful season can be.

Going 8-5 this season would be annoying in the moment, but if they went out and won the B1G and/or National Title next year 2017 would be remembered fondly by many as a useful/successful year in that it drove Michigan football forward by preparing the young dudes (including 17ish returning starters) ready to go on a run. Others would lament the same "talent" didn't win more in 2017. Context over time changes the narrative and this is all subjective anyway.

My (subjective) take on MSU's 2016 says different than the above hypothetical because of context, specifically: 1) they weren't playing that many young guys, 2) 3 wins is much worse than a hollow 8, 3) they aren't winning anything major this year, and 4) constant 2016 off-field embarrassment.

Yo_Blue

November 15th, 2017 at 7:55 AM ^

I agree.  We can't go back and rerank seasons.  They must stand alone.  We can, however, look back and understand a season's importance in the great scheme of things.  We can appreciate huge personnel losses with a depleted number of backups.  After this season, with a pretty open pipeline of talent, that should be a non-argument.

This season is a disappointment so far for one reason - the loss to MSU.  The PSU loss was painful but understandable given the circumstances, but sitting at 9-1 would feel a whole lot different than what we have.  

LSA84

November 14th, 2017 at 7:38 PM ^

Bo had several things easier than Harbaugh:

1. There were no roster limits until 1973, allowing U of M and OSU to stock up on talent.  Back-ups here and there were better than many teams' starters.  

2. It would be years later before the roster limits started spreading out the quality more and creating more parity.  

3. In Bo's day, there were more in-state quality players compared to the rest of the country, and he was able to raid Ohio for numerous star players.  Starting with Tressel and now with Urbz, OSU has locked down Ohio for the most part.  Michigan now has fewer quality HS football players relative to rest of the country than it did back then (and even relative to ohio), and Sparty competes for more of the Michigan players, too.  

4. The sun belt did not compete as much for players then as it does now.  That started to change in the 80s, but it's nothing like today.

5. Moeller and Carr inherited strong, winning teams with no hiccup in recruiting.  Harbaugh inherited a dumpster fire.  

xtramelanin

November 14th, 2017 at 8:17 PM ^

harbaugh did not inherit a dumpster fire.  the cupboard wasn't full to the brim, either, but there was significant talent all over the roster.  the problem with hoke's recruiting was the OL, most other parts were at least okay.  dumpster fire = illinois' next coach, oregon state, probably tennesse and florida to name a few. 

OkemosBlue

November 14th, 2017 at 8:46 PM ^

Hoke-Madison recruited defense well.  On offense, however, Michigan had trouble all over the place, especially at QB.  The real problem with the OL was not talent--it had some--but development.

 At QB, however, none of them panned out.  You may say Shane Morris had talent.  Perhaps.  William Speight was serviceable last year except when he got hurt, but he was young too.  So maybe it was development there too, but there was always trouble recruiting on the offense, especially after it became obvious that Michigan couldn't develop its players.  Maybe a one or two good recruits according to the rating services (for all that's worth).  That's not enough.

 It's hard to evaluate how well a team recruits over an entire class because it depends on so much, and rating services react to who's recruiting a player.  Still, Alabama recruits well and has dominated for a decade.  MSU has not done particularly well by rating services, but they continue to compete because Dantonio can recognized unrecognized talent and develop it.  Both say something important.  

LSA84

November 14th, 2017 at 8:55 PM ^

"dumpster fire" might be an overstatement about Hoke's recruiting overall, but there far more issues than what Bo, Moeller, or Lloyd inherited:

QB was a disaster in both depth and quality

OL wasn't far behind

WR depth was awful.  Beyond Darboh, Chesson, and Butt, Harbaugh inherited a bare cupboard, and we're paying the price now.  

On the D, how many starters are Hoke recruits?  

Bottom line ... O was definitely a dumpster fire.  And while it's true that many Hoke recruits on D went to the NFL, there was no depth behind them by the time Harbaugh took the reins.  And Hoke inherited FAR better than what he left, truth be told.

Writing this almost made me feel sorry for Rich Rod.

Almost.  :)

 

uminks

November 15th, 2017 at 8:13 AM ^

is now dealing with the down recruiting bubble from the years of 2014 and 2015. He did inherit talent that he was able to coach up in 2015 and 2016. Though, he missed his early playoff chance in 2016. I think Harbaugh will be back in playoff contention starting in 2019 and years to follow. 2018 will still be in rebuilding mode. I know one of our young QB will be great two years from now.

maize-blue

November 17th, 2017 at 11:34 AM ^

They must find a way to steady or even out the recruiting classes, number wise. They are looking at another bubble burst around 2020/2021 when these recent large 2016 and 2017 classes are leaving or gone. We will be looking at another season such as this with a void of upperclassmen and another "re-build".

Squash34

November 16th, 2017 at 2:56 AM ^

What is the differance between what the next florida coach takes over and what Harbaugh did at Michigan? It is practically the same, stacked defensive recruiting with suspect offensive recruiting and an embarrasing previous year. 

Although, Michigans embarrassment extended back 7 years. That is a lot of suck to remove from the psyche of a program.  When people have a mindset of failure it is not easy to come in and change that.

And, sure there were a bunch of NFL guys on that 2014 roster. However, how many outside of Butt, Lewis, or Peppers gets drafted if hoke stays? I remember listening to Cowherd before Jim came  ack to Michigan. He would talk about how Jim would not come back because it was a "tire fire" (his exact words, which were a common phrase used to describe the program) and according to a few scouts he talked to, there were only a few NFL level talent on the whole roster at the end of 13. However, Harbaugh is known for getting his team to play to the close to their absolute best ability and a bunch got drafted. But this dont mean the program was not a tire fire.

Mongo

November 14th, 2017 at 8:02 PM ^

But then drawing a good bowl opponent like LSU and showing great bowl performance resulting in a sound victory would be encouraging for the future. Closing the season with 3 straight loses would be disaster for next year's prospects. It would mean we probably don't have the talent we think we have. As all those underclassmen should be performing better by that point in their development.

Red is Blue

November 14th, 2017 at 8:33 PM ^

Whether the B1G is top heavy (as in the days of big 2 / little 8) or more balanced, at the end of the day the average conference record is going to be .500 (obvious). So it seems like the fact that Michigan now plays more teams with winning records is likely attributable to the B1G performance out of conference and the 9 game in conference schedule.

MGoBlue24

November 14th, 2017 at 8:59 PM ^

than from most fans, including me, but today is so different from the 'toe meets leather at high noon' days that I am not sure many then and now comparisons work.  There is a lot more enforced parity than in the past, and a lot of things that aren't in the coaches' control like they were in Bo's day.  
 
I generally agree with the OP's definition of a successful 2017 season, but defer completely to the coaches and players as to whether it really is or not.  They actually prepare, compete, and reflect on the experience.  I just get to watch them, and I am grateful for that.  
 
The definition of a truly unsuccessful season?  Nothing has bothered me more  as a Michigan fan than the three years in the past decade when we didn't even get to a bowl.
 
 

Albatross

November 14th, 2017 at 9:21 PM ^

Losing to OSU is an unsuccessful season.
Losing to OSU and MSU is a disastrous season.
Finishing 3rd in the east division is a joke of a season.

On the other hand:

Beating OSU and winning the Big Ten is successful
Winning a National Champion is a success.

Those have always been the standards at Michigan. All other arguments are garbage and designed to apologize for subpar results.

Just because we are better than we were under the tire fire of RichRod and Hoke, doesn’t mean we are experiencing success. It means we moved from bad to mediocre. Neither should be celebrated.

Amaizing Blue

November 14th, 2017 at 9:24 PM ^

Unlike many on the blog, I am not a math guy, but his was a clear and understandable comparison that I got.  I have fond memories of watching Bo's teams, and am glad to see the 1980 squad ranked as high as it is.  That was the most dominating defense I have ever seen during the last 7 or 8 games...I believe at one point we allowed a total of 3 points in 4 games.  

Yo_Blue

November 15th, 2017 at 8:14 AM ^

Bo would have come unglued at the rampant cheating taking place across the college landscape.  He would have an a brain aneurysm dealing with SEC bagmen, cheating coaches, prima donna players.  I also think Bo would have had a harder time recruiting today's players.  Once in the program, the kids would totally understand his morals and values and the importance of the team, but I'm not sure today's HS kids get that straight out of the box.

That said, it sure would be fun to watch.

Lumpers

November 14th, 2017 at 9:45 PM ^

But regardless of your numerical assessments, the eye test has to come into play....there is no way the 1985 team with that defense (3 straight shutouts during the season), a 10-1-1 record and a victory over Nebraska in the Fiesta bowl is not one of the top 10 seasons in M history over the past 49...

Here is the wikipdedia post:

The 1985 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1985 Big Ten Conference football season. In their 17th year under head coach was Bo Schembechler, the Wolverines compiled a 10–1–1 record, outscored all opponents by a combined total of 342 to 98,[1] defeated five ranked opponents (including three in a row to start the season), suffered its sole loss against Iowa in a game matching the #1 and #2 teams in the AP Poll, defeated Nebraska in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl, and were ranked #2 in the final AP and Coaches Polls.[1][2]

 

Go Blue!  Those Who Stay Will Be Champions....

Lumpers

November 15th, 2017 at 12:15 AM ^

I am biased, i was a student trainer during the '85 season and '82-'86, so i witnessed the injury riddled '84 season (was the first one on the field to tend to Harbaugh's broken humerus in the State game...my Mom, while sad that Harbaugh was hurt, was quick to call me that night to tell me she saw me on TV, so at least she knew my work study job was legit....).  But I digress...to see the passion and conviction of THAT team in '85, man redemption was an understatement...from 2 a days on that team was pissed and was gonna take no prisoners....that last minute FG in Iowa City was painful and we laid an egg in Champaign with turnovers in their red zone, but luckly Dieter Heren blocked a last minute FG attempt to save the tie.

The '85 season was eerily reminiscent of our season last year....a few bounces differently and Bo wins his first national championship....