Here are the Decal Champions for Week Six by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis:


OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – At 4pm, Saturday afternoon, I sent out this tweet:

sap-tweetI just had this feeling that Jabrill Peppers was going to have a monster of a game. Sure he was coming back home and was playing in front of a lot of family & friends, but I didn’t think he would look as smooth as he did in the offensive backfield. I mean, he looked like a veteran option QB back there!! Decisive.

Oct 8, 2016; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Jabrill Peppers (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during their game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Quick. Deceptive, but more importantly, smart. He knows what to do when the ball is in his hands.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – When you realize that this game was somewhat close – in the first few minutes and in the rain – the defense needed to step up and deny Rutgers any chance of gaining any momentum. Jabrill Peppers made sure that was not going to happen on his watch and during his homecoming. His ability to make tackles in open space and get to the quarterback is very reminiscent of Charles Woodson, some 20 years ago.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Seriously, is another team ever going to kick to Jabrill Peppers again? Even though his punt return TD was called back, (and that was NOT a block in the back on Jourdan Lewis!) that was an impressive return with a nice Barry Sanders-like spin-move. Much like Tom Harmon’s all-everything performance against Ohio State back in 1940, Peppers seemed like he did everything but sell tickets and blow up the footballs, Saturday night in Piscataway. Yes, the Heisman winner references are no accident.

COACHING CHAMPION – Whenever you drop the third highest point total in program history on your hapless opponent, you know there is some good coaching going on for the Maize and Blue. Gonna give one helmet sticker to the ENTIRE COACHING STAFF because that was the most impressive, thorough and dominant victory I have witnessed in a long, long time – maybe even better than the Gator Bowl whupping Michigan laid on Ole Miss back in 1990.

UNIFORM CHAMPION – The white socks look great with the all-white road unis! Even better is the fact that they were all the way up to the knees – no ankle-grabbers, here!!

socksChris Evans was Kung Fu fighting

Helmet sticker for that classic look. Thank-you, Sonny Anderson & Big Jon Falk!!!

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Week 1:  Chris Evans (Offense), D: Mike McCray (Defense), Jabrill Peppers (Special Teams), Don Brown (Coach), Michigan helmet (Uniform)
Week 2:  Wilton Speight (O), Jabrill Peppers (O), Tyree Kinnel/Chris Wormley (ST), Chris Partridge (C), Soles of shoes (Uni)
Week 3: Jake Butt (O), Jabrill Peppers (D), Jabrill Peppers (ST), Don Brown (C), Helmet Stickers (Uni)
Week 4: De’Veon Smith (O), Maurice Hurst (D), Kenny Allen (ST), Greg Mattison (C), #26 White Shoe Laces (Uni)
Week 5: Wilton Speight & Amara Darboh (O), Channing Stribling (D), Jourdan Lewis (ST), Jay Harbaugh (C), Jumpman do-rag (Uni)
Week 6:

[Ed. Given it’s Movember again, had to repost this beauty from back in 2013 from Dr. Sap, celebrating the greatest ‘stashes in U-M history.]

The All-Schembechler mustachioed offense.   I supplied the stache’d Schembechler and the mustache ratings.


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Offensive Guard

3 Star


4 Star

Offensive Guard

4 Star

Don’t let the look deceive you, #76 was as good as it gets on the O-line.

Anchored the All-American O-line in 1981.  Every player ended up being an All-American selection.

The standard by which all U-M guards are measured.


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Offensive Tackle
5 Star

1 Star

Offensive Tackle
2 Star

Dude still looks tough today even without all the hair and the bowtie.

Fastest dual-threat QB Bo had and could do it on the ground or in the air.

Bo’s largest player at 6-8, 322. Fact: was a Road Grater and Pancake Machine


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2 Star

Tight End
4 Star

Wide Receiver
3 Star

Knew he was special when he scored a touchdown the 1st time he touched the ball.

Most memorable catch was the game-winning touchdown against Notre Dame in 1980.  I still refuse to accept the final score!

Played opposite AC but had a knack for getting BOTH feet in bounds.


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4 Star

1980-19830 Star

3 Star

The charter Movember member loved to wear stylish teal Puma cleats back in the day.

Might have been the lightest player to don the maize & blue but he delivered the game-winning FG against Iowa in ‘83.

Completed Rose Bowl vendetta with his 1-yard TD run against Washington in the 1981 Rose Bowl victory.



Thanks Sap!  I needed that after Saturday.   Will we see a defense?  TBD!
Update:  Yes, we have a Defense!

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Bob Ufer Michigan Banner Via Dr. Sap’s new video

I was a teenager when I heard the news and I sobbed like a baby.  I just couldn’t believe it, but more importantly, I didn’t WANT to believe it.

Bob Ufer passed away 34 years ago today, and back then the significance of his passing was recognized and felt immediately by me and I’m sure, many other Michigan Football fans.

Michigan Football would never be the same I thought back then – and I was right.  I knew I’d never hear, “Ten. Five. Four. Three. Two. One – TOUCHDOWN Anthony Carter!”  To me, that was the end of the innocence for me and Michigan Football.

Ufe kept everything real, passionate and of course fun to listen to.   Oh sure, there would be other people who would become the “Voice of Michigan Football,” but there was only one “Voice of Meeechegan Football.”

And just a I thought, the radio broadcasts were never the same.  Other legendary voices called the games, but the kid in me still yearned for the days when I’d hear Ufer recite “The Bo Schembechler Scoreboard” before each game with the Old General himself.

Ufer gave the Michigan players nicknames.  Rick Leach was the Guts and Glue of the Maize and Blue. John Wangler was Johnny Wingin’ Wangler.  Anthony Carter was the Human Torpedo.

I get it – time moves one. Things change. It’s time to grow up. I have.  I’m a husband and father now but I still miss listening to the guy that hooked me on Meeechegan Football.

So if you haven’t already, check out some classic Bob Ufer calls on my Dr. Sap YouTube Channel, or check out the latest videos I just uploaded.

Go Blue, and God Bless your cotton-pickin’ Maize and Blue Meeechegan Heart!



Need to show you’re down with old Ufe?   Get stuff at Moe’s:

Ufer God Bless - Navy


1981 Michigan-Iowa Bob Ufer M Club Banner (Dr. Sap video)
1981 Michigan-Iowa Bob Ufer Pressbox (Dr. Sap video)

11. October 2015 · Comments Off on Wildcat Goose Egg Champions | Dr. Sap’s Decals · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , ,

Guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

I was there at Michigan Stadium when this last happened.  

When Michigan last rolled out three straight shutouts, I had the same reaction in 1980 as I did on Saturday – “Wow!  Didn’t see that coming!!”Granted, 35 years ago the Wolverines stymied some pretty good QB’s, with one of them being the all-time leading passer in NCAA history, but as the old hockey saying goes, “They don’t ask how – they just ask how many.”  So true and so impressive.   Even more impressive are this week’s Champions:

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Typically the Special Teams Champion gets also-ran, ho-hum coverage – not anymore!  I’ve played on enough teams and watched enough football to realize that the truly great teams end up getting contributions from different players each week.  Saturday against Northwestern was a classic example.  In recent weeks I have mentioned how the defense may have set the tone early in the game with an INT, or how the offense may have set the tone by dominating and driving for an early score.  Well, Jehu Chesson sent a message that hasn’t been sent since Tyrone Wheatley returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against Houston in 1992.  We’ve all seen how masterful Coach Baxter has been with these Special Teams in the first six games.  They are starting to look quite special indeed.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – Like I said, three straight shutouts is three straight shutouts – even if they have been against freshman QB’s.  Nonetheless, like Chris Speilman said a couple of weeks ago, the Big Ten has been put on notice – this team and this defense is for real.  Jourdan Lewis‘s pick-six was an unbelievable play and just the defensive exclamation point needed to remind Northwestern that there was not going to be any overtime in this year’s game. 

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – There was a reason Joe Kerridge ran for 34 yards on a fullback dive play.  There was a reason nine Wolverines carried the ball for over 200 yards.  There was a reason Jake Rudock went 17 of 23 for 179 yards passing.  The offensive line imposed their will on the Wildcats, but more importantly they played with a quiet confidence and swagger that we haven’t seen from a Michigan o-Line in a loooong time. 

UNIFORM CHAMPION – I do like those maize and blue gloves worn by most of the defense on Saturday.  Could that be the reason Northwestern missed their field goal early in the game?  You have to admit, they do catch your eye.  Wonder if that’s what the Wildcat kicker was looking at when his kick went awry?  Think about it – those gloves preserved the shutout and the shutout streak!  OK, maybe not. 

Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

    • Utah: Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Blake O’Neill, (Uniform: White Road Uniforms), John Kryk
    • Oregon State:  De’Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill, The Coaching Staff
    • UNLV:  Ty Issac, Channing Stribling, Blake O’Neill
    • BYU: Jake Rudock, Defensive Line, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Properly Hiked up White Socks), Amara Darboh
    • Maryland: Drake Johnson, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Allen, (Uniform: Blue lyrca leggings).
    • Northwestern:

Sap’s virtual helmet for those keeping score (it’s starting to look like Peppers!):

sap helmet

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04. October 2015 · Comments Off on Testudo Champions | Dr. Sap’s Decals · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

Well, I was one of those guys who predicted a shutout against Maryland – just not like that – yikes!   The defense is starting to look very 1980/1985-ish.  But the offense?  The offense is still a work in progress, or is it?  I don’t know.  I guess we’ll find out where this team is in the next two weeks.  In the meantime, here are the Champions for the Maryland Game:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – Gotta go with Drake Johnson. With no De’Veon Smith and Ty Isaac not being able to hang on to the ball, The Drake made plays and looked comfortable running the ball – brace and all on his left knee. When the team was sputtering and looking for a spark on “O,” #20 made the most of his opportunity.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – It’s obvious the D-Line is playing lights out these past few games, but when the game/match was resembling an FA Cup Final and tied nil-nil after 15 minutes, Desmond Morgan was the difference on defense. His INT and strip thwarted Maryland drives when the game was still in doubt. The more I see of #3, the more I think that he is starting to look like a classic Michigan middle linebacker.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Speaking of soccer, you do realize that the winning points came from the kicker, don’t you? Yes, he missed one FG early, but Kenny Allen accounted for 8 points against Maryland. If the kicker is good for 8 or 9 points on the road, I’ll take that every week.

UNIFORM CHAMPION – Back in 1975, Ricky “The Peach” Leach and company wore white socks with their road white uniforms. It was a classic & clean look.


But Saturday against Maryland, Michigan came out with white socks on top of a blue lycra legging:

Leggings 1

It looked sharp and reminded me of another timeless look from 1969:


I’d say stick with the blue & white stockings for the rest of the year – you have the Dr. Sap Seal of Approval! :)


Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

    Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

    • Utah: Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Blake O’Neill, (Uniform: White Road Uniforms), John Kryk
    • Oregon State:  De’Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill, The Coaching Staff
    • UNLV:  Ty Issac, Channing Stribling, Blake O’Neill
    • BYU: Jake Rudock, Defensive Line, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Properly Hiked up White Socks), Amara Darboh
    • Maryland: Drake Johnson, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Allen, (Uniform: Blue lyrca leggings).


Amara Darboh

So Amara Darboh had 9 helmet stickers after Utah, Jake Butt 8 and a handful of others (Peppers, Rudock) had seven.   Assuming the stickers are dealt out after games, we’ve presumably got a few guys with at least 15 helmet stickers on their lids following Oregon State. Now, I’ve heard some argue that these assumptions are wrong – that many of the decals to date were earned in practice (including camp) and therefore it’s not a straight line ratio from now to the end of the season.  But if the stickers are tied to game performance, and the criteria for getting stickers in a game stays consistent throughout the season – things will get sticky soon.   The skinny:

We already know they stickers are the same size as the 1985-1994 version.  As discussed here, the standard for decals likely goes to Mike Hammerstein, the mid-80s standout defensive tackle.  He was the team MVP in 1985 and his helmet showed it.  The big man was honored with 47 decals entering the bowl game, assuming he didn’t leave a couple on Keith Byars’ arse:


Assuming we’re not touching the area on or inside the wings (I will fight you, Jake Rudock!), at a glance it looks like we’ve got max capacity at 60.  Maybe we could get 62 on Wormley.

Fast forward to 2015.  A guy fifteen dekes after week 2 is projected to have 90 after playing the Buckeyes and entering the BCS playoffs bowl game.    So at this rate we’ve got a problem unless Harbaugh and crew slow their decal roll.

We’ll see how this plays out.



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Guest Post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

Before we examine the 2015 decal (which we started in Phase I here) we need to look back at the evolution of the Michigan Football helmet decals. 

1969-1974 Version #1 – When Bo introduced the helmet stickers at Michigan in 1969 (Version 1), they were solid, maize-colored, crudely shaped footballs. These were used through the 1974 season.  Here’s Don Moorhead’s helmet as featured on


1975-1982  Version #2 – The decal shape became more oval and the snarling wolverine head was added.   There was now a left-facing version, and a right-facing version.  Here is a good look at them from one of Jim Dack’s helmets (find more info on Jim’s collection at

Photo Sep 13, 8 34 56 AM

The other distinction with this version was that the wolverine image was actually clear, thus allowing the blue helmet paint to make the wolverine appear blue:

Because the design was made 40 years ago, there was no high-end computer program like Photoshop that was used to create the snarling Wolverine head graphic.  It was probably created using Line Art.  Notice the level of detail on the hair, teeth and nose of the wolverine. The more you zoom in, the more detail you will see.

1983-1984  No Helmet Stickers.  The mystery of this two-year stretch discussed here.

1985-1994 Version 3 – After a two year absence, the decals returned in 1985 (Version 3) with a few modifications.


The shape was now more spheroid in nature. The snarling wolverine is no longer a clear image – it is distinctly colored blue.  The wolverine head was centered in the decal laces were now added to the top of the shape giving it more of a football feel, and the color was a little brighter yellow.  Before Saturday, we hadn’t seen decals on the Michigan helmets since the Wolverines defeated Colorado State in the 1994 Holiday Bowl.

2015- – Version 4 – So we learned on Labor Day that the decals would be returning.  Here’s another look:

decal Upon further review, a few things are apparent:

  • Size – The overall size is the same as the Version 3 (1985) decal with one distinction- the wolverine logo is actually slightly smaller, 1/16” (from blue tip edge to blue tip edge).
  • Color – It clearly has a darker tone of maize and blue color to it so that it matches the 2015 uniform, including the helmet wings and stripes.
  • Design – Overall design is basically the same as Version 3, with the laces and wolverine head are the same as Version 3, but now there is blue trim to it.

When looking closer at the image, I noticed a few things that were different from the 1985 decal, specifically with the quality of the wolverine:

  • (1) Teeth – there is less white area in teeth of this year’s decal.
  • (2) Nose – there is less white area on the nose, as well.
  • (3) Hair – the hair length around the neck and back of head has now been “smoothed.”
  • (4) Outline – the blue trim becomes jagged when zooming in on the decal.

I think all these differences are the result of scanning the 1985 version vs. scanning the 1975 version.   So, here’s the deal: the 1975 version was the original, and the 1985 decal was created from a scan of the 1975 decal.  When it came time to create the 2015 decal, hardly any of the 1975 stickers were in good enough condition to re-scan, so the only option was to scan a 1985 decal.  What you ended up with was a scan of a scan to make the 2015 version.  When you do that, there is a loss of image quality and that is why the hair appears to be smoothed, and there is less (white) detail in the nose, teeth and elsewhere.

Is anyone going to notice this from their seats in Michigan Stadium?  No.
Will I? Yes.
Am I ok with it?  Yep.  I’m thrilled that the helmet stickers are back!

Just maybe next time a tweak is being considered for the decals, maybe Dr. Sap can be consulted?

– – – – – –

More from Oregon State game here:


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02. September 2015 · Comments Off on Jim Harbaugh’s Top 5 Games at Michigan · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , , , ,


[Ed. What the heck on the even of the opener and #4’s debut a repost.  Dr. Sap gives you a primer on Jim Harbaugh’s greatest moments as a Wolverine!]

A guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

#5: 1984 Miami (FL) – Jim Harbaugh’s first start as a Michigan Wolverine would come against the #1-ranked, defending National Champion Miami Hurricanes and he didn’t disappoint. Wolverine fans, myself included, had long felt that the maize and blue lacked one thing on offense for a few years – a tall, pocket-passing QB, ideally from California. That finally happened with the Palo Alto, CA 6-3, 202 pound Harbaugh.


Having heard that he had attended a high school passing camp with John Elway as his instructor, sealed the deal for me – Harbs was going to be the next starting QB in my opinion and his first start was highly anticipated by many. His first two passes against Miami – an out pattern to Vince Bean for 11 yards and another to Steve Johnson for 16 yards – showed off his strong arm, much to the delight of the Michigan Stadium crowd, as Michigan went on to win, 22-14. It was an impressive victory for the Wolverines and a great start for the new QB from California.

#4: 1985 Notre Dame – Remembering how Michigan finished the 1984 season at 6-6, not many gave U-M a chance in the season opener against Notre Dame in 1985. It was a statement game for both Michigan and its quarterback. Would the Wolverines bounce back with another 10-win season?



Would their quarterback return to form after breaking his arm a year earlier? A strong defense and solid ground game would power the maize and blue to the victory, and while Harbaugh didn’t light up the scoreboard with his passing, he was effective enough through the air to get the win, 20-12. His 3rd quarter touchdown on a quarterback draw and his ensuing endzone celebration put an exclamation point on the victory – Michigan and Harbaugh were back.



#3 1985 Ohio State – With Iowa having all but wrapped up the Rose Bowl bid a few weeks earlier with a one point win over Michigan, the Wolverines and Buckeyes were playing for Fiesta & Cotton Bowl bids respectively.


Not quite the same, but the chips were still high and Harbaugh was clutch throughout the game – particularly on 3rd down. Michigan’s QB would finish the game 16 of 19 for 230 yards and 3 TD’s with 8 of 9 passing on 3rd down for 8 first downs. He topped his clutch performance with a 77-yard touchdown bomb to John Kolesar that put a dagger in the Buckeye hearts once and for all as Michigan won, 27-17.

#2 1986 Notre Dame – Going into the game against the Irish in 1986, Michigan was ranked #1 in some polls but Notre Dame was strutting out their new coach and no one knew what to expect from Lou Holtz and ND.


Two moments stood out for me in this game: (1) After Harbaugh floated a perfect 27-yard touch pass to Jamie Morris for a touchdown, the Michigan quarterback flashed the #1 finger as he raced to the endzone to celebrate the score with his teammates. When did Michigan’s QB ever proclaim so visibly that they truly were #1? Never. (2) Late in the 4th quarter with the contest still in doubt and facing a critical 3rd & 6 at their own 22 yard-line, Harbaugh lofted a perfect 38-yard pass to Kolesar down the Michigan sideline that got the Wolverines out of trouble. When did Bo EVER throw deep on a critical 3rd & short with the game on the line? Never. Not until #4 arrived. A last-second John Carney field goal miss preserved the 24-23 Michigan victory.

#1 1986 Ohio State – After beating Notre Dame (twice), after beating Ohio State at home, and after winning the Fiesta Bowl, there was still something missing on the Harbaugh resume: a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl berth. Both were on the line in 1986. If that wasn’t enough pressure, Harbaugh put the bull’s-eye squarely on himself after he predicted victory over the Bucks on the Monday before the tilt with OSU.


This game was what he dreamed about as a kid emulating his boyhood idol, Rick Leach – beating the Bucks & going to Pasadena – and nothing was going to prevent him from reaching his ultimate goal. Much like he said before his first start in 1984, he was going to do whatever it took to win. In this game it meant overcoming a 11 point deficit in the second half and the raucous crowd in Columbus he so incited with his guarantee. It meant cupping his hands around his facemask to make it appear that his teammates could not hear his audibles that he really wasn’t screaming to them. It meant not throwing a touchdown pass the entire game. It meant executing the game plan to perfection. When it was all said and done, Harbaugh & the Wolverines would emerge victorious In Columbus, 26-24. They were Big Ten Champs and would head west to play in the Rose Bowl, just like he dreamed about as a kid.

Other Notables on Harbaugh:

  • Harbaugh would be the first UM QB to throw for 300 yards in one game (1986 Wisconsin, 1986 Indiana).
  • #4 was the nation’s most efficient passer in 1985 & finished second in 1986.
  • He would also become the QB to successfully break the Bo threshold of attempting more than 25 passes per game AND WIN – another indication that Michigan had finally devised an effective passing game that could win games.
  • Harbaugh started his career being late for his first team meeting and held a clipboard that entire 1982 season. He ended his career by hoisting the Big Ten Championship Trophy and singing The Victors in Columbus.


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[Ed. Originally posted December 2014]

05. July 2015 · Comments Off on The Case of the Missing Decals | Storytime with Dr. Sap · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , ,


Guest Post by Steve ‘Dr. Sap’ Sapardanis

As I re-read my good friend John Kryk’s story (‘Wolverines on Your Head’) that appeared in the 2010 edition of mgoblog’s Hail To The Victors, I realized that there have been a few updates and corrections in the five years that have passed since it was written.  In my never-ending quest to accurately recap the history of the Michigan Football helmet stickers, I have since determined, and confirmed with Jon Falk, that there were indeed three versions of the Wolverine decals. The image below recaps the nuances of the three versions:

Helmet Sticker Eras

For more information, check out my decal Q&A with Big Jon from a few months ago.

Here is a pictorial recap:

Version 1 (1969-1974)

Decals 1 Barry Pierson (29) in 1969 |  Mike Lantry (36) from 1974

Version 2 (1975-1982)

Decals 2 Calvin O’Neal (96) in 1975 |  Anthony Carter (1) from 1982

Version 3 (1985-1994)

Decals 3  Jim Harbaugh in 1985 |  Tim Biakabutuka in 1994

So what happened in 1983 and 1984?  





If those photos aren’t enough evidence for you, scan the videos of the 1983 and 1984 Ohio State games.

I’ve asked former players and I’ve asked Big Jon, and no one seems to have a concrete explanation as to WHY there were no decals on the helmets in 1983 & 1984. Initially, everyone I talked to was adamant that the decals were on the helmets those two years, but once I produced pictures of several players throughout those two years with blank helmets, they had no explanation.

I DO know that they were being kept track of on a wall in the locker room, but no one has an answer – not even your friendly neighborhood, Dr. Sap.

If anyone can help explain this dilemma, please respond to the Bat-Decal Signal below!

decal bat signal

RelatedUniform Timeline