April 3rd, 2011 at 5:13 PM ^

If Michigan hadn't gone 10-2-1 against Cooper, Tressel's success against Michigan would sting a lot more than it already does.  


April 3rd, 2011 at 6:05 PM ^

A lot of people were upset.  It was partly the recency effect - Carr had had a solid overall run as DC, but his 1994 defense was his worst, so a lot of people were upset with him to begin with, and naturally did not want him to become the HC.  Many of them remained very critical of the Carr hire through the next two seasons.  He went into the 1997 season with a fair amount of heat from the fanbase, if not from the AD himself.



April 3rd, 2011 at 8:31 PM ^

I think most people felt rather meh about Carr becoming Interim head coach.  But the players loved him from the start.  Half the team threatened to quit if Carr didn't have the interim label removed.

But yes, he was somewhat on the hot seat after 9-4 and 8-4 seasons.  Many believe the wins over Ohio State were what saved his job.  He was feeling the pressure though, after the 96 season and gained weight because of the stress.  He ran the steps at the big house to get the weight off. 

Then 1997 happened and the rest is history.


April 4th, 2011 at 9:20 AM ^

Plus it was said teams were quiting at half time.


1901:  11-0-0


Fielding H. "Hurry Up" Yost





National Champions


Big Ten Conference Co-Champions













Albion (MI)


Ann Arbor, MI





Case Institute of Technology (OH)


Ann Arbor, MI







Ann Arbor, MI





Northwestern (IL)


Ann Arbor, MI





Buffalo (NY)


Ann Arbor, MI





Carlisle Indian School (PA)


Detroit, MI





Ohio St.


Columbus, OH





Chicago (IL)


Ann Arbor, MI





Beloit (WI)


Ann Arbor, MI







Chicago, IL





Stanford (CA)


Pasadena, CA

Tournament of Roses Game



Season Totals


Louie C

April 3rd, 2011 at 11:52 PM ^

I was a teenager then and remember that vividly. I really loved Mo, and thought he was going to do great things at Michigan. I remember saying to myself over and over again "Lloyd Carr?!" I thought we were doomed. I'm glad to say I was wrong.


April 3rd, 2011 at 5:53 PM ^

Alvarez put the Badgers on the map. Before he came to  Madison, I really don't think ANYONE thought much of Wisconsin football save for various short stints of relevancy through the years.....


April 3rd, 2011 at 6:12 PM ^

I was going to say Alvarez, but on second thought I'd go with Fry.  When he arrived, scholarship limits were considerably higher than they are now (around 100 or 105 per team), so the elite schools could monopolize talent more easily.  He managed to build a winning program anyway, despite having next to no recruiting base.  

What Alvarez and Barnett accomplished was also remarkable, but I think they also benefitted from the reduction in scholarships to 85, which spread the talent around more.  Also, the addition of PSU made league schedules more unbalanced, and both UW and NU benefitted in their championship seasons from avoiding good teams.



April 3rd, 2011 at 6:12 PM ^

It has to be Lloyd Carr or Jim Tressel.  No other coaches that were hired in the Big Ten since 1980 have won a National Championship.  Many have won Big Ten titles or gone to the Rose Bowl, but only those two have that accomplishment to their name.


April 3rd, 2011 at 6:20 PM ^

Hayden Fry had a lot of help from Dave McClain and Wisconsin. In 1981, Iowa and Ohio State tied for first place with a 6-2 record. They were the only teams in the conference who didn't play each other, and three teams finished tied for third at 6-3 (Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin).

Wisconsin, on the other hand, played and beat both Michigan and Ohio State. If Wisconsin hadn't beaten both of them, one of those teams would have gone to the Rose Bowl instead of Iowa. This is not to take away from Iowa--they had Wisconsin's number until well in the Alvarez era, I believe.

I voted for Alvarez. I think overall he did a better job building the program than Fry did, and Wisconsin was in much better shape when Alvarez stepped down than Iowa was when Fry retired. Alvarez also has done better in bowl games than Fry did.


April 4th, 2011 at 1:42 AM ^

But Alvarez, too, benefitted from the memory of the McClain years.  Wisconsin had been halfway decent not all that long before he arrived.  Iowa, OTOH, had had like 20 losing seasons in a row before Fry got there. 

The Fry hire was significant for more than just one season.  Iowa went from being awful for years to being  a Big Ten power for most of the '80s.  When we played them in 1985 they were ranked #1 in the country.  Also, Fry's teams really opened it up offensively.  The Chuck Long teams won by throwing the ball, which was practically sacrilegious for a Big Ten team to do back then.


coastal blue

April 3rd, 2011 at 6:41 PM ^

It's absolutely crazy how he swung power between the two most storied programs in the conference in his tenure (even if he ran the dirtiest program in the country while doing it). 

The fact that the BTN shows an even number of victory replays for Michigan and OSU before The Game each year, with Michigan's last contribution being 2003, shows why this is probably one of the greatest hires in the history of college football (even if half of Tressel's tenure should be erased).


April 4th, 2011 at 2:00 AM ^

Ignoring the recent sturm and drang around Tressel, the man has won 6 straight conference titles when the conference has been at its most competitive. There are less scholarships, and much better football at other Big Ten schools--which teams in the league aren't more competitive now than they were in the 70's (minus Michigan)? OSU is 43-5 in his last 48 Big Ten games. When Hayes won his 6 straight titles in the 70's, he went 43-4-1.

Zone Left

April 3rd, 2011 at 7:57 PM ^

I'd vote for Alvarez, but if OSU gets sandblasted by the NCAA I think Tressel ends up being the most significant hire since Bo Schembechler.

On the other hand, if Michigan can't get back on top, then I'd vote for Rodriguez.

Zone Left

April 3rd, 2011 at 8:51 PM ^

Yeah, but is it reasonable to assume that another coach could have won a title at OSU or even at Michigan? Relatively speaking, I think Alvarez's accomplishments at Wisconsin are more significant to the program given where it would be otherwise.


April 3rd, 2011 at 8:07 PM ^

Tiller isn't the most significant hire, but he should at least be on the "others receiving votes" section. His offense shook up the conference.

Section 1

April 3rd, 2011 at 8:52 PM ^

Bump Elliott

Age: 84. Hawkeye athletic director (1970-91), a “coaches AD,” hired coaches he trusted, then gave them latitude and support. His hires included Hayden Fry, Lute Olsen, Dan Gable and Tom Davis. During his tenure, Iowa won 41 Big Ten championships, 11 NCAA titles, made three Rose Bowl appearances, and one Final Four; it built Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the football practice facility. On choosing Iowa, Hayden Fry said it “had one thing going for it: Bump Elliott was the AD.” Former Iowa City council member Bob Elliott (not related) said “Bump’s most amazing characteristic was being virtually immune from controversy.”



April 3rd, 2011 at 9:03 PM ^

God, I hated Barry Alvarez.  Not as much as I hate Bielema but he's awful close.  My reasons in case anyone is interested...

1.  He acted like a total prick before the 97 Mich/Wisconsin game because he stated to the media that since Bob Griese would be broadcasting the game on ABC with Keith Jackson, he was going to spy on the UW practices and give the "secret information" back to Lloyd Carr. 

2.  So he made Wisconsin the only Big Ten school to win back to back Rose Bowls.  Look who they beat.  A UCLA team that had a defense that gave up 40 points a game and an 8-4 Stanford team that had only 1 win against a team with a winning record (7-5 Oregon State).  Hey Wisconsin, try playing the opponents Michigan always played in Pasadena like USC with Reggie Bush, Texas with Vince Young and Washington with Mark Brunell (Final rankings: 1, 2 and 1) and we'll see how you do.

3.  If you take away Alvarez's first 2 dreadful seasons and start with his first Rose Bowl team to his final team in 2005, his winning percentage is still well below Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. 

4.  Cupcakes, cupcakes and more cupcakes.  The most laughable non-conference schedules that included several games against San Diego State as well as matchups with UNLV, Ohio, Murrary State, Cincinnati, Western Kentucky, Wofford, Cal Poly, The Citadel, Northern Illinois, Western Illinois, Ball State, San Jose State, Eastern Michigan, Southern Methodist, etc.

5.  Easy roads to conference titles.  Always missed a big opponent in conference play, like Ohio State and Penn State and then would always lose to Michigan. 

6.  Alvarez's record against top ten teams?  4 wins, 25 losses and 1 tie.

Wisconsin was a joke before Alvarez arrived and he turned them in to Rodney Dangerfield.  Had they made more of an effort to play and compete with the big boys, I might respect them a little more.

Alas, my hatred of Wisconsin is making it hard for me to look at this question objectively.  Alvarez will probably win this thing.

Section 1

April 4th, 2011 at 1:25 AM ^

I think it is Alvarez.  He's the only guy on the list to go to AD.  Not only did Alvarez take over a moribund football program and build it himself, he's now built basketball and hockey programs, and he's intalled his own personal heir as football HC.

I think Tressel was a major hire, but he'll never be OSU's AD, and he could never be the kind of game-changer Alvarez was.

And the preceding comments have the Carr story pretty well summarized.

I think the most important Big Ten hire of this general period wasn't a coach at all.  It was the hire of Andy Geiger at OSU.  In our lifetimes, the four greatest AD's in the conference were Don Canham, Bump Elliott, Andy Geiger and Barry Alvarez, in that order.

Eye of the Tiger

April 3rd, 2011 at 11:09 PM ^

Not just because of what he accomplished, but what his coaching tree has accomplished.  This is a guy whose legacy continues to shape not only the Big 10, but all of FBS football.  

Lloyd's Boy

April 3rd, 2011 at 11:54 PM ^

I would say that Lloyd is likely the most underrated coach of the group. People take forgranted the success he had because of where he coached. He coached with higher expectations than any of the other coaches on the list, which makes judging him against them very difficult. Fry and Alvarez were able to succeed when winning was out of the ordinary, which magnifies their results. I would have to give a slight edge to Fry, but Lloyd's career should not be dismissed lightly! You're my boy Lloyd!