21. October 2017 · 1 comment · Categories: 2017

For Tonight’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History we stroll back all the way to the 1920s, a decade that saw the construction of Yost Field House and later, Michigan Stadium.
The 1920s also saw a few Wolverine all-time greats take the gridiron, including Meeeechigan men like Harry Kipke – who helped Yost earn another national title in 1923, as well as legends Bennie Oosterbaan and Benny Friedman.
One name that’s not often mentioned from that decade is man named Paul Goebel. Goebel was born in 1901, just around the time Michigan hired Fielding Yost to lead the football squad into an era of point-a-minute mayhem.  At around 6 foot 5, he was a giant for his day.  A while you won’t hear him mentioned with greats like Anthony Carter, Braylon Edwards, Derrick Alexander and David Terrell – he was the first Michigan end to don the once coveted #1 jersey.  If nothing else, you should know his name because of what he did on this day 95 years ago in Columbus, Ohio:

Here’s the clip:


TWIMFbH is sponsored by Hillside Terrace of Ann Arbor.  This segment can be heard on the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff and you can listen live on 1050AM in Ann Arbor & on wtka.com around the world.  This segment plays approximately 2 hours before kickoff each week.

You can hear the archive of This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.    If you have suggestions for future games hit me on Twitter @MVictors.  Go Blue!


/script …after the jump

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19. October 2017 · Comments Off on A Toast to Yost from Coast to Coast – with Production · Categories: 2017

H/T to Craig at HSR and H/T to mgoblog’s coveted mgoboard.  Coincidentally on this day back in 1940:

Nicely done!

Sure, readers of this site have already heard clips of this event, but I love how this gent pulled it together with the pics and context.   And because there are a few shots of Yost in this beauty, I thought I’d repost this compilation of the Grand Old Man over the years:

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16. October 2017 · Comments Off on The Art of Meechigan Video · Categories: 2017

I’ve known U-M football archivist Art Vuolo for a while because he’s omnipresent.  You can find him rolling tape at anything Michigan related—games, busts, award ceremonies, outings…you name it.  I promised Art a plug and here goes:

Since 1979, Art Vuolo has been on the photo deck of the Michigan press box for nearly every single home game capturing, on video, the action and excitement, but most of all, the things not seen or heard on television.  He features the elements that make all the football Saturdays in Ann Arbor a true fan experience, like the tailgates, the pre-game festivities, the marching band, halftime show, special on field presentations and best of all…he offers complete games dubbed and synchronized with the Michigan radio broadcast instead of the clowns on the networks.

In the mid-1970’s Vuolo produced the famous Bob Ufer albums, now on CD.  He began recording the games from radio when Bo Schembechler arrived in 1969 and nearly every game features Ufer (yes, complete Ufer games), Frank Beckmann and now Jim Brandstatter and Dan Dierdorf.

He doesn’t do this to make money — Art does it to spread the love.

If you want a certain game or the entire season, reach out to Art via his web site: www.vuolovideo.com, or via e-mail: artvuolo@aol.com.

15. October 2017 · Comments Off on Get in My Belly | Dr. Sap’s Decals · Categories: 2017

Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is a Schembechler-era savant and once again this season he’ll be diligently handing out his postgame helmet stickers after each game. Sap has pored over hours and hours of U-M games over several decades, and in these posts he’s able to tie the present to the past.  I encourage you to subscribe to Dr. Sap on YouTube, or follow Sap on Twitter.

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – Easy to single out Karan Higdon for this, but I’m going with the Big Uglies up front – specifically the Interior O-Line. It seemed like most of the successful (running) plays were straight up the middle. And while it’s difficult to single out just one guy, I’ll go with all three interior linemen. We saw some hints of this last week against another basketball school, so it was nice to see that it wasn’t a one-week-wonder.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – For this defense to click, it has to start with pressure up front, and Maurice Hurst seemed to bring it all game. If Fat Bastard (of Austin Powers fame) were to call or describe one of Mo Hurst’s sacks, I’m sure he’d exclaim, “Get In My Belly,” every time #73 took down an opponent and then rubbed his belly. So ya, Mo Hurst gets a helmet sticker. Yeah, baby!!

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Don’t ever think blocking a field goal is easy to do or a non-factor. Maurice Hurst did that against IU and for the longest time it looked like that would be the difference in the game. It ended up not being the case, but still underscores the importance of what Hurst did. “Get In My Belly!!!”

COACHING CHAMPION – Nice to see Assistant Head Coach Tim Drevno channel his inner Bo Schembechler. Back in the day, whenever Michigan lost a game they shouldn’t have, Bo always liked to say that the best way to correct those mistakes that led to the loss was to get back to basics. That meant running the ball, A LOT, and running it between the tackles. There was a reason Bob Ufer used to always say, “Two tight ends and a balanced line” to start his call of a play. That basic formation dictated how the defense was to line up. If the D played straight up, then the O-Line knew their blocking assignments were pretty much the guy across the line of scrimmage. If the D over-shifted to one side of the play, the offense would run the other way. Pretty simple stuff, much like the old acronym: KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. When it works, like it did against IU, it looks pretty simple, and effective. When it doesn’t? “Get back to basics – that’s just fundamental!” just like the old ball coach used to say.

UNIFORM CHAMPION – Ok, I’m down with the all white unis on the road, but when the home team wears white pants, can Michigan at least have the option to wear their maize pants? I just didn’t like that look against Indiana. Maybe next week against Penn State this possibility can be explored? Just sayin’… In the meantime, no sticker for you!


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Week by Week Champions (O = Offense, D = Defense, T = Special Teams, C = Coaching, U = Uniform, E = Editor’s pick)
Week 1 vs. Florida:  Ty Issac (O), Devin Bush (D), Quinn Nordin (T), Don Brown, Greg Mattison (C), all-maize unis (U), Camaron Cheeseman (E)
Week 2 vs. Cincinnati:  Ty Issac (O), Tyree Kinnel (D), Grant Perry (T), Greg Mattison (C), refined helmet decals (U).
Week 3 vs. Air Force:  N/A (O), Chase Winovich (D), Quinn Nordin & Donovan Peoples-Jones (T), Jim Harbaugh (C), full on maize and blue uniforms (U)
Week 4 vs. Purdue: John O’Korn (O), Devin Bush (D), Brad Robbins (T), Don Brown (C), white-arm-sleeves-on-shins (U)
Week 5 vs. Michigan State: N/A
Week 6 vs. Indiana: Karan Higdon (O), Maurice Hurst (D) and (T), Tim Drevno (C)
Week 7 vs. Penn State:  N/A
Week 8 vs. Rutgers:

14. October 2017 · Comments Off on Harmon vs. Kinnick (1939) | This Week in Michigan Football History · Categories: 2017

Harmon picks off Kinnick (1939)

This week’s game hits features a 1939 face off between two of the biggest names in college football history – Michigan’s Tom “Old 98” Harmon and Iowa’s Nile Kinnick.  Harmon dominated this game but Kinnick took home the 1939 Heisman – (98 finished second).


Here’s the clip:

TWIMFbH is sponsored by Hillside Terrace of Ann Arbor.  This segment can be heard on the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff and you can listen live on 1050AM in Ann Arbor & on wtka.com around the world.  This segment plays approximately 2 hours before kickoff each week.

You can hear the archive of This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.    If you have suggestions for future games hit me on Twitter @MVictors.  Go Blue!


/script …after the jump

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11. October 2017 · Comments Off on Carl McKee & the Version 3 Helmet Sticker | Storytime with Dr. Sap · Categories: 2017

A guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

In my never-ending quest to find out all that there is to know about the University of Michigan football helmet stickers, I tracked down the creator of the version 3 helmet sticker, Carl McKee.

If you recall, Bo Schembechler introduced the first Michigan helmet sticker in 1969. It was a crudely shaped, gold colored football. Those lasted through the 1974 season.   In 1975, the second version of the helmet sticker was introduced. This time the shape of the sticker looked more football-like, but the difference was that a snarling wolverine head was added to the decal. These lasted through the 1982 season.In 1983 and 1984, while no stickers were placed on the Michigan headgear, the awards were still tracked on a board/wall inside the Michigan Football locker room.  [see the Uniform Timeline for details]

Sap was mad as a hornet in ’83 and ’84


That’s when Carl McKee happened to meet Michigan Football equipment manager, Jon Falk. The two struck up a friendship as Carl was a big Michigan football fan and he and Big Jon would occasionally talk and exchange some ideas and thoughts about Michigan Football.

Right around the same time, Carl had a good friend by the name of Thomas Kneff, who was a local artist that liked to draw and paint country scenes and barnyards.  Carl felt the Michigan helmet sticker needed a tweak, so he asked Kneff to re-draw the snarling wolverine head and add some laces to the design to give it more of a football look and feel.

This is one of Kneff’s more famous paintings

Carl then took his helmet sticker artwork to a printing company in Detroit, MI and had them print off a few samples to give to Falk. Big Jon liked the new look so much that he asked Carl if he could print off a few thousand more because Michigan was going to use these new stickers in 1985.

The snarling wolverine head is a little bigger in Carl’s version of the helmet sticker.

The rest is history, sort of.

Carl’s stickers were used by Michigan for about 7 or 8 years, until Falk realized the thin vinyl was getting torn and lacerated from all the hits and collisions the players were enduring over the course of a season. In 1992, Falk went national and had another company use the same laces and snarling wolverine head design Carl came up with and applied it to a thicker mil vinyl that was more durable and would stand up to the rigors of big time college football.  That sticker would last until the end of the 1994 season. In 1995, Lloyd Carr became the Michigan Football Head Coach and he ended the helmet sticker program for a variety of reasons.

But the legend of Carl McKee doesn’t end there.

You see, Carl was, and still is, somewhat of an entrepreneur and he never met an idea he didn’t like. One of his more popular ideas was putting catchy phrases on vinyl sheets so we could all tout how proud we were of our favorite college and college football team.  That’s right, bumper stickers!

Carl made a bunch back in the 80’s and had his teenage sons, Carl III, Bob and John, sell them at all the tailgates around Ann Arbor.  Daughter Anne and brother Michael would literally iron out the crinkly dollar bills each weekend at the McKee household.    Oh ya, Carl also drove the kids to East Lansing and sold green and white versions of his bumper stickers to the Spartan faithful as well!

For four years the McKee children would put their money they earned from selling bumper stickers in the bank to pay for college tuition.   That’s right–Carl and his bumper stickers put his kids through college!

Do any of these look familiar?  Back in the day they sold for $1 each, or 6 for $5:

LOL –> “Ohio State has lost its punch”  #woodyburn

I know I have a few of these in my collection!

Dr. Sap dressed quite appropriately for his visit with Carl McKee.

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07. October 2017 · Comments Off on John “The Human Shrapnel” Maulbetsch | This Week in Michigan Football History · Categories: 2017

This Week in Football edition heads way back to discuss college football Hall of Famer John Maulbetsch:

TWIMFbH is sponsored by Hillside Terrace of Ann Arbor.  This segment can be heard on the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff and you can listen live on 1050AM in Ann Arbor & on wtka.com around the world.  This segment plays approximately 2 hours before kickoff each week.

You can hear the archive of This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.    If you have suggestions for future games hit me on Twitter @MVictors.  Go Blue!


/script …after the jump

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03. October 2017 · 1 comment · Categories: 2016

I’ve attempted to represent the overall and relative strength of U-M’s rivalries over time.  If you had a seizure reading this, cheers, you are reading it correctly.  Click the pic to expand it.  Please jump to Bullets listed below for additional notes, definitions and context.rivals-updated


(1) Western powers clash highlighted by annual Chicago/U-M Thanksgiving games; Elbel pens ‘The Victors‘ following 1898 game.
(2) Yost arrives and unleashes Point-A-Minute reign of terror; brutal Minnesota Little Brown Jug game in 1903 fosters bitterness.
(3) Apex of Stagg vs. Yost Chicago rivalry with recruiting wars, “loans” and scandal.
(4) Notre Dame wins in 1909 and Coach Shorty Longman taunts Yost in Ann Arbor.1910 game abruptly canceled due to eligibility dispute.
(5) The Trough of Disillusionment – U-M’s is out of B1G and schedule shifts, Penn emerges as the top rival.  Ohio State’s Chic Harley dazzles Yost in 1919.
(6) Games with Bob Zuppke’s Illinois teams and Red Grange create national buzz and a wicked (yet short-lived) rivalry; Rockne and Yost exchange accusations of rule-bending and bigotry.
(7) Battle with Minnesota for B1G/national supremacy; Francis Schmidt introduces OSU gold pants. Chicago quits football.
(8) Notre Dame series resumes, 1947 national title controversy blazes in the sports world.  MSU rises.
(9) Biggie, Duffy & Woody. A trio of all-time rival coaches arrive, MSU creates a national powerhouse, Dr. StrangeHayes emerges & will do the same.
(10) The Ten Year War – Bo and Woody battle and create Big 2 and Little 8; Gophers crushed.
(11) Blame Bo & Reggie Ho – U-M dominance over MSU pushed rivalry intensity down; Irish series resumes with classic games.  Bo is Bo, Earle Bruce ain’t Woody.
(12) The Loch Ness Gopher – It’s full on whack-a-gopher.  Despite the jug, the rivalry is only meaningful in Ann Arbor after Minnesota wins.
(13) Carr Blasts Cooper but game outcomes settle B1G title; Spartan Bob.
(14) Hart jabs, Little brother gets excited and MSU rises. 2006 #1 vs. #2 & rematch talk, HBO’s ‘The Rivalry’ airs.
(15) RichRod/U-M’s struggles elevate MSU focus; OSU intensity wanes and Meyer arrives.
(16) Enter Harbaugh – #4 returns home; national stakes in B1G East, ND series off schedule again.
  • This is a Michigan view of the world – so this won’t mirror how other teams view the intensity of their rivalry (or lack thereof) with U-M.  Michigan is unique to have so many rivals (arguably 5-6 different “main” rivals) over time.   Consider Ohio State’s view of its rivals:


  • This is obviously more art than science, but more science than Malcolm Gladwell typically relies on.
  • Creation of a rivalry requires a primordial stew of history, competition, and culture (including perceived cultural differences.)  I wouldn’t eat this stew, dude.
  • Once a team is a rival, I figure the strength of that rivalry at a given time is a confluence of the stakes involved (including bragging rights), the success of the teams, and at times the temperature of off-the-field activity between the players/coaches/universities and fanbases. (Fact: the Notre Dame rivalry has been fueled by behind-the-scenes shenanigans, f-yous, and tomfoolery.)
  • I rated each rivalry on 5 year intervals.  I could have gone granular especially over the last 20-30 years but rating rivalry strength on 12 month intervals gets a little ridiculous, even for nerds studs like me.
  • Not a surprise, but the peaks you see on this chart are when the two teams are very strong.  The nosedives often occur after Michigan pummeled the former rival to a pulp.
  • Thanks to the unholy trinity of Michigan historical & cultural wisdom (Craig Barker of the HSR, Steve Clarke of WTKA and John Kryk of Natural Enemies and Stagg vs. Yost) for the input.
More thoughts from Craig Barker:
  • Your inauguration into Michigan fandom plays heavily on whom you consider Michigan’s prime rivals.  OSU is always there, but younger generations, including the kids in that class, are going to see MSU as equally important, as you see in the chart.  Same with boomers who grew up during the Biggie/Duffy ascendant era.
  • On that tack, I also think that the importance of Michigan State as a rival can be personal, especially based on family.  If you have Spartan fans in your family, you know quite well how much they love to needle you, like some kind of…little brother…or something.
  • I think there’s a correlation to “the bigger you are, the more rivals you attract.”  Call it a gravitational theory.  The top five winningest schools are Michigan, ND, Texas, OSU, and Nebraska.  Michigan and ND definitely have multiple rivals, Texas has Oklahoma and A&M (dormant as it may be), OSU just has Michigan (which I think speaks volumes to their single-mindedness) and Nebraska had Oklahoma and Colorado from the Big 8 days, but then has the Rectangle of Ruckus in the B1G West now (since Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska all just hate each other.)
  • Rivalries tend to come in the intrastate and the interstate.  The intrastate is the Big Brother/Little Brother dynamic, or the university vs. land-grant rivalry.  The interstate is the defense of state honor thesis, crossing lines with the state that for some reason you hate.  Alabama’s is more intrastate focused, but they still sure don’t like Tennessee or Mississippi.  Florida hates FSU, but the Georgia game is a big deal, etc.  So I think many schools have two rivals, the internal and the external, and then it moves from there.
  • Penn State, not a rival, because the importance of the games in the 1990s and 2000s were about B1G standings, not about bragging rights.

Feedback? – Comment below or hit me on Twitter.

26. September 2017 · Comments Off on Leach Breaks down 1978 Notre Dame game (WTKA audio) · Categories: 2017

Pregame rituals vary, but I try to listen to as much of the WTKA Key Bank Countdown to Kickoff show as much as I can.   If you missed it this week you missed an epic segment.

Prior to the Purdue game Rick Leach phoned in to comment on the topic of This Week in Michigan Football History.  The topic was the 1978 Michigan-Notre Dame game, aka “The Reunion Game”.

Leach was injured the week of the game and he talks with Sam Webb about how he was injured, where he was during game week, about a visit from Bob Ufer, and then a few details on gameday: before the game, what Bo told him at halftime and a bit about after the game.  It’s outstanding.

Ira was kind to send me the clip so here it is, the first couple minutes is the TWIMFbH piece on the history of the rivalry and a recap of this game, and then Sam goes right into the Q&A with Leach:

Go Blue!

P.S. Speaking of all of this, the weekend WTKA is continuing the tradition of the Ufer Classic, and the game of choice is indeed that 1978 Notre Dame-Michigan game.   Ufer is fired up for this one and it’s a classic.  Make sure you hang in there for the second half!