Michigan Purdue

For tomorrow’s evening affair, a trip back to 1930, a season that started with a double-header(!) in front of only 13,000 fans but was notable nonetheless.  In that year coach Harry Kipke got things working and started a string of 4 consecutive conference crowns.   October 11, 1930 was week 3 when his Wolverines faced defending league champ Purdue.  This game also marked the debut start of would-be superstar quarterback Harry Newman.  Check it out:

You can catch all of the This Week in Michigan Football History clips here…And don’t forget to catch it live Saturday on the KeyBank Countdown to kick-off on WTKA 1050AM or inside the Bud Light Victors Lounge starting at 3pm.


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[Ed. With the talk of boycotting Saturday's game (or at least the kickoff), a repost.  It's not the first time there was talk on campus of boycotting a home game, although the circumstances in 1931 were quite different. Originally published in July 2011.]


I rarely feature ticket stubs on eBay Watch but this one is pretty unique.  In 1931 the Western Conference agreed to schedule a full slate of games to benefit a fund for the many Depression-era unemployed worker at the end of the season.   The league also agreed the games would count in the tight conference standings.

A full unused ticket to the game between the Wolverines and Wisconsin on November 28, 1931 went up on on eBay:

Wisconsin Ticket Stub
Check out the backdrop of the stub with the football player tossing a bag of loot (“A Forward Pass”) to the mass of needy onlookers with arms outstretched.

It’s actually not a shock that this ticket appears to be unused given the story of this one.  Charity be damned, barely 9,000 fans (some reports say only 7,000) bothered to show up for the game.  This ticket sold for $1, others went for $2.  Regular season ducats went for between $2-$3 that season.

Why the poor turnout?

Well, it seems that early in the process of determining the match-ups for the charity games, it was decided that Michigan would square off in the Big House against Northwestern.  The teams had shared the conference crown in 1930 and were near the top of the standings again.  Thinking they could raise more money by putting Northwestern in Chicago’s Solider Field, a couple weeks before the date they changed course and pitted the Wildcats against Purdue. Michigan was left with Wisconsin.


Everyone in Ann Arbor – from Fielding Yost to the editors of the Michigan Daily — went berserk.   After the Badgers were assigned, director Yost told reporters, “This whole thing has been such mess that I won’t even venture a conservative guess on how many will turn out.  It won’t be many.”

The Daily suggested a boycott.  Students were quoted saying they “wouldn’t give a nickel” or even “cross the street” to see a weak Wisconsin squad.

Ironically the biggest benefactor of the whole event, which raised $154,000, might have been Michigan.  Northwestern ended up losing to Purdue 7-0, so those who watched Michigan defeat Wisconsin 16-0 actually saw them earn a share of the league title.

The Wisconsin win propelled Michigan into the next two championship seasons when Kipke and crew won back-to-back national titles in 1932 and 1933.

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Bless you blogs.  During bona fide crisis such as this we need thee. 

Read this #1: Craig at The Hoover Street Rag explores why we are cursed.  (Because we are certainly cursed).   A list of the possible curses:

1. President Ford
2. Little Brother
3. Herbie
4. Tim Tebow
5. The Yost Bleachers
6. Clowney
7. The Kraft Noodle
8. Old 98 + 9. Chicken Dance + 10. Skywriters



Read this #2: Picking up on my 2011 post, Mgo-reader saveferris checks in with ‘The Clans’ and does an excellent job rolling through the state of mind of the clans, given the ugly state of affairs.  Well done sf.  Example:

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Do something worthwhile on a weekend this fall:


The Ann Arbor Chili Chowdown (A2C2), hosted by Ron’s Roadside BBQ, is scheduled for Sunday, Oct 12th from 12-3.   Currently there are 20 confirmed restaurants including Grizzly Peak, Blue Tractor, Zingerman’s, Wolverine Brewing Co, and Black Pearl.   The Ann Arbor community is invited to come out and cast their vote for Ann Arbor’s chili king.   Former Michigan running back and NFL record holder Jamie Morris is going to emcee the event and live entertainment booked for the afternoon as well.

Safehouse Center of Ann Arbor is the beneficiary of this first annual A2C2. If you’re not familiar with their work, they provide support for women and children impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault in Washtenaw County, including counseling, legal advocacy, and most importantly shelter.  This event is particularly fitting in light of the recent Ray Rice NFL scandal and considering October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

Tickets are available for $20 presale or $25 at the door, and 100% of the proceeds go to the SafeHouse Center. Children 5 and under are free, and ages 6-12 are $7.

For any more information, everyone can check out our Facebook event page at  https://www.facebook.com/events/791739284211770/

They can also email annarborchilichowdown@gmail.com or call (217) 621-7040.

Dr. Sap's Decals Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis once again provides his game decals in this, ahem, challenging(?) season.

Until the day comes that Michigan gets its collective act together and assigns helmet decals again, Sap will bring you his game Champions who will be decorated, albeit virtually, with his helmet stickers.  

I’ll typically toss in the Fan Award and the Editor’s Choice:


DEVIN GARDNER – I thought New 98 did his best to win this game for his team. He is a leader because he has been through the most of anybody on this team. How many coaches/coordinators has he been through? To be sat down for the conference opener last week in this his 5th year had to have been a tremendous disappointment.

But true to his character, he let that slide right off his back and focused on the game at hand.  DG made some sweet throws (Butt’s grab in the first half comes to mind) and his 4th quarter TD run set Michigan up for the game winning field goal. Too bad it was blocked. Wonder if New 98 can kick like Old 98?? 

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION JOE BOLDEN – For the second straight week, Bolden was the best player on defense. Playing what looked like every play in a track meet-like game against a RichRod derivative spread offense is a tall order for anyone and I didn’t see him tire or fatigue one bit.

I feel for defenses that play against these spread offenses. These schemes can make a no one like Rutgers QB Gary Nova look like the second coming of Timmy Chang while making the defensive players look silly. Bolden didn’t look silly out there.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION DENNIS NORFLEET – I can honestly say I’ve never seen someone play both sides of the Special Teams as good as Norfleet.   Sure, his speed has something to do with that, but he continues to bring the energy on both the Kick Team and the Return Team. Just waiting for the game where he finally takes it to the house!
UNIFORM CHAMPION TEAM 135 Sleeve – Maybe it was me, and maybe it was the cold weather, but it seemed like everyone was wearing the TEAM 135 sleeve against Rutgers.

Maybe it was the week that Michigan just went through, but to me, the sleeve seemed to be a show of team unity and solidarity. Hope so – looks like it might be a long year…


* sorry


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Koppitz-Melchers Brewery For Saturday’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History, we head back 112 years to arguably the greatest calendar year in Michigan football history.  That’s right I said it.

While that’s up for discussion, there’s little doubt 1902 was one of the finest for Michigan athlete Neil Snow. 

On January 1, 1902, Snow tallied 5 touchdowns in the inaugural Rose Bowl.

Back in Ann Arbor my man Snow the undisputed was big man on campus #BMOC, and the folks at the Koppitz-Melchers Brewery of Detroit put an ad in the Cornell-Michigan baseball program telling everyone how much Snow loved their beer.  Of course he didn’t consent to the ad.

Here’s how that all played out, as well as the game played on October 4, 1902:

The full story of the 1902 beergate tale here.  You can catch all of the This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.

And don’t forget to catch it live Saturday on the KeyBank Countdown to kick-off on WTKA 1050AM starting tomorrow at 3pm EDT (4 hours prior to Rutgers getting their butts kicked).


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Shane Morris A mildly concussed Shane Morris, after his final snap (and handoff)

Brandon’s statement this morning basically hits all of the points I outlined here in my unpaid intern Crisis Management 101 lesson.  It assesses what happened, admits faults, discusses plans to fix the problems and so on.

But—why was Hoke hung out to dry and not told this was all happening?  This isn’t just a “medical report”.  If Hoke was told this was all happening, at the Monday presser could have talked about his responsibility and perspective on Saturday, but then he could have added, ‘..but we’re reviewing everything that happened to understand what mistakes (if any) were made’ and that the ‘details will be coming soon’, etc. etc.

It looks like they didn’t tell him?  What?  From the statement:

As of Sunday, Shane was diagnosed with a probable, mild concussion, and a high ankle sprain. That probable concussion diagnosis was not at all clear on the field on Saturday or in the examination that was conducted post-game. Unfortunately, there was inadequate communication between our physicians and medical staff and Coach Hoke was not provided the updated diagnosis before making a public statement on Monday.

How is that possible?   Again, I don’t think Hoke is lying. 

I’m not suggesting Hoke is absolved of any ownership here – far from it.  While he shouldn’t be responsible for medical diagnoses, he is responsible for how the whole operation fits together on how the sideline communicates with each other, and in particular, to he and his staff.

His responsibility to Morris and the rest of the players as the leader of the football team is to demand that all these questions be asked about what happened on Saturday so it can’t happen again.  And after seeing the film he should have absolutely demanded that Morris be evaluated or certainly, if he assumed his medical staff was taking care of that, to know the results

He obviously didn’t do that, or he would have known that Morris was indeed diagnosed with the concussion on Sunday instead of telling reporters otherwise on Monday and making U-M and the football program look even more unprofessional and disorganized, and in this case, dangerous.

As Brandon’s statement points out this is more of a communication issue.  As of Monday it doesn’t look like Hoke took those steps to find out what happened, but bizarrely on top of that, but he didn’t even know that resources in the department were engaged investigating the breakdown on Saturday.  On tippy top of that, more importantly on a personal level, he didn’t know that his boss was apparently heavily involved!?  “I [Brandon] have had numerous meetings since Sunday morning to thoroughly review the situation that occurred at Saturday’s football game.”  

sideline hysteria Sideline as Gardner heads out after losing his helmet

And no one involved in these reviews told Brady that Brandon was talking to them and reviewing everything that happened Saturday?  And Brady didn’t contact his boss about the situation that was making headlines literally everywhere?  

Brandon’s not absolved either.  Hardly.  He knows damn well how to handle a crisis like this, or at least has the people around him to do it.  By not informing Brady of what was happening he allowed Hoke to embarrass himself, to potentially put Morris at more risk during practice, and more importantly, to make a mockery of this university on Sunday (with that ridiculous statement) and Monday at the press conference.

And Brandon didn’t tell Brady he was conducting all these reviews?   And Brandon didn’t include Brady in any of the reviews (isn’t the head coach part of the communication loop)?

Only reasonable conclusion – the boss is excluding Hoke because he’s lining him up to be fired for this.  Maybe not now or this week, but you don’t have an epic freeze out like this in the athletic department between the athletic director, the staff and the coach unless something is up.

I’m so pissed.

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29. September 2014 · 6 comments · Categories: 2014

Say what you want about Dave Brandon (and everyone is saying what they want), but we know firsthand that he knows how to deal with a media crisis/circus.  His handling of the Rich Rod practicegate scandal was masterful.  I dubbed him ‘Super Dave’ and he deserved it.  What’s striking to me here is the complete lack of savvy in the handling of this issue.  Someone joked to me it is as if Hoke is being set-up.  As preposterous as that is, it would at least explain what is happening.  This doesn’t feel anything like a Dave Brandon Production.

The strategy since last night (and the basic Hoke talk track today) seems to be to separate Hoke from the medical diagnosis and decision to play or not play.  Fine.  But when asked today if the medical staff performed a concussion test, Hoke said, “I assume so.”  Huh?

Now, perhaps Hoke was so focused on trying to sell the “I’m-a-coach-not-a-doctor” strategy that he fumbled that answer.  But does anyone believe that Hoke doesn’t really know (by now) exactly what happened on the sideline with Morris?   It was probably reviewed with half of the athletic department by now.

How it Should have Gone
Based on my credentials as an unpaid US Senate intern (/Barney Fife sniff) two decades ago, if I’m running the talk track it goes like this.  After pointing out that student-athlete safety is of the highest priority, and that you have the full confidence in your medical staff:

1. Explain what the process is when a player comes out of a game for an injury.
2. Explain that you reviewed specifically what was done with Morris on Saturday with the staff. (This must have happened) 
3. Point out what was done correctly with Morris’s examination, and candidly what, if anything, was missed.
4. If anything was missed, explain why it was missed and what the staff is doing about it to ensure it never happens again. 
5. Explain the process to communicate to the coaching staff when an injured player can return to the field.
6. Point out what was done correctly with the communication process, and candidly what, if anything, was missed.
7. If anything was missed, explain what the coaching staff is doing to correct this communication process moving forward to ensure it never happens again.
8. Reiterate that U-M has the finest medical staff in the business.
9. Reiterate how seriously you take the safety of student athletes.
10. Take questions.

If you think this is too much detail and would expose Michigan to outside scrutiny and ridicule, I guess I’d ask: how’s the current talk track working out?  What time does Nancy Grace land at DTW?

Hoke’s Character
By the way, just to be clear:
1. I don’t think Hoke is lying – this is just being handled so poorly.
2. There is no way Hoke knowingly would put a player in danger.  He would never do it.


Update: This is a Dave Brandon crisis management Production.  Full statement from U-M released this morning.  Full MVictors reaction here.

Statement from U-M Athletic Director Dave Brandon Regarding Student-Athlete Health and Welfare

Ultimate responsibility for the health and safety of our student-athletes resides with each team’s coach and with me, as the Director of Athletics. We are committed to continuously improving our procedures to better protect the health and welfare of our student-athletes.

I have had numerous meetings since Sunday morning to thoroughly review the situation that occurred at Saturday’s football game regarding student-athlete Shane Morris. I have met with those who were directly involved and who were responsible for managing Shane’s care and determining his medical fitness for participation.

In my judgment, there was a serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline. Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes. I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first.

I have worked with Darryl Conway, my Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Health and Welfare, to develop a detailed accounting of the events that occurred. Darryl is the person who oversees all athletic training personnel and serves as the liaison to the physicians we work with through the University of Michigan Health System and University Health Services.

It is important to note that our athletic trainers and physicians working with Michigan Athletics have the unchallengeable authority to remove student-athletes from the field of play. Michigan Athletics has numerous medical professionals at every football competition including certified athletic trainers and several physicians from various relevant specialties.

I, along with Darryl and our administrative and medical teams, have spent much of the last two days carefully reviewing the situation regarding Shane Morris. We now understand that, despite having the right people on the sidelines assessing our student-athletes’ well being, the systems we had in place were inadequate to handle this unique and complex situation properly.

With his permission, I can share that Shane Morris suffered an ankle injury during the third quarter of Saturday’s game. He was evaluated for that injury by an orthopedic surgeon and an athletic trainer several times during the game. With each of these evaluations it was determined that his ankle injury did not prevent him from playing.

In the fourth quarter, Shane took a significant hit and stumbled after getting up. From the field level and without the benefit of replays, medical and coaching staffs did not see the hit. Because they did not see the hit, the athletic training staff believed Shane stumbled because of his ankle injury. The team neurologist, watching from further down the field, also did not see the hit. However, the neurologist, with expertise in detecting signs of concussion, saw Shane stumble and determined he needed to head down the sideline to evaluate Shane.

Shane came off the field after the following play and was reassessed by the head athletic trainer for the ankle injury. Since the athletic trainer had not seen the hit to the chin and was not aware that a neurological evaluation was necessary, he cleared Shane for one additional play.

The neurologist and other team physicians were not aware that Shane was being asked to return to the field, and Shane left the bench when he heard his name called and went back into the game. Under these circumstances, a player should not be allowed to re-enter the game before being cleared by the team physician. This clearly identifies the need for improvements in our sideline and communication processes.

Following the game, a comprehensive concussion evaluation was completed and Shane has been evaluated twice since the game. As of Sunday, Shane was diagnosed with a probable, mild concussion, and a high ankle sprain. That probable concussion diagnosis was not at all clear on the field on Saturday or in the examination that was conducted post-game. Unfortunately, there was inadequate communication between our physicians and medical staff and Coach Hoke was not provided the updated diagnosis before making a public statement on Monday. This is another mistake that cannot occur again.

Going forward, we have identified two changes in our procedures that we will implement immediately:

We will have an athletic medicine professional in the press box or video booth to ensure that someone will have a bird’s eye view of the on-field action, have television replay available and have the ability to communicate with medical personnel on the sidelines. 

We are also examining how to reinforce our sideline communication processes and how decisions will be made in order to make sure that information regarding student-athlete availability to participate is communicated effectively amongst the medical team and to our coaches.

We have learned from this experience, and will continue to improve ways to keep our student-athletes’ health and safety our number one priority.

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IMG_4274 - kiss

I don’t have to explain how I feel about the history of this rivalry and also needless to say, it is very rough for me to watch that jug head out of town.  Looking through the photos, it particularly stung seeing shots with that new section of the jug.  I stood inches away when Jil Gordon painted on the score last year.   You might call this the dong punch de resistance:

jug and program Check out the kid holding a program.  Inside there is a story this week that I wrote, particularly about the different paint jobs the jug has had over the years leading off with a mention of Jil’s work (including the photo below) on the new section last year.

Jil Gordon paints new section (2013 - Greg Dooley photo)Now that thing is hundreds of miles away and they are doing lord-knows-what to it.  Punch.

 Read on..(1964 team, Arena, Pomp, Mood, links and more…)

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