Hypo: What if Gary Moeller stayed?

Submitted by 1408 on May 22nd, 2018 at 6:58 PM

Moeller was before my era by a little bit but I am curious what might have happened to Michigan had he never gone to Excalibur that night in Southfield.  The guy had a .758 winning percentage and was back to back Big Ten coach of the year.  

He might have coached for 15 seasons at that rate (especially given that he had immediate success following Bo).  

Do we still win it all in '97 if he is the HC?  Do we win more?  Interesting to think about.


East German Judge

May 22nd, 2018 at 7:09 PM ^

While Lloyd did bring us a NC, I feel that given all the talent that we had, especially on the offensive side of the ball, we may have done better with a coach who was not that conservative. 

I just remember his tenure as being one where when the games got close, LLoyd would then unleash the offense and we would cut through the other team like a hot knife thru butter, but until needed, we played conservatively and games were too close.


May 24th, 2018 at 7:52 AM ^

The weed probably bothered him more.

also, shoulder injury or not, Carr was far too conservative his whole career. I remember reading (on this site, I believe) that Carr had a worse record when leading at the half by less than 10 points than when trailing at the half by less than 10. That says everything to me.


May 23rd, 2018 at 12:46 AM ^

Lloyd won a National Championship and his leadership and character are stellar. Nothing was more beautiful than to watch his offense down two scores. Unstoppable! If they only played like that from the 1st snap.

He assembled the most talent over time at Michigan. I believe Harbaugh will change that narrative in a way we appreciate.


May 22nd, 2018 at 8:34 PM ^

October 13th, 1990

#1 ranked Michigan has just scored a TD with less than 20 seconds to go in the game to cut the lead to one.  Mo goes for two and the win and Desmond is tripped in the endzone clearly before the ball arrives but the official eats the flag and MSU wins the game 28-27.

Lloyd probably kicks the extra point.  Michigan stays in top 5 and doesnt suffer the hangover of this stinging defeat following week and beats Iowa.  

Michigan wins it's 3rd of what will turn out to be 5 straight B1G championships and is playing for the National Championship in the Rose Bowl against Washington, not Iowa.

The gambler givith and the gambler taketh away.


May 22nd, 2018 at 10:00 PM ^

sorry, NOT on the Llloyd is God bandwagon. Dude was WAY too conservative and crippled the program during the Rodriguez tenure because he didn't get his way with English...sold his damn soul. Moeller was a great coach, and he was the future of Michigan at that point. He took the tough program Bo built and added a modern dimension to it. My guess, he wins the 97 title with the team HE BUILT not Llloyd.. AND chances are we blow out a few of those games, and Scotty Frost is a joke not a controversy. 

Moeller was ten times the coach Lllloyd pretended to be.


May 22nd, 2018 at 11:05 PM ^

My point in posting this was to show that aggresively gambling on the outcome as Moeller was want to do doiesnt always work out.  That in 91 it did and we all remember the throw to Desmond and what it meant to the game.

But only one year earlier that same gamble did not pay off.  You dont need to tell me about how terrible the call was - I was there and my seats at the time put me VERY close to the play itself. I know we got screwed and I could post an entire thread on how much we got jobbed that day.

The thread asked "what if Moe had stayed".  I was simply pointing out if he had not been the coach in 90 and more conservative coach like Carr had been things might've turned out much better for Michigan that year.

Not blaming him one bit.  Simply pointing out that when you gamble you sometimes lose.


May 22nd, 2018 at 11:39 PM ^

That 1990 season was full of gambles.  People forget that Moeller went for two up 20-10 against Iowa and failed.  Of course we lost by a point.

At OSU, John Cooper gambled on 4th and 1 in the closing minutes instead of playing for the tie, which of course failed and we kicked a game winning FG as time expired.



May 23rd, 2018 at 9:32 AM ^

I am serious when I post (twice) that not all gambles work out in your favor.

I find it mildly amusing that I've now posted THREE times a simple truth that gambling doesnt allways work out  the way you hoped (my entire point) and it continues to be misread as "I think Moeller made the wrong decision and should've gone for the tie."

I'll try one more time.   

In 1991 Moeller went for the juglar against ND and it paid off.  We won!

In 1990 Moeller went for the juglar against MSU and it didnt.  We lost.

For the record I AGREED with going for two.  I think we got totally fucked over too (I was there) and dont second-guess his decision.  But in hindsight the more conservative "Lloyd-like" decision would've benefited the team more even though at the time we all loved his aggressiveness.


May 23rd, 2018 at 9:36 AM ^

Lloyd probably kicks the extra point. Michigan stays in top 5 and doesnt suffer the hangover of this stinging defeat following week and beats Iowa.

Counterpoint. Ties were something of a morale killer back in the day as well. Had Michigan gone for the tie, the team would've come under a ton of criticism and second-guessing in the media. I don't know if the hangover doesn't extend into the Iowa game regardless. Hell, we could have a hypothetical thread about this as well.

I do agree with your original premise though as to gambling sometimes pays off and sometimes it doesn't. That said, I was a Sophomore at Michigan in 1990 and I can confirm that NOBODY in that stadium wanted Moeller to go for the tie. Ironically, looking back, that MSU game was probably one of the most exciting of my college time at U of M. Losing sucked, but it was a roller coaster of emotion from start to finish for most of that game.


May 22nd, 2018 at 10:02 PM ^

It wasn’t an audible, but the call had multiple options based on the defense: two runs and two passes. Moeller thought a short hitch was likely but it was built into the play that if the corner sat on the hitch, they would go to a fade.

For anyone who hasn’t heard Moeller break down the play, check it out, it’s awesome: http://mvictors.com/moeller-and-holtz-breaking-down-the-catch/


May 23rd, 2018 at 7:41 AM ^

I also remember a time UofM was down 17 against MSU, settled for a FG and we commenced an amazing comeback. And over the years I've watched many other coaches aggressively chase the TD and effectively end games. Sometimes a 4th qtr FG works out well. I will never understand why so many Michigan fans are so willing to dump on Coach Carr.


May 22nd, 2018 at 7:13 PM ^

Moeller was solid those two years.  I could never figure out why the team did so well in 1997 except:   (1) Charles Woodson met his potential, and (2) Brian Griese suprassed what we thought was his potential.  I mean, who thought Griese was going to be All-Big Ten that year?  And to loop back to Woodson, he was a once in a generation player. 

The years before we were 9-3, 10-2, 9-0-3, 8-4, 8-4, 9-4, 8-4.  The four losses every year were painful except that we always upset Ohio State even when they were undefeated.

It also seems like the front lines on both sides were very solid, and Marcus Ray stepped it up a notch also.

Conclusion:  Yes, we still win if Moeller is coach.  The team was built in the model of a Michigan team back then, and many players stepped it up.  Players win games.  We also had a little luck, which one needs.  In 2016, that luck means the referree makes the right call and we go to the playoffs.  Who knows what happens then?


May 23rd, 2018 at 2:54 AM ^

was nearly as  dominant as woodson on D.  they didn't need to blitz because he constantly put pressure on the QB.  he doesn't get enough credit.

steele pressuring QBs and woodson covering half the d backfield = incredible D.


May 22nd, 2018 at 7:26 PM ^

there were FOUR B1G teams that debuted new Head Coaches in 1997.  A lot of jobs available in B1G Country.  Those schools were Illinois (hired Ron Turner), Indiana (Cam Cameron), Minnesota (Glen Mason) and Purdue (Joe Tiller).

Mason was definitely a great hire for Minnesota.  And Tiller had previous ties to Purdue, that was a good hire by them at a time when Purdue was really in the long-term dumps (and needed to do something unique like a "run-and-gun offense").

So neither Minnesota or Purdue probably look to Carr (Purdue isn't very desirable at that time anyway).

In 1997, there was still a lot of long-term animosity between Michigan and Illinois.  Gary Moeller-related, of course.  

So Carr to Illinois --- no chance.  No chance at all.

However, I COULD have seen Carr taking a job at Indiana in 1997.  Bill Mallory was a Bo guy of sorts, of course.  Why not consider bringing in another "Bo guy" as Mallory's successor?

Indiana also had a decent program in that era.  They weren't going to Rose Bowls, but Mallory had them consistently going 7-4 and to 2nd-tier Bowls for most of the 1990s.  IU wasn't a horrible option in 1997.

Carr was 52 years old in 1997.  In this alternate world where Moeller is still at Michigan, it was becoming "now or never" time for him to be a Head Coach.  There may have been mutual interest between Carr and IU.