While the committee chairman’s words Tuesday night were promising, I still struggle seeing this happen for Michigan.  I think people agree the best scenario is Colorado winning on Friday night, opening the #4 slot in the playoff.

First, via CFN here is how the committee selection process works:

2. Each member will list the best six teams, in no particular order. The six teams receiving the most votes will comprise the pool for the first ranking step. This is known as the “listing step.”

3. In the first ranking step, each member will rank those six teams, one through six, with one being the best. The best team in each member’s ranking will receive one point; second-best, two points, etc. The members’ rankings will be added together and the three teams receiving the fewest points will become the top three seeds. The three teams that were not seeded will be held over for the next ranking step.

4. Each member will list the six best remaining teams, in no particular order. The three teams receiving the most votes will be added to the three teams held over to comprise the next ranking step.

We also know the committee values head-to-head and conference championships, but not necessarily more than the other.  And they only really look at these metrics when the teams are comparable.   But the other thing Hocutt noted was that they don’t look ahead.  To me, this implies is that they can’t (yet) place value on a potential conference championship, but they could once the conference championship is actually earned.

So back to the selection process.  If Colorado drops Washington and Clemson beats Va Tech, let’s assume a few things:

  • Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson will be the first 3 teams seeded.  (Any final comparisons of Penn State against Ohio State will be handled and likely snuffed at this time.)  That leaves a second group of six including the B1G champ, Michigan and Colorado.
  • Given that, Michigan, the B1G Champ, and Colorado will be the top 3 teams on every ballot in that 2nd group of six.  Yes, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State could crack that top 3 of the next group of six but it doesn’t seem likely barring a ridiculous blowout in that game.
  • In this second group of 6, it’s unlikely that a voter will put Colorado over the B1G champ.  I understand this is possible, but it’s unlikely given the weight the committee has clearly given to the B1G conference in general.
  • This is important –>  Given 2 of these teams will hold a conference championship this weekend, there will indeed be some voters who view Michigan, Colorado, and the B1G champ as comparable and some voters will now add tangible value to the teams with a conference championship on their resumes.  And of course the result of these games is only new piece of information the committee has this weekend.  Head to head has already been factored in.
  • For simplicity I’m valuing the B1G champion equally.  Clearly Michigan has the stronger head-to-head argument against Penn State (in many ways, you weird people), especially given the 39-point beatdown.
  • FWIW, note that Barry Alvarez is recused if Wisconsin is in this next group of 6, which is likely.  This leaves 11 voters.

A couple scenarios of how this could go:

Scenario #1Mild emphasis on conference championships.

  • Michigan
    • Six (6) first place votes (meaning most of the 11 voters put U-M ahead of Colorado and B1G champ for the final playoff spot)
    • Three (3) 2nd place votes (a few voters put the B1G champ ahead of Michigan)
    • Two (2) 3rd place votes (meaning 2 voters move B1G and Colorado ahead of Michigan, given their conference titles)
  • B1G Champ (Wisconsin or Penn State)
    • Five (5) first place votes
    • Six (6) 2nd place votes

Under this scenario, Michigan would get the 4th playoff spot by a hair.

Scenario #2Medium emphasis on conference championships.

  • Michigan
    • Seven (7) first place votes
    • Four (4) 3rd place votes (meaning 4 voters put B1G champ and Colorado ahead of Michigan)
  • B1G Champ
    • Four (4) first place votes
    • Seven (7) 2nd place votes

Under this scenario, despite Michigan easily earning the most votes from the committee for that 4th spot, the B1G champ would get the 4th playoff spot by a hair.  The Rose Bowl would likely select Michigan.

And you can see where it goes from there, depending on what the voters (or some of the voters) place on the conference championship.   The point is that a slight shift from Michigan to the conference champions can swing this.

Oh, and god forbid we get full on Fulmer’ed – with one of these guys putting Michigan 4th or 5th or worse – because then we are truly screwed.

 

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29. November 2016 · 4 comments · Categories: 2016

I don’t see Michigan in play for a playoff spot no matter what happens.   If Washington and/or Clemson lose, I see the committee going for the B1G champ over Michigan and they aren’t putting three B1G teams in the playoff.

The committee understands that if it takes Ohio State alone from the B1G, it will obviously ignore the conference champion.  The idealistic view is that the major conference champions more or less feed into the playoff.  They will debate taking solely Ohio State over Penn State should the Lions win Saturday – so much so that I could see Ohio State getting dropped out if Penn State wins.  The “only Ohio” scenario is less of a concern if Wisconsin wins for sure, but still a concern.

Given the opportunity of a slot opening up, they will thankfully take the B1G champ. I think they signal this tonight by putting Michigan at #6, but even if they have them at #5, they will justify the B1G champ jumping them in the final rankings based on the championship win.

So that leaves Michigan out.  But to me the consolation prize is pretty agreeable.  With the B1G champ in the playoff, the Rose Bowl has discretion and will take Michigan.  Under the scenario that Washington loses to Colorado to free up the B1G champ to be in the playoff, this would set-up a rematch with the Buffaloes.   Some might argue that they wouldn’t want a U-M vs. CU rematch.  What they really don’t want is Colorado–but they won’t have that choice (they must take the PAC 10 champ).  So given the best option to make the game special, they will go for Michigan and Harbaugh of course – rematch be damned.  It’s been a decade, you know you want to go back and Michigan just participated in a 10.4 rating for a noon game.

If things go according to script, with Clemson and Washington winning, I still see debate of Ohio State vs. Penn State/Wisconsin for the playoff spot but only one B1G team will end up in the final four.  In this case, yes, Michigan heads to Miami and the Orange Bowl as widely projected.

Cheers to the Rose Bowl:

tumbler

Great idea from my pals at SupportUofM, Hoover Street and Maize and Blue Nation.  Co-sign.  Via Craig @ Hoover Street Rag:

I’m moving forward because there’s only two choices: wallow in bitterness or accept the whims of cruel fate and hope the universe sees fit to balance them out in the long run.

But it is better to take action than just to say you’re moving forward.  Thankfully, our friends at the Big Ten office have decided that, in addition to a “public reprimand” for Coach Harbaugh for his postgame comments, they have fined Michigan $10,000 for violations of the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy.

Now, we’re not worried about Michigan’s ability to pay the fine.  In fact, I’m pretty sure Warde Manuel has a small piggy bank in Weidenbach Hall labeled “Harbaugh Says Something Fund” filled with the petty cash overflow from Michigan Stadium popcorn sales that will cover it no sweat.  But, it gave our blog friend Justin at MaizeandGoBlue an idea, one supported by Kerri from SupportUofM and Brad from Maize & Blue Nation as well as us here at the HSR, to launch a fundraiser benefiting The ChadTough Foundation.

This is a chance for all of us to turn a negative into a positive, to turn disappointment into hope, and to prove that the power of the Ann Arbor money cannon is a force for good.
The plan is as such:
Step 1: Raise $10k for The ChadTough Foundation by kickoff of this Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game
Step 2: Once we raise $10k, let’s challenge the Big Ten to match the donation
Step 3: Let’s make this a conversation piece during the Big Ten Championship Game
We’re all part of a big Michigan family, so let’s show that when a family faces disappointment it can come together and make big things happen.  Spread the word on your social media channels, get the snowball rolling.

Visit the fundraiser to donate now.

No amount is too large or too small.  (We personally like $27.00 for what the winning score would have been had the spot been adjudicated in Michigan’s favor or $17.00 if you’re old school and think the tie would have been perhaps more fitting an outcome for a battle of this magnitude.)

Then, once you donate, please share via social media to help generate awareness. Full details on the fundraiser page.

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From his Sirius interview with Chris Russo, interesting stuff from Gary Danielson on the Michigan-Ohio State game, the strategery of Harbaugh’s postgame rant, the spot, and a lot on the playoff scenarios.

If things fall like they should, he wouldn’t put Ohio State in the playoff (“they lost the wrong game”) and discussed the odd situation we’re in with the committee and the conference championships.

 

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[Ed. No official decals are being doled out this week from Dr. Sap, just a few words.]

Guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

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These days there’s no question about the identity of Michigan’s biggest rival—that’s that team from Ohio —but back in the late 1800s and well into the Fielding Yost era, public enemy number one was Chicago and Coach Stagg.

 

While today we play the Buckeyes after the Thanksgiving holiday each season, did you know that Michigan actually used to play ON Thanksgiving day?
Indeed and On this day exactly 120 years ago, Michigan and Chicago squared off on Thanksgiving Thursday in Chicago and they did this a few times starting in the 1890s. 

As always, this segment appears on 1050AM WTKA and 1330AM WTRX’s epic KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff prior to each game.  Go Blue!

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script after the jump:

More »

The 1951 Rose Bowl victory capped off a nice season for coach Bennie Oosterbaan’s crew.  The 1950 squad featured team MVP Don Dufek and All-American R. Allen Wahl and won the conference title with a 6-3-1 overall record, dropping games to Michigan State, #1 ranked Army [played at Yankee Stadium), and to Illinois.  Despite a tough start the team rallied to win their final three games and added the great victory in Pasadena.

You probably can’t say this for any Michigan Rose Bowl champion, but the win over Cal in Pasadena was not the definitive victory for this team. That distinction will always be reserved for the game over a month earlier on November 25, 1950 in Columbus—a game that will forever be known as The Snow Bowl.

The week leading up to the game was somewhat normal for a November in the Midwest. On Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), Columbus experienced 38 degree temperatures and rain. By 8am Friday morning the thermometer sunk to 5 degrees and it snowed off and on for most of the day. The forecast for Saturday was a chilly 15 degrees and possible snow, but Friday evening to early Saturday morning things took a wicked turn:


A shirtless, unruly hairy beast with bad teeth seen outside Ohio stadium?  shocker

During the night, a storm moving up the Carolina coast pumped Atlantic moisture like a fire hose westward to meet the southward blast of frigid air. The clash of these two air masses reached full fury over Ohio and western Pennsylvania, paralyzing the region with heavy snow, gale-force winds and near-zero temperatures. Pittsburgh lay under a 16-inch snowfall with another foot forecast, forcing cancellation of the Pitt-Penn State game. Southeastern Ohio measured 14 plus inches. Transportation across the state ground to a halt.

As game time drew near the field was buried and around 50,000 brave fans huddled beneath the Ohio Stadium stands and waited to take their seats. A meeting was held between the schools to decide whether to play the game that included Ohio coach Wes Felser, Ohio athletic director Dick Larkin, Michigan AD Fritz Crisler and Oosterbaan. There had yet to be a Big Ten conference game canceled for any reason and this game held greater significance. If the game wasn’t played, Ohio State would earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. But Larkin knew (and certainly Oosterbaan and especially Crisler reminded him) that Michigan could potentially earn a trip to the Rose Bowl with a win. Ultimately Larkin gave the green light and remarked, “We’ll just have to do the best we can.”

When the game started, the teams did the only thing they could. Run a play or two and then punt rather than risk a turnover.

Michigan entered the game third in the conference standings behind the Buckeyes and Illinois. During the game word made it to the Michigan sideline that Northwestern upset the Illini meaning a Wolverine victory would send Oosterbaan and company to Pasadena.

The decisive moment came with time running out in the first half as Fesler made a tactical move that probably cost him his job, as described by Sports Illustrated:

On third and 6 at the Ohio State 13, Buckeyes coach Wes Fesler instructed [Heisman Trophy winner Vic] Janowicz to punt with Ohio State holding a 3-2 lead. Only 47 seconds remained in the half and it is likely that Ohio State could have run out the clock. But Michigan’s Tony Momsen — whose older brother Bob played for the Buckeyes — blocked the kick and then fell on it in the end zone, closing the scoring in a 9-3 Michigan win.

Thanks to WolverineHistorian, a few clips from the game:

 

 

The statistics from the game are remarkable:

  • Ohio State had 41 yards of total offense, Michigan 27.
  • The Buckeyes actually attempted 18 passes, completing just three for 25 yards.
  • Michigan had no first downs; Ohio State three.
  • The teams punted a combined 45 times for a total of 1,408 yards.
  • The team fumbled 10 times but lost only one each.

There’s probably hundreds of other stories about the game from those who witnessed it. HBO’s The Rivalry spent a good portion of the documentary on the game providing some phenomenal footage. The BBC website pulled together an impressive recap and added this anecdote which will definitely get a chuckle out of any Michigan Marching Band fan:

..the Ohio State Marching Band, which considered itself the best in the country (and still does), was offended by an article in Life magazine which claimed Michigan had the best. Ohio State was determined to prove itself and arranged an elaborate performance for half time. However, the brass instruments were chilled and the mouthpieces frozen. It seemed it would be unable to play.

The band planned to silently perform its maneuvers, which included standing together in a shape resembling a Buckeye leaf, while previously recorded music played over the loudspeakers. However, the determined band members got hold of some antifreeze for their mouthpieces and did the performance.

I’ll bookend end this eBay Watch with another item from the period. It’s a 1951 Michiganensian yearbook, featuring a few photos from both games, here’s a few pics from the Snow Bowl as displayed in the yearbook:

[Originally posted November 16, 2008]

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Sources:
* From the Ohio State library 1950 OSU vs. Michigan, The Snow Bowl
* An excellent recap from The BBC Website
* Game footage from ohiohistory.com
* Weather Events: Blizzard Bowl
* SI.com on the 10 greatest games in the U-M/OSU Rivalry

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[Ed. Bumped for Ohio week.]

by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

On November 24,1973 the Ohio State Buckeyes performed one of the most heinous acts in any rivalry, in any sport – they went after the sacred GO BLUE M CLUB SUPPORTS YOU banner.
If you aren’t aware of this, or have been living under a rock, I have created a YouTube Video that documents this act, one which legendary broadcaster Bob Ufer decried that the Buckeyes “will meet a dastardly fate here for that!”

When the Buckeyes returned in 1975 word was that Woody wanted to do it again, but this time the Michigan Students were ready.  The Buckeyes decided that discretion was the better part of valor, so no dastardly shenanigans ensued.

Recently, I was doing some work for the Ufer Family and I stumbled across a video that was labeled “1973 OSU Banner.”   Curious to see what it was, I popped in the videotape only to see that it was NOT the 1973 OSU Banner Incident.  The short clip is what I call, ‘1977 OSU Banner Incident Part 2.’   As I watched the tape I noticed that a few Michigan Students wearing their M varsity jackets were indeed fending off Woody and his Buckeyes.  There were some serious haymakers being thrown as things got downright ugly. Ohio State players and coaches got involved, even the fat-man himself, old Dr. Strange Hayes, was part of the melee.  Check it out!

The more I looked at the video, the more fixated I became on one student who seemed to be exhibiting some very sound blocking fundamentals and technique. At the end of the video, I got the somewhat blurry money-shot of the courageous M Man. Much like the old Bigfoot Bluff Creek video footage from the 1970s, the image was grainy but I could make out some defining features and characteristics of the subject.

Light brown, mullet length hair. Possibly a goatee with a mustache. Tough looking dude for sure…

..could it be this guy?

Dave Gallagher

It couldn’t be?!   That’s former M man All-American Dave Gallagher who graduated in 1973 and who I believed was playing in the NFL in 1977.   Or was he?

When I double-checked his NFL stats, I noticed that there was a one-year hiatus in his career…in 1977!

I recently tracked down Dr. Gallagher and asked him if he indeed was the Buckeye Banner basher dude.

His response?  “Yes I was,” he told me as I could hear him proudly smile over the phone.

My suspicions confirmed, I needed to find out more.   Not only was it Gallagher, former Michigan teammates Doug Troszak and Tom Drake also donned their M Jackets to thwart Woody and company one more time.

“I bought tickets and I told them (Troszak & Drake) that we were going to defend the banner,” the 1973 co-captain told me.
“We stood in front of the banner as a warning to Woody and them,” he recalled.

But the Ohio State players and coaches paid no heed to #71’s warning as they headed right for the M Club banner that fateful day in 1977.

Push came to shove and next thing you know, even Woody started throwing some punches himself!

Don’t believe it? See for yourself:

Woody Hayes banner incident 1977Photo Credit: Alan Bilinsky (Michigan Daily) via U-M Bentley Historical Library

Here’s the caption from the Daily:

FullSizeRender

Yup – that’s Woody Hayes already grabbing Gallagher with his right hand and clenching his left fist about to show the former Michigan Captain how much the old man still had in his left hook.

Now remember, all this happened before the Wolverines took the field! After cooler heads finally prevailed, Gallagher emerged with a bloody nose and ready to grab his #71 jersey one last time!

The first Michigan coach to see what was going on was Freshman Coach Dennis Brown. He relayed what had just transpired to the maize and blue waiting in the locker room and you can only imagine how fired up they were to take the field in 1977!

Michigan took down Woody and his Scarlet and Gray Test-tubes that day, 14-6, to win the Big Ten Title in 1977, but Dave Gallagher got one more souvenir from his last skirmish with the Scarlet & Gray.

“At the end of the year, the Michigan Football team held a players-only banquet and I was the only non-player invited to the event. The 1977 team gave me a plaque commemorating my involvement in defending the banner that year.”

Related:
Where Ufer Laid Woody Hayes Away
Woody says, “Don’t give this to Bo!”
Woody’s message for you Poindexters

 

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20. November 2016 · 3 comments · Categories: 2016

[Ed.  I’m happy to introduce guest writer Andrew Kahn, who covered Saturday’s game for MVictors.  You can check out more on his website.]

Guest post by Andrew Kahn

Michigan fans are partying like its 1970-something. That’s the last time the Wolverines had a football season like this. Saturday’s 20-10 win over Indiana completed a perfect home slate. They’ve done that plenty—there have been 37 seasons in which Michigan has played at least four home games and won them all, most recently in 2011. But to win by an average margin of 32 points at the Big House, as Michigan did this year, is what makes 2016 so impressive.

The chart below shows some of the seasons in which Michigan has played at least four home games and won them all (without ties). They are ranked by the average margin of victory in the home games and the chart also shows the closest home game, the team’s overall record at the end of the season, and whether it won the national championship.

michigan-home-win-margin-chart

For the curious: margins in 2006 (16.0), 1997 (16.3) and 1948 (27.8) don’t crack the top 17.

Fielding Yost’s “point-a-minute” teams at the beginning of the 20th century fill up the top of the list. Other than the two pre-1900 teams, the only squads above the 2016 Wolverines on this list were coached by Yost, Fritz Crisler, or Bo Schembechler.

Saturday’s 10-point win, in which the Wolverines trailed at half for the first time all season, was the exception at Michigan Stadium this year. (And Michigan did take a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, after which there was no scoring.) Michigan had a scare against Wisconsin, winning by seven. The other home games were blowouts, hence the 32.4 average margin. Not since Bo’s teams in the 70s have Michigan fans witnessed such dominance in person, and the especially high number of home games made it even more fun.

“Winning this game feels like one of the best wins I’ve ever been involved with,” Jim Harbaugh said after the game, comparing it a playoff game. Asked to reflect on the seniors winning their final game at Michigan Stadium, Harbaugh said, “I know how it feels to play at Michigan and not win your last game at home. [Michigan lost to Minnesota in its final home game in 1986]. It’s not a good feeling at all. Our guys played eight home games and won them all. The constant for a Michigan football player through the ages is playing at Michigan Stadium. It always has been and always will be. The one constant to time, the facilities, changes in society and everything else is playing in that stadium. To have that feeling of winning your last game is a great feeling.”

Senior kicker/punter Kenny Allen said the undefeated home slate is another thing to check off the list of accomplishments. “We expect to win every game here,” he said. Added senior safety Dymonte Thomas: “It’s nice to go undefeated at home. It lets people know when they come to the Big House they better pack a lunch because it’s going to be a long day.”

 

O’Korn’s run
Senior running back De’Veon Smith was unquestionably the offensive star of the game, rushing for a career-high 158 yards and Michigan’s only two touchdowns on runs of 34 and 39 yards. But Smith said it was quarterback John O’Korn’s run, one play before Smith’s first score, that ignited the offense.

“When John took off for that run, that’s what really sparked us,” Smith said. “That really got the offensive line going.”

After the previous drive, quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch got on the phone with O’Korn and told him, “You need to make a play to change this game around.” O’Korn obliged. Facing a third and eight from the Michigan 34 with under five minutes left in the third quarter, O’Korn took off. Here’s how Harbaugh described it:

“Two defenders were pressuring John. He stepped out of it with good ball security. He got the first down and was being threatened at the sticks and didn’t dive or slide; he kicked through an arm tackle. A big play, a signature play for a quarterback in a big game.”

 

Let it snow
Harbaugh and the players who spoke to the media mentioned “the elements” several times, justifiably. Watching the weather from the press box, the Big House at times resembled a snow globe. Late in the fourth quarter, I couldn’t help but think of Ron Burgundy’s line in Anchorman: “Boy, that escalated quickly.”

Here’s the field at 6:33 p.m.:

snow-on-field-1

And again at 6:39 (notice the cheerleaders’ snow angels in the bottom right corner):

snow-on-field-2

Just three minutes after that, at 6:42:

snow-on-field-4

At 6:45, with cheerleaders sliding in the north end zone and making snow angels (again) in the south end zone:

snow-on-field-5

And finally, at 6:49, with the players belly-flopping in celebration of a big win:

snow-on-field-6

 

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