Best combined FB & BB seasons?

Submitted by AC1997 on March 2nd, 2012 at 2:21 PM

I was going to put a Diary together that listed the best combined single-season records for basketball and football given how well this year has turned out, but that proved difficult.  Despite a fair amount of google search efforts, I can't find a comprehensive history of Michigan basketball seasons that lists their records.  At best I'd have to plug away season by season to get that information.  Bentley, MGoBlue, Wikipedia - nothing helped. 

So instead, I'll turn it into a board post and throw it out to the audience. 

This season Michigan was 11-2 in football and 22-8 in basketball with several games remaining for a total of 33-10 and counting.  Who can think of seasons better than that one? 

If we ignore the forfeited wins, the Fab 5 were 31-5 in 1992-93 and football went 9-0-3.  That's an astounding 40-5-3.  Can anyone top that or find the best without the forfeited wins?

NOTE - If you add hockey to this game (21-11-4) we have a record this season of 55-21-4.  In that same 1992-93 season hockey went 30-7 that year for an amazing 70-12-3. 


Maize.Blue Wagner

March 2nd, 2012 at 2:28 PM ^

This is from Sports Reference, a part of  It seems comprehensive, but obviously, it's not school or NCAA sanctioned.  Should be helpful though. 


To answer your question, I don't see how you can get away from 1989.  The basketball team was 30-7 and won the NC; the football team was 10-2 with a loss in the Rose Bowl. 


March 2nd, 2012 at 2:43 PM ^

Basically all of the top teams played each other and none of them lost to anybody else.  Miami beat Florida State in the opener, then the Seminoles didn't lose another game all year (beating one loss Auburn in the Sugar Bowl).  Miami only lost to eventual national champs Notre Dame.  Michigan only lost to ND and Miami.  SC only lost to ND and Michigan in the Rose Bowl.  UCLA (with Troy Aikman) beat eventual Big 8 champs Nebraska in the regular season, and only lost in an upset against WSU and against USC.  That Nebraska team's only other loss came against Miami in their bowl game.  WVU went undefeated before dropping their bowl game to ND.

Don't know that we've ever had a better year across the board in college football as far as big time matchups go.


March 2nd, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

What's more, we were an eyelash away from beating both Miami and ND.  We led Miami 30-14 midway through the fourth quarter and would have held on if an apparent reception wasn't ruled incomplete.  Then a week later we lost 19-17 to ND when they made four FGs and we missed one on the last play of the game.


March 2nd, 2012 at 4:31 PM ^

as I recall the tie was 17-17 against Iowa, a game in which we lost a fumble on IA's 1.

A few other coulda-woulda-should moments I recall from my senior year:

* Our defense didn't give up a TD against ND, just the 4 FG's you mention and a punt return for TD.

* In the Miami game we gave up two TD in the final 7 minutes and then failed to recover an onside kick

* I was with a friend of mine, one of Michigan's special teams players in '87 and '88, during the celebratory riot after the BB team won the NCAA tournament.  As everyone partied around him, he had a far-away look on his face.  He shook his head and muttered, "This should have been us."

Section 1

March 2nd, 2012 at 6:55 PM ^


We led Miami 30-14 midway through the fourth quarter and would have held on if an apparent reception wasn't ruled incomplete. 


One of the worst feelings I have ever had in Michigan Stadium.  (Wasn't Michigan already 0-1, having lost to Notre Dame? I thought that was one of the years in which we made the mistake of playing ND as our first game, after they had already played a game; I think ND moved a game or two to make sure we weren't their first game.  Anyway...)  Miami was ranked in the Top 10 in the country.  Visiting the Big House.  We lead by three scores in the fourth quarter.  The students start chanting, "O-ver-ra-ted! clap-clap-clapclapclap O-verated! clap-clap-clapclapclap."

At the time (I have a witness), I said, "Uh, this is not a good cheer.  There is way too much clock left."  You can look up the rest.  I don't want to re-live it.  We go to 0-2 on the year; Bo's worst start to a season, and one of his worst home losses.

steve sharik

March 2nd, 2012 at 11:43 PM ^

  • ND was the week before Miami.
  • Miami wasn't the "overrated" game; rather, the entire student section was singing "goodbye."
  • At Iowa, tied late in the game, knocking on the door, Michigan subbed Tracy Williams in at tailback, who hardly had any carries (if any) in the game at that point.  Williams promptly fumbled trying to go over the top for the TD while Tony Boles and Leroy Hoard were on the sideline.


March 2nd, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

Big Ten and Rose Bowl Champs in football, National Champs in Basketball. I don't care about winning percentages when you can put those kind of trophies in the case.


March 2nd, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

1988 - 1989 is commonly cited as the most succesful modern day UM football & basketball performance.  UM beat USC in the Rosebowl on Jan 2-1989, then UM beat Seton Hall in basketball National Championship on March 16-1989.

This past year was a critical juncture in our return to the top, but in no way is a climax.

lexus larry

March 2nd, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

But those years will never fade from memory...great era to be a U-M fan/student/grad (though 1984 and 1987 football were unique experiences against MSU).

Told my brother we should make a T-shirt that read "MICHIGAN - Basketball's State of the Art"

He wished me well in that endeavor.

lexus larry

March 2nd, 2012 at 3:17 PM ^

Trust me, living in central Ohio from 1987-1998, I needed every win in every sport I could find to make that a tolerable time...and even then, all it did was shut the pie holes for 3-4 days/year.  Every year. 

I can only imagine how awful the Aughts were for M grads/fans to live in/near Franklin County...


March 2nd, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

Checked out the wikipedia page for the 1988 football team, and it states that we beat #14(!) Indiana at homecoming that year. I'm guessing that's the last time we played Indiana in football as the lower ranked team.


March 2nd, 2012 at 2:51 PM ^

MBB conference champions, 16-6 (10-2)
FB conference/national champions (10-0)
Hockey national champions (no conference pre-1951) 20-2-1

46-8-1 should be the best all time. That's a ridiculous .836

Edit: to put that percentage in perspective, 1992-1993 in the OP was .823

Philip A. Duey

March 2nd, 2012 at 2:49 PM ^

1947-1948: Mad Magicians win Rose Bowl and MNC, MBB wins B1G (and goes undefeated at home), Hockey NC over Dartmouth

1964-65: Football went to and won its only Rose Bowl between 1951 and 1970, MBB with Cazzie Russell made the Final Four, hockey won NC in spring 1964

1976-1977: Rick Leach Rose Bowl loss, Basketball wins B1G and advances to Elite Eight

1988-89 already covered above

1991-1992: Desmond Howard Heisman+Rose Bowl loss, [REDACTED] Year 1

1992-1993: Tyrone Wheatley runs wild+Rose Bowl revenge win, [REDACTED] Year 2

1997-1998: Charles Woodson Heisman+Rose Bowl win+MNC, B1G tournament [REDACTED], hockey NC over Boston College

MI Expat NY

March 2nd, 2012 at 2:49 PM ^

I'll agree with the chorus, 1988-89 was easily the best year.  Other potential candidates:

1975-76:  Football - 8-2-2, Basketball - 25-7 National Runner-Up

1976-77:  Football - 10-2, Big Ten Champs, Basketball - 26-4, Big Ten Champs

194-65: Football - 9-1, Big Ten Champs, Basketball - 24-4, Big Ten Champs, National Runner-Up


March 2nd, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

Neat thread!

Who would have thought when a couple yrs ago we had our worst football and basketball seasons under new coaches that just a few years later we'd be asking when the last time both programs were doing so well?

Interesting how we've gotten to this point- and it was not always pretty- but it's great being here now and seeing even better days ahead!

Great time to root for the Wolverines!


March 2nd, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

In 1976 the football opined the season ranked #1. Got upset by Purdue on the road and lost to #2 USC in the Rose Bowl, ending 10-2.

I don't remember the basketball team's record but it ended the the regular season ranked #1, before loosing early in the tournament to NC Charlotte. I think we didn't lose more than 3 or 4 games.


March 2nd, 2012 at 3:10 PM ^

Wow, in 1992 we tied 3 games.  That's crazy.  I do like the sudden death overtime that we have now.  Instead of leaving a game and feeling meh, now we get to leave after watching an incredible spectacle of red zone possessions leaving only one winner.


March 2nd, 2012 at 3:58 PM ^

Before the games were vacated, we went 25-9 in 1997-98, winning the inaugural Big Ten Tournament and receiving a #3 seed in the tourney - but we were upset by UCLA in the second round.


March 2nd, 2012 at 3:43 PM ^

Not sure if losses is the best way to go about it... I mean, I think a season where football goes 12-1 and basketball goes 27-7 is considered MUCH more successful than football going 7-6 and basketball going 32-4. In the first both football and basketball are top 10 teams, in the later football might not be top 25.


March 2nd, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

Obviously there could be an outlier, like you explain, but to overcome a down football year like that, hockey and basketball would have to be elite teams, and should probably show up on the bottom of the combined list anyway.

One other thought: maybe make a scoring system. For example, each sport is worth 100 points. It would be easy to set up, just use W/L% with a hard lower limit on conference championship years (i.e. if football goes 8-4 but wins the conference, that football team still gets 80 points even with a true score of 67). This would make football equal to hockey and basketball, who play triple the amount of games.


March 2nd, 2012 at 4:01 PM ^

But you might run into some issues when comparing teams from the 40's that played ten games when in the aughts they played twelve; ten wins was much more valuable in 1948 than 2006, and it seems like weighting the win category might punish teams that played less games (and all three schedules have been expanded). I could be wrong, though, maybe that would work itself out after all.


March 2nd, 2012 at 5:52 PM ^

I'm glad this year isn't our best football/basketball season since MSU's combined seasons will almost certainly be better than ours, unless they choke the rest of the season away.


March 2nd, 2012 at 7:02 PM ^

Well, it's not just Big Ten season.  They're 24-6 and we're 22-8.  If they lose to OSU this weekend, we're very close.  We'd still have to beat them in the Big Ten Tourney or outlast them in the NCAA tourney, both of which are possible, so you're right.  But considering they'll have a better seed than us in both, that's an uphill battle at least.


March 2nd, 2012 at 6:12 PM ^

Wasn't bad. Basketball was 28-5 and won their last Big Ten title, although they lost in the second round of the tourney. Football went 10-1-1, second in conference and beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl.


March 2nd, 2012 at 9:24 PM ^

arguably the best year  for BB and FB combined.  No national championships, but Michigan lost  to the national champions in  both BB and FB.  In football, Michigan lost to national champion Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl - a game in which Michigan was in a good position to win.  Oklahoma needed  an  end around in its last scoring drive to win the game. 

In BB,  Michigan lost to Indiana in the NCAA  finals. 


March 2nd, 2012 at 10:21 PM ^

but I'd say 1988-89 (my freshman year).  I remember some guys selling t-shirts that said something like "1989 Basketball National Champs" on the front and "...if that weren't enough 1989 Rose Bowl Champs".  That was my favorite shirt for a long time and I wore the crap out of it.