[Ed.  Originally posted in 2010, a repost for the anniversary of this important day in Meechigan football history.  And if you love Kryk, and I know you do, get STAGG vs. YOST now!]

1910 Headlines 

Guest post by JOHN KRYK of Natural Enemies – (Follow John Kryk on Twitter)

On Friday, Nov. 4, 1910, 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. More »

10. August 2015 · Comments Off on Stagg vs. Yost: The Brilliance of 1901 · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , ,

Fantastic!…that’s Yost’s perfectly perfect 1901 squad – colorized and brilliant.

Friends, fans or mere passers-by of this site.  Read this excerpt.  Buy Stagg vs. Yost.   Visit John Kryk’s blog on the book release.  This is a masterpiece that will be read and taught through the ages, and Kryk has offered up an exclusive morsel to you – the readers of MVictors.   A huge thanks to John and his publisher and the U-M Bentley Historical Library for this exclusive including several of the photos – I know you will love it:

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Yost’s 1901 Wolverines: perfection and roses

            Fielding H. Yost’s first Michigan team in 1901 smacked Amos Alonzo Stagg’s Chicago Maroons by the largest score so far in the 10-year series, 22-0 — the Wolverines’ eighth win in eight tries, all by shutout.


            Afterward, Stagg acted as he usually did after a team clobbered him on the field: he counter-punched as hard as he could off it.

            Days after the Nov. 16 game, Stagg filed a protest to UM authorities, charging that starting Wolverine left end Curtis Redden was a professional, for evidently pocketing an $11 prize as a youth after having won sprint races at a town sports meet. UM authorities mulled the matter while Redden on the following Saturday played in Michigan’s 15-touchdown, 89-0 destruction of Beloit in 30-minute halves — a near repeat of the 128-0 University of Buffalo slaughter.

            Upon launching a full investigation the following week, UM decided to hold Redden out of the regular-season finale against Iowa. Why hadn’t Stagg protested Redden before Chicago’s game in Ann Arbor? Perhaps he hadn’t been tipped about Redden in time. More likely, he surmised that his team had no hope of winning in Ann Arbor anyway, and protesting beforehand only would have sent the message to everyone, including his own players, that he was desperate.


            Not that Michigan’s success against the Hawkeyes hinged on Redden’s presence. The Wolverines improved to 10-0 by crushing the Hawkeyes 50-0 on Thanksgiving Day at West Side baseball park in Chicago, in 35-minute halves. Wolverine fans had hoped their team would put up 49 on the Hawkeyes, to allow Michigan to become the first team in the West to crash through the 500-point barrier in a season. Yost and the boys obliged, surpassing the threshold by one. It was sweet revenge too — both for veteran UM players, who’d taken a thorough 28-5 thumping from Dr. Alden Knipe’s Hawkeyes the year before, and for Yost, whose Nebraska Cornhuskers in 1898 had been upset 6-5 by Knipe’s Iowa charges.


            As for Redden, when the UM Board in Control of Athletics interviewed him he claimed he had never known about the $11 prize money. If it was offered, he presumed he was guilty nonetheless because his father would have pocketed the money. But Redden’s father, apparently a lawyer in good standing, later appeared before the UM board and swore that he’d declined the prize money. Signed affidavits from officials of the games supported his claim. UM thus happily rejected Stagg’s protest and reinstated Redden, albeit after the regular season.

            Stagg also attempted to hurt Michigan — and Iowa — in the ledger. He still despised it when other schools scheduled games “in his backyard,” calling it “the height of impertinence and discourtesy” and “vulgar.” Michigan and Iowa authorities had long since set an 11 o’clock Thanksgiving Day kickoff for their game, so that a Chicagoan so inclined might attend both big games staged that day in the Windy City — UM-Iowa followed by the mid-afternoon Chicago-Wisconsin tilt. A few days before Thanksgiving, though, Stagg moved the Maroons-Badgers kickoff to noon, killing the doubleheader possibility. UM and UI authorities were livid, but 9,000 to 10,000 still attended their game, and each school cleared $2,500. About 1,000 fewer fans showed up at UC’s Marshall Field on the south side to watch Phil King’s undefeated Badgers destroy what was left of Stagg’s Maroons, 35-0.

            Football fans and writers across the West, even Stagg, lobbied for a post-season Michigan-Wisconsin game to settle the Championship of the West. There was no chance the game would take place, however. The Badgers might have welcomed it, even if they publicly stated otherwise. But UM authorities and alumni remained mighty bitter toward Wisconsin.

            Michigan’s beef with Wisconsin athletic leaders wasn’t so much because UW had suddenly backed out of the Michigan/Wisconsin/Illinois boycott of Stagg and his UC sports teams in 1899 (over his unreasonable stance on scheduling home-and-homes only if his Maroons pocketed the majority of the gate every two years), as because UM felt backstabbed in the process. Stagg had split up the triumvirate by convincing UW president Charles R. Van Hise and athletic director John L. Fisher to schedule a post-season game in ’99 between their teams to decide Western honors. As further enticement, Stagg dangled two future Thanksgiving Day games at his Marshall Field, in place of Michigan, in 1901 and 1902. The Badgers jumped at it, with the two sides keeping the 1902 arrangement secret from Michigan and the press for more than a year.

            Michigan athletic authorities could hardly have thought less of their Wisconsin counterparts as late as January 1902. That’s when UM athletic director Charles Baird privately remarked to UM’s leading alumnus on football matters, future UM law dean Henry M. Bates, that it seemed “Wisconsin and Chicago have an understanding [and] are determined to put us in a hole,” and when Baird’s boss — UM Board in Control faculty chairman Albert H. Pattengill — confided to Bates that while it might be “good politics and good money” to play Wisconsin in football, “they are so nasty, selfish & treacherous that I am in no hurry to make up with them. Let them wait a while.”

            Stagg could not even bait the Wolverines into a December 1901 showdown against the Badgers when he said, “I am absolutely certain that if a post-season game should be played, Wisconsin would beat Michigan.”

            Instead, the Wolverines looked forward to the team’s first West Coast trip over the Holidays. Stagg had been the first coach to take a college team west during the Christmas break — after the 1894 season, to play Stanford both in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Michigan’s venture west had been in the works all year, although details constantly changed. At one point Michigan considered a full West Coast swing against three teams: the University of Washington in Seattle, Cal in San Francisco and Stanford in Pasadena. Ultimately only the latter was arranged, as a sporting spectacle on New Year’s Day to follow the annual Tournament of Roses parade: later remembered as the first Rose Bowl game. Michigan’s opponent would be Stanford — Yost’s team the year before — which had defeated Cal again, 12-0, to win the Pacific Coast championship.

            The Wolverines’ train departed Ann Arbor on December 17 in sub-freezing cold with six inches of snow on the ground. Eight days later, the Michigan party of 19 — 15 players, Yost, Baird, trainer Fitzpatrick and student manager Harry Crafts — arrived in Los Angeles. One local paper listed reasons Stanford should win, including the fact that if UM’s star first-year halfback, Willie Heston from San Jose Normal, could win a starting spot then the Wolverines couldn’t be that good.

            Four days before the game Yost asked Stanford captain Ralph Fisher if the teams could play 25-minute halves, instead of 35, because of the heat. No way, Fisher replied. Those who’d bought tickets were entitled to get their money’s worth.

            On New Year’s Day morning the Wolverines took part in the Tournament of Roses parade, riding in a large carriage. Then they prepared for the afternoon game. The temperature reached the mid 80s — unseasonably hot. Stands had been built to accommodate 2,500 but reported estimates placed the overflow throng anywhere between 6,000 and 8,000.

            Stanford could do little on offense, but on defense kept Michigan in check for a while. The game was scoreless through 15 minutes of play. Thereafter, the Wolverines dominated and won going away, 49-0. The heat ultimately did not slow down the Wolverines a bit.

            At one point in the second half, Stanford captain Fisher approached Yost on the Michigan sideline to throw in the towel. No siree, Yost replied — the spectators were entitled to get their full money’s worth. But then, with eight minutes remaining, Fisher approached his counterpart, tackle Hugh White, and pleaded: “If you are willing, sir, we are ready to quit.” White agreed. Ball game.

            Motivated by digs in the local press, Heston had continually ripped off big gains, finishing with 170 yards on 18 carries as the Wolverines piled up 527 yards of offense. In his final collegiate game, fullback Neil Snow scored five of Michigan’s eight touchdowns — a Rose Bowl record that might never be broken.

            Michigan thus finished its first season under Yost with an 11-0-0 record, tied with 9-0-0 Wisconsin for the Big Nine title and mythical Championship of the West. The Wolverines on the season outscored their foes 555 points to zero, the Badgers 317 to 5.

            Official, uniform national record-keeping for college football statistics did not begin until 1937 (thanks to Yost, actually), so there is no way to verify an official Big Ten history’s claim that the 1901 Wolverines “steamrollered for 8,000 yards” in 11 games. As a historical comparison, only two teams in top-level NCAA history entering the 2014 season had ever passed the 8,000-yard barrier in a season: the 2011 Houston Cougars (with 8,387 in 14 games, for an average of 599) and the 2013 Baylor Bears (with 8,044 in 13 games, for a 619 average). The NCAA record for most total yards per game in a season was set by the Houston Cougars in 1989, with 625. The only other team to eclipse the 600-yards-per-game mark is the 2013 Baylor Bears. If true that the 1901 Wolverines gained as many as 8,000 yards, then even 8,000-flat in 11 games would equate to 727 per game.

            As impressive as Yost’s hurry-up offense had been, the defense might have been as impregnable as any in the history of the game — and not just because of the uninterrupted string of shutouts. The longest gain Michigan allowed all season was 15 yards, and not once on a scrimmage play did a runner squeeze through the first 10 Wolverines so that deep-safety Ev Sweeney had to make a saving tackle; Sweeney’s lone touchdown-saving stop came on Case’s return of a blocked Michigan field goal attempt.

            Only decades after the fact did the Helms Foundation, in 1941, rate the 1901 Wolverines No. 1 in all of college football. Over the decades, other college football research foundations that awarded national championships retroactively followed suit. Not until the 1910s, though, would any prominent sports writer in the East have so much as considered awarding the mythical national championship to any team outside the East. In 1901 Harvard was everybody’s choice. No polls of coaches or writers existed until the late 1930s. The opinions of a few select but hardly unbiased experts — such as Walter Camp and Caspar Whitney — held sway. So infused were Camp, Whitney and others in their Eastern bias, Michigan could have scored 800 points in 1901 and not been given any more consideration for No. 1. Only four years earlier, Camp had yet even to deem a football player from the West worthy of a spot on his annual All-America first team, and no Western man until Stagg in 1904 was allowed on the rules committee run by Camp.

            Whitney ranked Michigan third nationally in 1901, behind Harvard and Yale. “In style of game, in running with the ball, and in punting,” Whitney wrote of Michigan and Wisconsin, “these two teams stand up well up towards the very head of American football; in handling of kicks and in highly developed team play, however, they are quite a bit inferior to the eastern leaders.”  That was an odd comment, seeing as Yost claimed Michigan fumbled but one punt all season.

            Ann Arborites felt Michigan was indeed the top team in the land, of course. It was quite a change from 12 months earlier, when the Wolverine football program was in abject disarray, with relations between warring factions so bad that a cross-roads meeting of key faculty, alumni, students and others had to be called. Yost had consolidated everybody with what the Chicago Inter Ocean described as his “perfectly organized machine”:

            “There was not a loose screw — not a bearing that needed oil. It worked smoothly, regularly, brilliantly.”

            The “point-a-minute” nickname for Yost’s teams would not come until 1902. The “machine” analogy was far more popular at the time, and soon would be used so often by sports writers and headline writers, it would become passé and cliché.

            But would the machine’s designer and chief manufacturer return to Michigan in 1902? Yost had never spent more than one season at any coaching stop, and UM athletic director Baird had signed Yost to only a one-year deal. By Thanksgiving there already had been rumors that Penn out east was anxious to replace the outgoing George Woodruff with Yost.

            Baird didn’t wait. By the first week of December he locked up Yost contractually for three more seasons — and raised Yost’s salary by $450, to $2,750 per year plus expenses, for three to four months’ annual work. The average American salary in 1900 was $438.

            With Yost and eight starting Wolverines due to return in 1902 — including the great Harrison “Boss” Weeks at quarterback, Heston and all the halfbacks, and Sweeley the remarkable punter — the chances Michigan would be all-powerful again appeared strong. As strong as Stagg’s newfound resolve to upgrade his talent so that, some day, he could wipe that wide smile right off the face of the gloating, vagabond coach from the hicks.*   *   *

            A study of the Point-a-Minute years at UM reveals that the majority of top prospects recruited, or raided from smaller universities, by Yost and Baird wound up earning their degrees. It is virtually impossible to compile a definitive list of all players Yost and Baird might have targeted to bring to Ann Arbor because, as everywhere then, new recruits were never officially announced or identified, so on the “scrubs” there might be any number of recruits who’d failed to pan out, mixed with players who’d risen from the class-team ranks of the general student population.

            Of the 23 new men Yost and Baird added from 1901 to 1905 who earned their ‘M’ letters on the varsity, 14 graduated and nine did not. Of the nine, one did not have a chance to graduate: Cecil Gooding, the starting right guard in 1903, who died in 1904.

            Most impressively, each of the 13 varsity members on Yost’s 1901 Wolverine team wound up earning a degree: 12 at UM (eight in law, three in liberal arts, one in engineering) and one at the Michigan College of Mines, whereto Arthur Redner transferred in 1902 and wherefrom he graduated in 1905.

            So the UM team with the perfect record (11-0-0) and perfect defense (0 points allowed all season) also had a perfect graduation rate.

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Ed. Thank you John et al – Buy  Stagg vs. Yost !    Questions for Kryk?  Hit me up on this site or visit John Kryk’s blog on the book release or hit me on Twitter. 


Stagg vs yost

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31. March 2015 · Comments Off on Yost on Drinking at Games: Inconceivable! · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , ,

On eBay right now, this –> a series of football ticket applications from the early 1930s, with one including this message from #1000SSS from The Grand Old Man himself:

Yost and drinkers

This wasn’t the only time that Yost spearheaded a message on the ills of drinking at games during this era.  Back in 2008 I noted this cartoon that appears in the 1934 yearbook:

drunkWhile we know folks found a way to drink during Prohibition, the law ended with ratification of the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933.  That said, Michigan state law approved the sale of 3.2 percent alcohol earlier that year and I’m sure more than a few bottles of the good stuff found their way to and through the gates of Michigan Stadium.


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Since the turn of the last century, as I see it the Michigan coaching hires have fallen into 2 buckets:

  • Legacy Hires > under the Michigan Man umbrella, these are guys with playing and/or coaching experience in Ann Arbor before they took over.  (And FWIW a lack of outside heading coaching success).
  • Hired Guns > gents with head coaching “success” (let’s call it .550 or better) at other college programs but no previous coaching or playing experience at U-M.

Harbaugh is the first hire that really falls on both sides of this divide, having had both college (& NFL for that matter) head coaching success along with U-M ties as a player and alumnus.  A breakdown*:


* I removed George Little who kinda/sorta coached U-M for one season in 1924 while Yost took a breather, and ok, if I moved the mendoza line for “success” down to .500 Hoke gets a check.

A few thoughts:

  • Of the 4 Hired Guns, I think Ivan Maisel of ESPN got it right, comparing this hire to that of Fritz Crisler who won two national titles at Princeton before taking over in Ann Arbor:

For one thing, Harbaugh is the most successful head coach Michigan has hired since it swiped Fritz Crisler from Princeton in 1938. All Crisler did in 10 seasons in Ann Arbor was slap the wings on the helmet, invent two-platoon football, go 71-16-3 (.806) and finish with a 10-0 record in 1947.

  • The next highest profile hire would be Rodriguez (on the brink of a national title shot at WVU), then Yost (short term dominance wherever he went), then Schembechler (Bo who?).
  • Speaking of Yost, he didn’t have the reputation of Crisler or even Rodriguez because in 1900 he still just didn’t have the name out there to attract him to the major college programs.  Michigan found him thanks to a lead from Illinois (Yost had applied for the gig in Champaign in December of 1900—thank goodness they didn’t bite).   I found this short clip in the 1934 Michigan Alumnus where Charles Baird, the AD who hired Yost, described how he found him:

imageDamn, Yost was a beauty.


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Today marks the 110th anniversary of Willie Heston’s final game at Michigan.  Heston was Michigan’s first superstar, a two-time All-American, who scored (somewhere around) 72 touchdowns.  From 1901 to 1904, Heston’s teams went 43-0-1 and are credited with four national titles.


I’ll have more on Heston later this year.

Hearing Willie
Back in 2012 I posted a short audio clip of Fielding Yost from the 1940 nationwide radio tribute the man titled, ‘A Toast to Yost from Coast to Coast’.   Check it out if you missed it.   In that post I promised to share a few more clips, and thanks to the Bentley Historical Library for passing these along.

The man who introduced Yost to the crowd in attendance and the radio audience was none other than the great Heston.   Here are two clips of the great Willie and in the first we have a surprise.   Before offering up his tribute to his old coach, Heston acknowledges that current student athlete and national icon Tom Harmon in the audience.  Old 98 shares the mic & even has a little back and forth with Heston that is all in all pretty priceless.

The second clip has Heston delivering his testimonial to Yost.  Enjoy:

As an aside, while I’m sure you’ll be hard pressed to find another audio clip of the Harmon and Heston together but they did appear elsewhere…namely on this campaign pin for Heston [original 2008 post].   This is probably a decent representation of what each man looked like back in 1940:


Seeing Willie
Don’t ask me to point out who’s who (maybe Brian can whip out a UFR), but here’s footage from Willie’s final game played at Regents Field in Ann Arbor, a 22-12 victory over rival (and Yost’s nemesis) Amos Alonzo Stagg and Chicago.  The footage was taken by Thomas Edison’s firm (note the “gridiron” – the lines painted on the field like a grid):


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Last week I talked about finding the “bottom”, that is, the end of the spiral of crappy things happening to this football team.  I don’t know if we’re there, but out there before the game Saturday you felt a weight was lifted and the mood was actually a bit festive.

Re: Big Dave – Ultimately what did Brandon in weren’t the changes he made to the athletic program.  Even the biggest haters would admit there were some things he did that worked.  For me, I’ll fondly remember his role in smoothing out the practice-gate mess (even before he was AD), bringing in the night games and adding the Legends Program.   What sunk Brandon was that he treated people like crap.

As I’ve seen (and heard behind the scenes), being an outsider, President Schlissel took a look under the covers during these past few weeks he found a very conspicuous lack of people standing up to defend Big Dave.  Take Hoke.  You are probably tired of hearing how he is a such good dude.  While very few (if any) people think Brady will be coaching next year, when he’s evaluated I’m certain he’ll have many folks to throw support his way in some form or another, because he’s down to earth, lacks a noticeable ego and relates to people.  You can be a strong leader and make major changes without being a complete cock.

Historic Shift Afoot – I’ll probably hit more on this later, as you might guess were are living through one of the biggest regime swaps in athletics/football department history.  Off the top in no particular order:

* Late 1960s – Don Canham “wins” AD position, Bump moves out of coaching into athletic department, Bo Schembechler hired.

* Late 1930s – Harry Kipke fired, Yost’s authority suppressed when Ralph Aigler brings in Fritz Crisler.

* 2000s – Dave Brandon takes over, fires RichRod and hires in Brady Hoke.

* Today – New President Schlissel fires Brandon fired and (football coaching situation TBD).


After the jump – Arena, Mood, and more

More »

03. September 2014 · Comments Off on Maize & Blue Sweatervest Hoodoo! (1904) · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , , ,


Holy moly.  Have we merely scratched the surface on the gems out there in Michigan football lore?   Methinks. 

Via the great Greg Kinney, archivist at the U-M Bentley Historical Library, I present an Arkenstone of sorts. Via the October 9, 1904 edition of the Michigan Daily:

yostvest1904Sadly Kinney hasn’t found a photo of young Yost donning the righteous sweatervest* in this game, a 95-0 humiliation of our friends from K-Zoo. 

Speaking of 1904, on the ebay right now there’s an impressive slew of items from that era up for bid, leading off with this – a menu from a postseason banquet.  This type of meal was presumably the predecessor to annual football Bust, and was funded by “The Business Men of Ann Arbor”.

imageThe cover reads “A Hard Nut to Crack” and those feeble squirrels were indeed dealing with an impenetrable pigskin-shaped nut.  At this point Yost was still undefeated since he stepped off the train in Ann Arbor in 1901 and had pissed off just about everyone outside of Ann Arbor, especially Chicago’s “saintly” Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Here’s the menu, along with the speakers, including outgoing senior superstar Willie Heston:

imageAny serious collector will tell you that Point-A-Minute era memorabilia fetches a pretty penny, and this is no exception.  The seller is asking just under a cool grand for this beauty.

*P.S. Here’s young Yost if you need him.   Anyone: Feel free to photoshop a maize and blue hoodoo sweatervest on the old boy: 


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05. October 2013 · Comments Off on TWIMFbH: You Gotta Hand it to Chap (1946) · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , , ,

This Week…heads to back at the battle on a hot October 5, 1946 day at the Big House against the Hawkeyes.   That summer we lost Michigan’s Grand Old Man, but returned to us (from World War II) was the great Bob Chappuis.  The formula for coach Fritz Crisler was simple so dig it:

You can catch all of the This Week in Michigan Football History clips here….sponsored in 2013 by Ziebart of Yspilanti.  Listen to it live tomorrow on the KeyBank Countdown to kick-off on WTKA 1050AM or catch it live inside the Bud Light Victors Lounge.

Radio notes!!

  • I’ll be on with The Wolverine guys at 11am – you can catch it here.
  • I’ll live in the WTKA Victors Lounge at around noon talking jug
  • Catch me on the Michigan Tailgate Show on WWJ 950AM at 2:20pm


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05. August 2013 · Comments Off on The Yost Gap Widens (even more) · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , , ,

Yost Gap!

The Big Ten released its annual media guide today, including the all-time coaching records.  Thanks to scandals at Ohio State (and now Penn State) we know that the recognized W-records of a couple of the big name coaches have been in flux.  Some history for context:

  • In 2010 I lobbied the Big Ten to change Yost’s all-time conference record wrong because they had included the years 1907-1916…when Michigan was not a member of the conference.  The B1G media brass conferred and then agreed.  They made the change and thus bumped Yost’s #1 overall conference record from an .833 winning percentage to .888 (to #2 Tressel’s .828). 
  • In 2011, after the Ohio State scandal sent Tressel packing and vacated the entire 2010 season, I put the question out there of how the conference would treat Tressel’s all-time record on the official books given the scandal.   I suggested five potential scenarios:

Jim Tressel Sucks Based on today’s media guide (and if they published this previously I haven’t seen it)…we know that they went with option #2 above.  Tressel drops to .810:poof - Overall Record

So they simply removed the 2010 wins, kept the Wisconsin loss, dropped the win % to .810 and kept Tressel on the list saying he met the 10-year minimum threshold.   Sure, it would have been nice to see him drop off behind Bo or better yet, off the list completely, but there you go.   Note that Bo is #1 in winning percentage for intra conference games and no one will touch that:

Poof - Conference Records

As for JoePa, like everything else his record is pretty ruined given all wins were vacated from 1998-2011.  I haven’t run the numbers but I’m assuming they treated Paterno the same as Tressel – the wins disappear, the losses stay.  Paterno dropped to #31 all-time with a dismal .425 winning percentage:


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From the front page of September 24, 1940 edition of the Michigan Daily, announcing the demise of the once-great University of Chicago football program:

RIPSo why did one of the original members of the Big Ten, who brought us the heralded Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg (and Fritz Crisler, for that matter), ditch football?  This issue of Sports Illustrated from 1954 put it nicely:

The University of Chicago abandoned intercollegiate football in 1939 because the game hampered the university’s efforts to become the kind of institution it aspired to be. The university believed that it should devote itself to education, research and scholarship. Intercollegiate football has little to-do with any of these things and an institution that is to do well in them will have to concentrate upon them and rid itself of irrelevancies, no matter how attractive or profitable. Football has no place in the kind of institution Chicago aspires to be.

It has been argued that Chicago is different. Perhaps it is and maybe it is just that difference that enabled the university to separate football from education.

That’s sweet and all, but methinks the 85-0 beating at the hands of Tom Harmon’s Wolverines in 1939 had a hand in it as well.  Here’s one of my favorite all-time photos featuring Tom Harmon cooling off on the sidelines during that very game:

1939 Tom Harmon vs Chicago

Following the game there was bit of a media frenzy about the future of college football in the Windy City, stemming from a few remarks from the President.  Here’s a tasty headline from the (St. Petersburg) Evening Independent:

Chicago Football a JokeThat same week the Milwaukee Journal quoted one demoralized UC loser student discussing the state of their pigskin program:

“It doesn’t matter much, does it?  The players are having a lot of fun, so why worry?  If a man must look at football, he can always go to see the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.  They’re even better than the best of the college teams.”

At the turn of the century Stagg’s Maroons were Michigan’s fiercest rival and it the squad that handed Yost his first Wolverine defeat in 1905.  And speaking of Stagg & Yost – the heavy drama between the two is being chronicled by writer John Kryk (Natural Enemies) for a new book that will certainly be required reading! 


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