Last week we learned that the new radio broadcast team will be former U-M teammates Jim Brandstatter and Dan Dierdorf.  The big news is that Brandy is shifting over a seat to do the play-by-play, with DD handling the color commentary.  I confirmed with Doug Karsch that he will remain is his previous role handling the on-field duties.  I kinda hope Karsch would get the nod to be in the booth (in one role or another) but it’s hard to argue with the Brandy-DD team.  Heck, I didn’t even know Dierdorf was an option.

You might know that Brandy stepped in to handle the radio play-by-play back in 2003 for the Northwestern game, but that’s not actually the first time he performed those duties during a Michigan football game.  It turns out that was way back in 1980…on TV.  Recently Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis shared with me the details of Brandstatter’s first shot calling the game:

In 1980, Larry Adderley and Jim Brandstatter were all set to call the Michigan-Notre Dame football game from South Bend, Indiana for a local cable TV outlet.  Adderley, who had just finished 5 years as the host of Michigan Replay with coach Bo Schembechler, would unfortunately come down with laryngitis just before kickoff.  He made a valiant effort to do the play-by-play, but his voice just couldn’t hold up (see clip #1 below).

Brandstatter, having been a former UM offensive lineman knew the drill: when one man goes down, the next one has to step up. It has been the creed of Michigan Football since Bo arrived in 1969.  While he was planning on doing the color commentary for the cable telecast, Brandy manned up and took over for Adderley in the 2nd half. He recruited UM Hoopster Steve Grote to do the color commentary (see clip #2).  Obviously Brando got a little excited and you can tell he was “watching” the game in some spots instead of describing the action.  In his defense you have to remember that he was doing this game on TV, not radio.  He recovered nicely, and his call of Craig Dunaway’s last minute TD (see clip #3).

Not bad for his first gig as a play-by-play guy, especially when you consider he was prepping to do the game as the color commentary man.

Not too shabby indeed.  Here are the clips:

I heard back in January through my deep network of #1000SSS spies that Brandstatter was indeed going after the play-by-play gig…and it prompted this tweet exchange:

Brady MVictors tweets

We know now that Jim sought out clips from his first time doing radio play-by-play (2003 Northwestern) to help make his case to IMG and our friends on State Street.   Radio legend Art Vuolo, the man with an ultimate set of U-M audio in his archives, confirmed the story on his site last week:

Perhaps the reason I am personally so excited to see this happen is due, in part, to the fact that it was my pleasure to help out via my extensive archive of U of M games. In 2003, when back surgery prevented Frank Beckmann from making the trip to Evanston, IL for the UM-Northwestern game, Jim was pressed into service calling the game, with Steve Courtney doing the color commentary. Brandy called me and asked if I had that game? I said I have just about all of them.

After checking, that game was still on the original video cassette (a Beta tape none the less!) So, I copied it, with Jim on the audio, onto a DVD and watched it at the same time. I thought “wow he’s damn good at actually calling a game!” When he came over to pick up the disc he was truly amazed at the library of Michigan video I’ve accumulated over the past 35+ years.

A copy of that DVD was given to Michigan Athletic Director, Dave Brandon and the rest…is now history. In an e-mail I received from Jim Brandstatter on Thursday he said, “Thank the Lord you still had a copy of that Northwestern game when my copy didn’t work so well…that was big…I had no idea at the time, but it turned out large.”

My pleasure Brando.

Nice work Art.  Nice work Sap.  Looking forward to hearing the new crew.


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Rose Bowl Watch

A close-up on the watch Bo is wearing on the Schembechler Statue – hmm, 1981 Rose Bowl!  Note it also reads 1pm – Bo’s favorite time to start a game — (MVictors photo)


Bo’s headset – with the Dymo tape and all– (MVictors photo)

If you missed it, we had some great radio this morning on WTKA 1050AM  as Ira and Sam were joined in studio by MVictors’ own Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis to discuss his recent Bo Brackets series.   The discussion of Bo’s greatest teams wasn’t left to those in studio alone, as Ira took calls from longtime coach Jerry Hanlon and legends Don Dufek, Stan Edwards and Ali Haji-Sheikh.

Check out all of the Bo Brackets posts here:  Background  Results:  Schembechler 16   Elite 8   Final Four   Title Game

Here are three clips from the show with a little on each:

Clip #1:  The Bo Bracket is introduced, Sap explains the origins and the initial seedings.  1980 kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh joins about 10 minutes in, and shares a quote from Bo himself what he considered his best team.

Clip #2: Leading off with a Bob Ufer clip, they get deeper into the Brackets and coach Jerry Hanlon joins in (5 mins in) and then Stan Edwards (10 minutes in). Edwards tells Hanlon, “…you know damn well..” that 1980 team was the best of the Bo era.  Edwards adds that the only team that could have kept pace was Lloyd Carr’s 1997 squad.

Clip #3:  Sam closes the show and Sap points out that Jim Brandstatter’s first true “play by play” radio experience was not 2003 Northwestern, but rather the 1980 Notre Dame game.  (More on that later).



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[Ed. The conclusion of the Bo Brackets – a guest post once again by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis!]

To celebrate the conclusion of the Bo Brackets, it was decided that the Championship Game would be played at the Rose Bowl. 

The 1973 squad was designated as the home team via coin toss and would wear their home blue jerseys.  Conversely, the visiting 1980 M-Men would wear their white, road jerseys for this championship tilt.   While both teams were directed by #1000SSS to wear commemorative patches below sewn on to their respective jerseys for this game…there was one slight problem..

Patches …the 1973 team refused to put anything on their classic uniforms.  U-M Equipment Manager, Jon Falk, balked at the idea of stitching the patch on the 1973 blues and told the media, “We don’t need a patch on that beautiful uniform. We didn’t wear one for our other bowl games in the ‘70s, so we’re not going to start now. No thank you.”

The 1980 team had a different take on the patch.  The same trail-blazing group that convinced Bo to have their names put on the back of their jerseys (see Uniform Timeline – 1979 and 1989 entries) and felt having a patch sewn on was no big deal. 

But General Bo wouldn’t be pushed too far.  “Sure, I gave in and let them have their names on the jerseys, so having a patch sewn on was no big deal. But when they tried to convince me that the team should wear white shoes, that’s where I drew the line.  Absolutely not!” added Bo.

Reserve defensive end Dave Brandon (1973) and back-up defensive back Brad Bates (1980) were selected by their respective teammates to be honorary captains for this game as well as being most-likely-to-become-future-athletic-directors.

After the University of Michigan Alumni Band played the National Anthem and The Victors, both teams were ready for kickoff.  The 1980 team won the coin toss and naturally elected to defer.

When Brandon and the 1973 team decided to receive, Dennis Franklin and his offensive teammates couldn’t wait to get their hands on the ball.  Ali Haji-Shiekh’s opening kickoff sailed through the end zone and the ’73 team started first and ten from their own 20-yard line.  Not surprisingly, the first play of the game was a handoff to fullback Ed Shuttlesworth and he powered up the middle for a gain of 5 yards.  Successive option pitches to Chuck Heater and Gil Chapman put the ball on ’73 UM 38-yard line.   Now that they had lulled the ’80 defense into over-playing the run, TE Paul Seal’s number was called on a play-action pass. Franklin faked beautifully to Heater and hit Seal down the middle of the field for a 35-yard gain. Just like that the ’73 team was on the move against the great 1980 U-M defense.

Next up was a designed quarterback draw that left the middle of the field wide open for Dennis “The Menace” Franklin.  He scampered all the way to the 3-yard line and while the ’73 Wolverines were making it look easy, McCartney’s Monsters were back on their collective heels.   But on the very next play, Franklin fumbled the snap and Mike Trgovac recovered for the ’80 squad at their own 2-yard line.  

As the 1973 defense took the field, Co-Captain Dave Gallagher felt the momentum swing to the white shirts on the other side of the gridiron. He urged his teammates to stand their ground and force a three-and-out.  Don Dufek took his captain’s words to heart as he blitzed from his strong safety position on first down and tackled Butch Woolfolk at the goal line for a two-yard loss. Runs by Stan Edwards and Lawrence Ricks moved the ball out to the 8-yard line, giving the ’80 offense some breathing room to punt.

With freshman punter Don Bracken set to kick from his own end zone, the ’73 Wolverines called for a punt block. Bracken’s quick step and a half delivery beat the charging ’73 defenders as he boomed a high spiral that landed just in front of return man Dave Brown. As he was about to corral the punt, the pigskin bounced over Brown’s head and rolled toward the ’73 end zone. By the time Brown picked up the ball at his own 15-yard line, he was greeted by a sea of white jerseys and was downed on the spot.   Bracken’s 76-yard rifle-shot had flipped the field and the momentum changed once again.

The teams exchanged punts on the next two possessions and as the defenses continued to dominate, the first quarter ended with the score tied, 0-0.

To start the second quarter, Wangler completed consecutive passes to tight ends Norm Betts and Craig Dunaway.  Looking to put the first points of the game on the scoreboard, Wangler threw deep looking for Anthony Carter, but Brown got his fingertips on the pass just enough to deflect it past the spindly-legged receiver.  While Brown let Carter know that he was going to be around all game, AC, still looking for his first reception of the contest, reminded the Brown that #1 was not just a receiver…and the ’73 defensive back would find out the hard way on the very next play.

Realizing the 1980 offense needed a jump start, a flanker reverse was called and finally Carter got his hands on the ball. With nothing but green grass and offensive linemen in front of him, the “Human Torpedo” weaved his way through the 1973 defense for a 54-yard touchdown run.  A miscommunication on the ensuing point after try resulted in the snap hitting holder Rich Hewlett in the facemask. The ball was picked up by Haji-Shiekh but he was swarmed over by the ’73 defense and with just over two minutes to play in the half, the 1980 U-M squad was up, 6-0.

Franklin and the ’73 offense took the ensuing kickoff and methodically moved down the field using their last timeout to give Mike Lantry a shot at a 55-yard field goal.  “Super Toe” hit it high enough and long enough to finally get the ’73 team on the board and the first half ended, 6-3 in favor of the 1980 Wolverines.

HALFTIME SCORE:  1980 Whites 6, 1973 Blues 3

To start the second half, Ed Muransky and Bubba Paris were determined to impose their collective will on the ’73 defense.  The two mammoth tackles wanted to run the ball and that’s just what the ’80 offense did.   Runs by Edwards and Ricks moved them into scoring position but a fumble by Woolfolk ended the drive and once again the momentum swung over to the 1973 side.  Capitalizing on this break, Franklin ran successive option pitches to Heater to set up the one trick play the ’73 squad had been working on all week.

On third down, Franklin ran another option play and pitched the ball to Heater once again. This time, Heater threw to a wide open Seal and he lumbered in for a 25-yard touchdown.  Lantry’s extra point now gave the ’73 team its first lead of the game, 10-6.

Missed field goals by each team kept the score unchanged at the end of three quarters.
With the momentum and lead on their side, the ’73 team’s strategy in the 4th quarter was to use up as much clock as possible and put the game in the hands of their strong defense.  The strategy played out exactly how they wanted as the ’80 offense had the ball on their own 30-yard line with just over a minute to play and one timeout.  Seventy yards separated the two teams from victory or defeat. 

A first down pass to Carter picked up 15 yards.  Wangler then connected with Alan Mitchell for 10 yards before he tip-toed the sideline and stepped out of bounds with 30 seconds to go.  The ’80 squad was now at the ’73 UM 45-yard line and on the move.

A pass intended for Betts was knocked down by Dufek and on second down, Wangler missed an open Carter across the middle.  Facing a 3rd and 10 Bo called his favorite play, 54 Draw, fully expecting the ’73 defense to be keying on Carter. 


Sure enough, when Wangler went back and handed off to Woolfolk, the entire middle of the field was wide open. Butch ran and ran until Dave Brown made a shoe-string tackle that brought Woolfolk down at the ’73 UM 4-yard line with just 4 seconds to play.  Wangler hurriedly called his last timeout as the Bo Brackets Championship Game would come down to one last play.

With the entire ’80 offense focused on every word Bo said, he barked out the details of the final play of the game. Wangler was to roll out and look for Carter on a quick hitch. If he was covered, Edwards would be the safety valve out of the backfield. If he was covered, Wangler would have to run it in.

On the other side of the field, the ’73 defense was thinking one thing and one thing only – BLITZ!  As the teams lined up for the final play, everybody in the Rose Bowl rose to their feet. 

Wangler took the snap, rolled to his right, saw that Carter was covered, looked for Edwards but before he could set his feet, Don Dufek came out of nowhere and drove Wangler’s shoulder into the Pasadena turf, but not before Wangler lofted a desperation pass to his fullback.

Edwards reached back for the pass, and as it caromed off his shoulder pads it looked like Dave Brown would make the interception, but he slipped on the Rose Bowl grass and deflected the ball right into the hands of a diving Craig Dunaway.  

As the tight end came up from the end zone turf with the ball, he victoriously hoisted it over his head. The referee confirmed the score by signaling touchdown!

The 1980 U-M Team had won, 12-10!

They were Bo’s Best and the victory in the Rose Bowl proved it.

EXCLUSIVE:  Photos from the big game compliments of SAP:

The Two Bo Schembechlers During the pre-game warm-ups, Dr. Sap got on the field and snapped this photo of the two coaches.


Bo and Moeller complain 19731973 Bo tries to convince the referee that Franklin’s knee was down before he fumbled in the 1st quarter.


Don Bracken Michigan Punter1980 punter Don Bracken booms his 76-yard momentum-changing kick early in the game.

Anthony Carter - White Jersey - MichiganAnthony Carter eludes a tackler on his way to his 54-yard flanker reverse touchdown run.


Butch WoolfolkButch Woolfolk runs for 41 yards to set up the winning score, atoning for his fumble earlier in the game.


Bo send in the play - Michigan football

Bo sends in the final play of the game.


Johnny F'ing Wangler rolls out

Wangler rolling out on the last play of the game looking for someone open.



Bo celebration in Rose BowlBo and his 1980 Wolverines riding high in the Rose Bowl at the conclusion of the Bo Brackets.


THANK YOU STEVE!  MichiganA salute to Dr. Sap and MVictors from the HIGHLY partisan Michigan crowd


Final Bracket:



Via the mind of Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis, here are the Round 1 results of the Bo Brackets

the Bo Brackets

ROUND 1 GAMES – 1970s

clip_image001 1969 vs 1970
In a close game, 1969 pulled away late in the 2nd half with a pic-six by Barry Pierson and a Garvie Craw 1-yard TD run that came off a Tom Curtis interception.


Final Score: 21-7
1969 advances


clip_image002 1971 vs 1972
Dennis Franklin out dueled Tom Slade for most of this game, but Billy Taylor scored his 2nd TD of the contest on a 65-yard scamper to put the ’71 squad up, 17-13. Franklin’s last second Hail Mary pass was batted down by Thom Darden in the endzone to preserve the victory for the 1971 team as they move on.


Final Score: 17-13
1971 advances


clip_image003 1976 vs 1977
Rob Lytle ran for three TD’s as the ’76 squad looked to make this game a blowout, but Rick Leach’s three TD passes in the 4th quarter tied the game at 21 with just under a minute to go. Jim Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to set up Bobby Wood’s game winning 33-yard field goal. Final score: 24-21.

Final Score: 24-21
1976 advances


clip_image004 1973 vs. 1974
A back and forth contest that saw the lead change 3 times, this game, not surprisingly, came down to a last second field goal. This time Mike Lantry drilled it right down the middle to give the 1973 team the 20-17 victory.


Final Score: 20-17
1973 advances


ROUND 1 GAMES – 1980s


1980 vs 1981
An 80-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Carter in the first quarter put the 1980 squad up early, but dual-threat QB Steve Smith led the 1981 Wolverines on three scoring drives to take the lead, 9-7 just before the half. After making some halftime adjustments McCartney’s Monsters finally figured out how to stop Smith with two red-zone interceptions in the 4th quarter to win, 17-9.=

Final Score: 17-9
1980 advances


1988 vs 1978
In a battle of #7 southpaw signal callers, Demetrius Brown emerged victorious over Rick Leach, 28-21. John Kolesar caught two TD passes while Vada Murray intercepted Leach’s pass in the endzone in the final minute of the game to preserve the victory for the ’88 squad.

Final Score: 28-21
1988 advances


clip_image008 1989 vs 1986
Jim Harbaugh threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to freshman wideout Greg McMurtry, but it wasn’t enough as J.D. Carlson kicked 4 field goals to lift the 1989 squad to the victory.

Final Score: 26-24
1989 advances


clip_image009 1985 vs 1982
Jamie Morris ran for 275 yards and two touchdowns and Mark Messner had four sacks to lead the 1985 team to a 24-10 victory. Messner’s last sack separated Steve Smith’s shoulder, knocking him out of the game early in the 3rd quarter.

Final Score: 24-10
1985 advances


For more on the Bo Brackets, click here.   Second round coming up later this week.


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[Ed. In honor of national signing day 2014, Sap is back with a little story of how Bo nabbed the nation’s #1 quarterback.]

Steve Smith Michigan QB

Guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

A few hours ago one of the nation’s top recruits, Jabrill Peppers, sent over his LOI and Michigan fans from coast to coast rejoiced.  Did you know there was a time when Bo Schembechler landed the nation’s top high school quarterback?

This quarterback was so talented (4.5 speed and a cannon for an arm) that every major college wanted him.   By most accounts he was the #2 overall high school recruit in the entire country.  But there was just one problem – he wasn’t exactly sold on going to Michigan.

Bill McCartney was assigned the recruiting responsibility to bring him to Ann Arbor but the QB had his mind made up – he was going to go to (/gasp!) Michigan State. The Spartans had just beaten Bo a few years earlier in Michigan Stadium and MSU’s passing scheme was exactly the type of offense this recruit wanted to play in.

When Coach Mac reported back to Bo that he couldn’t change this prized recruit’s mind, The General realized it was time for this QB to have a face to face with Coach Schembechler.   Bo went to this player’s high school and waited for him in a room while the Principal went and pulled this student-athlete from his class.

Finally, Bo had him right where he wanted him.

Bo saw the talent, the speed, the arm – this kid had it all. The dual-threat possibilities raced through Bo’s option-offense-oriented mind.  But when the kid told Bo he wanted to go to MSU because he wanted to throw the ball, Bo knew he was losing him.

Bo promised the phenom that he could play both football AND baseball at Michigan. Oh, ya – the kid was a great baseball player as well.

But nope.  ‘East Lansing here I come.’ was all this recruit was thinking.

Then Schembechler did something that finally made this QB realize how badly the coach wanted him at Michigan.  Bo got on his hands and knees and CRAWLED across the table and told this kid, as only The General could, that he was going to go to MICHIGAN!

And just like that, Steve Smith from Grand Blanc, MI decided to attend U-M on a football scholarship in 1980.  The #1 high school recruit that year?  Some running back named Herschel Walker:

Athlon's top 100 football recruits 1980 A list of future college HOF’ers for sure, lol.  #41 is on the all-time all-football all-name team forever though.


Great stuff Sap! 

P.S. Here’s a favorite recruiting story of mine told to me back in 2009 by the great Mark Messner:

MVictors: So you weren’t a big U-M guy, how did Michigan get into the picture?
Mark Messner: I came back from my visit to UCLA, it was late December 1984.   My folks picked me up at the airport and I told them on the way home that I was going to be a Bruin.  I couldn’t imagine why I wouldn’t go there.  My parents were both happy and sad.  UCLA had the most beautiful campus I had ever seen.  People on campus are lying around in bathing suits on manicured lawns studying.  I couldn’t imagine why I wouldn’t go there.

But Coach Moeller and Coach Bo knew UCLA was my last visit.  So when my parents and I pulled up the house on the way back from the airport, there was this Delta 88 by the side of the driveway.  It was like 9 o’clock at night and getting dark.  The doors of the car opened up and out stepped Moeller and Bo.

Bo walks over, hands me a tape and says [Messner in perfect Bo voice]: “You’re a Michigan man and you belong at Michigan.”  That was it.  He didn’t come in the house, they just took off.  I couldn’t believe he came back up there.

I was in bed that night and I was thinking about the big picture, because now the recruiting was over.  I told [Coach Terry] Donahue before I left UCLA that I was a Bruin.  I didn’t sign anything, but I did tell him that I couldn’t see how I’m not a Bruin.

My dad was fighting cancer at the time.  I was thinking, “Wow, I’ve got Michigan in my backyard.  How many games might my dad be able to see at UCLA?”  So I did the very manly thing as a young adult: I called in the middle of the night and told UCLA I wasn’t coming knowing there’d be no way they’d answer the phone [laughs].   In the morning I told my mom and dad that I formalized everything and told them I’d be a Wolverine.  My mom, being a mom, said, “I thought they were called Bruins.”  I told her, “Mom, I’m going to Michigan.”

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[Ed. There’s been a lot of talk the past couple weeks about Jimmy Harbaugh’s $8 Wal-Mart fat pants

Jim Harbaugh's $8 Walmart pants …but no one is talking about Harbaugh’s balls.  Thankfully Dr. Sap is back and offers up some Bo-era flavor that comes from the treasure trove that is the Sap archives. –G]

Guest Post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

When Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh scored on a quarterback draw against Notre Dame in 1985, little did he know that a photo of the classic TD would spark an interesting discussion in the national media.   As Harbaugh crossed the goal line that afternoon, Ara Parseghian exclaimed on the CBS broadcast, “A quarterback draw – great call!”

The next week, Sports Illustrated captured Harbaugh’s scoring play under the title, “A Cure For Bo’s Blues”:

A Cure for Bo's Blues - HarbaughA couple of SI readers took notice of the NFL football Harbaugh was cradling in the photo.  They were inspired to write the editor and ask why a collegiate athlete was using a professional pigskin:SI Letter - Jim Harbaugh's NFL Wilson footballAs noted by SI’s ED/Sir, this question was addressed by the NCAA and the next year they decided to modify their college footballs that were used by Division I schools. So when Michigan played at Notre Dame in 1986 Harbaugh was throwing around the new AFCRT Wilson 1001:

Jim Harbaugh - Notre Dame 1986It was the same model, size and shape as the NFL Wilson – it now just had a different, less professional-looking, stamp on it.  Of course everyone then was asking, “What the heck does AFCRT mean?”  It stands for the American Football Coaches Retirement Trust and is essentially a retirement plan setup for qualified college football coaches.

The ball stayed in circulation for a few years. In fact, when Demetrius Brown outdueled Rodney Peete in the 1989 Rose Bowl, this was the ball that was used in that glorious victory over the Trojans:

AFCRT pigskin Michigan


Thanks Sap!  If you want to see the best looking ball from a Notre Dame game, that’s easy.  My pal and artist Jil Gordon does the handiwork on many of the game balls awarded to players and coaches.  Here’s what she did for UTL 1.0 – just amazing:

ND ball

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Frank Beckmann Goodbye

[Ed. Saturday night is of course the final call for longtime play-by-play man Frank Beckmann.   I’ve offered up a couple salutes on these pages around the Ohio State game, but this week Dr. Sap shared a few touching thoughts on Beckmann that I wanted to pass along.]

Guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

Before Frank Beckmann took over the reigns from Bob Ufer as the “Voice of Michigan Football,” Frankie cut his teeth on the radio broadcasts by doing the locker room interviews.

Take a listen to this one from the Dr. Sap Archives via the original recording made by John Kryk from the 1981 Rose Bowl:

Not only does it capture the proverbial and collective Monkey being lifted off the Michigan Football program’s back, you get to hear the players’ true euphoric joy of finally winning a Rose Bowl for Bo and for Michigan.  As a Michigan Fan who grew up with Bob Ufer, I gotta tell ya, I did NOT like Frank’s style initially.

There was no horn blast after every TD.
There was no, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 TOUCHDOWN MEECHEEGAN!!” call.

Ufer’s passing marked the end of my innocence for Michigan Football.  It would never be the same again.  Sure, I was 16 years old at the time, but to me, Ufer WAS Michigan Football.  Who was this Beckmann guy, anyways?

Frank’s tenure as the Voice of Michigan Football would signal a change in my Michigan fanhood.  During Frank’s run I grew up as a person and as a fan.   Sure, I would continue to follow the maize and blue, but the result of the games would no longer determine my mood for the remainder of the following week.

That stopped happening when I got to my 30s!   When Frank hosted his own “SportsWrap” talk show in Detroit, I can remember how nervous I was when I called in the first time.  I couldn’t believe I was on the radio!   Over time I got to appreciate Frank’s professionalism and how he created his own broadcast style.

I wasn’t a kid anymore and Frank’s presentation of Michigan Football seemed right for me as a middle-aged man, husband and now as a father.

A few years ago I received the ultimate compliment from Frank – he was an aspiring rec-league hockey goalie and asked me for a few pointers.  I couldn’t believe I was showing Frank Beckmann the fundamentals of goaltending – what a thrill!

So, as Frank closes out his tenure as the Voice of Michigan Football this Saturday, I thought I’d return to him the ultimate Michigan fan compliment:

I’m gonna miss ya, Frank!  Michigan Football Saturdays in the fall won’t be the same without ya.

- Dr. Sap

[Thanks Sap!  P.S., I will be on the pregame show with Frank’s sideline man Doug Karsch before the game, details to come.  I will certainly pass along a few thoughts on Frank.  And I’ll be doing a live This Week in Michigan Football History with Ira and crew on WTKA 1050AM  at around 8 EST.  Dig it!]

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23. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , ,

On today, Jim Harbaugh’s 50th birthday, a nice time for another guest post from Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis.   While it’s no shock that Bo Schembechler didn’t like to put it up in the air, check out this breakdown by Sap.

Guest Post by Steve Sapardanis

Woody Hayes taught Bo Schembechler a lot of football lessons.  One that resonated with Bo was the importance of running and possessing the football.

The thinking was establishing a powerful ground game would almost certainly ensure victory, because by the end of the game you would be able to impose your will on your opponent.  When that happens, your opponent will have been morally and physically defeated.   Besides, when you throw the football, three things can happen, and as Woody liked to say, two of them were bad.   You think Bo forgot this?

I pulled the passing stats for every game during the Bo era at Michigan (1969-1989) to see if there was any statistical correlation to Bo’s disdain for throwing the football and losing.   Sure enough, I found something.   In the 21 years that Bo coached at Michigan, his teams only attempted more than 25 passes just 23 times.   The Wolverines lost 20 of those games.   And before Jim Harbaugh arrived, Bo had lost 17 straight games when attempting more than 25 passes.

In 1985 and 1986, Harbaugh was the nation’s most efficient passer. He got Bo off the passing schneid with three victories in 1986 against Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio State while attempting more than 25 passes.  Data:


10/4/1969 vs Missouri (9-2) L 17 40 10 27 99
10/18/1969 at Michigan State (4-6) L 12 23 13 35 164
1/1/1970 vs USC (10-0-1) L 3 10 14 32 127
11/21/1970 at Ohio State (9-1) L 9 20 12 26 118
10/22/1977 at Minnesota (7-5) L 0 16 13 29 122
1/2/1978 vs Washington (8-4) L 20 27 14 27 239
11/10/1979 at Purdue (10-2) L 21 24 14 28 159
12/28/1979 vs North Carolina (8-3-1) L 15 17 17 26 328
9/27/1980 vs South Carolina (8-4) L 14 17 17 30 206
11/21/1981 vs Ohio State (9-3) L 9 14 9 26 136
9/25/1982 vs UCLA (10-1-1) L 27 31 14 37 174
11/20/1982 at Ohio State (9-3) L 14 24 12 28 127
1/1/1983 vs UCLA (10-1-1) L 14 24 19 34 209
9/17/1983 at Washington (8-4) L 24 25 18 26 225
9/15/1984 vs Washington (11-1) L 11 20 17 37 183
11/3/1984 at Purdue (7-5) L 29 31 21 30 259
11/17/1984 at Ohio State (9-3) L 6 21 17 27 164
10/4/1986 at Wisconsin (3-9) W 34 17 15 27 310
10/18/1986 vs Iowa (9-3) W 20 17 17 28 225
11/22/1986 at Ohio State (10-3) W 26 24 19 29 261
10/10/1987 at Michigan State (9-2-1) L 11 17 12 26 158
9/17/1988 vs Miami (Florida) (11-1) L 30 31 17 27 245
9/16/1989 vs Notre Dame (12-1) L 19 24 22 28 178


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