WPW leads off with an awesome shot of old Fritz:

 Fritz Drop Kick 351030697500

Is that Fritz Crisler dropping the ball?  No way man – he’s demonstrating the drop kick.  Back in 1958 Crisler was chairman of the NCAA rules committee and a major change for that year was the introduction of the 2 point conversion.  Coaches weren’t sure what the impact would be—many thought teams would go for 2 after TDs early in the game and then see how things played out.  But it was quickly figured out that hitting paydirt with one play from the three yard line was far from a 50/50 proposition (one source had the success rate in 1958 was around 35%), and most coaches defaulted to kicking the extra point. 

Bringing us back to the photo, it was also suggested that having the option of the two point conversion might result end up in more teams trying the old dropkick.  I think the scenario was that you’d see teams effectively lining up in a triple threat position where the offense could try to run or pass for 2, or execute the drop kick for 1…but that really didn’t happen.  (Heck, it hadn’t even happened in pro football since 1941 and until Doug Flutie’s epic dropkick in 2007).



Above:  Of course that’s not a wire photo but you’ll forgive me.  From a June 1923 athletic department publication, that’s a shot of one of the cars that traveled to the ‘22 Ohio State game down in Columbus, on the day they dedicated Ohio Stadium.  Note the smack talk scribed on the roof “WE’LL DEDICATE IT..” – a reference to the Buckeye plans to dedicate the shiny new Ohio Stadium during the game.   Beyond a big fat YOST on the front, and the “from and from U-M” painted on the door I can’t make out any other gems.  Either way a priceless paint job and yes, Yost and the Wolverines “dedicated” it—crushing the Buckeyes 19-0.

Below: From the same publication, a very cool shot of the frame of what would become Yost Field House, dedicated a few months later in 1923.


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[Ed. On this day of what would be Bo Schembechler’s 85th birthday, Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis returns with the next round of the Bo Brackets.   You can find background including how the teams were selected here, and a breakdown of the Schembechler 16 results here.]


1969 vs. 1976



1976 21
1969 10

In an impressive combination of speed and power, Rick Leach, Rob Lytle & Russell Davis combined to rush for 349 yards and three touchdowns as the 1976 squad defeated Bo’s 1969 team, 21-10.

Don Moorehead’s passing (227 yards) and Billy Taylor’s rushing (110 yards) staked the ’69 Wolverines to an early lead until a colossal collision changed the complexion of the contest.   Leading 10-7 midway through the third quarter and facing a 3rd and 7 on their own 23-yard line, Moorehead handed off to Taylor on a draw play. Before Taylor could put two hands on the ball, ’76 linebacker Calvin O’Neal hit the Michigan running back so violently that both players were out cold before they hit the Tartan Turf. Jerry Vogele recovered the fumble for the ’76 Wolverines at the 15-yard line.

Three plays later, Leach kept on an option keeper to give the ’76 team a lead they would not relinquish and the ’69 Wolverines were reeling.

A 4-yard TD run by Davis capped an 80-yard scoring drive in 15 plays to seal the deal late in the 4th quarter.

Afterwards, a noticeably shocked defensive coordinator Jim Young commented on the offensive juggernaut on the other side of the field.   “We knew they were good based on the film we saw, but we never thought they’d be as quick as they were. I mean, some of their linemen were so fast they were almost outrunning their backs! If you would have told me that we would allow almost 350 yards rushing I would have never believed you, but for them to run off 65 offensive plays? Incredible! That is the finest ground game I have ever seen.”


1973 vs. 1971



1973 17
1971 10

This game was your classic smash mouth contest. Both teams wanted to pound the ball on the ground and both had punishing defenses. Not surprisingly, it came down to the last possession.

Tied at 10 with just over a minute to go, the 1973 Wolverines faced a 4th and inches at the 2-yard line of the ’71 Wolverines.

The decision was made to disdain the easy field goal and that was fine with QB Dennis Franklin.

“We all wanted to go for it. When the call was made to run 28 Option, I went to the line looking to see where the defensive end was playing. He was cheating to the outside, so I went with a longer (snap) count. When I did that, their linebacker slid to the outside just a step. That was enough for me to know to hand the ball off the Easy Ed (Shuttlesworth). I didn’t see what happened because the defense thought I still had the ball when I went around the end. I got hit real hard, but when I heard the crowd roar, I knew that Ed made it into the endzone.”

QB Larry Cipa came in for Tom Slade on the last series but his futile passes were knocked down by the ’73 secondary to preserve the 17-10 victory.

Like Shuttlesworth said after the game, “It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take the win and move on, man!”


1980 vs. 1988



1980 21
1988 14

In a battle of Bo’s only victorious Rose Bowl teams, this matchup was one that all UM fans looked forward to. And considering Schembechler’s penchant for keeping things conservative, this game was anything but.  The tone was set right at the opening kickoff as 1980 speedster Anthony Carter returned it 105 yards for a touchdown and the track meet was on.

Demetrius Brown, who started at QB in place of an injured Michael Taylor, responded with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Chris Calloway on the ensuing possession as Brian Carpenter slipped on the coverage.  And when Butch Woolfolk scored on a 92-yard run late in the 1st quarter, it looked like this game was going to be devoid of any defense.
In the 2nd half, things settled down as both teams made some defensive adjustments.
The 1980 squad went back to more of a zone look, while the ’88 team decided to blitz more. Each was successful as both teams turned the ball over.

1980 QB John Wangler was pressured into throwing a 3rd quarter interception that resulted in a 10-yard Leroy Hoard touchdown run which tied the score at 14.
But it was Brown’s only interception of the game proved costly for the ’88 squad.  As wideout John Kolesar came in motion out of the backfield, Brown pump-faked to him on an out and up. He was open at 1980 UM 5-yard line, but his pass hung up in the air just enough to allow Tony Jackson time to come over and make the interception.
From there the 1980 team went 95 yards all on the ground and won the game on Stanley Edwards’ 12-yard scamper with just over a minute to play to make the final score, 21-14.

After the game, Brown explained what happened on that fateful throw.
“When John came out of the backfield, I saw man coverage and he was open. I thought they had five DB’s in the game but I didn’t see their sixth guy. What do they call him, the Penny? I guess I saw the nickel, but I didn’t see the penny.”


1985 vs. 1989



1985 17
1989 14

Jim Harbaugh stoked the flames for this game by predicting victory earlier in the week.
“I have no doubt we will play well as a team and win Saturday. I guarantee it. That ’89 team is good, but I like the guys in my locker room.”
It looked like Harbaugh would have to eat his words as running backs Lerory Hoard and Jarrod Bunch scored in the first quarter to power the 1989 squad to an early 14-3 lead.
In the 2nd half it was the 1985 defense and special teams that turned the tide in this game.

David Arnold blocked a Chris Stapleton punt that he recovered in the endzone for a touchdown, early in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 14-10.

On their next possession, 1989 QB Michael Taylor was hit hard from behind by Mike Hammerstein and fumbled. Andy Moeller recovered for the ’85 Wolverines and when Jamie Morris scored from 26 yards out on the next play, suddenly 1985 UM had the lead, 17-14.

It looked like Taylor would redeem himself for his earlier fumble, as he led the ’89 team on a 49-yard drive late in the 4th quarter, but Brad Cochran’s interception sealed the 1989 team’s fate and made Harbaugh sound prophetic.

Afterwards, the ’85 QB deflected praise to his teammates.  “This game wasn’t about the guarantee. It was about all the guys in this locker room. We were the only ones who gave us a chance to win. The way the defense and special teams played was amazing, but that’s what they’ve done all year long.”

Updated Bracket:

the Bo Brackets3

The Bo Brackets – Introduction and how the teams were selected
Schembecher 16 – First round results


Up Next: The Final Four Game Results


One of my favorite charities and a classy event.  Details via former QB/DB Rich Hewlett (coincidentally, he was featured yesterday in WPW!) who shared this note today about the event and how to get involved:

I ask you to join me as I again serve as Chairperson for a special event designed to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and  The University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UMCDC).  On May 19, my family will host the 2014 Swing to Cure Diabetes Golf Outing at the University of Michigan Golf Course.

With your participation and support, UMCDC and JDRF will continue their important research that will lead to a cure. Through our first five golf outings we have raised over $285,000!

This year’s event will take place at the U of M Golf Course on Monday, May 19, 2014 with a 9:30 AM shotgun start.  The agenda for the day is as follows:

  • 8:00 AM — Check in
  • 9:15 AM — Introduction/Welcome Remarks
  • 9:30 AM — Shotgun Start
  • 2:30 PM — Dinner
  • 3:00 PM — Program
  • 3:30 PM — Conclusion

Activities for the day will include a silent and live auction, competitions, prizes, and more. Breakfast, beverages, boxed lunch, and a buffet-style diner also will be provided.

Please join us for the Swing to Cure Diabetes Golf Outing.  Click here to download entry applications and sponsorship information. You can also find them on our website,  Please return completed form(s) to me at:

Rich Hewlett

Varnum, LLP
39500 High Pointe Blvd., Suite 350
Novi, MI 48375
Work  248 / 567-7824

See you there?   Here’s WTKA’s own Ira Weintraub MC’ing last year…and flashing his jazz hands!

Ira and Rich Hewlett

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Hump Day!   Wire Photo Wednesday leads with something near and dear to my heart, the Little Brown Jug:


A great shot of a few men from Bennie Oosterbaan’s 1957 roster. Left to right I believe you’ve got: Stan Noskin (QB), Dave Brown (QB), ‘57 captain Jim Orwig (LT) taking a pull, Larry Faul (LG) and Jerry Goebel (C).   We don’t have a lot of information on this shot, but it looks like it appeared in the Minneapolis Star, making me think it was shot just prior to the ‘57 battle for the Jug.  The caption also says that’s a replica – which is looks to be (for starter, there are no scores down the side, at least on the side we can see…).   Good news – Orwig took back the real jug after Michigan’s 24-7 victory on October 26, 1957.


Fritz image

Fritz: “..and finally, we’re getting new helmets..with yellow wings on them.”  
[Team breaks out in laughter]
Fritz:  “Trust me on this one. Wings are the future. Wings I tells ya.”

So I’ve seen this shot on eBay before but never noticed the significance of the date it was taken.  This is actually a pretty historically significant shot from March 28th—the start of Spring football back then.  This is probably one of, if not the first, published photo with Fritz Crisler and a Michigan team.  Fritz of course had just been wooed from Princeton to replace Harry Kipke, who was unceremoniously canned in December 1937.  Good stuff.



Not a wire photo per se, but pure eBay gold nonetheless.  Left to right you’ve got QBs Johnny Wangler, Rich Hewlett (with the pigskin) and Steve Smith on the cover of “GO BLUE Magazine”.   Looks like the photog asked them to say the word “Girls!” because these guys caught a case of the giggles for this shot. 


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Via the mind of Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis, here are the Round 1 results of the Bo Brackets

the Bo Brackets

ROUND 1 GAMES – 1970s

clip_image001 1969 vs 1970
In a close game, 1969 pulled away late in the 2nd half with a pic-six by Barry Pierson and a Garvie Craw 1-yard TD run that came off a Tom Curtis interception.


Final Score: 21-7
1969 advances


clip_image002 1971 vs 1972
Dennis Franklin out dueled Tom Slade for most of this game, but Billy Taylor scored his 2nd TD of the contest on a 65-yard scamper to put the ’71 squad up, 17-13. Franklin’s last second Hail Mary pass was batted down by Thom Darden in the endzone to preserve the victory for the 1971 team as they move on.


Final Score: 17-13
1971 advances


clip_image003 1976 vs 1977
Rob Lytle ran for three TD’s as the ’76 squad looked to make this game a blowout, but Rick Leach’s three TD passes in the 4th quarter tied the game at 21 with just under a minute to go. Jim Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to set up Bobby Wood’s game winning 33-yard field goal. Final score: 24-21.

Final Score: 24-21
1976 advances


clip_image004 1973 vs. 1974
A back and forth contest that saw the lead change 3 times, this game, not surprisingly, came down to a last second field goal. This time Mike Lantry drilled it right down the middle to give the 1973 team the 20-17 victory.


Final Score: 20-17
1973 advances


ROUND 1 GAMES – 1980s


1980 vs 1981
An 80-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Carter in the first quarter put the 1980 squad up early, but dual-threat QB Steve Smith led the 1981 Wolverines on three scoring drives to take the lead, 9-7 just before the half. After making some halftime adjustments McCartney’s Monsters finally figured out how to stop Smith with two red-zone interceptions in the 4th quarter to win, 17-9.=

Final Score: 17-9
1980 advances


1988 vs 1978
In a battle of #7 southpaw signal callers, Demetrius Brown emerged victorious over Rick Leach, 28-21. John Kolesar caught two TD passes while Vada Murray intercepted Leach’s pass in the endzone in the final minute of the game to preserve the victory for the ’88 squad.

Final Score: 28-21
1988 advances


clip_image008 1989 vs 1986
Jim Harbaugh threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to freshman wideout Greg McMurtry, but it wasn’t enough as J.D. Carlson kicked 4 field goals to lift the 1989 squad to the victory.

Final Score: 26-24
1989 advances


clip_image009 1985 vs 1982
Jamie Morris ran for 275 yards and two touchdowns and Mark Messner had four sacks to lead the 1985 team to a 24-10 victory. Messner’s last sack separated Steve Smith’s shoulder, knocking him out of the game early in the 3rd quarter.

Final Score: 24-10
1985 advances


For more on the Bo Brackets, click here.   Second round coming up later this week.


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21. March 2014 · 4 comments · Categories: 2014

MVictors_Banner_Marawatch6[Ed. Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis at it again, just in time for March Madness. ]

Ever wonder what Bo Schembechler-coached-Michigan-Football-team was the best?  [Ed. Sap, of course they have!].   With March Madness all around us and brackets being filled out everywhere, I decided to draw up my own set of Bo Brackets – The Schembechler Sweet 16, if you will.

I used some basic criteria to determine who would go dancing, who would stay on the sidelines and who would get the highest ranking/seed of the Schembechler-coached teams from 1969-1989.   Rose Bowl and Big Ten Championships certainly helped, and the absence of either of those pretty much meant you didn’t get an invite.   As a result, these teams are not included in the tourney for the following reasons:

1975 – Started Bo’s Bowl streak but did not win a Big Ten Championship & had only 8 wins.
1979 – No conference championship & poor record doom this team.
1983 – A great defense, but no Big Ten Championship means no invite.
1984 – Obvious non-qualifier with 6-6 record.
1987 – Too many losses and too many interceptions spell disaster for this team.
Also note: The 1970 team was on the bubble for this tourney, but got the nod over the 1975 squad because of their better record, even though they both did not win a conference championship.

In trying to keep the teams and pairings era-specific, I created the 1970s and 1980s brackets with only two exceptions:

1969 – while not part of the ’70s or ’80s this team makes the tourney for obvious reasons.
1978 – placed in the 1980s bracket because they had more of a passing offense than any other 1970 Schembechler Team.


the Bo Brackets 

Breakdown of the top seeds:


#1 seed: 1969 – Monumental victory over OSU.
#2 seed: 1971 – Unbeaten & untied record & 1 point Rose Bowl loss.
#3 seed: 1976 – Most number of weeks (8) as nation’s #1 ranked team under Bo.
#4 seed: 1973 – Bo’s only undefeated team.

1980’s TOP SEEDS

#1 seed: 1980 – Outright Big Ten & Rose Bowl Champs.
#2 seed: 1985 – Highest Final Ranking (#2) for a Schembechler team.
#3 seed: 1988 – Outright Big Ten & Rose Bowl Champs.
#4 seed: 1989 – Back to Back Outright Big Ten Champs.

[Posted now: The Round 1 (Schembechler 16) Game Results]

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Good Wednesday to you.  Leading off…T Mills:


Leading off, the man coach Bill Frieder personally visited at Romulus High literally hundreds of times – to keep him away from Jud Heathcote and MSU, here from April 1989 presumably from the Kingdome following the NCAA title victory (Ed. However as a commenter pointed out, M wore blue of course in the finals—so perhaps an earlier round or something else].  


Glenn Doughty  1970 

From 1970, an awesome shot of back Glenn Doughty posing between an unidentified pair of Bo’s bruisers.  Great shot.  Following his Michigan days he became Shake and Bake, and later (after completing his PhD in Groove from Funkalicious University [Dearborn]), just Dr. Shake:

He earned the nickname “Shake and Bake” during his years with the Colts, and the nickname was also extended to the 1975 Baltimore Colts offense.

The Colts Record of 10-4 reversed the prior year’s 2-12 record to set the greatest one year turn-a-round season in NFL History. The Colts won the Eastern Division Championship. Doughty played a key role in leading the Colts to three straight Eastern Division Championships for the first time in Colts history.

1975 also saw Doughty, a Motown native, create the Shake & Bake Band. The Group consisted of Tight End Ray Chester on bass, Lloyd Mumford Defensive Back on harmonica, Fred Scott Wide Receiver percussion, DT White Wide Receiver lead guitar, Bruce Barnett a shoe salesman on drums and Doughty (Dr. Shake) lead singer, composer on congas. The Shake & Bake Band performed at numerous clubs around Baltimore on Monday Nights arriving in a stretch limo at each location. The Band’s appearances were promoted on the Memorial Stadium scoreboard. Many Colts fans felt the group sounded and looked like the famous California group WAR. The popular Shake & Bake band was invited to play on the Johnny Carson Show, but practicing for their Playoff game vs the Steelers prevented this from happening. The Band became one of only a handful of Players’ musical groups in NFL history to record two records; Shake & Bake and Star Flight Disco in 1976. The intro to Shake & Bake was performed by Hall of Fame Broadcaster Chuck Thompson.

Anyone have any clips of any of these songs I need them –—- STAT!  



Bo on the field 1975

Another 35MM makes the cut, this time with a beautiful shot of Bo patrolling the fielding in 1975 during pregame.  It almost looks like he’s reaching for a chew?  But I don’t think Bo dipped – anyone? 

Update: A better thought from Dr. Sap: “Bo was probably reaching into his bag of confetti. He had a pre-game ritual of throwing the confetti into the air just before kickoff to determine wind strength and direction. This would assist him in deciding which end of the field to select for the coin toss and whether it was too windy to pass the ball.”



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MaraWatch - Wolverines Collection!  Go Blue

Good Wednesday to you, friends.  WPW leads off with a classic shot of the B1G football coaches meeting prior to the 1931 season:

 Kipke and coaches 1931 360785202817   Kipke description
This photo, from the Big Ten meetings prior to the 1931 season, is probably worth its $44 auction price.   On the floor you’ve got M headman Harry Kipke with Purdue coach (and former player under Rockne) Noble Kizer demonstrating life in the trenches.    Minnesota’s Fritz Crisler, who would replace Kipke later that decade, watches from the back.   Amongst the men seated is Illinois legend Bob Zuppke sitting next to the one & only Amos Alonzo Stagg.  Great shot.  Dress code in ‘31?  White shirt, tie, Brylcreem in the hair (except for Stagg).


Benny Friedman 1926 201047600870

I don’t know when wire photos started to be distributed to newspapers, but this has to be a fairly early one (from 1926) featuring the great Michigan quarterback and NFL HOF’er Benny Friedman.   Seller claims it is an original and wants a mere $30.  If it’s truly the original it’s worth over $100 easy IMO.


Iowa Depression 360685717404

The Depression was a bitch.  It was tough to get folks to the Big House in 1933, despite the team entering the season as defending national champion and back-to-back-to-back B1G champs.  Above is a shot from the Iowa game in Ann Arbor on November 11, 1933 and the Wolverines were 6-0 – despite all this but a mere 22,000 fans waddled into the Big House on this day.  (Memo to the sardines crammed in end zone—umm, spread out!!).

Michigan would go on to claim the 1933 national title after tying Minnesota the following week and blanking Northwestern in the finale.



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