3 Year Win Totals

Submitted by Kilgore Trout on November 18th, 2017 at 11:47 PM

After a little time reading twitter and the board here, I got to wondering how this three year stretch of Michigan football since Harbaugh took over compares to historical numbers. I did a little research and calculated the running three year win totals and winning percentage in the "modern era" of Michigan football since 1969. For 2017, I assumed the most likely outcome of losing to Ohio State and winning a mid-tier bowl, ending up 9-4. If you're interested, you can see it all at the link below.

Michigan Football 3 Year Running Totals Since 1969

- 2017's 3 year win total of 29 is tied for 10th best in the 47 year sample

- 2017's 3 year winning percentage of 74.4% is 26th best in the 47 year sample

- 29 wins is the best since 2004 and the second best this millenium

- 74.4% is the best since 2004 and third best this millenium

- Bo got off to a hell of a start. He had the best 3 win% years in his first six years on the job and 3 of the 4 best win totals in his first six years (72, 73, 74)


I absolutely get that what you win (championships) and who you beat makes a huge difference, but I think it's important to get some context. Unless we think Alabama level sucess is our birthright and expectation (something that hasn't happened in over 40 years), I think it's important to recognize that this has been a pretty good stretch of years compared to where we've been. I'm all for setting goals high, but let's not be unrealistic about what our history says. 



November 19th, 2017 at 5:40 AM ^

Did you really mean average, mediocre, run of the mill, etc...

At this point as bad as I hate to say it thats is about what Michigan football is. Name recognition and past history is all Michigan has right now. Kinda like Georgia has been over the years. IMO 2019 will be the telling year for this program not next year.


November 19th, 2017 at 12:05 AM ^

Will be the most important in Michigan football history. I still think we have a shot to be at the OSU/Clemson level. However if by the end of 2020, were still a perennial 9-3 type of team, I'm not sure we'll ever get back to that level. Harbaugh truly is the best coach we could have. I have faith he'll get us there.

The Fan in Fargo

November 19th, 2017 at 1:49 AM ^

You'll get there if you get the receivers to make the rest of the offense go. Yes the qb, running backs, o-line and tight ends are no less important as the entire whole of 11 but the greatness will come from your receiving corps. Mark my words. Will Michigan have the entire offense and all of it's position groups holding up their ends of the deal? Couple more big prospects at that position group and this offense is set for awhile for a great run. 


November 19th, 2017 at 12:08 PM ^

30 - 40 years ago the Big Ten was considered the premier conference in the country. I know it was the big two and little eight, but those two top teams (yes, one was Michigan) could go toe-to-toe with any top team in the country at their house and beat them. Could you say that about the conference today? While the conference has balanced it’s power out internally, it has also slipped in stature externally. I’d call that a wash.


November 19th, 2017 at 12:10 AM ^

I'm not even remotely coming from a perspective that it dissatisfied with Harbaugh, I think the entire dynamic has changed and he's doing as well as can be expected.  BUT....

A winning percentage of 26th out 47 is not really something that should be held up as a laudable achievement, it is by its definition below average.

(again, I'm still very pleased with Harbaugh, because Michigan's standing in the college football landscape has changed immensely....but I don't think it's a helpful argument to compare him to past coaching performances if you want to sway those doubting him)


November 19th, 2017 at 12:15 AM ^

The ranking is pulled down by our performance in the 1970s, when we had the best aggregate record in the country.  Every 3-year stretch then would be better than anything since.  

1969 isn't necessarily the fairest starting point.  I obviously understand that year's significance but in the 1970s scholarship limits were a lot more generous than now, so the big programs just loaded up on guys and froze out the competition.

1994 is when the current 85-scholarship limit took effect.  That probably should be the starting point.  

Amaizin' Blue

November 19th, 2017 at 5:18 AM ^

Exactly right! Where were teams like Wisconsin before 1994? The playing field has leveled. We cannot expect a given 10 win season and 50/50 shot at Rose Bowl (OSU being other half) like in the 70s

We will improve but change is slow and hard. Plus we have a different landscape in recruiting now. Not only are other programs better and scholarship limits in place but population trends are forcing us to compete out of state and out of region more and more

All in all we are headed in the right direction with the right captain for the ship. Just some rough waters right now.


November 19th, 2017 at 12:24 AM ^

"Alabama level sucess is our birthright"

I've posted this before, but IMO expectations changed greatly after '97.  Getting to the Rose bowl game was the main goal.  Since '97 people think NC or bust.

IMO people have forgotten (already) how bad Hoke's last year was.  5-7 and barely that.  Harbaugh turned that around.   The expectation for next season will be improvement over this one, and that in itself is telling.  Under Hoke we would wonder how much worse it would get.


Kilgore Trout

November 19th, 2017 at 12:33 AM ^

100% agree on how bad 2014 was. 

- Shutout by Notre Dame
- Lose to Utah in an empty stadium (except for Utah fans) after a huge rain delay
- Minnesota / Shane Morris concussion game
- Lose to Rutgers
- Spike in the field game vs MSU
- Lose to Maryland at home

Hell, losing by two touchdowns to OSU was one of the more encouraging performances of the year. 


November 19th, 2017 at 8:13 AM ^

Weirdly enough, the 2014 Notra Dame game is one of the few games in the last 20 years or so that I have not seen. The night before, a rather hellacious storm moved through here and knocked out power until Monday evening, so all I know about that game is the score essentially and that, having seen the score, I am not sure I ever want to see that game. 


November 19th, 2017 at 12:32 AM ^

The even more impressive stat with Bo was they didn't play as many games.  Since then they have added a few games a year and they are against cupcakes.  


November 19th, 2017 at 12:43 AM ^

I'm not going to lose my shit over an 8-4 year when we lost so many players on both sides of the ball to the nfl and then lost more to injury but next year we have to win. We return everybody. We need to finish the 2018 recruiting class strong. The biggest issues under Harbaugh thus far have been OL and QB. Both need to be at least adequate next fall. The mental issues with picking up stunts and qbs reading coverage need to be solved by next year.    


November 19th, 2017 at 5:56 AM ^

IMO will show slight improvement next year. It will reflect in our total wins by 1 maybe (big maybe) 2 games. It will be another year of early season success until conference play begins and same old song and dance. The one win improvement being our biggest rival....Sparty. THE Game is losing it's luster if Michigan doesn't do something real soon or it will be just another game.


November 19th, 2017 at 12:50 AM ^

In three years, Harbaugh has either won or lost by one score 92% of the time. We’ve closed the gap on Michigan State and Ohio State, with six of Harbaugh’s losses coming by a total of 20 points. It’s been tough at times, a first down here or a tackle for loss there....just get the punt off!! We’ve lived the nightmares.

We haven’t had back to back double digit wins since 2002-2003, this program has been turned around by Harbaugh. There’s a next step that needs to take place sooner than later, developing a “killer instinct” is crucial to putting teams away (MSU ‘15, Iowa ‘16, FSU ‘16, OSU ‘16, etc). That’s what I want to see moving forward, i Believe the foundation has been laid and Michigan is on the rise!

10+ win seasons will become the norm! Championship opportunities will present themselves, and I believe our players will seize them in the near future.