21. March 2014 · 4 comments · Categories: 2014

MVictors_Banner_Marawatch6[Ed. Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis at it again, just in time for March Madness. ]

Ever wonder what Bo Schembechler-coached-Michigan-Football-team was the best?  [Ed. Sap, of course they have!].   With March Madness all around us and brackets being filled out everywhere, I decided to draw up my own set of Bo Brackets – The Schembechler Sweet 16, if you will.

I used some basic criteria to determine who would go dancing, who would stay on the sidelines and who would get the highest ranking/seed of the Schembechler-coached teams from 1969-1989.   Rose Bowl and Big Ten Championships certainly helped, and the absence of either of those pretty much meant you didn’t get an invite.   As a result, these teams are not included in the tourney for the following reasons:

1975 – Started Bo’s Bowl streak but did not win a Big Ten Championship & had only 8 wins.
1979 – No conference championship & poor record doom this team.
1983 – A great defense, but no Big Ten Championship means no invite.
1984 – Obvious non-qualifier with 6-6 record.
1987 – Too many losses and too many interceptions spell disaster for this team.
Also note: The 1970 team was on the bubble for this tourney, but got the nod over the 1975 squad because of their better record, even though they both did not win a conference championship.

In trying to keep the teams and pairings era-specific, I created the 1970s and 1980s brackets with only two exceptions:

1969 – while not part of the ’70s or ’80s this team makes the tourney for obvious reasons.
1978 – placed in the 1980s bracket because they had more of a passing offense than any other 1970 Schembechler Team.


the Bo Brackets 

Breakdown of the top seeds:


#1 seed: 1969 – Monumental victory over OSU.
#2 seed: 1971 – Unbeaten & untied record & 1 point Rose Bowl loss.
#3 seed: 1976 – Most number of weeks (8) as nation’s #1 ranked team under Bo.
#4 seed: 1973 – Bo’s only undefeated team.

1980’s TOP SEEDS

#1 seed: 1980 – Outright Big Ten & Rose Bowl Champs.
#2 seed: 1985 – Highest Final Ranking (#2) for a Schembechler team.
#3 seed: 1988 – Outright Big Ten & Rose Bowl Champs.
#4 seed: 1989 – Back to Back Outright Big Ten Champs.

[Posted now: The Round 1 (Schembechler 16) Game Results]

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  1. That 1985 team should have won Bo the national title. I still have animosity towards Iowa and Kinnick Stadium because of Houghtlin’s FG.

    Don’t even get me started on the 1973 team…

  2. I also think the 1986 Team had to be one of if not the best team ever produced by Bo. And the single loss that season was to Minnesota at HOME and that then produced the famous Harbuagh Quote, “I guarantee we will beat Ohio State and be in Pasadena on New Year’s Day!” That team and the 1985 Team beating Nebraska were both good teams.

  3. The lone problem with the 1986 team was that the defense was not quite as good as the 1985 defense. Coaches will tell you that the biggest challenge they have in assembling a championship team is having all three teams or phases being great in the same year. By all three phases I mean, Offense, Defense and Special Teams. The 1986 team had a great offense – certainly better than 1985, but the ’86 squad fell short on the defensive side and on special teams. The ideal team? The 1980 Defense (with the 1985 D a close 2nd), the 1986 Offense (1980 2nd) and the 1985 Special Teams Unit.

  4. The 1980 team, hands down. They didn’t allow a touchdown over their last five (!) games. Five points separated that team from a national title (a 2-point loss to Notre Dame and a 3-point loss to South Carolina).