[Ed. Given it’s Movember again, had to repost this beauty from back in 2013 from Dr. Sap, celebrating the greatest ‘stashes in U-M history.]

The All-Schembechler mustachioed offense.   I supplied the stache’d Schembechler and the mustache ratings.


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Offensive Guard

3 Star


4 Star

Offensive Guard

4 Star

Don’t let the look deceive you, #76 was as good as it gets on the O-line.

Anchored the All-American O-line in 1981.  Every player ended up being an All-American selection.

The standard by which all U-M guards are measured.


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Offensive Tackle
5 Star

1 Star

Offensive Tackle
2 Star

Dude still looks tough today even without all the hair and the bowtie.

Fastest dual-threat QB Bo had and could do it on the ground or in the air.

Bo’s largest player at 6-8, 322. Fact: was a Road Grater and Pancake Machine


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2 Star

Tight End
4 Star

Wide Receiver
3 Star

Knew he was special when he scored a touchdown the 1st time he touched the ball.

Most memorable catch was the game-winning touchdown against Notre Dame in 1980.  I still refuse to accept the final score!

Played opposite AC but had a knack for getting BOTH feet in bounds.


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4 Star

1980-19830 Star

3 Star

The charter Movember member loved to wear stylish teal Puma cleats back in the day.

Might have been the lightest player to don the maize & blue but he delivered the game-winning FG against Iowa in ‘83.

Completed Rose Bowl vendetta with his 1-yard TD run against Washington in the 1981 Rose Bowl victory.



Thanks Sap!  I needed that after Saturday.   Will we see a defense?  TBD!
Update:  Yes, we have a Defense!

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Over at Schembechler Hall in October 2013, this happened:

jil 2

That’s of course the hand of the lovely & talented artist Jil Gordon (jilgordon.com and trueblue365.com) preparing to paint the score of the 2013 Michigan-Minnesota game in a piece of new real estate – just above the Michigan ‘M’.   Upon approval from U-M, Gordon added five slots above the block M to accommodate the next several years, ending the agonizing speculation of nerds distinguished historians like me.  Beyond that, they’ll likely add two more columns below the maize block M, then flip to the Minnesota side of the coveted crock and do the same.

Speaking of paint jobs, here’s a rundown of the facelifts the old jug has received through the years:

More »

The story of the origins of the Little Brown Jug rivalry is being retold and again this week.  I’ve maintained for the past few years that the idea that Yost wrote a letter to Minnesota asking that the jug be returned is not only silly, there’s plenty of evidence to backup that it’s just false.  To those just tuning in this week for some jug knowledge here’s the basic breakdown of what really happened, and further, why the idea that Yost wrote a letter to get the crock back is far-fetched at best.

Warning: to those who cherish the idea that Yost wrote a letter demanding the return of The Little Brown Jug and was subsequently told he’d need to “win it back”—avert your eyes.

More »

12. December 2014 · Comments Off on A Retroverted Block M (1920s?) · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , , , ,

[Given Block M-gate, a repost.  And P.S., Lay off Hunter Lochmann!  The guy is great and readers of this site, I hope, understand the point he was trying to make.  And yes, feel free to bang on me for addressing this issue in this blurb– but I’m busy, darn it!]

At glance, the design on this pendant that I bought on eBay back in 2013 doesn’t seem too out of ordinary.  On its face you’ve got a thick maize Block M, flanked by blue enamel sitting above the U-M seal:1837 Modern Block MBut upon closer inspection the date on the deal is 1837, not 1817, and therefore the pendant pre-dates 1929.   The surprise here, to me, is that is a fairly modern looking maize block ‘M’ style for such a vintage piece.  Back then, while there were certainly a great deal of variation, the block Ms in circulation were much thinner than today’s style:

Old Ms

Now to be fair, you probably can tell that’s not the modern block M—the cleft in the middle drops to the bottom unlike the official design which cuts off half way, but…it’s pretty close.  You’d also be hard pressed to find Michigan merch today set on stainless steel outside of the occasional collectible spoon.

Either way whomever created this beauty had a vision for a wider and badder block M and went with it.  The only sensible conclusion is that this was created by the Michigan time travelling hipster:

Time Travelling Hipster

The pendant sold for 12 bucks.

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On this day in 1979…still gives me the chills.  Via the great WolverineHistorian:

While it was somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy I suppose, I love that in all the madness Ufer recognized that play in the context of Michigan football history when he offers that it will be remembered for another 100 years (’79 of course was the 100th anniversary of the program). We can safely say that’s true of course, looking back 35 years later and it’s probably more to do with Ufer’s call than the play itself.

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More on Bob Ufer

[Ed. IMHO one more must read prior to the final game with the Irish.  Originally posted Sep 4, 2013.]

With all the talk on the historical significance of the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry, I’d thought I’d share a little bit on the original meeting in 1887.  Women, prepare to swoon.

DeHaven and Harless

So you’ve heard that Michigan taught Notre Dame how to play this game.  This is true of course, and the details of that meeting are chronicled up front in John Kryk outstanding book Natural Enemies.

Kryk explains that the origins of the fateful meeting in South Bend over 125 years ago can be attributed to three men: students George DeHaven, Billy Harless and Notre Dame’s prefect Patrick ‘Brother Paul’ Connors.

In a nutshell, DeHaven and Harless were former Notre Dame students in the mid-1880s who, in 1886, enrolled at Michigan.  Both were exceptional athletes and suited up for the U-M 1887 varsity football squad…aka Team 8 (official logo, inset).   While at ND DeHaven had become friendly with Brother Paul, who was a popular administrator on campus and helped run the intramural athletics program.Team 8

In South Bend they did have an IM sport which was something like football…but not really. Kryk described it this way: “A hundred boys to a side, all scrambling to get a round ball over the opponent’s fence by any means. Kick it, toss it, slap it – whatever. If you want to get technical it was part soccer and part rugby, but mostly it was pure pandemonium.” More »

14. July 2014 · Comments Off on Hail, Hail to the Chief | Happy 101 Gerald Ford · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , , ,

Gerald Ford Hiking Ball - Michigan

A hearty salute to the memory of President Gerald Ford born July 14, 1913, who today would have turned 101.  In honor of the 1934 team MVP, a repost.  Here are a few of my favorite shots of the POTUS in and around campus.  Above, via eBay one of the classic shots of Ford hiking the pigskin in the 1930s.  Below, via the Bentley Library, Ford addressing captain Mark Messner and the team in 1988:


Here with Bob Ufer kicking off his presidential campaign in 1976 at Crisler Arena:

President Ford - Crisler Arena with Bob Ufer

And finally at practice with General Bo:

Bo and President Ford

In honor of Ford’s 101st birthday, here is a repost of the speech President Ford delivered to the Annual Congressional Dinner of the University of Michigan Club back in March 1975 and worth a read:

[Introductory portion omitted]

You know, as a matter of fact, I can still remember spending a good part of my sophomore and junior years washing dishes in the DKE house–of which I was a proud member–and I mean washing dishes. As a matter of fact, I washed so many dishes I was the only athlete in Michigan history who ever had a football knee and dishpan hands at the same time. [Laughter]

1934 Gerald Ford

As I mentioned a moment ago, I was lucky enough to play football, first on Ferry Field and then in the stadium. And I was lucky enough to start a few games in the football season of 1934–and that was quite a year. The Wolverines on that memorable occasion played Ohio State, and we lost 34 to 0. And to make it even worse, that was the year we lost seven out of eight of our scheduled games. But you know, what really hurt me the most was when my teammates voted me their most valuable player. I didn’t know whether to smile or sue. [Laughter]

When I look back to 1931 and bring us up to date, so many, many fine memories come to mind.

In my freshman year, I had a job at the University Hospital. Dr. Kerlikowski, with the help of Harry Kipke, got me the job. I was a very disinterested waiter in the interns dining room and a very energetic waiter in the nurses cafeteria. [Laughter] You know, the truth is, it couldn’t have been better. I worked in the interns dining room for their benefit and the nurses dining room for my benefit. [Laughter]

Personally, I am intrigued by the differences between then and now, as well as by the similarities. For instance, back in Ann Arbor I lived on the fourth floor of a rooming house and my rent was $4 per week. And I shared it with a good friend of mine from Grand Rapids. Today in Washington, that building would be described as a townhouse. The room would be called a pad. The rent would be $400. And you still wouldn’t get enough hot water. [Laughter]

Of course, that doesn’t apply to where I live now. I have only been there 7 months, and you can’t believe all of the hot water I have gotten into. [Laughter]

Frankly, I just wish some of my critics could have been here tonight. I would have liked them to know what my major in Ann Arbor was—economics. The truth is, it shows you how little times have changed. In 1935, I got my first degree, and in 1975, from some sources, I am getting my third degree–and it is still in economics. [Laughter]

But now as then, I look to the future with confidence. Those of us who went to the University of Michigan during the thirties don’t have to be reminded of just how hard those times were. But what years haven’t been hard? And what times haven’t been a challenge to those who lived in them? And what is wrong with hard times and a challenge? I think it has a way of making people a little stronger and a little better.

And frankly, I have always been grateful, despite whatever hardships I and others served under, for my years at the University of Michigan. They were darn good years, years that provided me with the necessary building blocks and the blueprints to fashion a life from, years that gave me so many, many true friends to experience a life with.

And a rare night like this allows all of us to look back with affection and, at times, with amusement. But our sights should always be set on tomorrow and the many tomorrows that follow.

I know what my views are and my hopes and expectations are. You know, I tend to follow the sentiments expressed in one of our dearly loved college songs–the one that says, “I want to go back to Michigan.” And I do. But with your kind permission, I would like to do it in 1981. [Laughter]
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 8:40 p.m. in the International Ballroom at the Washington Hilton Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Representative Marvin L. Esch and Senator Robert P. Griffin of Michigan; Robben W. Fleming, president of the University of Michigan; Charles Wixom, president of the University of Michigan Club; Dr. Albert C. Kerlikowski, former director of the University Hospital; and Harry Kipke, former football coach at the university.

Citation: Gerald R. Ford: “Remarks at the Annual Congressional Dinner of the University of Michigan Club.,” March 5, 1975. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=4764.


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moes tourney

Ed. On the anniversary of Harry Newman’s passing on May 2, 2000 – a repost (originally from March 17, 2013:


This edition of eBay Watch starts with a couple shots from Michigan’s 1932 battle with Northwestern played in the Big House:

1932 Northwestern - Pug 400433201511

The ballcarrier is #23 Earnest “Pug” Rentner, an All-American back for the Wildcats.    Here’s another shot in a separate eBay auction featuring Michigan’s star Harry Newman apparently snatching a ball out of mid-air:

1932 Newman front 360615511928

The caption attached to the second shot claims this is Newman intercepting a pass from Rentner, but I’ve seen no evidence in the recaps that Newman got a pick in this game.  He did a bunch of other things (fumble recovery, long passes, punt return, a field goal, etc.) but no interception.

While game photos are pretty easy to come by these days (heck, I have 100s from the Outback Bowl), I love these vintage photos.  There might be a film clip or two out there from this game but beyond that I’m guessing these shots are few and far between.

Despite the sparse Big House crowd (it was the Depression, man) this game was one of the most anticipated match-ups along Michigan’s march to the 1932 national title.   The Wildcats had put together quite a squad in the early 1930s and shared the conference crown with Harry Kipke’s Wolverines in 1930 and 1931 but…the teams didn’t face each other those seasons.  Via Hail to the Victors 2012:

Pug and The Purple Gang
The next week was the most anticipated battle of the season. Northwestern and Michigan shared both the past two conference titles and two of the biggest stars in college football: the Wildcat’s 1931 All-American back Earnest “Pug” Rentner and of course U-M’s dangerous Harry Newman. As an aside, Rentner’s moniker was spot on–hide the dog Two Pugs biscuits because my man Ernie was one pooch-faced fellow.

The story of the game was how Newman outshined the more nationally decorated Pug as the Michigan “system” defense stuffed Rentner in the 15-6 Wolverine triumph. According to the Daily, “Harry Newman completely dominated the limelight with his spectacular runback of punts, his accurate passing, and his excellent field-generalship.” That would become a theme in 1932. Suddenly the east coast media took notice of Newman and his Wolverines.

Pug fumbled on the first play of the game, and managed to net just over 30 yards on 34 attempts on the day.   Harry set up  both scores and kicked a field goal to cap Michigan’s scoring.   As noted in HTTV, the snuffing of Pug along with Newman’s performance put Michigan (and Harry) on the national watch list.

Newman carried Michigan on his back the rest of the way, finishing a perfect season and in December was quietly declared the 1932 National Champion thanks to the Dickinson System (via the Michigan Daily):

M Daily Dec 11 1932

Newman was named college player of the year and would have won the Heisman Trophy that season had it been around.   Not too bad for a feller who went just over 5’ 7”:

Lewan and Newman

You can own those 1932 photos – link to the Pug Rentner shot here, and the Harry Newman phantom interception here.

Related:  Two guys on that ‘32 squad were Willis Ward and president Gerald Ford (Ward saw significant action this season, Ford rode pine).  On eBay right now, check out these, umm, presumably unauthorized action figures (with several historical liberties!) of your heroes from Black and Blue.  Click the pics to see the auctions:

Gerald Ford Action Figure Willis Ward Action Figure

Ford carrying the pigskin?  Chip straps, modern shoulder pads, maize helmets?  Oy ! Oy ! Oy !

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