Checking out some of the latest eBay auctions I stumbled upon this beauty. Given the mood of most Michigan fans right now, it may be refreshing to take a look back at better days. Check out this graphic taken from the October 23, 1926 issue of the San Diego Sun which several members of the 1926 Wolverines. The caption reads:

MICHIGAN’S MIGHTY WOLVERINE PACK. Three games, three hours-one hundred and seventeen points! Is it a wonder that Michigan’s followers are talking of another one of those famous “point-a-minute” machines of days of yore! The wily Coach “Hurry-up” Yost of the University of Michigan’s Wolverine pack, is quick again since the afternoon when he sprang Benny Friedman at the Illinois game and defeated Grange and Co. And that calm is the one before the storm. Above is seen Coach Yost, himself and eight of the men who have figured prominently in the downfall of Oklahoma Aggies 42 to 3; Michigan State 55 to 3; and Minnesota 20-0. [I couldn't make out the rest, but it says something about the upcoming Illinois game which was held that day in Ann Arbor. Michigan won 13-0].

Here’s what we know about the 1926 Wolverines and the 1926 season, led by Coach Fielding Yost.
- Finished the season 7-1
- Outscored opponents 191-38.
- Only loss was to Navy at a game that featured 80,000 fans and was held at Baltimore Stadium.
- The Little Brown Jug was actually up for grabs a couple times in 1926, as Michigan battled the Golden Gophers twice that year. The Wolverines kept the jug first winning 20-0 at home, then 7-6 on November 20 at Minnesota.
- On November 13 Michigan traveled to Ohio State and beat the Buckeyes 17-16 in front of a crowd recorded to be 90,411.
- This was the last year that Yost coached the team.
- Captain Benny Friedman was recognized for the second straight year as an All-American and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. He also was named team MVP.
- Speaking of Friedman, the team’s trademark was its famous “Benny to Bennie” combination (Friedman to Oosterbaan).

The season aside, there was a lot more going on in Ann Arbor in 1926. That year the University broke ground on Michigan Stadium. It is believed that in 1926 the construction crew lost a major piece of machinery, often said to be a crane, into the bowels of the construction site. According to “The Michigan Stadium Story” archive from the Bentley Museum:

Legend holds that a Mercier Company steam shovel sank in the almost quicksand-like conditions created by one of the springs and remains buried under the stadium today.

Here’s a nice pic of the construction in November of that year:

Digging Michigan Stadium, 1926, Bentley Museum

1926 or 2006? As far as college football in 1926, sounds like nothing has changed. Students rioting and the media trying to make logical arguments about who is the most deserving team? Margin of victory and strength of schedule? Sounds familiar! Check out this excerpt from the December 6, 1926 issue of TIME magazine:

So ended a football season which has produced a great many good teams, and not a single “championship” team, a great many stars, and not a Grange. Students of Northwestern University rocked Chicago with fires and yells last week by way of asserting that their team has won the championship of the Big Ten conference. They base their claim on the fact that Northwestern (beaten by Notre Dame) has won its other games by bigger margins than Michigan. They forget that Michigan (beaten by the Navy) had the harder schedule…New York University had the best team in its history, a team that might even be called “championship” if it had not lost to Nebraska.

Funny, the recognized champions from this year are Stanford and Alabama, who tied in the Rose Bowl 7-7 and aren’t even mentioned in the Time season summary. Seems fair enough, although the only undefeated & untied team, Utah, didn’t get a shot. Here’s the complete college football conference standings from 1926, including the 22 team Southern Conference.

5 Comments

  1. Looks like Friedman has one hell of an arm on him.

  2. Looks like he’s using a feather-duster. I love pics with just the floating heads like those old team pictures on baseball cards in the 70s.

  3. MVictors-

    Was there a “Dumbo Phenomenon” back in the 1920′s?

  4. Not sure if that phenomenon struck in North America during that time, but I must agree with the diagnosis. I’m also a checking medical records for any Ann Arborites suffering from Hair Flap Syndrome during that period.

  5. Is there a crane buried at midfield of the stadium?

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