Great Rivals Article: "M is for Momentum"

Submitted by StephenRKass on February 20th, 2012 at 5:54 PM

There is a great free article by Chris Balas over at Rivals entitled M is for Momentum. While the article doesn't cover a whole lot of new ground, there are some great quotes, and a good analysis of the future for Michigan in both football and basketball. One prep coach quips,

"If they can get 11 wins out of a group without a single consensus All-Big Ten player, think about what they're going to do with even more talent," one prep coach told recently. 

Rivals recruiting analyst Mike Farrell says of Michigan's haul,

"I've never seen anything like this. . . it's Texas territory," Farrell said in comparing U-M to the Longhorns, notorious for cleaning up early. "This is something new. It's pretty remarkable. I think they got the right guys on campus and that they really know the kids they are recruiting. . . . Michigan has done everything right, from the way they handled last year's recruiting class to this year's. That's why they're so successful. Brady Hoke is a stand-up guy - not a flashy recruiter, but a guy who just gets the job done. It will be interesting to watch where Michigan and Ohio State finish this year."

Balas also gives props to Beilein and the basketball team, saying

The Wolverines are contending with a single four-star prospect in the top six of the rotation (though in fairness, freshman point guard Trey Burke, now a Big Ten player of the year candidate, obviously should have been). 

That changes in the years to come - the part about doing it without highly regarded prep talent, that is. U-M has invested money to put its basketball facilities on par with some of the nation's best, and kids have noticed that and Michigan's success under Beilein.

And we're not done yet. Balas notes that Michigan is seriously in the running for a bunch of four and five star recruits, listing at least six more football players ranked in the top 100 juniors, along with highly ranked basketball recruits.

In terms of having such a successful football, basketball, and hockey team, concurrently, there may be no precedent, at Michigan or any other school, at any other time. Michigan truly may be entering a golden age. Between the coaching, the facilities, and the players themselves, Michigan could scarcely be in a better place. I envy those of you who are current students. Don't take for granted how good you have it now.


Johnny Blood

February 20th, 2012 at 6:22 PM ^

What a difference a year makes... seriously, think about where we were a year ago -- a little nervous about our football team and the transition and, while we were excited about the basketball team, I would guess that almost no one expected the basketball team to be even better than last year (especially after losing Morris).

M is for Michigan... but we sure as hell do have a lot of momentum.  Tremendous.


February 20th, 2012 at 6:35 PM ^

Hockey Nat'l champs, Football nat'l champs, Hoops NIT champs.  That was probably a little bit better.  Granted, NIT is one thing, but they were still champs and the campus was excited about it when they won.  Plus, tractor traylor was bringin' rims down!

Although I do agree that in terms of upside for the next few years, sky is the limit for all 3...


February 20th, 2012 at 8:23 PM ^

The only UM basketball game I went to was the one where Traylor broke the backboard.  At the time I was naive enough to ask whether that happened every game.  Pretty amazing luck in hindsight.


February 20th, 2012 at 8:33 PM ^

1997-1998 was the season football and hockey won (basketball held their end of the bargain too).

On 3/8/98 M won the Big Ten MBB Tournament championship to go along with the 1/1/98 football MNC and the 4/4/98 hockey title.


February 20th, 2012 at 9:07 PM ^

They finished with a Big Ten Tournament championship and ranked number twelve. They took down a #1 Duke team (M had only beaten a top ranked team one other time at this point) and were three points off a Sweet-Sixteen berth.

If you're talking about vacating the wins later, then yeah, they didn't win a game. I'm fairly certain those games happened, though.


February 20th, 2012 at 9:14 PM ^

I'm talking about vacating the wins.

Those two Tractor Traylor Fisher/Ellerbe years were the absolute nadir of the program, especially the second year when everything was coming to light. If you can remember that as a glorious era for the athletic department I don't know what to say.


February 20th, 2012 at 9:20 PM ^

At the time most of that season took place, I was eight and watching nothing but hockey. I don't think I could ever see a season where M won the Big Ten in anything as the nadir, especially when Ellerbe went 12-19 in 1998-1999 (also a vacated season) and missed the NIT, plus went 15-14 in 1999-2000, and lost in the first round of the NIT.


February 20th, 2012 at 9:49 PM ^

Successful head coach fired in disgrace, players on the take from a bookie that had free run of the program, allegations of past drug use and I'm not talking about some guys having a few brews and smoking some weed...a day hardly seemed to go by without some new and ever more humiliating revelation about the program. Wins and losses hardly mattered in the face of it all. It's the only time in my life I was ever embarrassed to be a Michigan fan.

Everything we talk about now, about how great it is to win while doing things the right way--that group turned it all around 180 degrees.

I was well into my 30s at the time. I can see how it would have been different at 8--at that age I probably didn't know what a bookie was.



February 20th, 2012 at 10:48 PM ^

so this 1997-1998 year you speak of was pretty good for the University of Michigan and their fans also? Yes and we could even add the Rose Bowl win and that little trophy the Heisman plus the other 5 awards Charles Woodson won. Man that was by far the greatest time of my life I was just turning 17 when we won the NC and my man crush for Charles starting lol


February 20th, 2012 at 7:09 PM ^

In a different article ( That'd be another huge pickup if it happened.

Sources tell me that the leader for Olney (Md.) Good Counsel linebacker Dorian O'Daniel is Michigan followed by Florida and Clemson but with the Gators taking so many linebackers early, it could open things up for North Carolina or Auburn. His teammate, five-star Kendall Fuller, obviously favors Virginia Tech with all his family connections there but Alabama and Clemson are two to watch here. The two will take a visit together to Clemson the weekend of March 3-4.

Perkis-Size Me

February 20th, 2012 at 7:22 PM ^

It sucks that I'm on my way out as a senior here, because there are clearly so many great things happening for our athletics right now, but I feel proud to know that I was here for the beginning of what is sure to be Michigan's next golden era.

We quite literally could not have a better group of coaches here: Hoke, Beilein, Hutchinson, Berenson.....



February 20th, 2012 at 8:50 PM ^


Where "P" is, of course, Michigan's momentum, and "M", in this case, is the programs themselves and "V" is the pace of awesome coaching and recruiting. Newton knew Michigan had momentum.

Good article by Chris Balas. Once again, if you bring in the best personnel for your program and people who fit the program's culture, your program will start producing top-notch results and attracting top-notch talent. It's a bit like business in that success can be contagious, and certainly, the successes of football, basketball and hockey are catching on quickly. Good times ahead, my friends.


February 20th, 2012 at 8:12 PM ^

"In terms of having such a successful football, basketball, and hockey team, concurrently, there may be no precedent, at Michigan or any other school, at any other time."

I direct your attention to the mid 70s... the late 80s...


February 20th, 2012 at 8:35 PM ^

In 1976-7.

In FB, UM was #1 in the nation  at the beginning of the year, Won the Big 10, Beat Ohio, went to Rose Bowl.

In BB, UM was #1 in the nation at the beginning of the year, #1 in the nation at the end of the year, Won the Big 10, lost in the elete 8.

In Hockey, UM lost in OT in the National Championship game. (At the Olympia in Detroit).

UM doing nicely, but nowhere near their best ever.  Hell, they'll do better next year. 


February 20th, 2012 at 8:47 PM ^

I would say that my class deserves to have the good times roll, even though at this point we're still spoiled compared to a typical university, or even a typical B10 school like Purdue or Iowa.

Seattle Maize

February 20th, 2012 at 9:47 PM ^

What makes our start to the 2013 class even more amazing is that we have somewhat taken care of our core needs and can focus on those multiple high 4* and 5* kids.  It seems like there is serious mutual interest (not saying we are the favorites but at least official visit type interest) from 5* kids like EJ Levenberry, Su'a Cravens, Laremy Tunsil, Kendall Fuller and Henry Poggi to go along with other top 100 type kids who could be favoring Michigan like Ty Issac, LaQuon Treadwell, Dorian O'Daniel and others.  Im not saying we will get all or even most of these guys but I cannot remember Michigan being legitamently in on so many top prospects.  I really think this could end up being one of the best Michigan classes we've seen in recent memory. 


February 20th, 2012 at 11:46 PM ^

The calendar year, not the school year:

Hockey: national champions

Basketball: 23-5, ranked #2, finished 3rd in NCAAs

Football: 9-1 (only loss by one point), #4 in nation, Rose Bowl champs, Ohio victory




February 21st, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

an isolated event; football emerged from 3- and 4-loss seasons (out of 9 games) for this high point between 1948 and the coming of Bo (1968 was a two-loss year, but featured the 50-14 waxing by Woody and his failed attempt for 2 at the end of the game), and then went back.

UM BB was in the NIT repeatedly in the early '70's, while Bo had us showing up undefeated and untied to the OSU game five years in a row. Bo only won one of those OSU games before losing in the Rose Bowl to Stanford. I still have nightmares about it.

Football-wise, almost the most satisfying stretch was destroying OSU's MNC hopes on an almost annual basis in the '90's, as Woody once did to us.


February 22nd, 2012 at 6:49 PM ^

I wouldn't suggest '64 as a great era, just a single great year. It was a total outlier for football and the end of the run for hockey for some time. But that was just Cazzie's sophomore year and there was a lot more good stuff to come for the basketball program.

And it's worth remembering that the tournament was quite a bit smaller in those days. More than one of those NIT teams in the early 70s would have made a 64- or 68-team field.