In the preseason college football coaches poll , Michigan started the season ranked 7th, with Michigan State ranked 20th. Since then they’ve both gone through plenty of ups and downs , with Michigan falling to 17th, and Michigan State falling out of the rankings altogether. But there’s one final twist left: their bowl games.
This Saturday, for the 112th time, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University will fight over a football for 60 minutes. During the year’s other 364 days, the two schools’ coaches, players, and fan bases produce enough adolescent sniping and sophomoric stunts to fill a book— in fact, several.
Michigan and Michigan State both entered this season ranked in the top twenty. Both have struggled on offense, and lost some games along the way. But by the end of October, their paths seemed to have diverged. Michigan State has lost three straight, while Michigan finally found its way with a big win over Notre Dame. The Spartans started the season ranked 20th , and were expected to compete for the Big Ten East Division title. But it was quickly apparent the 2019 offense wasn’t any better than
The Michigan football team entered this season ranked 7th nationwide, and were picked to win the Big Ten title. With a lot of good players and coaches coming back from a 10-win team the year before, it made sense. But on the season’s first play, senior quarterback Shea Patterson injured his oblique muscles, and took weeks to fully recover. The offense, and the team’s new offensive coordinator, Josh Gattis, struggled along with him.
Everyone sees the football coaches and the players when they go to a game at the Big House . What we don’t see are the 67 full-time staffers that support them, almost around the clock. These include everyone from athletic trainers to strength coaches to nutritionists, videographers, and academic advisors, just for starters.
In 1895, the presidents of seven Midwestern universities met at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago to form what we now call the Big Ten. They created the world’s first school-based sports organization, predating even the NCAA. Soon the rest of the country’s colleges and high schools followed suit, forming their own leagues based on the Big Ten model. The uniquely American marriage of academics and athletics – something no other country would even consider -- had been officially consummated. The
L ast week, Michigan Athletics admitted student football ticket sales are down —from about 21,000 two years ago to just 13,000 this fall. How’d Michigan lose so many students so fast? A lot of hard work. Athletic Director Dave Brandon has often cited the difficulty of using cell phones at Michigan Stadium as "the biggest challenge we have." But when Michigan students ranked seven factors for buying season tickets, they ranked cell phones dead last. What did they rank first? Being able to sit
When Michael Sam told his University of Missouri teammates he was gay before last season, it wasn’t a big deal. It’s a safe bet that NFL teams – who know what kind of gum their prospects chew – already knew this, too. But when Sam came out publicly, it changed the equation. The NFL has already had gay players, so that’s not new. But publicly declaring you’re gay is new – and so is the onslaught of media attention. After Sam came out, he dropped from a projected fourth- or fifth-rounder to the
Wednesday night the Detroit Red Wings lost their final playoff game of the season to the Chicago Blackhawks, breaking the hearts of hockey fans across Michigan. But according to Michigan Radio Sports Commentator John U. Bacon, it was still a series to savor. Most sports fans are happy just to see their team make the playoffs. But Detroit Red Wings fans have been able to take that for granted for a record 22 straight seasons. The last time the Red Wings didn’t make the playoffs, 1990, not one
For decades, students at Michigan games were assigned seats, with the seniors getting the best ones. But for some games last year, a quarter of the 20,000 or so people in the student section were no-shows. So, athletic director Dave Brandon decided to switch them to general admission – first come, first seated -- to get them to show up on time -or, at all. The students went ballistic. Yes, some can display a breathtaking sense of entitlement, and they won’t get much sympathy from the average fan
It wasn’t that long ago that Michigan’s basketball program was not merely unsuccessful, but the shame of the athletic department. Bo Schembechler fired basketball coach Bill Frieder on the eve of the 1989 NCAA tournament, famously barking, “A Michigan Man will coach Michigan.” Assistant Coach Steve Fisher filled in, and the team “shocked the world” by winning Michigan’s first-ever national title in basketball. But on the eve of Fisher’s ninth season, he too was fired in disgrace, because some