Up on mgoblue.com right now, a nice piece on the Michigan coaching ties to Miami, OH and its famed Cradle of Coaches.  It include a few great quotes from longtime assistant coach Jerry Hanlon, Tirrel Burton, Jon Falk and others.  Hanlon:

“I’m a double ‘M Man,’ ” Hanlon said. “You can’t get Miami out of my blood because it gave me my start. It’s going to be tough this Saturday, but I think I’ve worn the maize and blue a little too long.” 

More importantly, I got a kick out of this.  The lead pic features Bo’s staff in 1975 during team photo day…but look who’s chilling in the background!

Les Miles Here’s Les, a senior offensive guard in ‘75, in the front row of the team photo if you need him:

Les Miles 1975 


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Keep Ira and Sam in your thoughts.  They’ve graciously kept the WTKA phone lines open since Monday morning.  I’m pretty sure if they continue this for the entire week they qualify for sainthood.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s shutout, Ira even took the onslaught from callers on the postgame show.  Just after midnight Paul from Toledo dialed in:

Forget Engineering! (Sorry Cook.)

Update: This has pretty much gone viral.  Thanks to Lost Letterman for taking a run at the transcription:

“Yeah, this is Paul. [Inaudible] I’m headed back home. I just gotta tell you right now: That is absolutely a joke. I heard one of your sponsors: Come Get Some Burritos. Brady Hoke can grab some burritos and get the heck out of town. You got to be kidding me.

I mean here’s the deal: Devin Gardner’s got a defensive lineman number (#98), get him on the defensive line! Let’s get a quarterback in there that knows how to throw and throw to our team!

Let’s get John Beilein coaching both teams, Crisler Arena and the Big House are right next to each other. Let’s get John Beilein, Jon Horford – let’s get all those guys – Mitch McGary; I don’t care how many trees he smokes, he can score touchdowns, then get him on the field!

The Maize and Blue need to [inaudible] in a big way. You know what I’m talking about, Ira! This is a joke! I’m in Toledo, Ohio, enemy territory, we need some Ws!

What is Michigan about? Engineering? Forget engineering! Let’s win football!!!!”

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[Ed. I don’t know if this helps or hurts your Saturday hangover, but reader Daniel shared this via email today and I had to post itGreat Stuff]

** Guest post by Daniel Florip **

As depressed as we are about the 31-0 butt kicking Saturday night, let’s also continue to be depressed about the end of this very hotly contested and entertaining rivalry. I decided to look at the numbers, and it’s amazing how even the modern rivalry was. Take a look at the 31 modern games in the series, from 1978 to 2014:

The wins and losses were right down the middle: M 15, ND 15, 1 tie

The points scored were pretty even too, over 31 games: M 716, ND 660.

The per-game average score of M 23, ND 21 suggests a whole lot of very close contests and a very even series.

Each school defended its home turf at pretty much the same clip:
* M Record in Ann Arbor: 10-5
* ND Record in South Bend: 10-5-1

And this was not a streaky series by any means:
* Longest ND Winning Streak: 4 (1987-1990)
* Longest M Winning Streak: 3 (2009-2011)
* (No other streaks longer than 2 games.)

The records were pretty close no matter the margin of victory.  More »


Synopsis: They might be chicken but we’re the jive turkeys.  

No, the season is not lost but what happened last night was worse as anything that has happened in recent years – seriously – including last year’s beat down in East Lansing.   Oh yes, it got ugly (ironically, mostly Chicken Little sky is falling) on WTKA on Sunday morning.  A reminder to callers, please recite your fandom credentials BEFORE your rant, please.  Oh and the Twitterverse was less than kind to the current #1000SSS regime.  

Hope is not a strategy but..that’s my strategy.  And bourbon.

Peacock Trolls:  Nice to know NBC Sports is trolling this site…did you see that photo and brief mention of Yost’s dog?    I wonder where they got that?

More »

ND stadium Via Maize & Blue Nation

Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is back this season with his weekly postgame helmet stickers.  Sap would do a backflip if coach Hoke decided to reinstate this tradition that Bo brought to the Dr. Sap's Decals team in 1969.

Until that day comes, 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 (except this week b/c we sucked).

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION NO DECAL  – I get it, Funchess had over 100 yards receiving, but no points = No Decals for anybody on the offense.
DEFENSIVE CHAMPION NO DECAL  – The D played hard and was not the reason U-M lost this game, but I didn’t see any consistent play from anyone that deserved any decals.
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION NO DECAL – Two missed field goals early set an ominous tone for this game. You just can’t have misses like that in big road games like this.
UNIFORM CHAMPION WHITE SOCKS – I saw several players wearing all white socks up to their knees – wonder if they read my post last game?
white socks hiked
That look, with the road white jerseys and white socks, is classic and timeless. Decals to all those knee-high-white-socked-M-Men!!
BOB UFER FAN AWARD THOSE WHO STAYED – To those M fans in South Bend who stayed…until the last snap (and I mean the very last snap after the pick six, cheaters).  Salute.  Next time we see each other I’m buying the bagels.


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[Ed. Originally posted November 2012.  IMHO, one more solid read/listen prior to kickoff.  Invest some time to listen to these clips - I think you enjoy it:]

I mentioned earlier this week that Ira and I recently sat with Coach Moeller, who will be honored Saturday at Michigan Stadium, in studio at WTKA.  This was my favorite part and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  We methodically mo catchstepped through the headset audio from The Catch (recall that the athletic department released it last year in the UTL ND game program).

As a bonus – I’ve included a second clip of the man on the other side of the field.  Writer John Kryk interviewed Lou Holtz for his book Natural Enemies, the definitive tome on the U-M-ND rivalry, and he was kind enough to share this clip from his archives.  It’s Holtz discussing the defensive play call and their strategy.   It’s a little scratchy but I sent it over to Ira who cleaned it up a bit.

The Moeller clip is over 17 minutes long so give it a chance to load up and we cover just about everything that is said on the recording and more.  Holtz is just over a minute (that’s Kryk asking the questions).

A crude diagram:
The Catch options
What you can’t see is the Irish safety, who is back and over on the left side of the defense (toward Desmond) but immediately goes to double cover Howard when the ball is snapped. More »

This Week..heads back to September 6, 2008 with RichRod looking for his first win in Ann Arbor against Miami, OH.  For obvious reasons we quickly spin away from 2008 and take a little Notre Dame/Michigan history, specifically to the cancelation of 1910 that tossed gasoline on the rivalry:

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 8am.

For more on the Notre Dame Rivalry:



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[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 »

[Ed. IMHO another must-read prior to the final Notre Dame game on Saturday.  Here's John Kryk's (Natural Enemies) guest post from 2010, on the 100th anniversary of when Michigan cancelled the scheduled game with Notre Dame on the brink of the 1910 game.  For more, check out Kryk's piece from this week, putting Letter-gate in historical context. ]

1910 Headlines 

Guest post by JOHN KRYK of Natural Enemies – (Follow John Kryk on Twitter)
Note:  Originally posted November 4, 2010

What is it about this date in Michigan history? Today isn’t the first time that the apex, and resolution, of one of the biggest off-field controversies in Michigan football history was reached on Nov. 4, ’10.

It was exactly 100 years ago today — on Friday, Nov. 4, 1910 — that Michigan authorities cancelled the showdown football game scheduled for the next day between the Wolverines and the University of Notre Dame on old Ferry Field, now site of UM’s track and field oval.  In a nutshell, the Wolverines contended that at least two Fighting Irish players were ineligible under the rules of the game contract, and when Notre Dame refused to sit them out, Michigan pulled the plug on the contest, and, as it turned out, on the series for the next 32 years.

As I wrote in the two incarnations of my book Natural Enemies, just who was right and who was wrong is difficult to ascertain, because the status of the disputed players rested on the vague and variant eligibility rules of the day. That each side devised interpretations to suit its position, then steadfastly defended that position, should come as no surprise. Nor should the explosions that followed.

Michigan had literally taught the game of football to Notre Dame, in November 1887. For the next 21 years, the teams played off and on, with  Michigan always winning. Small-fry colleges in the Midwest, such as Notre Dame at the time, were always desperate to get a spot on the football schedule of a Midwestern giant such as Michigan, and when they failed it could devastate them. But as I first wrote in Natural Enemies in 1994 (13 years before Mike Hart popularized the analogy):

In Michigan’s eyes, Notre Dame was just the pesky kid brother who refuses to understand he can’t always hang out with the big boys. And when kid brother goes off whining to the other small fry on the block, well, big brother couldn’t care less. But kid brother was determined to prove he belonged. Indeed, for the next two decades, Notre Dame aspired to be everything that mighty Michigan already was in athletics.

In 1909 Notre Dame finally defeated Michigan in its ninth attempt, 11-3 at Ann Arbor. It was the only blight on an otherwise landmark year for Yost and his Wolverines, who knocked off defending national champion Penn in Philadelphia, and Conference champion Minnesota in Minneapolis. The loss rankled Yost and his team, because Michigan was observing the new Conference rules that barred freshmen and limited player eligibility to three years, while Notre Dame was still wantonly playing freshmen and four-year men.

Michigan grudgingly rescheduled Notre Dame for 1910, solely to give Yost and the players a shot at redemption. But they insisted Notre Dame play by Michigan’s rules — namely, no playing any freshmen or four-year men.

Rule 6 of the 1910 Notre Dame-Michigan game contract

Come fall, three of Notre Dame’s star players from 1909 returned — grizzled linemen Ralph Dimmick and George Philbrook, and back Lee Matthews. Michigan did more digging into their pasts and found that Dimmick and Philbrook were in their seventh years of college football, after having played one season at the University of Pacific in Oregon, three at Whitman College in Washington state, and two previous at Notre Dame. And Matthews had played at the University of Washington in 1907 and the two previous years at Notre Dame. But it wasn’t as cut-and-dried as that.   Pacific and Whitman weren’t included on the Conference’s “list of colleges” for the determination of counting such years of eligibility, and thus Notre Dame argued these men were only in their third years.


 Dimmick and Philbrook

Michigan filed an official protest to Notre Dame four days before the game. For the rest of the week, the athletic authorities at both universities debated the complicated interpretations — first with each other, and then in the press. By Friday, Nov. 4 at about 2 p.m., the chairman of Michigan’s Board in Control of Athletics, Evans Holbrook, spoke with his counterpart at ND, Father Crumley, by phone. Neither side backed down, and Holbrook cancelled the game.

The Michigan Daily, for one, was ecstatic. A few months earlier, after a scuffle at a Michigan-Notre Dame baseball game in Ann Arbor, managing editor Lee A. White wrote the following editorial — to this day, likely the most scathing attack of Notre Dame athletics ever written, under the heading “Brass-knuckle” Athletics:

It’s time to call quits with Notre Dame. There is no reason for evasion. The plain, blunt fact is that there is a limit to the amount of rowdyism that even (an independent) university such as Michigan is at the moment has to stand. The disgraceful demonstration of the Indiana athletes during yesterday’s game is the climax of a long series of questionable acts, and common decency demands no less drastic action than a complete severance of all athletic relations with them…

Were this a single instance of the coarseness of Notre Dame’s athletes there would be little enough to say, but it isn’t. The close observer of the conduct of that school’s teams could cite you any number of like incidents; one dates but a year back, on the local diamond. Why does Michigan continue to give that institution character and prestige by putting up with her mucker spirit?

And the worst of it is we have absolutely nothing to gain by the association that we have built up. We have known all along that despite chicken-hearted “investigations” Notre Dame is universally a supporter of “ringsters” and ineligibles such that she has absolutely no standing in respectable company.

Newspapers across the Midwest went big with the story. For almost a week thereafter, sports sections chronicled the charges and counter charges. Michigan’s Holbrook and AD Phil Bartelme slammed Notre Dame, while N.D.’s Crumley and former AD Harry Curtis shot back at Michigan – all of which added up to one of the ugliest off-field controversies of its generation.

The school newspapers, of course, best captured each side’s militant point of view.

From The Michigan Daily:

Notre Dame and Michigan have played their last game together, and for this we are truly grateful… A local paper bemoans the loss of the hotly contested Notre Dame games. But Michigan need not worry. When the field of fair and square colleges, capable of putting up a good fight against Michigan, runs below the number necessary to fill our schedule, we’ll be ready to vote for the cessation of athletic competition.

From The Notre Dame Scholastic:

We are right – we are sure of that. The ruling which may possibly deprive us of two athletes will be a ruling on a technicality, and no sane man will consider that a fault … We can win a football game or a track meet, but in the matter of post-factum technicalities, we’re outclassed.

Unlike the current off-field Michigan controversy, resolved today, in 1910 the neophyte NCAA had no national jurisdiction or mission to investigate anything, let alone make any binding rulings. Schools not in the same athletic conference were pretty much left to their own squabbling.

How far have things changed across the board in Michigan football in the 100 years since? Oh, quite a bit.

Perhaps this sums it up best.

In 1903, Michigan athletic director Charles Baird happily wrote the sports editor of the Detroit Free Press, passing along six complementary tickets for his staff’s use to cover the Michigan-Chicago showdown game, saying, “We feel that the Free Press is very friendly towards Michigan and Michigan athletics.”

[Ed. Thanks to John Kryk of the wonderful Natural Enemies for this outstanding guest post!]

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