The first of October is a special day in Michigan lore.  Two major milestones occurred on this day, eleven years apart:

October 1, 1927.  The first game in a sparkling new Michigan stadium, where U-M thumped Ohio Wesleyan 33-0.  Later that season temporary stands (borrowed from Ferry Field) were added to accommodate the crowds for the Navy and Ohio State games.  Here’s a look at a pristine Big House:


October 1, 1938.  Fritz Crisler took the whistle on the western sideline for the first time on this day in 1938, and this was the debut of the iconic winged helmet:

Winged Helmet Debut

And thanks to the Michigan History Calendar, we also know that it was on this day in 1932 that the football program earned win #300 – a 26-0 shutout of Michigan State College in Ann Arbor.


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I put this out there last week and it sparked some interesting feedback on Twitter:


For those who don’t make it to the Big House on the regular, north is the student section or generally left on your TV, south has the flag pole.   For me I’m torn.  The greatest moments that I’ve seen in person are probably the Desmond catch on fourth down against Notre Dame in 1991 in the north, and the Desmond (‘91) and Woodson (‘97) punt returns against Ohio State that went to the south. 

A quick breakdown of huge moments by endzone, a big thanks to Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag:


  • Hello Heisman punt return vs, Ohio State 1991
  • Woodson punt return vs. Ohio State 1997
  • Denard first TD vs. Western Michigan 2010
  • Kip Taylor – first touchdown in Michigan Stadium 1927
  • Wangler to Carter vs. Indiana 1979
  • Henne to Manningham vs. Penn State
  • Forcier to Mathews vs. Notre Dame
  • Treezy UTL1 vs. Notre Dame



  • The Catch – Desmond vs. Notre Dame 1991
  • #BraylonFest vs. Michigan State 2004
  • Mercury Hayes vs. Virginia 1995
  • Harbaugh to Kolesar vs. Ohio State 1985

I know there’s a big recency bias so far – consider this a work in progress.

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12. September 2015 · Comments Off on Freshman Quarters · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , ,

Via a piece in the Portland Tribune:

In the bowels are meeting room, training rooms and team locker rooms. The Wolverines have separate locker rooms for the freshmen and upperclassmen, a throwback to the Bo Schembechler era.

“Bo wanted the freshmen to be by themselves for a year so they could become a very tight group,” Ablauf says. “The idea was, that would benefit them by the time they’re seniors and leaders on the team. We got away from that when the renovation happened in 2010. When Coach Harbaugh came in, he re-established the separate locker rooms.”

Interesting.  Don’t think I’d heard that, and despite personally being in the in the bowels (including the main locker room) for media day, I don’t recall seeing a separate area.


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04. August 2014 · Comments Off on Ronaldo is a handsome dude (and other takeaways from Saturday’s match) |WTKA audio · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , ,

Photo Aug 02, 4 49 46 PM

Rooney turns on one in the first half (MVictors photo – that’s me)

I joined Ira and Sam this morning on WTKA to breakdown a few observations from Saturday’s match up at the Big House, if you missed it:

Quick hitters:

  • Awesome event.  For all the beatings #1000SSS has taken lately, hats off to Hunter Lochmann and Dave Brandon for putting this together.
  • Strongly feel we need to keep using this facility for events like this.  As I told Ira and Sam, Fielding Yost would have loved this.
  • I was naive to think there’d be a big overlap between Michigan football fans and this event.  Wrong, this was a completely different crowd and demographic.  Evidence:
    • The traffic mess..but not because NB Ann Arbor-Saline was closed.  It was because of the noobs.  From the east folks figured the best way to get to the stadium was down M-14 to downtown.  From the south, the masses went to the Washtenaw exit off of 23 – which IIRC is where the signs tell you to go.  Yikes.  Backups started 3-4 hours before the game.
    • The Wave..your old lame friend The Wave was spun up in the first half was actually kind of cool.  No, not because the wave is cool, but because unofficially 99.4% of the crowd participated and screamed like girls.  It felt like 1989.
    • Languages..circling the field I think I heard 7-8 different languages.
  • Newsflash: Ronaldo is indeed one handsome cat.  And it was pretty cool when he stepped down on the field to warm-up – place went nuts.
  • I assume purists were worried if these players would go hard, given this was an exhibition.  I thought the players played really hard – Rooney was barking at the refs and his teammates the entire time he was in.  There were a couple dangerous 50/50 balls that guys sold out on.
  • Chatting with someone from the athletic department, the biggest logistical challenge on the day was the halftime show.  Looks like they pulled it off.  I was in the tunnel when they dragged that stage off the field – there were about 4 feet on either end of the stage as it creeped up the tunnel.

Photos from Friday’s practice here

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01. September 2013 · Comments Off on CMU Game Photos (Michigan 59, Central Michigan 9) · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , ,


Game action from Saturday.  Also check out pregame shots here, and sights/sounds here.   A big thanks to photog Kelley Kuehne for the great work today.

Leading off—we celebrate Michigan Football:

Joe Reynolds celebration  

Michigan blocked kick

And now you are blocked..setting up Joe R’s TD

Thomas Rawls with Fred Jackson

T Rawls and Freddy J talking about the 5 points of pressure on the pigskin


 Devin Funchess #87 2013

Honey Funchess of Oats dropping the stiff arm as a Chip tries to strip the ball


CMU Spider-Man

Spider-Chip, Spider-Chip, does whatever a Spider-Chip does.   Do they make tearaway bicep bands?


Michigan goal line stand

Fourth and Short…and you get NOTHING!  GOOD DAY SIR!



Cam Gordon pass block

Capt. Gordon with the block – love this one

More after the jump including Derrick Green, a greasy pigskin, Fitz and more: More »

12. December 2012 · Comments Off on Legends of the Ann Arbor Fall · Categories: 2012 · Tags: , ,

One more addition to the 2012 U-M Holiday Gift list for fans, a special offer from artist Ben McCready:


This historic commemorative print features a capacity Michigan Stadium crowd with a distinctive Block M background.   Ringing the stadium are dramatic depictions of Harmon, Carter, Chappuis, Oosterbaan, Kramer and Howard. 

McCready shared some background on how this came to be:

This print was issued by the athletic department in 1997 and was featured in every home game program that year. For the past decade or so I have been donating prints every year to children who are patients at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and to the University of Michigan athletic department.  The renovation of Michigan Stadium sparked a renewed interest in the prints and I have decided to make them available again at a special price with a portion of the proceeds going to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Price?  A special offer from McCready:
* $50 for the large, Limited Edition Print
* $25 for a signed, smaller print.

More info here.


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I got an email this morning from reader David D. who tipped me that it appeared as though the permanent lights were going up already.  Brandon indicated earlier that the project would start after the Wisconsin game to have them ready for The Big Chill.

Per Dave Ablauf of U-M Media relations, they have indeed started the project and don’t blink, they’ll be in and done by Saturday: “The permanent lights are in the process of being installed and will be in prior to this weekend’s game with Wisconsin.”

That’s fast!

I think most fans are ok with the concept of permanent lights but I’m sure there’ll be some reaction on the aesthetics once they are in place.

A big thanks to Ira Weintraub down at WTKA 1050AM for passing these along, who in turn got them from longtime WTKA caller ‘High Octane Mike’.

Harold Sherman lived in the area and wandered over to the original Michigan Stadium construction site and snapped these shots.  They were passed along to his son Pete, who was kind enough to show them to the likes of H.O. Mike and Ira.

I’m thinking they date to the late spring timeframe, 1927, a few perhaps later on.   Why?  Well, it appears as though we’ve got some cement work going on here and Yost solicited bids for the concrete work in March 1927 and started pouring shortly thereafter.









Don’t see a steam shovel or crane buried?  From my upcoming interview in GoBlueWolverine magazine with Dr. Robert Soderstrom, author of The Big House:

GBW: One of the greatest tales of Michigan Stadium involves a crane or steam shovel being buried beneath the stadium, lost in all that water and sand during the build. But you didn’t find any evidence of this in your research?

Soderstrom: [laughs] I was unable to confirm that and I’ve heard that story since I arrived in Ann Arbor way back in 1968. I could not find anything in the current literature, either in the Ann Arbor News or the Michigan Daily or anything. I can’t imagine that wouldn’t have been recorded by somebody if in fact they had lost a whole steam shovel.

The [excavator] lost everything else. I also asked his granddaughter and she said she never heard that story from her grandfather.