14. September 2014 · 2 comments · Categories: 2014


Overwhelming a hapless MAC school in the second half of a game is sorta fun, but few left Michigan Stadium Saturday with a new opinion on the direction of this team.  Many of the empty seats will be occupied next Saturday when Utah visits you can bet.   To the Sights and Sounds:

Big Jon – Always great to see Jon Falk in the house – even if it is upstairs on not on the sideline:Falk

Pomp:  Several items out there Saturday:

  • SSB? – The band celebrated the 200th year of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.  Nerd nit:  And 200 years later the scoreboard doesn’t show the proper punctuation when they display the lyrics to the song.  At half the band either spelled out LIBERTY or LETHARGY, it wasn’t clear from on high.  Nevertheless, here’s Big house the beautiful pregame:


  • Not from THERE.  Miami band displayed a “NOT COLUMBUS” banner on the opening number before playing THE VICTORS.  Pandering?  Guilty.  Do I Love it?  Guilty.
  • Capacity – Two minutes before kickoff, sparse in the student section and the unsold whatever-we-call-it section just north of the students:Sparse
  • Booing – There were some loud BOOs in the 2nd quarter and the crowd was obviously frustrated.  I’m not a big BOO-bird when given the opportunity, and no, I’d never boo college players.  That said, to those holier-than-thou fans are chiming in criticizing the boo-birds, I’ll say this: the BOOing wasn’t directed at the players—it was directed at the coaching staff. 

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Dr. Sap's Decals Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is back this season with his weekly postgame helmet stickers.  Sap would do a backflip if coach Hoke decided to reinstate this tradition that Bo brought to the team in 1969 (from Miami, OH, mind you). 

Until that day comes, Sap will bring you his game Champions who will be decorated, albeit virtually, with his helmet stickers.   I’ll typically toss in the Fan Award and the Editor’s Choice:



OFFENSIVE LINE – Kind of stepping out on a limb here but, Derrick Green does not run for 137 yards and 2 TDs without some holes being created by the O-Line.  Derrick Green does not look like High School Derrick Green without the Big Uglies getting it done up front.

I realize the opponent was a MAC school that hadn’t won a game in almost 2 years, but I saw signs of progress by the Hosses in the trenches.  I had a feeling this line would show some addition by subtraction, and now that the 2 senior tackles have left, this unit is starting to gel.  Again, I’m not talking B1G Championship here – just saying that when you gain over 450 yards of offense, the guys up front are something right. Doing it in September is one thing.  Getting it done in November is another.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION JAKE RYAN – The Manster seemed to be all over the field on Saturday. He was back to his old self – flying around, making stops and in on tackles all over the place. He is that unit’s leader and identity and needs to continue to be the sparkplug on D.
SPECIAL TEAMS DENNIS NORFLEET – His kickoff returns gave Michigan great field position in the first quarter. Those setup the offense for a couple of short fields and early scores and conversely gave Miami poor field position when Michigan’s offense was forced to punt. Sure he was in on the muffed short kick by the Redhawks, but that was offset, in my opinion, by making a tackle on one of the Wolverine kickoffs later in the game.

M NOSEBUMPER – It’s starting to grow on me now, after having seen it for a few games. I like the look of the “M” and to be quite honest with you, the “MICHIGAN” was kind of small and tough to make out.


Have you noticed that the NFL is doing the same thing by putting the team logos on the helmet nosebumpers?  It’s all about the Brand, right? 

Well, if you don’t like the “M” what about putting a snarling wolverine head inside of a yellow football up front?? ;)


BOB UFER COTTON PICKIN’ FAN AWARD PAPA BUTT & HEADBUTT – References to our beloved tight end named Butt never get old.  Well done Butt family:
Papa Butt


EDITOR’S CHOICE YOUNG BUTT – Everything I hear about this guy behind this scenes points to one thing – this dude is pure gold.  Made a really nice athletic play on this touchdown catch over the shoulder.  Won’t be long before JBooty_88 becomes JBooty87..


mgoblue photo


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1980 Michigan Nortwestern

I’m not going to lie, I think a little bit of Paul from Toledo rubbed off on me for this week’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History:

You can catch all of the This Week in Michigan Football History clips here…And don’t forget to catch it live Saturday on the KeyBank Countdown to kick-off on WTKA 1050AM or inside the Bud Light Victors Lounge starting at 11:30am.


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Up on mgoblue.com right now, a nice piece on the Michigan coaching ties to Miami, OH and its famed Cradle of Coaches.  It include a few great quotes from longtime assistant coach Jerry Hanlon, Tirrel Burton, Jon Falk and others.  Hanlon:

“I’m a double ‘M Man,’ ” Hanlon said. “You can’t get Miami out of my blood because it gave me my start. It’s going to be tough this Saturday, but I think I’ve worn the maize and blue a little too long.” 

More importantly, I got a kick out of this.  The lead pic features Bo’s staff in 1975 during team photo day…but look who’s chilling in the background!

Les Miles Here’s Les, a senior offensive guard in ‘75, in the front row of the team photo if you need him:

Les Miles 1975 


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Keep Ira and Sam in your thoughts.  They’ve graciously kept the WTKA phone lines open since Monday morning.  I’m pretty sure if they continue this for the entire week they qualify for sainthood.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s shutout, Ira even took the onslaught from callers on the postgame show.  Just after midnight Paul from Toledo dialed in:

Forget Engineering! (Sorry Cook.)

Update: This has pretty much gone viral.  Thanks to Lost Letterman for taking a run at the transcription:

“Yeah, this is Paul. [Inaudible] I’m headed back home. I just gotta tell you right now: That is absolutely a joke. I heard one of your sponsors: Come Get Some Burritos. Brady Hoke can grab some burritos and get the heck out of town. You got to be kidding me.

I mean here’s the deal: Devin Gardner’s got a defensive lineman number (#98), get him on the defensive line! Let’s get a quarterback in there that knows how to throw and throw to our team!

Let’s get John Beilein coaching both teams, Crisler Arena and the Big House are right next to each other. Let’s get John Beilein, Jon Horford – let’s get all those guys – Mitch McGary; I don’t care how many trees he smokes, he can score touchdowns, then get him on the field!

The Maize and Blue need to [inaudible] in a big way. You know what I’m talking about, Ira! This is a joke! I’m in Toledo, Ohio, enemy territory, we need some Ws!

What is Michigan about? Engineering? Forget engineering! Let’s win football!!!!”

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[Ed. I don’t know if this helps or hurts your Saturday hangover, but reader Daniel shared this via email today and I had to post itGreat Stuff]

** Guest post by Daniel Florip **

As depressed as we are about the 31-0 butt kicking Saturday night, let’s also continue to be depressed about the end of this very hotly contested and entertaining rivalry. I decided to look at the numbers, and it’s amazing how even the modern rivalry was. Take a look at the 31 modern games in the series, from 1978 to 2014:

The wins and losses were right down the middle: M 15, ND 15, 1 tie

The points scored were pretty even too, over 31 games: M 716, ND 660.

The per-game average score of M 23, ND 21 suggests a whole lot of very close contests and a very even series.

Each school defended its home turf at pretty much the same clip:
* M Record in Ann Arbor: 10-5
* ND Record in South Bend: 10-5-1

And this was not a streaky series by any means:
* Longest ND Winning Streak: 4 (1987-1990)
* Longest M Winning Streak: 3 (2009-2011)
* (No other streaks longer than 2 games.)

The records were pretty close no matter the margin of victory.  More »


Synopsis: They might be chicken but we’re the jive turkeys.  

No, the season is not lost but what happened last night was worse as anything that has happened in recent years – seriously – including last year’s beat down in East Lansing.   Oh yes, it got ugly (ironically, mostly Chicken Little sky is falling) on WTKA on Sunday morning.  A reminder to callers, please recite your fandom credentials BEFORE your rant, please.  Oh and the Twitterverse was less than kind to the current #1000SSS regime.  

Hope is not a strategy but..that’s my strategy.  And bourbon.

Peacock Trolls:  Nice to know NBC Sports is trolling this site…did you see that photo and brief mention of Yost’s dog?    I wonder where they got that?

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ND stadium Via Maize & Blue Nation

Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is back this season with his weekly postgame helmet stickers.  Sap would do a backflip if coach Hoke decided to reinstate this tradition that Bo brought to the Dr. Sap's Decals team in 1969.

Until that day comes, Sap will bring you his game Champions who will be decorated, albeit virtually, with his helmet stickers.   I’ll typically toss in the Fan Award and the Editor’s Choice (except this week b/c we sucked).

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION NO DECAL  – I get it, Funchess had over 100 yards receiving, but no points = No Decals for anybody on the offense.
DEFENSIVE CHAMPION NO DECAL  – The D played hard and was not the reason U-M lost this game, but I didn’t see any consistent play from anyone that deserved any decals.
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION NO DECAL – Two missed field goals early set an ominous tone for this game. You just can’t have misses like that in big road games like this.
UNIFORM CHAMPION WHITE SOCKS – I saw several players wearing all white socks up to their knees – wonder if they read my post last game?
white socks hiked
That look, with the road white jerseys and white socks, is classic and timeless. Decals to all those knee-high-white-socked-M-Men!!
BOB UFER FAN AWARD THOSE WHO STAYED – To those M fans in South Bend who stayed…until the last snap (and I mean the very last snap after the pick six, cheaters).  Salute.  Next time we see each other I’m buying the bagels.


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[Ed. Originally posted November 2012.  IMHO, one more solid read/listen prior to kickoff.  Invest some time to listen to these clips - I think you enjoy it:]

I mentioned earlier this week that Ira and I recently sat with Coach Moeller, who will be honored Saturday at Michigan Stadium, in studio at WTKA.  This was my favorite part and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  We methodically mo catchstepped through the headset audio from The Catch (recall that the athletic department released it last year in the UTL ND game program).

As a bonus – I’ve included a second clip of the man on the other side of the field.  Writer John Kryk interviewed Lou Holtz for his book Natural Enemies, the definitive tome on the U-M-ND rivalry, and he was kind enough to share this clip from his archives.  It’s Holtz discussing the defensive play call and their strategy.   It’s a little scratchy but I sent it over to Ira who cleaned it up a bit.

The Moeller clip is over 17 minutes long so give it a chance to load up and we cover just about everything that is said on the recording and more.  Holtz is just over a minute (that’s Kryk asking the questions).

A crude diagram:
The Catch options
What you can’t see is the Irish safety, who is back and over on the left side of the defense (toward Desmond) but immediately goes to double cover Howard when the ball is snapped. More »