“Too Tough”.  Words from the great Glenn E. ‘Bo’ Schembechler, when reviewed the 1997 season schedule that featured games against Colorado, Notre Dame, Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin and of course Ohio State.

As you can guess, this edition of eBay Watch is inspired by the 1997 slate of game and the auction of a pocket schedule for that season currently up for auction:

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The seller is asking for a minimum bid of $14.99 for this little beauty.  I’d say that’s a little much for a former freebie but we’ll see.

If you don’t know how the 1997 season ended up, you probably wouldn’t be reading this site but it looks a little something like this.  So instead of looking back to the end of the season, I’m going to look back to the 1997 preseason.

A friend of mine [thanks DH] sent me a copy of The Wolverine 1997 football preview issue, which of course took a look ahead at the upcoming tilt.   The editors wisely chose Mr. Woodson for the cover, with the headline ‘DOUBLE TROUBLE’.  I was a subscriber back then and I remember getting this issue.

As mentioned one of the hot topics was the schedule itself.  In the season prior, the opponents on the ‘97 schedule went 83-47, the second highest opponent winning percentage coming into the year.

When asked about to comment on the slate, Bo was vintage Bo, hammering the Irish:

Even Bo Schembechler rolled his eyes when contemplating a non-conference that includes Colorado—regarded by some as the preseason No. 1 selection—and the Irish.

“Since Penn State came into the Big Ten, I’ve never been in favor of re-signing Notre Dame,’” Schembechler groused.  “It’s just too tough for the coach.  The Notre Dame game, when Don Canham first signed the contract, was supposed to be the first game of the year.  Now it’s the week before the Big Ten season.  That’s too tough.”

Also asked to comment on the schedule was ESPN’s Lee Corso:

“The schedule is too tough for them to have a great year,” said ESPN analyst Lee Corso.  “In college football, you’ve got to have margin of error in there…You have to be able to have an off week.”

more vintage Corso:

Michigan has no chance to have a great football season, in my opinion.  They play too many good teams that are as good or better than they are, and a lot of them away from home.  That makes it more difficult.  They can stumble and be a really fine football team, losing three games at least.”

The former Indiana coach liked these guys a little better that year:

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Great stuff.  The magazine-style preseason guide was actually a first for the The Wolverine in 1997, and they picked a solid year to produce it.

Other Stuff:

  • The guide includes only a handful of advertisements, including a few for 900 lines for recruiting updates for all of you sick bastards, charging for up to $2.00 per minute.

    “THANKS—FOR—CALLING—-THE—-UNIVERSITY—-OF—-MICHIGAN—-WOLVERINES—-RECRUITING—-UPDATE—-FOR—-JULY—-10th—-IN—-THE YEAR—-OF—-OUR—-LORD—-NINETEEN—-HUNDRED—-AND—-NINETY SEVEN—-AT—-SEVEN—-O’CLOCK—PM—-EASTERN—-DAYLIGHT—-TIME..”

  • There weren’t many household items buying space in the book, although Excedrin and Alka-Seltzer bought full page color ads.  What are you saying, man?
  • I always loved the names of the guys on this defense, you can’t make this up: Copenhaver, Steele, Sword, Huff, Swett.   Those are tough names.  That said, opponents probably felt better about the Wolverines when recalling that there was a Griese and a Feely in the line-up.
  • Props to John Borton for putting together a nice piece on Fielding Yost and his point-a-minute reign of terror from 1901 to 1905.   But—despite his clear understanding of the history, Borton also published a ranking of the top running backs in Michigan history, placing Heisman winner Tom Harmon #8.  The man who led those freaking point-a-minute teams, Willie Heston, barely cracked the list at #10 causing me to upchuck.  Thems fightin’ words Borton, even it is was written over a decade ago!

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5 Comments

  1. I was a junior in ’97 and was debating whether to study abroad for the year. Missing a year on campus, including football games, obviously, was a huge consideration. I reviewed the schedule and thought that we would get killed and decided maybe it might easier to deal with a bad season from foreign soil. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised at the results (often calling AA from pay phones late in the night to get updates on the games).

  2. Ah, 1997. I remember fondly Nebraska’s last National Championship in football. Shared it with someone, didn’t they? Oh, yeah, a Michigan squad who hasn’t won a consensus National Championship in football since 1948…

  3. Jeff Essak's Two Inch Penis

    What’s that Jeff? Your chode is calling?

  4. Corso pushed hard the entire year against Michigan. He basically demanded that Nebraska share the title at the end of the season and the coaches obliged. One could suppose he felt compelled to do this because otherwise he would look like an idiot. Well, more of an idiot.

    After the Rose Bowl, I went to Vegas with friends only to learn of the result of the coaches poll at the MGM sportsbook. Corso’s face was like 30 feet tall and he was grinning his ass off. Certainly this is a man not to be taken seriously. But I’ve hated him ever since.

  5. Reed, we must have the same travel agent. LA for the Rose Bowl (when everyone was in Vegas for New Year’s), Vegas after New Year’s (when everyone was heading to LA). Pretty slick man.