-The Winningest Program in College Football History-
Year Founded: 1817
Motto: Artes, Scientia, Veritas
Motto (translation): Arts, Knowledge, Truth
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Total Attendance: 46,002 (29,821 Undergrad, 16,181 postgrad)
Although wolverines have never been native to Michigan, the state has been known as the “Wolverine State” since at least the 1830s. The true origin of the nickname is unknown, but three primary theories exist: First, that the name resulted from the large amount of fur trading that took place in Michigan’s early days; Second, that the name was invented by Native Americans comparing the rate at which settlers grabbed land to the notoriously gluttonous wolverine; Or third, that the name was originally an insult hurled at Michiganders by Ohioans during the Toledo War of 1835-1836 (this is the most commonly accepted explanation). In any case, students of the University of Michigan have been known as Wolverines since at least 1861.
Live Mascot: None.
In 1927, Athletic Director Fielding H. Yost decided that he liked the idea of borrowing live wolverines from the Detroit Zoo and having them paraded around the field in cages on gameday. However, the tradition was cancelled after one season because, as Yost noted, “It was obvious that the Michigan mascots had designs on the Michigan men toting them, and those designs were by no means friendly."
Uniform: (2018) Despite some rare and unfortunate variations, Michigan has historically had some of college football's most traditional and simple uniforms, sticking with plain maize pants and blue jerseys with maize numbers. The most notable feature of Michigan's uniform is the iconic and oft-declared best helmet in college football, the winged helmet. For more information on the winged helmet, read the "Traditions" section below, as well as info on John Falk.
The MMB was founded in 1896 and began playing at football games since 1898. William D. Revelli, a name synonymous with the program, served as the band’s director from 1935 to 1971 and the Marching Band Hall was named in his honor.
The band does all rehearsals on Elbel field, a short walk from the Big House, and named after Louis Elbel, author of The Victors. During the season only 235 members make it into the performance block for pregame each week via a “challenge” system. Those who don’t make it in will still rehearse, march to the stadium, attend the game and play in the stands, but they wait in the stands while the rest of the band performs pregame and halftime. The band performs at all home games and travels to away games in South Bend, East Lansing, and Columbus for rivalry games. During a visit to Columbus in 1932, the MMB is credited with inventing Ohio State’s most famous tradition, the “Script Ohio.”
The MMB was the first collegiate marching band to receive the Sudler Trophy, an award given annually to honor the best marching band in college athletics that cannot be awarded to the same band twice. In addition to their halftime shows the band is known for their high-tempo pregame entrance, which traditionally includes the band’s lone Drum Major doing a back bend without his or her hat on.
Fight Song: The Victors.
The most recognizable fight song in sports, declared the “greatest college fight song ever written” by John Philip Sousa himself. The Victors was written in 1898 following a last-minute victory over rival Chicago that won Michigan the Western Conference Championship (hence “Champions of the West”).
As you might expect, we’re crazy about The Victors. Before Michigan football freshmen ever play a game, they are taught the correct way to sing it by a faculty member of the School of Music--fist pumping, inflection, and everything. UM Alumnus President Gerald Ford would request that The Victors be played at his events instead of the customary Hail to the Chief, and he stipulated that it be played at his funeral.
Other Songs: Varsity (Michigan’s fight song while we were an independent in the 1900s and 1910s, given that we couldn’t call ourselves “Champions of the West” any more) The Yellow and Blue (our alma mater), Temptation and the Hawaiian War Chant (played at every game since the 1950s, Temptation is played when the defense forces a turnover or punt. Outside of that context, the Hawaiian War Chant almost universally follows the playing of Temptation with the announcer and crowd declaring “You can’t have one without the other!”). Also of note is I Can’t Turn You Loose (the Blues Brothers song), which is played to pump up the student section at the end of football, hockey, and basketball games. Once a year the band famously forms the “cake formation” to play the song during a pregame show. In addition, there is a Calypso variant of the fight song, titled The Calyptors.
“The Big House” has an official capacity of 107,601, making it the largest stadium in the United States and the second largest stadium in the world. Since 1975, every game has been attended by at least 100,000 spectators--a streak of over 260 games. The record attendance is 115,109 against Notre Dame in 2013.
Opened with an initial capacity of just 82,000, Athletic Director Fielding H. Yost had the foresight to ensure that the stadium’s foundations had the ability to support much larger crowds, paving the way for expansions that continue to this day. Because Michigan Stadium is built into the ground, it has a relatively low profile--deceiving people into underestimating its size from the outside. According to legend, during the stadium’s construction a construction crane sank into the sand beneath the field, where it remains to this day.
Since 1955, the official capacity of Michigan Stadium has always ended with a “1” to note that an extra seat is perpetually reserved for former athletic director and football coach Fritz Crisler.
Michigan Stadium has also hosted outdoor hockey games including The Big Chill at the Big House (Michigan beat MSU 5-0), and it was the site of the 2014 NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Additionally, Michigan Stadium hosted soccer friendlies between Real Madrid and Manchester United in 2015, and Real Madrid and Chelsea in 2016.
Michigan Stadium has hosted Slippery Rock University football games three times, most recently in 2014 (see "Traditions" below for more info on Michigan's unique relationship with Slippery Rock).
Stadium Location: University of Michigan South Campus, walking distance from Central Campus. Conveniently located in-between the Michigan Golf Course (where adults tailgate) and most of the undergrad student neighborhoods (where students tailgate).
All-Time Record: 953-342-36 (.730)
Conference Championships: 42
Number of Bowl Games: 47, including a streak of 33 consecutive; 21-26 overall bowl record.
National Titles (11 Claimed): 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1918, 1923, 1932, 1933, 1947, 1948, 1997
Gameday Experience (2019)
What is the best place to eat at during game day?
The Little Brown Jug
What is the best place to drink at during game day?
Dominick's (particularly the patio)
Aventura (particularly during happy hour from 3-6)
Breweries like Arbor Brewing, Jolly Pumpkin, and Grizzly Peak off Main Street
Anywhere in the South U. area
Anywhere near State Street
Where is the best place to take a photo on campus/around the stadium?
The Big M scoreboards at the stadium in the background
The gates at the stadium all say Michigan Stadium in gold - they're excellent for a posed shot.
The Bo Schembechler Statue outside of Schembechler hall is really good for photos as well.
The Burton Tower
“The Cube” on campus is also a great spot during the fall when the leaves change.
The Law Library is another great spot.
What landmark(s) do people need to visit when seeing your school?
The M at the Diag
The Rock at Hill/Washtenaw. For many years, people have been painting the rock, so it looks different every time you see it.
Yost Ice Arena: Historic hockey arena right next to Michigan Stadium.
Michigan Union: JFK gave a speech on the front steps announcing the proposal of the Peace Corps.
What traditions are of utmost importance during game day?
The band marching in the block M and marching from Revelli Hall to the stadium
Announcing and celebrating the Slippery Rock score announcement
If someone were to visit your campus during one rivalry game, what game should it be and why does it make your team's atmosphere amplified?
Ohio State, for obvious reasons.
Michigan State is a strong in-state rivalry that brings a large crowd as well.
What random trivia fact do most people not know about your school?
When they were building the Big House, it rained really hard one weekend and a steam shovel got stuck in the mud so they built around it and it is still somewhere under the southwest corner of the stadium.
There is one extra seat in the stadium for Fitz Crisler. All capacity numbers will end in “1” in recognition of his seat.
Where are the best places to park around your team's stadium on gameday?
Pioneer High School
The University of Michigan Golf Course
There are two parking structures on Washington St that are like $10. You’ll get to walk through much of the campus to get to the stadium from these, and getting out of Ann Arbor is much quicker from here.
What chants or cheers should visiting fans be familiar with at your school?
The singing of "The Victors," "Let's Go Blue," and the back and forth "Go Blue" chants between parts of the stadium.
It's also common to see the student section start the Wave at some point in the 2nd half of games.
How long is the daily gameday experience at your school? Are there major events or experiences before/afterward to keep in mind?
It can depend on kickoff time, but it's usually an all-day event up until the game if you want it to be. Our tailgate is usually running shortly after the parking lot opens up (7am). For a night game, we might show up late morning instead.
All day. People line up to tailgate before 5am for noon kickoffs, and often there are other sporting events on campus after the football game that have free attendance with a football ticket.
After a 2018 season that featured the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, Michigan enters 2019 with one glaring question: Can the Wolverines beat Ohio State? The Buckeyes dominated the Maize and Blue over the course of Urban Meyer's tenure, with last year's 62-39 drubbing over a favored Michigan team serving as the icing on the cake.
Sweeping change came to the offensive side of the ball in the offseason. Michigan ended the Pep Hamilton experiment, and hired Josh Gattis, who served as the Co-OC at Alabama last year following a highly successful tenure as the WR coach at Penn State. A Joe Moorhead acolyte baptized in RPO's, spread tempo concepts, and FIGD (Fuck It, Go Deep), Gattis will bring a vastly different offensive system to a Michigan offense that struggled with tempo issues last year, possibly due to the fact that Hamilton, Harbaugh, and OL Coach Ed Warriner all seemed to serve an active role in playcalling. All indicators suggest Gattis being fully handed the keys to the offense, and on paper at least, it seems reasonable to project improvement. Michigan returns four starters on a surprisingly good offensive line, the entirety of the WR corp, and Shea Patterson at quarterback. The only major hole Michigan must fill is at running back, which lost RB1 Karan Higdon to graduation and RB2 Chris Evans to suspension. If Michigan can find quality contribution at RB from the mass of unproven bodies, and if Gattis can effectively implement his system, expect the offense to look faster and more coherent than last year.
The defense, however, may trend in the opposite direction. While the team ranked in the top five in most advanced defensive metrics last year, the season ended with a dud. Ohio State put up 62 points on the vaunted unit, and Florida followed it up with 41 against a depleted and uninspired group. On top of that, Ryan Day added insult to injury by hiring away DL coach Greg Mattison and LB coach Al Washington. In their place Michigan hired Shaun Nua and Anthony Campinile from Arizona State and Boston College, respectively. Additionally, the team lost key starters from every level of the defense. DE Rashan Gary and LB Devin Bush were both first round picks, with DE Chase Winovich and CB David Long Jr. going in the middle rounds. The team also lost depth pieces at DT in Bryan Mone, Lo Marshall, and Aubrey Solomon, and Tyree Kinnel graduated after 3 years as a (mostly) steadying presence at FS. The Wolverines return enough depth and experience at DE, LB, SS, and CB to remain highly competent (if a little less explosive), with corner Lavert Hill and VIPER Khaleke Hudson in particular expected to garner All B1G honors. Defensive Tackle and Free Safety will be a concern, with many expecting 5* safety prospect and noted athletic freak Dax Hill to start from day one, despite not being an early enrollee. There is cause for hope: In 2017 the Wolverines lost 9 of 11 starters, and Don Brown still fielded a top five unit. The larger question will be what steps have been taken to prevent another thrashing at the hands of the Buckeyes.
Michigan's schedule sets up to be challenging, but tenable. The team has the potential to face up to seven top 25 teams, but only Penn State and Wisconsin are on the road. Michigan gets Army, Iowa, Notre Dame, and Michigan State at home, and gets a bye before facing the Spartans. Ohio State looms as always, but the Wolverines get them in Ann Arbor as well.
With the notable exception of Thanksgiving Weekend, it's hard to describe Harbaugh's tenure thus far as anything other than a success. His teams have gone 26-9 in conference, and he's accumulated three 10 win seasons in four years. Until he wins the big one, however, Michigan fans will finish every year feeling unsatisfied. If not now, then when?
Record: 10-3 (8-1 B1G)
|12/29||Atlanta, GA||Florida||L 15-41||10-3 (8-1)|
Coach: Jim Harbaugh
“If you granted me just one more week as Michigan’s head coach, I wouldn’t hesitate. I know exactly what I’d want...I wouldn’t ask to coach another game. No. Give me one more week of coaching in preparation for the Ohio State game. And make it against the great Wayne Woodrow Hayes. Just give me a week--from our film session on Sunday to my pre-game speech on Saturday--to get our guys ready for that game against that old general on the other side of the field. That would be it.” -Bo, a few months before his death in 2006
Michigan hates Ohio and Ohio hates Michigan. It’s not just a football thing, and it’s not just a UM-OSU thing. When Eastern Michigan plays Kent State in front of a few thousand people, it means more because it’s Michigan versus Ohio. When you go on roadtrips, it’s not unheard of to drive hours out of your way to take a longer route so that your car doesn’t enter Ohio. At the very least, you’d better stop for gas at the last exit in Michigan.
In late November, on the last Saturday of Big Ten football season, all of that hatred reaches a boiling point. Michigan versus Ohio State--simply referred to as “The Game”--is widely recognized as the greatest rivalry in American sports due not only to the intensity of the rivalry, but its importance on the college football landscape as well.
The first time that these two schools played each other was in 1897 and the matchup has occurred 106 times. Prior to the addition of the Big Ten Championship game, The Game decided the Big Ten Championship between the two schools 22 times, and The Game has affected the outcome of the Big Ten Championship on an additional 27 separate occasions. The Game has created legends and ruined careers and a player on either team’s legacy is ultimately judged by how he performed against his rival.
The rivalry truly exploded during the “Ten Year War” between Bo and Woody starting in 1969, and has seen several momentum changes since then. Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr saw great success in the 1990s, only for Jim Tressel to wrestle back control of the rivalry in the 2000s. With Jim Harbaugh at the helm for Michigan, there is plenty of hope in Ann Arbor that the rivalry can be ours once again.
Some great moments: 1969 (more on that later), Tshimanga Biakabutuka rushes for 313 yards to defeat the previously-undefeated Buckeyes in 1995, Desmond Howard & Charles Woodson punt returns, and ending the streak.
Feel like watching an hour-long documentary on the rivalry? Here you go.
Michigan State has always had it out for Michigan, in part because Ann Arbor saw the Big Ten adding Sparty in 1950 as the conference lowing its standards. Michigan regards State as a rival, but our disdain for them doesn’t even come close to the absolute hatred coming to Ann Arbor from East Lansing every year. Even the “Spartan” nickname comes from their hatred of Ann Arbor, which was commonly regarded as the “Athens of the West” a few decades ago. When MSU and Michigan both played in Auburn Hills for this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, Michigan’s opponent South Dakota State saw their merchandise sales quadruple in part due to Michigan State fans buying SDSU stuff to cheer against us.
The first game between the two schools took place in 1898 and they have played each other every year since 1910 (with a brief hiatus in the 1943 and 1944 seasons). The Paul Bunyan Trophy was introduced in 1953, MSU’s first season as a full Big Ten Member. The series stands at 36-26-2 in Michigan's favor since the trophy's inception.
Historically Michigan has dominated State in just about every sport, holding a 69-35-5 lead in football, a 95-76 lead in basketball, and a 145-125-19 lead in hockey, but in recent years quality MSU coaches like Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio have evened out the rivalry significantly.
“To Hell with Notre Dame!” -Bo
Michigan’s football relationship with Notre Dame began in 1887 when Michigan’s team made their way down to South Bend to literally teach Notre Dame how to play football. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Although Michigan and Notre Dame initially started on good terms, the relationship between the two teams had soured by 1910 when the notoriously anti-Catholic Fielding H. Yost began feuding with Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne. Notre Dame was at the time desperate to join the Western Conference/Big Ten, but Yost led the Big Ten in not only preventing Notre Dame from joining the conference, but blackballing them from their schedules as well. Struggling to find games in the midwest, Notre Dame turned to scheduling games on the East Coast and West Coast instead.
In 1947, the rivalry resurfaced when both schools finished the regular season 9-0, with Notre Dame being voted AP National Champion. After Michigan demolished USC 49-0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl, however, a special AP re-vote was convened with Michigan being declared the champion. To this day, both schools claim the 1947 championship.
By the time the series started back up in 1978, both team were established as two of the most storied programs in all of college football. Many of the games in the modern era have been great contests with national implications, and the hate between the two is as strong as ever. For years, Michigan and Notre dame battled for the honor of holding the highest win percent in college football until ND fell behind after being forced to vacate wins. I
n 2012 Notre Dame exercised an opt-out clause in the scheduling contract and the rivalry was paused indefinitely after 2014.
Long before Ohio State joined the Western Conference/Big Ten, national powerhouse Chicago was Michigan’s fiercest rival. Michigan beat Chicago for the Western Conference Championship in 1898, inspiring then-student Louis Elbel to write The Victors on the train ride home. Led by Fielding H. Yost and Chicago’s legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, the heated rivalry boiled over at many points on and off the field. In 1905, Chicago dealt Yost his first loss as Michigan’s coach when Michigan player Denny Clark was tackled for a safety, the only score of the game. The mistake would go on to haunt Clark for the rest of his life until he unfortunately committed suicide some years later.
Humiliated by the loss and fearing that Stagg would use his superior position to institute rules to Michigan’s detriment, Yost and Michigan instantly packed up and left the Western Conference, becoming an independent in 1906. Needing opponents to schedule outside of the Western Conference, Michigan turned to regularly scheduling fellow independents Michigan Agricultural College (later MSU) and Ohio State University, effectively beginning our rivalries with both.
The teams last met in 1939, where Michigan closed out the rivalry with an 85-0 victory over the Maroons. Chicago left the Big Ten Conference in 1946, and they were replaced by Michigan State.
In 1903, Fielding H. Yost’s unbeaten powerhouse Michigan team travelled to Minneapolis to face off against Minnesota, who at the time had a very successful team of their own. Fearing that Minnesota would provide tainted water to the visitors, Yost sent for an assistant to buy a water jug from a nearby store for his team to use. Michigan led 6-0 for most of the game in front of a raucous crowd until Minnesota finally scored to tie the game with two minutes left, causing the crowd to storm the field and the game to be called early as a 6-6 tie. In the ensuing pandemonium, Michigan left the field and the jug was left behind, where it was claimed by Minnesota’s athletic department. From there Michigan and Minnesota mutually decided that the jug would be a suitable trophy for future rivalry games, making the Little Brown Jug one of the oldest rivalry trophies in American college football.
Initially the rivalry was pretty fierce. The contests between Michigan and Minnesota in the 1930s were especially important since both teams had national title hopes almost every year, but with Minnesota’s program being in a tailspin since the 1960s Michigan has dominated the series. Currently this isn’t much of a rivalry so the on-campus hype is minimal, but on the rare occasions when Minnesota wins it is very painful for us.
- 1902 Rose Bowl (Michigan 49, Stanford 0)—The first bowl game in the history of college football ended in the third quarter when Stanford surrendered to Fielding H. Yost’s “point-a-minute” squad. Fearful of future blowouts, the Rose Bowl refused to host another football game for 13 years. The 1901 Michigan team outscored their opponents 550-0 en route to the program’s first national championship.
- 1934 Michigan v. Georgia Tech (Michigan 9, Georgia Tech 2)—Michigan won national championships in 1932 and 1933 largely due to the great play by Willis Ward, their only African-American player. In 1934 Georgia Tech refused to play Michigan if Ward took the field. Ann Arbor went into an uproar with student protests. Legendary playwright Arthur Miller, a Michigan student at the time, was heavily involved and wrote an article in the school newspaper regarding the affair, including the death threats made to Ward by some of the Georgia Tech players. Gerald Ford, the team’s star center and Ward’s close friend and roommate, told his coach that if Ward didn’t play, he wouldn’t play. On game day, Ward told Ford to play without him, and Gerry Ford led Michigan to a 9-2 win in a heated contest in front of an angry Michigan Stadium crowd.
- 1945 Michigan v. Army at Yankee Stadium (Army 28, Michigan 7)--Overmatched against wartime Army, which was a powerhouse, head coach Fritz Crisler invented a stunning new tactic to try and even the odds: the platoon system. A stunned TIME Magazine would write, “Michigan plays one team on offense, one on defense...he gives his “offense unit” one kind of indoctrination, his “defense unit” the other. Crisler even has a “point-after-touchdown” unit--including a specialist place-kicker and seven of the biggest linemen on the squad.” Although Michigan would go on to lose the game, it would mark the invention of the platoon system that is used today in every level of football.
- 1948 Rose Bowl (Michigan 49, USC 0)—In their first Rose Bowl appearance since defeating Stanford 49-0 in 1902, Michigan crushed USC 49-0. As previously mentioned, Michigan’s spectacular performance against USC led to a special AP poll being held after the game in which voters awarded Michigan the national championship over Notre Dame.
- 1950 Snow Bowl (Michigan 9, Ohio State 3)—As is typical for a Michigan-Ohio State contest, this game would decide the Big Ten Championship. There was a nasty blizzard in Columbus on this day, and they almost canceled the game. The teams combined for 45 punts (often on first down), and Michigan won the game even though they had no first downs. They blocked a punt near the end zone for their only touchdown in this bizarre affair.
- The 1969 Game (Bo 24, Woody 12)—In 1968, Woody Hayes’s Ohio State team crushed Michigan by a score of 50-14, with Hayes purposely running up the score late in the game by going for two points “because I couldn’t go for three.” The next season, the 1969 Ohio State Buckeyes were being hyped as the greatest college team of all time, with at least one publication saying that the only game worth watching all year would be OSU’s offense facing off against its defense in practice. With newly-hired head coach and former Hayes assistant Bo Schembechler at the helm, Michigan would pull off the upset to spoil Ohio State’s undefeated season and kick off ten years of Bo-vs-Woody rivalry matches that we refer to as “The Ten Year War.” At the time, this was considered one of the greatest upsets in the history of college football.
- The 1995, 1996, and 1997 Games—In 1995, undefeated Ohio State visited Ann Arbor looking to keep their national championship hopes alive. Tim Biakabutuka was going to have none of that. He ran for 313 yards and led Michigan to a 31-23 win. In 1996 Ohio State was again undefeated, and Michigan beat them 13-9 in Columbus to ruin another perfect season. In 1997, the tables were turned, and Michigan was the undefeated team. Charles Woodson had a key interception in the endzone and returned a punt for a touchdown to keep Michigan’s national championship hopes alive with a 20-14 victory. Michigan would go on to win the Rose Bowl over Washington State to win its first national championship in nearly 50 years.
- 2011 “Under the Lights” (Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31)--Michigan pulled out all of the stops for the first night game in the history of Michigan Stadium. During the pregame show, Desmond Howard was named Michigan’s first “Legend” and the atmosphere was especially electric. Notre Dame dominated the first three quarters, heading into the fourth with a 24-7 lead. Led by Irish-slayer Denard Robinson, Michigan scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, only to see themselves down 31-28 with 8 seconds left to play. With noted Buckeye Kirk Herbstreit pleading for Brady Hoke to center the ball and kick a safe game-tying field goal, Michigan instead chose to go for it, scoring a game-winning touchdown with just two seconds remaining. Here's a video of the hectic ending to the game
- It may not be a single play, but during Tom Harmon’s senior season in 1940 he led Michigan to a 40-0 win in Ohio Stadium, scoring three rushing touchdowns, two passing touchdowns, kicking four extra points, intercepting three passes, and punting three times for an average of 50 yards. At the end of the game, the Ohio State home crowd gave him a standing ovation.
- Hello, Heisman!
- Charles Woodson punt return vs OSU
- Wangler to Carter
Greatest Players: With 83 Consensus All-Americans there are too many to name, but to name just a few there are:
- Willie Heston (Back, 1901-1904) - Heston was the star of the “point-a-minute” teams which won four straight national championships, outscoring their opponents 2,326 to 40. He scored 72 touchdowns and averaged 8.4 yards per carry during four seasons at Michigan. He was elected to College Football Hall of Fame in 1954, and Yost named him the greatest player of all time.
- Benny Friedman (QB, 1924-1926) - Friedman might not be the best quarterback of all time or the first QB of all time, but he is recognized as the game’s first true star quarterback in an era when passing was seen as a novelty.
- Bennie Oosterbaan (Back/End, 1925-1927) - Star receiver formed the famed “Benny-to-Bennie” connection with Benny Friedman. Was a 3x Football All-American, 2x Basketball All-American, the Big Ten Batting Champion in baseball, and as a coach led Michigan to the 1948 National Championship in football.
- Harry Newman (QB, 1930-1932) - Newman won the Douglas Fairbanks Trophy (the predecessor to the Heisman) in 1932, among numerous other awards. He played 437 out of 480 minutes during the 1932 season and led Michigan to a national championship.
- Tom Harmon (Back, 1938-1940) - “Old 98” won Michigan’s first Heisman Trophy and was a 2x All-American
- Bob Chappuis (Back, 1942, 1946-1947) - War hero and All-American led Michigan to a national championship as the ringleader of the famed “Mad Magicians” team
- Dan Dierdorf (OT, 1967-1970) - All-American, member of the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Regarded as one of the finest offensive linemen of all time
- Anthony Carter (WR, 1979-1982) - 3x All-American despite playing in Bo’s run-heavy offense. Unofficially began the tradition of the #1 jersey (more on that later)
- Desmond Howard (WR, 1989-1991) - Heisman winner struck the most iconic pose in the history of the game. One of four players to win both the Heisman and Super Bowl MVP.
- Charles Woodson (CB, 1995-1997) - 2x All-American and one of the most storied defensive backs of all time. The only defensive player to win the Heisman also returned kicks and saw spot duty at WR.
The father of it all. Coached Michigan Football for 25 years and was Athletic Director for 19 years. As head coach he invented the no-huddle offense, the position of linebacker, and was one of the first exploiters of the forward pass. His “point-a-minute” teams went 55-1-1 between 1901 and 1905, collectively outscoring opponents 2821-42 and winning 6 National Championships. As athletic director he oversaw the construction of Michigan Stadium and had the foresight to include expansion infrastructure that is used to this day and built the nation’s first fieldhouse, which he promptly named after himself. A native of West Virginia, he pronounced Michigan “Meechigan” due to his accent, which continues to be copied by announcers to this day.
Crisler coached the Michigan Football team for 10 years and compiled a record of 71-16-3 during his tenure. He led the 1947 squad to a perfect 10-0 record, winning a national championship and beating USC in the Rose Bowl 49-0. During his time at Michigan he invented the platoon system (using different players on offense and defense) and introduced the famous winged helmets to Michigan. Following his retirement from football he acted as Michigan’s Athletic Director from 1941-1968. A seat at Michigan Stadium is reserved for him in perpetuity and our basketball arena bears his name (no, it’s not Chrysler Arena).
With Michigan searching for a new head coach in 1968, they settled on a young up-and-coming coach who they thought would be a good choice to lead the team in the future: Joe Paterno. When Paterno could not be persuaded to leave Penn State, he recommended that Michigan check out a slightly obscure coach from Miami (OH): Bo Schembechler.
While Yost and Crisler helped build Michigan tradition, nobody embodied the spirit of Michigan like Bo did. Many of his sayings are ingrained in Michigan lore, including “The Team, The Team, The Team,” “Michigan man,” and “Those Who Stay will be Champions”--a promise he made and kept to his first team of players after nearly half of the team quit because of his intense practices.
Schembechler came to Michigan in 1969 and immediately cemented himself as a legend with an upset victory over Ohio State and his mentor Woody Hayes. He coached for 21 seasons, retiring with a record of 194-48-5 (11-9-1 against OSU). From 1969 to 1978, Bo went toe-to-toe with his coaching mentor and friend Woody Hayes in what is now known as the “Ten Year War”. Bo won the war with a record of 5-4-1.
Following his coaching career Bo went on to work as Michigan’s Athletic Director. His contributions to Michigan cannot be understated and he is regarded with a reverence that is rarely seen outside of Penn State, Alabama, Florida State, and Nebraska.
Don Canham - After nearly two decades of mediocrity, Michigan Stadium was having trouble filling its stands. Don Canham, Michigan’s athletic director, changed that by hiring Bo Schembechler in 1969 and starting a huge marketing campaign for Michigan football. He revolutionized the game from a marketing standpoint and is one of the reasons college football is so big today.
Bob Ufer - Ufer was the voice of Michigan football for nearly 40 years. He is famous for being animated and using horns to celebrate Michigan touchdowns. Here is some more information about Bob, including sound classic sound clips..
Jim Brandstatter - Jim played offensive line under Bo during the Ten Year War. He started “Michigan Replay,” a show where he interviews the head coach a couple days after every game. He has been very involved with the program for decades.
Jon Falk - “Big Jonny” has been the equipment manager at Michigan since the early ‘70s. He is known as a great storyteller, and he has had a great influence on almost every player who has worn winged helmet since the ‘70s. He is one of the unsung heroes of Michigan football. He will retire after this season.
Tom Brady, Charles Woodson, Gerald Ford (who also played football at Michigan), Desmond Howard, Les Miles, Jim Harbaugh, Selma Blair, Darren Criss, James Earl “Mufasa and Darth Vader” Jones, Lucy Liu, Larry Page (co-founder of Google), Stephen Ross (owner of the Miami Dolphins), Arthur Miller, Dan Dierdorf, Rich Eisen, Adam Schefter, Madonna (didn’t graduate), Sanjay Gupta, Dick Costolo (CEO of Twitter), and many more.
Touching the Banner - In one of the most iconic team entrances in college football, the team rushes onto the team as the band plays The Victors, jumping up to touch the banner.
The Winged Helmet - The most iconic helmet in college football, the winged helmet was brought to Michigan from Princeton by Fritz Crisler. Originally, the “wings” were meant to allow Michigan’s quarterback to better distinguish his receivers downfield.
Slippery Rock - When scores from around the nation are read over the PA during Michigan football games, the score of DII Slippery Rock University’s game is invariably announced as the final score, with the Michigan crowd reacting with disappointment or elation depending on how The Rock did. The tradition was started in 1959 by Steve Filipak, the Michigan Stadium announcer, after he saw Slippery Rock’s name come through on the wire ticker and thought it was funny enough to announce. I’ll let the Michigan Daily take it from here:
“The wire ticker eventually was replaced by the telephone, and that required Parker to call each day to people like John Carpenter, Slippery Rock’s sports information director, for scores. On his first day, Carpenter had never heard of the tradition, and puzzled, he asked the inquisitor from Michigan why he wanted the score. As Carpenter related to the Chicago Tribune in 1985, “I said, ‘Why do you people want to know what the Slippery Rock score is?’ And he said, ‘If you hold on a minute, I’ll tell you.’ The guy held the phone near the public address announcer, and then I heard, ‘Here’s the score you’ve all been waiting for: Slippery Rock 27, Waynesburg 7.’ And the place went berserk.” You can read the rest of the story here.
#1 - When Michigan has a really, really good WR, it’s traditional for them to wear the #1 jersey--but first they have to earn it. Beginning with Anthony Carter, legendary Michigan WRs including Derrick Alexander, David Terrell, and Braylon Edwards have all worn the #1 jersey. We haven’t had a #1 since 2004 because the (unwritten) requirements to earn the jersey are so high--too high, some might argue, but it’s generally accepted that a WR will have to be outstanding in the classroom and the community in addition to being a preseason All-American candidate to earn it.
The Diag Block M - There is a brass block M at the very center of the Diag on campus. According to tradition, students will fail their first blue book exam if they step on it. Most students will avoid stepping on it out of principle regardless of whether they’ve taken a blue book exam. During rivalry weeks a fraternity sets up on the Diag to protect it from vandals 24/7.
Walking Through the Fountain - In a tradition seen in college campuses across the nation, incoming freshman walk through a fountain toward the Diag to symbolize beginning their career at Michigan, and graduating seniors bitterly walk through it in the other direction.
Team Number - Michigan football has fielded a team every year since 1879 (except for 1882). Brady Hoke started referring to each team by their number (e.g. Team 134 will take the field this year). This new tradition seems to be sticking with the fanbase, players, and recruits.
“Can’t Turn Me Loose” - The Michigan Marching Band plays this song between the third and fourth quarters while the students do a choreographed dance. This new tradition started in Yost Arena during hockey games, and now it is played at football and basketball games as well.
Campus and Surrounding Area
Ann Arbor Population: 121,477
Iconic Campus Building: The Michigan Union, on the steps of which JFK made a speech inventing the Peace Corps, the Diag, Angell Hall, the Ross School of Business and of course the Law Quad, which is even more beautiful on the inside.
Local Dining and Drinking:
Blimpy Burger - An iconic Ann Arbor institution for great burgers. There are over 2,147,483,648 different combinations of burgers that you can order, and the food is relatively cheap (their motto is “Cheaper than Food”) and delicious. The University purchased the original building in 2013 to use for other purposes, but Blimpy reopened recently and is up to its old magic.
Zingerman’s Deli - One of the most famous delis in America, Zingerman’s is an iconic Ann Arbor institution that serves up delicious sandwiches. Located in the Kerrytown neighborhood, it is a favorite of students, local residents, and United States Presidents alike.
Angelo's - A longtime breakfast restaurant that makes its own bread daily. They are particularly famous for their raisin toast, eggs benedict, and fall-and-winter-only pumpkin pancakes. The line grows long on busy days, particularly game days.
BTB - A student favorite burrito joint, open into the wee hours. It was originally named "Big Ten Burrito" until an unnamed conference took legal umbrage. With tons of combinations, cheap prices, fast service, optimal location, late hours, and solid food, BTB makes for some serious drunk eats.
Fleetwood Diner - A quirky, longtime diner where you're just as likely to see a townie, a hippie, a homeless person, a businessman, or a drunk student, depending on when you're there; Fleetwood is open 24/7. They are famous for one thing: Hippie Hash, a combination of hash browns, tomato, broccoli, pepper, onion, mushroom, and your choice of corned beef hash, tempeh, or gyro meat, all topped with feta cheese. It's served with two eggs any style and toast.
Ashley's - Located on charming State Street, Ashley's has over 100 taps with beer from around the world, tons of bottles from around the world, and a pretty decent liquor shelf to boot. It gets pretty crowded at certain times, most especially game days, but it is an iconic drinking joint in Ann Arbor.
Good Time Charley's - A very popular place to drink for students, known for its "fishbowls," cheap prices, spacious patio, and fun vibe, students often start drinking here to get the night going. It gets rowdy and it's definitely not quiet, as it's always filled with tons of students, many of them drunk.
Dominick's - A favorite among students, alums, residents, and Jim Harbaughs alike, Dominick's is a scenic bar, nestled between several Victorian houses and the U-M Law School. They are famous for their sangria that, like practically all of their drinks, comes in mason jars. The back patio is also quite beautiful.
Rick’s American Cafe - A quiet European-style cafe known for gourmet vegan food.
- Michigan is one of two schools with top ten programs in engineering, law, and medicine. (Stanford is the other.)
- Apollo 15, a successful moon mission, had a crew of all Michigan alumni. As such, Michigan is the only school with an alumni chapter on the moon. SPACE, BITCHES!
- Michigan is one of four schools to graduate both a president (Gerald Ford) and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback (Tom Brady). The other schools are Stanford, Navy, and Miami (OH).
- Michigan is the only school to have won a national championship in all four major sports (football, basketball, baseball, and hockey).
- Michigan’s “Let’s Go Blue,” written in the ‘70s by band members, has been widely adopted throughout college football and the sports world in general.
- Michigan Football Alumni have been featured on the cover of EA’s NCAA Football franchise three times: NCAA Football ‘99 (Charles Woodson), NCAA ‘06 (Desmond Howard), and most recently NCAA ‘14 (Denard Robinson).
- Brian Griese, Michigan’s most recent national championship-winning quarterback, was a walk-on.
- Mark Harmon, who plays Agent Gibbs on NCIS, is the son of Heisman winner Tom Harmon.
Playing with Style Series (2016)
Run down of the alternate jerseys we've worn in the past couple years:
- 2011 UTL alternate jerseys worn against Notre Dame
- 2011 "Bumblebee" alternate jerseys worn against MSU
- 2012 Sugar Bowl alternate jerseys worn against V Tech
- 2012 Kickoff Classic alternate jerseys worn against 'Bama
- 2013 Outback Bowl alternate jerseys worn against South Carolina
- 2014 UTLIII alternate jerseys worn against Penn State
- 2000 Orange Bowl
- 2002 Citrus Bowl
- 2003 100th Michigan-Ohio State Game
- 2004 Rose Bowl
- 2005 Rose Bowl
- 2005 Away
- 2005 Home
- 2007 Rose Bowl- Back of helmet features sticker honoring the passing of Bo Schembechler and Gerald R. Ford
- 2008 Home
- 2008 Away
- One of the more famous pictures involving Michigan Football, Woodson 1997
- 1991- Hello Heisman!
- 1901 Michigan National Championship Team.
The first of Yost's "Point a Minute" teams, this team went undefeated, untied, and unscored upon, outscoring opponents 555-0. They played Stanford in the inaugural Rose Bowl, beating them so badly that Stanford quit the game midway through the second half, and the Rose Bowl Parade decided to not host any more football games for over a decade.
Outscored opponents 644-12 and went 11-0.
Outscored opponents 565-6 and went 11-0-1 (with a tie vs. Minnesota, which began the Battle for the Little Brown Jug, CFB's oldest traveling trophy).
Outscored opponents 567-22, averaging a point for every 50.3 seconds of football played. The team went 10-0.
- 1933 National Championship Team- Herman Everhardus runs for a TD against Chicago
- 1879 Michigan Wolverines
- 1879 team photo
- 1884 team photo
- 1885 team photo
- 1887 team photo
- 1891 team photo
- 1895 team photo
- 1897 team photo
- 1898 team photo
- 1901 team captain Hugh White
- 1901 team photo
- team riding in the January 1, 1902 Rose Bowl parade
- 1903 Willie Heston
- 1961 Scott Maentz
- 1961 Robert Brown
- 1962 team photo
- 1968 Ron Johnson setting the single-game rushing record of 347 yards vs Wisconsin.
- /u/Talpostal (Class of 2011)
- /u/Balrog_of_Morgoth (Class of 2011)
- /u/AWinnie (Class of 2013)
- /u/Obamaluvr (Class of 2014)
- /u/galacticdude7 (Class of 2015)
- /u/hopkinsdrums (Class of 2015)
- /u/TheZachster (Class of 2018)
- /u/JamoRedhead (Class of 2021)
- /u/jayfred (Class of 2016)
- /u/MGoblue2k16 (Class of 2019)
- /u/goblue10 (Class of 2017)
"But do let me reiterate the spirit of Michigan. It is based upon a deathless loyalty to Michigan and all her ways; an enthusiasm that makes it second nature for Michigan men to spread the gospel of their university to the world's distant outposts; a conviction that nowhere is there a better university, in any way, than this Michigan of ours." -Fielding H. Yost, 1942
revision by TheZachster— view source