11. August 2011 · 4 comments · Categories: 2011


You know the story back in 1973. 

Michigan and Ohio State tie 10-10 in The Game and each team finishes the season 10-0-1.   The trip to the Rose Bowl is determined by a vote of the conference athletic directors, who, influenced by the injury to U-M QB Dennis Franklin, favor the Buckeyes 6-4.

Bo tells reporters it’s tragic and the darkest day of his career (left).   Ann Arbor is stunned.


Students on campus were shocked as well.  At least one student, Jeff Silvestrini, met the news head on with some early 70s snark in his letter to the Daily (right).

I tracked down Silvestrini via email who wrote me, “I can still recall the mood on campus when that vote was announced and how stunned everyone was.  I went to the UGLI that day and people could not believe that a broken collar bone could keep Michigan out, particularly as OSU had gone the year before.” 

I think that echoed the sentiment of most folks that followed the Wolverines back then (and now, I suppose, given that Ufer, U-M fans and elephants never forget).

And to make sure that folks wouldn’t forget either, someone was inspired to get the message out on the cars and file cabinets across the land.  Once again tapping into the Sapardanis archives from the 1970s, check out this purely awesome bumper sticker produced in the aftermath of the vote.  And yes, it’s that finger:

1973 Bumpersticker

Pure gold!!

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  1. Hahah, that’s fantastic!!

  2. My mom was a senior at UM in 1973. Everyone on campus expected that Michigan would go, and she and her friends had already made flight and hotel arrangements (no small task back then). She’s bitter about that vote to this day.

  3. I didn’t see it mentioned, but it was ex-WOLVERINE 4 sport great and 1973 Wisconsin AD Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch who voted the deciding vote to send OSU to the Rose Bowl. If you ever had a chance hear BO or Alvin Wistert talk about the 1973 Rose Bowl voting, they both went to their graves mad at Elroy…..IF the vote would have been 5-5 Michigan would have went to the Rose Bowl, it was rumored MSU voted for OSU because they were the only team to beat OSU that year and Bo found out later that Illinois voted for OSU, after they told everyone they would vote for Michigan…Again, before his passing, bring this subject up to Bo and watch the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. And OSU got crushed by USC and Sam Cunningham and the Lynn Swann led team.

  4. Bill in Richmond, VA

    The brunt of the responsibility falls squarely on Michigan State, let no person ever forget that. Sparty was green with envy that Michigan was beginning to dominate the series, recruiting, and overwhelmingly the hearts and minds of sports fans in the state of Michigan. Sparty could not suffer seeing the Maize and Blue dobbers prancing high and proudly through Pasadena again, so soon after the 69 and 71 seasons, a third Rose Bowl in such a short span was unheard of in that time. Sparty seriously failed to appreciate the statewide level of anger against them that ensued. This wasn’t just about Michigan football, a Rose Bowl trip gave some Michigan High School band, their kids and families the opportunity of a lifetime, to lead the Rose Bowl Parade and be known as “The Nation’s Number One High School Band.” MSU’s self-serving vote for Woody Hayes alienated everyone not a MSU loyalist in the entire state, football fan or not. The extremely high level of resentment against MSU lasted for years, and you still see the after effects of it decades later in the lopsided fan preference for Michigan over Sparty. I still hate MSU football 40 years later.