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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

An Entire Store?! Why am I Even Surprised?

So I stumbled across a site for something called, get ready for this, The Screw Michigan Store. Now, I know Buckeye fans have a strong dislike for the Wolverines but, I kid you not, they have literally about 300 items, ALL just variations of "Screw Michigan" and even more with the always-classy "Fuck Michigan". And I mean these "slogans" are printed on everything, from t-shirts to journals to mugs to throw pillows to thongs (yes, thongs). But what I couldn't believe were the two items below...

Are you kidding me?! An infant one-sy and a baby's bib!? Yes, nothing says class like a 5 month old sporting the word "Fuck" across his chest.

I hear in time for next year's M/Tosu game in Columbus, this fine store is going to sell a "Fuck Michigan" baby bottle so that proud Buckeye parents can fill it with beer and teach little Junior how to throw it at Michigan fans walking down High Street.

People who buy this stuff have serious issues.

The Worldwide Leader - at least that's what they say

I found a great post at Every Day Should Be Saturday that listed 52 reasons why ESPN/ABC/Disney sucks. The site is focused on college football, though some of the 52 reasons relate to other sports. I thought that #51 was particularly funny. It's interesting, because I think college football is one of the few things ESPN hasn't completely ruined. I still will watch a few minutes of "Gameday," while the network has taken away from my enjoyment of the NFL. And the NBA. And the NHL. And major league baseball.

What would you add to the list of 52? And remember, this also includes ABC's coverage of college football.
Here are some of mine:

53. Tim Brandt. Just such a blowhard. I consider getting him for a Michigan game is punishment for us not having a good season and getting Gary Danielson instead.

54. The fact that Trev Alberts was there for so long, spouting "opinions" you know he didn't believe, but said just to create controversy

55. The completely useless halftime show on ABC. I'd rather they just put up test patterns with a little clock that said how much time until the second half kickoff.

56. The fact that they actually show Corso and Herbstreit's picks on the crawl at the bottom of the screen. I don't care. Just give me the scores.

57. Beano Cook's chins.

Street & Smith Got it Wrong

To our readers,

We here at the M Zone pride ourselves on having a long, distinguished history of biased, pro-Michigan journalistic integrity going back almost two months. If you recall, it was only a few short days ago that this very site blew the lid off the
fake "OSU Potty Training" photo, exposing it for Photoshopped fraud that it was.

And after you read Yost's expose'
below which sheds light on Street & Smith's smear campaign against U-M, the M Zone will take its rightful place among the pantheon of investigative journalism, joining such benchmarks as Woodward and Bernstein exposing Watergate, Edward R. Murrow bringing down Joseph McCarthy and that x-rated website which first aired the Paris Hilton video. But we couldn't have done it without you, our readers. That's why we'd especially like to thank those of you whose posts helped uncover this Plot Against Michigan.

Sincerely,

The M Zone Staff
--------------------------------------


As I stated in my post Monday, I was quite surprised to read in Street & Smith's "50 Greatest College Football Programs of All Time" that Michigan allegedly had 3 "Major NCAA Infractions" in football (which was one of the rankings criterion a school was penalized for). I was always under the impression we had no violations.

Well, lo and behold, after somebody posted a link on this site to the NCAA's own database for infractions, it turns out, just as I and most of you thought, Michigan's football program has never been cited by the NCAA for any major infractions.

Furthermore, regular M Zone contributor BaggyPantsDevil did a little more research and discovered ours wasn't the only error. The number of major NCAA infractions among the magazine's top ten should look like this:

Southern Cal - 5 (Street & Smith listed them as having "O". Talk about being off)
Oklahoma - 5
Alabama - 3
Nebraska - 3
Notre Dame - 3
Texas - 3
Ohio State - 2
Michigan - 0 (Street & Smith listed us as having "3")
Princeton - 0
Yale - 0

Now, I could give a rat's ass about Street & Smith misstating this information for the purposes of their poll. These polls are only created to foster debate in order to sell magazines. No big deal. What does upset me, and should upset any Michigan fan, is this information being presented as "fact" out there on newsstands by a reputable sports magazine. When others read it who aren't as familiar with Michigan's program, they will be under the impression that error is true.

Thus, below is the contact info for Street & Smith's Specialty Publications so Michigan fans can drop them a line to let them know about their mistake. Hopefully it will be corrected for future publications.

Michael J. Fresina, Publisher and Executive Editor
704-973-1300 (main switchboard)
704-973-1575 (24-hour voice mail)
specialpubs@streetandsmiths.com

UPDATE: BaggyPantsDevil got an email from Mr. Fresina admitting they made a mistake. To read it, click on the comments below.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Greatest College Football Programs

Traveling over the holidays, I saw a magazine by Street & Smith on the newsstand called "50 Greatest College Football Programs of All Time." Their stated goal, as the title suggests, was to rank college football's top programs over the entire history of the sport.

The magazine's top ten were:

1. Notre Dame (no surprise)
2. USC (#2?)
3. Oklahoma
4. Alabama
5. Nebraska
6. Michigan
7. Yale (let me get to criteria below)
8. Ohio State
9. Texas
10. Princeton

Other notables:

12. Pennsylvania State University
15. Minnesota (remember, they count the ENTIRE history of a program...obviously)
24. Sparty (which is ahead of such schools as Florida, UCLA and Wisco)

Now, while the very reason for lists like these is to stir debate (I don't think Michigan should be #1, but I don't think 'SC or Okie should be ahead of us), I wondered how they figured out their rankings. According to the magazine, the criteria were as follows:

* National Championships (total multiplied by a ranking value of 7)
* Undefeated Seasons (total multiplied by ranking value of 4)
* Major Bowl Wins (defined as victories in a postseason game against a Division 1-A opponent, then multiplied by ranking value of 3)
* Major Bowl Appearances (same definition as above, obviously Michigan and the other Big 10 schools get hurt by the "Rose Bowl or No Bowl" rule until the mid-70s)
* Winning Percentage (multiplied by ranking value of 40)
* Graduation Rate (worst in the top 10? Surprisingly it was Texas)
* Consensus All-Americans
* Heisman Winners
* No. 1 Overall Draft Picks (personally, I think this is a bogus category for the stated aim of the rankings)
* Mascot Ferocity (uh...huh? Their reasoning was, "Because we wanted to spice up what would otherwise be a straight statistical analysis of each program's history." Mascots were ranked on a scale of -5 to +5. The Wolverine landed at +2, somehow the "ferocious" symbol of a "fighting Irishman" garnered +4 while the lowest in the top 10 was, you guessed it, the mighty poison nuts of Tosu at -4).

But the one that caught my attention was this final criterion:

* Major NCAA Infractions (stating that a "program was penalized for each major violation of NCAA rules, as reported by the NCAA.")

Under this category, Michigan was said to have had 3 (whereas Tosu was listed as having 2, while Alabama, Nebraska and Texas also had three, everybody trailing Oklahoma with 5).

Ok, maybe I'm wrong, but I don't recall -- past or present -- the Michigan football program (not bball) being penalized for ANY "major violation of NCAA rules." Am I incorrect? Help me out fellow Wolverine fans as I'd really like to know if I'm off base here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

That Buckeye Sense of Humor

After the Ohio State game, I heard from a lot of Buckeyes. Besides the comments they posted on this site showing off their mastery of the F-bomb and questioning the sexual orientation of all Michigan fans, I was also sent the "funny" picture below. Folks, I have to tell you, it made me laugh out loud...because it's so damn bad! Check it out:

Uh, what team's helmet is that supposed to be? The University of Maine or something? Because it sure as hell isn't a Michigan helmet. Apparently mastering Photoshop is an upper level course for Buckeyes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Men for All Seasons

Reading and responding to some interesting recent posts has led me to consider how to evaluate Michigan football seasons. Records vs. top ten teams, vs. unranked teams, even overall records often fail to capture precisely what kind of season Michigan has had.

I propose the following scale for judging Michigan football seasons in the Carr Era:

* Amazing-Win national championship (97)

* Great-Win Big Ten and Rose Bowl (X)

* Very Good-Win Big Ten and lose Rose Bowl (03, 04)

* Good-No Rose Bowl (NRB) but defeat three of ND, Sparty (sorry, Wangs), tOSU, bowl opponent (99, 00)

* OK-NRB, defeat two of top rivals (96, 98, 02)

* Pretty Bad-NRB, defeat only one top rival (95, 01*, 05) (*-the 01 team gets put here on a technicality because they did not play ND; but consider that the 01 team lost to Sparty after LaSeur committed that personal foul on 4th and 15, put forth an astonishingly bad effort in a home loss vs. tOSU, and finished the season by getting by getting devoured by Tennessee as if we were a pulled pork sandwich on the plate of Phil Fulmer.)

* At Least We're not the Lions-Do not qualify for a bowl (X)

Thoughts?

Me, a Buckeye? Bite Your Tongue!

Was checking our tracker to see where folks were coming from today and I noticed a link from TheWolverine.com football message boards. Someone had put up a post about my "Fan Report Card" below and in response, a FELLOW WOLVERINE had questioned my maize-n-blue-ness! Even worse, he called me a *&^% Buckeye! Sweet mother of Pearl!

I can only assume this is because I criticized the fans in the stadium for not making enough noise. I hope even the most casual Michigan fan understands the difference between contructive criticism b/c one is a diehard Michigan fan and wants to make the Big (Usually Quiet) House a better home field advantage for our team and (ugh!) a Buckeye. Ouch.

But in my opinion, being a true Michigan Man doesn't mean blind loyalty. It also means you offer suggestions, and yes even criticize, if you think something is amiss. Yet at the core of such critiques, it's all about wanting the program to be the best. Hell, look at Wangs' most recent post. He has big problems with the coaching, starting at the top. And while he and I disagree completely on the subject discussed, Wangs is 100 % True Blue. His complaint stems from that 100%-ness, not a lack of it.

So I hope this clears it up if the person who posted that vile suggestion stops by.

Then again, maybe the critic who questioned my M street cred is one of those "Down in front!" or "Key Play" fans.

Rivalries? Or not.

People talk about Michigan (Lloyd's) record in big games. Of the three biggest games on our schedule - Notre Dame, THE osu, and the Bowl game - Michigan is 3 and 10 over the past five years. We've lost 6 of our big games in a row.

2005 ND - L, tOSU - L, Bowl - ?

2004 ND -L, tOSU - L, Bowl - L

2003 ND - W, tOSU - W, Bowl - L

2002 ND - L, tOSU - L, Bowl - W

2001 ND - did not play, tOSU - L, Bowl - L

Five years is plenty of time to see a trend. Changes need to be made. Hopefully, they will be made voluntarily. I will be thrilled to see Lloyd replace the yachtsman at the helm of our athletic department. And I will be excited to see a change in this pattern of losing our big games. Obviously, there is risk in change. But what are we really risking at this point? This team of coaches cannot win the big game - they are too tight, they are too conservative, the ball bounces funny, the clock runs out too early, whatever - they aren't getting the job done. Time for change. I hope it isn't bloody, but I'm more concerned that it won't happen.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Fan Report Card

After each Michigan game, the Detroit Free Press and many M football sites hand out grades for the team (Offense, Defense, coaching, etc.). But, in my opinion, at least for home games, they leave out one critical element: The Fans.

As I've stated in numerous posts in the past, I think Michigan's fans are some of the worst in the country. Yes, they show up but big deal. Because most of the time they just SIT there and don't make noise. Even worse, they often yell "Down in front!" to those those that are fired up. And please note, I'm not talking about drunken belligerence. I'm talking about fans knowing how important it is for the other team to hear offensive signals which, if disrupted by crowd noise, can hinder a team's play calling and, most importantly, sometimes cause penalties.

Thus my point is, I'd rather have 80,000 rabid Michigan fans than a "full" 110,000 that don't provide a true home field advantage to the Wolverines.

Again, I DO NOT buy into "it's the shape of the stadium" argument AT ALL as the reason our stadium's noise level doesn't match up to that at other venues. As I always say, the only shape that matters is that of each Michigan fan's mouth which, if closed, is the ONLY problem with "acoustics" that the Big (Often Quiet) House has.

My other big beef is that our fans only get loud in the 4th quarter during close games or during a potential game-losing drive by the other team. EVERYBODY at EVERY stadium does that. The difference at the intimidating places is that the noise is there all game, not just the obvious times. A false start that kills a drive in the second quarter may mean we don't need a big 4th quarter stop to win the game. So the sound level needs to be there all game.

Put it this way, you always hear about Michigan practicing with pumped in sound for games at the 'Shoe or some other hostile stadium. But have you EVER heard of an opposing team doing that before they come to A2? Never! Why? Because they don't need to. And that is a shame.

Thus, from time to time I'm going to give "grades" to the fans. Here is their first "Report Card":

Student Section: This is one of the best displays from the student section I've seen. They started off fantastic on tOSU's first drive. Looking over at them, the pom-poms were out and waving and the noise was there. However, in the second half during first and second downs, you noticed less pom poms and less noise. They need to be much more consistent. And like it or not, it is the students' responsibility to fire up the rest of the stadium. Others take their cue from you. In the fourth quarter, the student section was great. Again, as they should be. That's when it's easy. Still, they were about as loud as I've heard during this critical time.

GRADE: B+

Cheerleaders: I have a question for whoever is in charge of the cheerleaders -- Why in the hell do you station them all in front of the student section? These are the last people you have to cajole and beg to make some noise! That's what the student section is for! How 'bout scooting your asses down to the 50 or the other endzone where the "Down in front!" crowd lives and get them off their butts and fired up?! To me, this is common sense. The only reason I'm not flunking them is b/c I saw the "NOISE" signs as opposed to "DEFENSE" or, God forbid, the "KEY PLAY" placards. It is NOISE that makes it hard for the opposing team to call plays and noise along.

GRADE: D

Scoreboard Operator: Instead of showing the play again, why don't we put a giant graphic up saying "MAKE NOISE" before big plays like so many other stadiums do on their jumbotrons? Or how 'bout a little appropriate music to incite the crowd? Something. Anything. This person (and I assume the administration or AD must approve the SO doing this) can control the tempo of the crowd like a good wedding DJ. Right now, the Big (Usually Quiet) House has the equiv of somebody spinning old Lawrence Welk tunes running the show. Obviously Lloyd and the team want more noise as he states it all the time and the team begs for it on the field. So turn this person loose and let him get creative. Let the SO help amp up the crowd as much as the cheerleaders are supposed to. It's not just about showing plays over. If folks want to see a "replay," they should stay home and watch the game on TV.

GRADE: Auditing course. Grade next semester.

Non-Student Section Fans: This was a mixed bag but still unacceptable in the biggest game of our season. On the positive side, many sections stood for the entire game, rarely sitting even in the first half. Unfortunately, this was not out of a desire to make more noise but simply to see as, at least on my side of the stadium opposite the press box, it was a simple chain reaction necessitated by those in front standing. At least there weren't a lot of "Down in front!" calls. In addition, especially in the first half, those around me weren't making ANY noise during first and second downs and only rarely on third downs. I even got a few of those "looks" like, "Why is he screaming so much?" (which was not obnoxious, just clapping and trying to create sound). However, the sound was noticeably better in the obvious parts of the 4th quarter from these alum/non-student sections. Best of all, at least in my section, I didn't see any damn keys during "key" plays. Still, they need to do much better. The student section can't do it all.

Grade: C-

Overall: Longtime ticket holders to M games might find my grading scale harsh saying, "But it was better than I've heard in the Big (Usually Quiet) House." But I'm not comparing the fans/noise in A2 last Saturday against tOSU to the noise during past M games at what most agree is the lamest home field advantage in college football. I'm comparing us to the bar set at other loud stadiums such as Oregon, Iowa, Notre Dame and, yes, the Horseshoe. Against that standard, while we were good "for a Michigan crowd," we still have a long way to go. But I was very impressed with the student section and think they are on the verge of creating something special. Now if only they can help spread that enthusiasm.

Final Fan/Stadium Grade for tOSU Game: C+

PS If you're a student and agree, please pass this on to fellow students. And no matter what you feel, please post your comments. We always love hearing your thoughts.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Of all the guys who post to this board, I'm the last one who mentions a shakeup of the staff as a way to improve the Wolverines. I've always felt coaching is overrated and have adopted the "Moneyball" philosophy about the head guys, though it's less true in football than in baseball. I believe it's not so much the X's and O's, it's the Jimmies and the Joes: Players win and lose games. That's not to say coaches don't make any difference. I just believe that their role is overrated and the calls of firing coaches is usually just frustration, rather than education, on the part of fans.
Now this is not a rant about Lloyd. I don't believe he's on any sort of hot seat next year, and I don't think he should be. His record stands on its own and, despite a disappointing season this year, he has built up so much winning capital - we've just come off back to back Rose Bowl seasons - that when he leaves as head coach is totally his call.
But I just watched tOSU's final drive again even though I promised myself I wouldn't. I can't get over the complete collapse of our defense. We didn't even force a third down. We missed tackles, didn't get off blocks, never made a negative play that could have won us the game. Actually I'm not surprised. The defense did the same thing all year - four times they were on the field at the end of the fourth quarter, where a stop would win us the game and once where a stop would force OT against a backup QB. ALL FIVE TIMES THEY FAILED. Just by chance, you'd think the opponent would screw up once, but no. Wisconsin drove for a game-winning TD. Minnesota broke off an inexplicable 60+ yard run to set up a winning FG. Iowa drove for a tying FG. Pennsylvania State scored a TD. tOSU drove twice for TDs. In their defense, the D stood up to Iowa in OT, but they were bailed out by the offense against Pennsylvania State.
So even though the D was improved over last year - we didn't get gashed as we did so many times last year - and even though the offense was largely to blame for the losses to ND and Wisconsin, and even tOSU to a degree, the defense showed a continual lack of being able to make a play when it counted. And I'm not just saying this because of the frustration against tOSU. This happened five out of a possible five times.
So despite the overall improvement in the defense, despite the more effective play against the spread offenses that killed us in '04, and despite probably playing better than the offense in most of the games, I think it's time for a change.
Jim Herrmann is undoubtedly a Michigan Man, moreso than anyone of us posting to or reading this board. He was a player in the early '80s under Bo and has been on the coaching staff 20 years, including two as a grad assistant and two as a volunteer coach. His first year as defensive coordinator was, by far, his best, leading to the National Championship in 1997. But the defenses have been disappointing since, and have, no doubt, underachieved. The last two years, the defense has cost the team from accomplishing major things. It's time for a new defensive coordinator at Michigan.
I doubt Lloyd will make the change. He rightly values loyalty, and he certainly knows more about his team and his staff than I do. But if Lloyd wants more people to think about him the way I do, he needs to make some changes, and the defense needs a change the most.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Few of My Favorite Games

There's no doubt most Michigan-Ohio State games rank right at the top of the greatest sports memories that I have. Saturday's game will be the 33rd straight game that I will be able to recall vividly. It will only be the 7th game in the rivalry that I've attended - I know someone who's been to 25 in a row - but each game is pretty much seared into my mind. No other matchup in any sport has that kind of hold on me.
My sports fan teeth were cut from 1973-1975 on a number of early heartbreaking losses (and a tie) that made me question why anyone would ever be a sports fan. The 22-0 shellacking of Woody and the Bucks in '76 made me finally believe that my team could win. I remember in 1978 watching the Flint boys - Rick Leach and Gene Johnson - dominate the Buckeyes while I was spending Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. I remember inveterate gambler Art Schlichter run for a winning TD with snow piled high on Canham's carpet in 1981. My college years were highlighted by Jim Harbaugh backing up his guarantee in 1986 - thanks to Matt Frantz pushing a FG just wide. Thanks Matt, I enjoyed my trip to Pasadena. And we can't forget about John Kolesar saving Michigan from a massive collapse in '88.
I have to admit, the rivalry lost a little luster in the '90s during the John Cooper years. I'm happy we were on the right side 10 out of 13 years, but many of those years tOSU just wasn't that good, and many others they were a lot better than us and it was frustrating to play so well against them, only to be left to wonder how we could have lost four games.
The last few years, the hatred for tOSU has rekindled, both because I've actually gone to Columbus for a couple of games and experienced the culture that could breed such boorish behavior and also because they've beaten us three times out of the last four years, including a couple of years we were higher ranked.
While looking over that past 30 some games in this rivalry, there were five games I could single out above the rest. In adcending order, my favorite Michigan-Ohio State games are:

  • 5. Coming off two straight losses to the Buckeyes in 2003, there was a lot of pressure on a senior-laden team to show that Tressell didn't have some sort of whammy over us. We jumped out to a quick lead and held on for dear life thanks to a warrior-like effort from Chris Perry.
  • 4. I mentioned 1976 above and post it here because it was the first time in my life I remember beating Ohio State. And to do it in such convincing fashion, in Columbus was extremely gratifying. I can still remember safety and holder Jerry Zuver running in for a two-point conversion on a PAT.
  • 3. Harbaugh's guarantee in 1986. We were coming off a pretty inexplicable loss at home to a middling Minnesota team, knocking us from #1. We've all debated Harbaugh's value as a human being, but there's no doubt he was a Michigan man. Thomas Wilcher's fumble almost cost us, but for once the other kicker's inability to make a FG won us a great game.
  • 2. The 1997 game has to be near the top of any Michigan fan's list. It was the first time since '73 that one of the teams entered the game ranked #1 and the first time for Michigan since 1948. What often gets forgotten is that tOSU was ranked #4, with only a four-point loss to Pennsylvania State keeping them from being undefeated. In perhaps the most intense Michigan game I've ever seen, Charles Woodson put on a show for the ages and we were on our way to the National Championship.
  • 1. My second favorite Michigan team (after '97, of course) was 1980's squad. We lost the Harry Oliver game in South Bend, then the next week at home to a coked up George Rogers and South Carolina. But around mid-season our defense just said no one's going to score on us. And they pretty much didn't. No TDs over the last five games. This was Anthony Carter's only win over tOSU, and somewhere in my crawl space I have an autogrpahed picture of him right after he scored the lone TD in this game. A missed PAT kept the Buckeyes alive, but Robert Thompson's sack of Art Schlichter on tOSU's last drive sealed the deal as this team finally went on to give Bo a win in the Rose Bowl.
Now that I've gone on and on about my favorite M-tOSU memories, I'd be interested to read about what others remember best about this rivalry and where they'd rank some of the games. It would even be interesting to hear from some of the civilized Buckeye fans to hear the other side.

Thanks to Robert at BlahMetoDeath.Blogspot...

For the nice mention on his Michigan site. Check it out. Good stuff.

But hey, what's wrong with our font?

Who's It Going to Be?

Who is going to make the plays that bring Michigan a victory over tOSU on Saturday? Who will cement his reputation as a clutch legend in Michigan Football lore? Most importantly, who will Brent and Gary be talking about as the man who delivered the Pontiac Game Changing Performance, adding $5,000 to the University of Michigan's general scholarship fund?

Submitted for your consideration:

Mike Hart - Our emotional catalyst; he's rested, ready, and the toughest guy on either team.

Jason Avant - The only non-lineman UM starter playing in his last tOSU game and near the top of the list of Steadiest Wolverines Since 1975.

Steve Breaston - He's healed. And he's spectacular.

Chad Henne - Can he put together four quarters of the kind of play he demonstrated in the first half vs. Sparty and at the end of the game vs. Penn St.?

Unsung Hero - Lots of candidates: Mario Manningham striding past diving Buckeye defenders to paydirt; Antonio Bass executing a sandlot play to perfection and six; my personal favorite, the underutilized Tyler Ecker snagging a pass across the middle before flattening would-be tOSU tacklers on the way to a crucial score.

Woodley? Watson? Rivas? Who's it going to be? Who will add his name to those of AC, Biakabutuka, Woodson, and Perry as a player forever linked to a huge win over the Buckeyes?

UPDATE: Yost Banned from O-Zone

So in the spirit of the game and with all the smack talk flying around on all the message boards this week, I went to something called "the O-Zone" today to post a message which I'll get to in a second.

Now, until yesterday, I had never even heard of this site as I'd never been on a Buckeye message board in my life. I found out about it b/c we were getting a lot of hits to our little site here from folks on the O-Zone. So I went there and discovered one of them had put a post up linking to our blog. Since we were getting so many hits from the site -- and one of the Buckeye replies on the O-Zone said he wanted to "bash my head in w/ a baseball bat" after checking us out - it led me to write the "Open Letter to Buckeye Fans" yesterday which I then posted a link to on the O-Zone.

Last night, I wrote today's piece on the band (see below). A fun little jab at our rivals to the south...east-ish. When I got up this morning, I heard that the guy who runs the O-Zone site had, believe it or not, picked Michigan to win Saturday. So I posted a link with the following text (Please note: this is as close as I remember since it's been removed and I can't get back to the original).

HEADLINE READ: Hey, Bucks, about your band (link)...

"Thought you might enjoy the little history lesson on the link below.

Also heard the guy who runs this site picked Michigan to win. I hope that doesn't mean you're going to beat him up for voicing his opinion."

And that's it. That was more or less my post. When I tried to go back later in the morning since we were getting hits again from them, I discovered I was banned and, apparently, the entire post was removed say friends who have checked for me.

Boy, are Buckeyes REALLY that think-skinned? They can search the Michigan team bus w/ dogs while our players have to stand outside to get abused by their fans but can't take a post on one of their sites that mild? Seriously? That is so weak. Was that really that "offensive?" If that was offensive, then I'm sure the webmaster banned the guy who wanted to "bash" my head in w/ the bat, right? Or is that just typical Buckeye chat on the O-Zone?

I was especially surprised b/c I've read that the guy who runs the O-zone site is supposed to be a good guy (according to M Go Blog). Good guy, but thin-skinned I guess. Too bad.

But at least I hope his prediction is correct.

UPDATE ON THIS UPDATE: As of 6:29pm, EST, I have yet to hear back from the webmaster of the Ozone. I wrote him an email asking why I was "banned" from the site stating I thought my initial post was pretty innocuous (and nowhere near the "bash my head in" talk among others). I also re-sent my valid email address which I had included the first time I posted (as some suggested was the reason for the ban). But, alas, nothing. The only thing I've heard in return is from some Buckeye fans leaving vile, vulgar posts on this site. But that's no surprise. It's, unfortunately, par for the course. Yet I won't "ban" or delete them. They help prove a point better than I ever could.

The Best Damn Copycats in the Land!

Now, we all know how those Bucks just love their band. When they're not throwing things or spitting at ours, they're praising theirs. Hell, they're so proud of these folks, they call the OSU squad, ahem, "The Best Damn Band in the Land."

But let's take a closer look, shall we? I think you'll find it's hard to call yourselves the "best" when you're not even the most original and stole the thing you're most known for. Let's start with their uniforms, shall we?

Here they are, the "the OSU" marching band. Look at those uniforms, huh? Woo eee! Clean, crisp...


...Sporting those distinctive red and black hats with the red patches near the shoulders.

What style, what class...hey, what the f*ck? I've seen that look before. Is it just me or do they bear a striking resemblance to the guy standing outside the mall ringing the bell:

Yes, apparently the Best Damn Band in the Central Ohio Region Not Counting Most High Schools obviously got their fashion sense from the Salvation Army Band. Unless of course they're one and the same. Sort of like Clark Kent and Superman. I mean, has anybody every seen the BDBCORNCMHS and the SAB in the same place at the same time? I dunno. Looks to me like they're forming a "Script O" around the little red bucket below:

Speaking of which...

Now let's talk about the thing the Best Damn Salvation Army Band in the Land claims to be known for -- "Script Ohio." Yes, it truly is one of the great traditions in all of college football: When these young musicians, after putting in hours at the mall helping raise money for the poor, prove they know how to spell four-letter words then honor the fattest guy on the squad by letting him run out and dot the "i", usually getting it right on his very first try.

In fact, here is a picture of the very first time the Buckeyes ever performed "Script Ohio," way back in 1936. Impressive, huh? Only problem is...

...That's four years AFTER the University of Michigan marching band did the first "Script Ohio" in the 'Shoe in 1932! (picture below). Even worse, the OSU band director in '36 was also present at the '32 game but claimed he got the idea somewhere else! Yeah, riiiiight. This guy is the Scooter Libby of band directors!
Sad to say, looks like the thing tOSU band is best at is copying the originality of the Wolverines.

Gee, I wonder how Buckeye fans feel, knowing their band is "best" known for something they copied off Michigan? But then again, maybe trying to be like us is a good thing. Heck, maybe someday their fans will copy our class and bring that back to Columbus as well. But I doubt it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

To Buckeye Visitors to this Site...



It has come to our attention that a number of Buckeyes are visiting the site today due to a link to us from the O-zone. From all of us here at the M Zone, we would just like to extend a very hearty "Welcome!"

A couple tips that might make your stay more enjoyable:

First, turn off the "crayon" font setting (or have your tutor do it for you). We know Buckeyes like to look at the computer in the same format as their term papers, but we've found that setting doesn't view correctly on most monitors.

Also, please limit your comments to 30 or so F-bombs. Now we understand that with your limited vocabulary skills, you like to insert that useful word as often as possible due to a lack of other choices, but remember: this isn't your grandmother's house so please try to cut back.

In addition, as you might have noticed, we have conveniently included a picture of Michigan fans and another of cars with Michigan plates right here in this post for you. So, make like you're at the 'Shoe and feel free to curse, spit and throw things at the picture of the fans -- just like the game was in Columbus this Saturday. Then, you can smash your computer screen as if it was the window of the car with Michigan plates (unfortunately we are unable to replicate a car antennae for you to snap in half. Our apologies).

Finally, when you're done reading, go ahead and set something on fire for the post-blog rioting! That way it will seem like it's right after the game and you'll almost be able to see the glow of the 'Shoe through the smoke.

Hope you find that helpful. But just remember not to hog the computer and to share the experience with the other members of your cellblock.

Have a nice day.

Sincerely,

The M Zone Staff

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

An Open Invitation to Texas Fans Who Were in Columbus

Dear Longhorns,

For years, Michigan fans who went to Columbus for the M/OSU game have been telling folks just how bad Buckeye fans are. People listened but I think they thought it was an exaggeration. College football fans couldn't be that bad, could they? Then we heard Texas fans who went to the game in Columbus this year were APPALLED by how poorly they were treated. They said it bordered on scary.

So this post is for Longhorn fans to leave comments about what they witnessed/were subjected to in the 'Shoe.

Thanks for your comments!

Ah, Those "Classy" Buckeyes

Call me biased, but I don't think you'll find ANY churches in the Ann Arbor area this weekend with "Bucks Suck" on their sign. That is really frightening. THEY PUT THIS ON A CHURCH! On the the other side it probably says "Ann Arbor is a whore!"...right next to "Jesus Saves"

And just who would go to a place of worship like this? Well, probably this little fella and his family...

Yes, if you ever wondered why Buckeye fans turn out to be such "good sports" and "classy" fans, you only have to look at this picture. Cute kid, huh? Next year his proud papa is going to teach him how to throw a beer bottle and spit at the band.

Even scarier than this kid giving the finger, check out the "naked lady" emblems on his jacket...just like the ones his dad probably has on the mud flaps of his F-150.

Although, as someone pointed out, looking at it again, the "Ohio State" logo on the jacket looks too straight. But this was from a pro-Bucks site and had one of those "Priceless" runs underneath ending with: "Teaching him to salute the Wolverines as they enter the Shoe? Priceless." So I don't know what's scarier, that it is real, or that a Buck doctored it. Even still -- the naked lady emblems are DEFINITELY not fake! LOL! Now THAT is scary.

UPDATE: Doh! The church sign is a fake. There is a site that generates them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

School Picture Day in Ohio


Have to be careful what clothes your kid wears to school in Ohio on picture day.

This is the class picture from Glenville Elementary school. What the photo doesn't show is 5 minutes after the picture was taken, the little Michigan fan was hit in the head with a beer bottle thrown by the principal then spit on by the lunch lady.

Line Update

Just read where the line on the game moved from Bucks giving 2.5 to 3. Hmm, apparently folks don't believe in the Maize and Blue at home. They don't believe Michigan has learned to stop the spread. They don't believe 8 or so of our offensive starters won't actually be sitting out the game due to injury.

They've seen the *&^% keys!

Buckeye "Love"

Check out this picture of a "classy" Buckeye and his, uh, "date."

Ah, those OSU folks. Such romantics.

Oh, and if you have a funny caption to the photo, please, by all means, post away! We'd love to hear them.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Blue about the Blue Out

So I see that the University has asked all Michigan fans to wear blue to the game on Saturday. This has been done before, including the "Maize Out" against Pennsylvania State earlier this season as we copied the Nittanies for their "White Out" against tOSU. I have a few problems with this.
First, does this put us on par with rinky dink schools that have to resort to gimmicks to generate interest in the football program? For example Louisville plays so many games during the week, that I don't know how their students study. Oh, wait, it's Louisville. Never mind. After all, this is Ohio State we're playing this week, when even the most passive or jaded fan shows some enthusiasm. Plus, it's not as if the sight of blue will intimidate or affect the Buckeye players in any way. I'm sure if our fans wore shirts with SAT questions, that would cause far more confusion to the Bucks. On the other hand, does the "Blue Out" provide some sort of unifying force for the fans? Will the sight of 100,000 people in blue show our fans that they need to make some noise and intimidate the opponent? Does it inspire the Wolverine players enough to provide just a little bit more motivation?
Second, I have a personal issue with the Blue Out for Saturday. For years, I've worn some sort of Michigan shirt on game day. It doesn't matter if we played Eastern or Notre Dame, I would wear a Michigan shirt. Nothing too fanatical, just one of my many Michigan T-shirts. At one time I even took to wearing a white shirt when we played on the road and a blue one when we played at home. Over the past few years I'd wear whichever shirt was clean and hadn't been worn for a while. Well this year I wore my maize shirt when we beat Sparty in OT. I didn't wear it the day of the Minnesota debacle, but went back to it for the Manningham Miracle against Pennsylvania State. I've worn it for every game since then. I hate these superstitious things - I know that what some schmuck watching the game in his basement 250 miles away is wearing has no bearing on the game. But when we beat Iowa and even when I was in attendance for our spanking of Northwestern, the maize shirt was with me. Confident that we'd romp over the Hoosiers on Saturday, I even considered not wearing the maize shirt, just to prove that we could win without it. But right before gametime I donned the maize shirt. So here's my quandary: Thanks to Yost, I'll be in attendance against tOSU. Do I go along with edict of the University and join my fellow fans in wearing blue? Or do I not tempt fate (which I don't even believe in) and wear the maize shirt?
Finally, does it even matter what shirt I or anyone else wears if the forecasters are correct and it's 40 degrees on Saturday? If they're right, I'll be wearing my winter coat. Which is black.

The Line

Just saw where tOSU is a 2.5 point favorite Saturday. I actually like being the underdog in this game. Gives us even that much more motivation (as if we needed any extra incentive).

Question: When was the last time Michigan wasn't favored at home? Was it the '95 tOSU game?

POLL: Why is this Buckeye Crying?


TAKE OUR FIRST POLL: Why is this Buckeye Crying?

1. He just watched STEEL MAGNOLIAS
2. His mobile home flooded
3. He realized he's over 50 and wearing a nut necklace
4. Somebody stole his velvet Elvis painting
5. Buckeyes are just naturally pussies
6. He lost his NASCAR belt buckle
7. He got fired from his job at the Piggly Wiggly
8. He didn't get tickets to the Willie Nelson concert
9. Just found out HEE HAW was canceled
10. Michigan kicked Ohio State's ass

TO VOTE, CLICK HERE!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Game


It's finally here.

Michigan vs. Ohio State. The Wolverines vs. The Buckeyes. Good vs. Evil.

Finally.

"The Game" Michigan fans wait for all season is upon us (sorry, Sparty). And try as Fate might to make the 2005 edition not mean much (sorry, Motor City Bowl) or hope as others do for the Wolverines' demise (sorry, Drew Sharpe), "The Game" still has Big 10 title implications. Just like it seems it always does. Just like we expected, if not quite how we expected.

Sure, people doubted. Hell, at 3-3 when Michael Robinson scored for Pennsylvania State University with :41 seconds left, we all doubted. But not Lloyd. And not this team. They have fought back from about as far down as any Michigan team in recent history to reach the brink of something bordering on magical. And because of that, they have kept "The Game" special.

Just as it should be.

That's why Michigan had to claw its way back from the depths. That's why this team couldn't roll over. They had to do it not only for themselves, but because they owed it to "The Game." They owed it to every Michigan player through the years that has played his heart out all season long to make and kept this rivalry consistently ranked the greatest in all the land. They owed it to Bo who made it that way again. And believe it or not, they owed it to Ohio State.

Because a great rivalry demands a worthy opponent. That's why, as dirty as it made me feel, I found myself rooting for OSU yesterday against Northwestern. As much as I despise Ohio State, I don't want to beat some team coming off a loss. I don't want to cost the Buckeyes a shot at the Outback Bowl. I want to beat a team ranked in the top 10. I want to keep the Buckeyes from winning the Big 10 title. I want the eyes of the college football world to be on Ann Arbor next week. I want "The Game" to continue to mean something. Everything.

So yes, Michigan owed it to the hated Bucks to fight back and get to this point. Just as Ohio State owed it to Michigan not to quit after they had their hearts broken after their second loss in Happy Valley.

That's why this rivalry is so special. That's why we care so much. That's why they simply call it "The Game."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ouch!

In USA TODAY today (I love saying that), they took a look at possible bowl match ups. Under the heading THE DISAPPOINTMENT BOWL, they say:

Michigan (No. 4 in the preseason coaches' poll) vs. Oklahoma (No. 5) in the Alamo Bowl. Neither can finish with more than eight wins. That's not what they envisioned back in two-a-days.

Gee, just when I was starting to feel good about how we've bounced back this season, too.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thanks to MGoBlog!

Just wanted to say thanks to Brian for putting a link up to us on his excellent MGoBlog site (love that name!). If you haven't checked out his site yet, you should. Great stuff.

We'll be putting up links to sites like his on the next phase of development here at the M Zone. Right now, we're sort of like the brick program outside Michigan Stadium. We're still in phase one: getting all our members to write posts for the site on a regular basis (that means you, Wangs!).

Thanks again, Brian and...

Go Blue!

UPDATE: Benny "The Computer Guru" Friedman has put up a link to MGoBlog. Check it out.

The Case Against The Bye Week

As Michigan ends its two week sabbatical when they face IU this Saturday, many are saying how "great" the "much needed" break will have been for the Wolverines. The reasons given are the same each season:

"The players will be rested."
"The injured will be healed."
"Terry Malone will have dreamt up even more inventive ways to throw 4 yard outs on 3rd and 11."

But I beg to differ about the so-called positives of the bye week (except for the Malone comment).

To me a bye week is like coming back to work after a two week vacation. You get into the office that first Monday back and, how should I put this -- don't do shit. Oh sure, you fake it with the boss. Tell him how "refreshed" you feel. How excited you are to "dig in." But it's hard getting into the groove again. And that is usually the case, not just for that first Monday, but for most of the week. Admit it: until around the following Tuesday, you're about as useful as Nicole Richie at a MENSA convention (that gratuitous use of a hyperlink right there is why I love blogging so blow me).

Hey, remember your own college days, when you got back from Spring Break? Anybody do any work that first Monday back? Hell, anybody do any work the first week? (not counting the RC geeks in East Quad or any engineering students. Then again, those folks probably didn't go anywhere for Spring Break to begin with so never mind).

Thus, why do coaches think football is any different? Why do they think the time off will be good for the players? In my not-so-humble opinion, bye weeks hurt instead of a help a team. So don't be surprised if you see shades of the team that gave up a 61 yard run on 3rd and Obvious this Saturday before the team that's on a three game winning streak shows up.

Heck, it's the same way for fans after a bye. I feel out of sorts myself this week. Don't feel "game ready." Sure, I tried to stay sharp by watching the, uh, whateverthehell game last week. Tried to stay focused. Pretended to care. But I still don't feel I'm at my late-October peak. Just how far am I from that peak? Put it this way: I just might jangle my keys instead of making noise durng critical, dare I say "key," plays this Saturday. Yes, I feel that off.

But don't blame the me. Blame the bye week.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

On the subject of hate

So while trying to think of some reasons to hate tOSU, I started to think about other schools that I've hated in my life. As a kid in the '70s, there's no doubt that all of my vitriol was reserved for the Buckeyes. The inability to beat them, along with their horrible sportsmanship during my formative Wolverine years, ingrained a certain hatred that subsided during our domination in the '90s and has risen again during the Tressell years. Visiting Columbus in '00 and '04 helped solidify my hatred.
But there have been times I've hated other schools almost as much: Sparty during the George Perles years, Notre Dame pretty much any year, especially when they beat us, and Iowa in the mid '80s, thanks to a run in with some cheerleaders in Ann Arbor. There might have even been a day when I hated Purdue.
My question is, what is your most hated school and why? Is it just the team that's had the most recent success against Michigan? Was it one particular game that caused the contempt? And is the opponent's success a prerequisite for hatred? I've had people say they don't hate tOSU as much as Sparty because they at least respect tOSU. Those people must never have been to Columbus. There are also those that cheer for tOSU every game except against Michigan, while cheering for Sparty to lose every week - they only hate tOSU during the last game of the season while they despise Sparty all year 'round.
Don't limit your answer to just the Big Ten. Are there schools from other conferences that you loathe? Why? And who's your least hated?
I'm sure Michigan would be a number of other fans' most hated school. There's no doubt we'd be tOSU's least liked, as well as Sparty's. Living in Chicago, I find it funny that the Illini fans hate Michigan and consider it a rivalry. We don't even have a rivalry with them in hoops.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Great Literature


Stumbled across this book online. Talk about the perfect stocking stuffer.

But just 303 Reasons? The author must have only been there for a very short amount of time, like for about 30 seconds. Or this must be Volume One...of a 10 part series.

In any event, allow me to help with a few more:

304: Their so-called fans will break out your car's windows if they see Michigan plates during the M/OSU weekend
305: Even elderly women will flip you off before, during and after the game.
306: The mascot guy with the big nut for a head will steal the Michigan banner out of a Michigan fan's hands then stomp on it right in front of him, thinking it's a hoot.
307: The chant inside the men's room at halftime is a chorus of drunken "F*ck Michigan!" cheers (but rarely "Go Bucks!").
308: The cops standing atop the stadium with their sniper rifles make the place look like a maximum security prison instead of a fun place for college football
309: White-trash rednecks pretty much suck in general
310: The glass place you call to fix your car's window after you woke up the morning of the game to find it busted out in the first place (even though you thought you were staying at a nice hotel a couple miles off the campus) will suddenly claim they're too busy to come out to replace the window when the "gentleman" on the phone finds out you're from Michigan.
311: Flying beer bottles aimed at anything Maize or Blue near the stadium on game days.
312: Spitting at our marching band as they enter the stadium.
313: Spitting at any Michigan fans as they walk near the stadium.
314: Having the Michigan team bus searched by bomb and drug sniffing dogs as they arrive on gameday...then lying and claiming they do it to everybody (which, of course, turns out to be false).
315: They justify all their boorish behavior by claiming, "It's the same for Ohio State fans when they're in Ann Arbor" when that isn't the case.
316: Sweater vests are for pussies.

Have a couple of your own to add? Please. Share with the class.

The Bowl Truth

Jim Carty at the Ann Arbor News took a look at Michigan's potential bowl destinations in his column Sunday. Right now, there are more "what if" scenarios than an Oliver Stone flick.

But, thankfully, none of them include the Motor City Bowl.

Friday, November 04, 2005

That Explains It


No wonder Michigan QBs were never very mobile. Look at the size of those shoulder pads! Sweet Mother of God! He looks like a hang glider.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Harbaugh Arrested for Drunk Driving

Just heard from Dan and read that Jim Harbaugh was arrested for drunk driving early Sunday morning near San Diego.

I guess after Benny's post that Friday wondering aloud about his merits as a potential contender for the U-M head coaching spot someday, apparently Jim decided to celebrate and pull his best Gary Moeller impression.

As I stated in a comment to Benny's post below, I (along with another reader) was not a fan of Mr. Harbaugh, the person, when he was at U-M and thus believe he is not someone who should ever be considered to be Michigan's head coach. This latest incident only further confirms that belief.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Close...But No Cigar

Read interesting column today at CollegeFootballNews.com talking about the "solution" for the BCS mess being a "+1" game. I had talked about the +1 solution in a previous post and am in favor, just not the way this writer laid it out. He argues for taking the top 4 BCS teams, seeding them, and playing #1 vs #4 and #2 vs #3 in two of the January 1st bowls with the winners to meet in the title game a week or two later.

The reason I'm opposed to this is because it still relegates the other two "major" New Year's Day bowls to "who cares?" status. If I had my way (and could put up with Wangs yelling at me for what I'm about to propose), I would go back to the old bowl system/tie-ins for the Big Four New Year's Day bowls (Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta). Then, after those are played, pick your two teams for the "BCS Championship" game.

Yes, I know there could be problems if, say, #1 vs #2 met in one of the January 1st bowls. Or the above scenario still left three undefeated teams. Blah, blah, blah. So what? Call me crazy, but I love the debate aspect of college football.

Eight years later, does any Michigan fan really care that we shared the National Title with Nebraska in '97? Think any Nebraska fans lose sleep over it? Probably not. Both teams legitimately claimed they won the National Title, alums got to buy a bunch of gaudy t-shirts proclaiming as much and everybody, in the grand scheme of things, was happy.

Point is, there's no such thing as perfect in life. Nor will there ever be in a college football post-season, no matter what the format. So with that being said, call me old school, but I'd rather go back to a system that made the January 1st bowl games meaningful to watch. Then let the debate begin. To me, that was always part of the fun.

But would I ever answer the phone?



You know that one guy at the restaurant who annoys the hell out of you with the Abba ringtone on his cellphone? (ok, maybe I'm just eating at the wrong places).

Well, now revenge can be yours with Ufer ringtones. Although, with Ufe's call of the '79 Wangler-to-Carter IU game going off every time somebody called me, I'd probably get so fired up I'd forget to answer the phone. Or I can see the Abba guy next to me saying to his lunch date after about the 10th call, "Who the hell is Gil Chapman?"

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Question of the (Bye) Week


In its 127 years of participating in college football, Michigan is the winningest program in all the land, compiling a record of 848-278-36 (remember ties?). And since I started following the Wolverines as a youngster during Bo's years as head coach, many of those 848 wins have been dandies. I still can hear Ufer's call for the the last play of the '79 game against Indiana, when John Wangler found Anthony Carter for a 45 yard TD pass. I was in Columbus for the game in 1986 when Jim Harbaugh guaranteed victory and delivered to send Meeechigan to the Rose Bowl. And I still remember my initial surprise when Michigan took to the air on 4th and 1 leading to Desmond Howard making "The Catch" against ND in '91 to name just a few.

So why is it, with all those 848 to chose from, some of the 278 seem to stick with me more? Why do I often dread ESPN Classic in the fall, fearful I'll stumble across a game that will bring back more painful memories than running into the school bully at a high school reunion? Sure I remember all the great victories over the years, but it's some of the losses that stay with me, and many Michigan fans, more. It's Mike Lantry, "Super Toe," missing those kicks against the Buckeyes in the 70s. It's Rocket Ismail streaking past our kick team for his second - SECOND! - of two TDs against the Maize and Blue in '89 (why did we keep kicking to him, again?). It's "Clockgate" against MSU in 2001.

That leads to today's question: What is the worst Michigan loss you've ever experienced? You can define that any way you like but which Michigan loss still haunts your Maize and Blue nightmares? Which defeat keeps you saying "Coulda, shoulda, woulda, " even years later? For me, it's easy:

Michigan-Notre Dame, 1980.

Ah, 1980. Disco was barely dead. The Cold War was very much alive. And Michigan was coming off its worst year ever under Bo.

The Wolverines had finished with 3 consecutive losses to close out 1979 and then started the 1980 campaign with an ugly 17-10 victory over a Northwestern team that would go 0-11 that year. The following week, they traveled to Notre Dame to face the 8th ranked Irish. Things looked bleak. And as the game got underway, it didn't look much better as Michigan quickly found itself down 14-0. But, U-M fortunes began to turn around after John Wangler, who had been injured in the '79 Gator Bowl, came off the bench to lead Michigan to a 21-14 lead in the second half...until his interception was turned into a 49 yard Irish TD. But when ND placekicker Harry Oliver trotted onto the field to tie it up...he missed the PAT! (Bet you had forgotten that). Michigan 21, ND 20.

However, ND fought back to take a 26-21 lead after a TD and failed two point conversion. That is, until John Wangler marched the Wolverines down the field in this hostile stadium to score the go ahead TD with only :41 seconds left. Michigan also tried for two to make the lead three but their conversion attempt was also stopped. Even still, ND had the ball on its own 20 and no timeouts left. It looked...good.

Actually, it "sounded" good. Keep in mind, this was 1980, when each team, for some silly reason, was only allowed to have its games televised twice a year. So unlike today where Ball State-Louisiana Tech is an ABC game of the week, this M-ND showdown was only available for me on the "Great Voice of the Great Lakes," WJR, with Bob Ufer doing play-by-play. So maybe that's why this game is seared in my memory. Maybe Ufe is the reason that why I remember it so vividly. Whatever the case, I was at my grandmother's house in suburban Detroit, so nervous that I walked outside with a handheld radio to hear the game's conclusion, leaving the rest of the family huddled around the stereo inside, like Londoners waiting for updates after a bombing raid in WWII.

Somehow, some way, ND made it down to the Michigan 34 with only :04 seconds left and in came Harry Oliver to attempt a 51 yarder -- into the wind! Harry Oliver who had missed an extra point. Harry Oliver who had only made one -- yes, ONE! -- field goal IN HIS CAREER before this!

But as fate would have it that day, Harry Oliver drilled a 51 yarder that somehow, some way cleared the crossbar giving Notre Dame a 29-27 victory as I listened, heartbroken in my grandmother's driveway.

I lost my innocence that afternoon, like the kid in Summer of '42 who lost his by sleeping with the hot older chick whose husband was off fighting the Germans. Unfortunately, I had no war, no Germans or no hot older chick who wanted to sleep with me. Thus, I was forced to learn how cruel the world could be as I listened to Bob Ufer's vivid play-by-play that September Saturday in 1980 when "Good" was kicked in the teeth by "Evil"...and Harry Oliver's left foot.

As you probably know, Michigan lost again the following weekend when South Carolina beat the Wolverines at home, 17-14. All the newspapers were filled with talk of Michigan's impending demise...until Bo's boys (and McCartney's Monsters) rattled off 9 straight wins, including Bo's first Rose Bowl victory, to finish ranked 4th in the country. That 1980 squad also didn't allow a single touchdown the last 5 1/2 games of the year.

So that's it. My most heartbreaking Michigan loss. The rest of my "top" 5 (in no particular order) are:

* 1985 - #2 ranked Michigan 10, #1 ranked Iowa 12. They drove down the field on us in the final minutes (after one of our DBs dropped an easy interception) and kicked the winning FG as time expired.
* Michigan's '88 loss to top ranked Miami in A2, when they came back from 16 down in the fourth quarter to stun the Wolverines.
* The 1990 loss to MSU when Desmond Howard was tripped on Michigan's attempt at a go-ahead two-point conversion with seconds left (Yes, Sparty folks, he was tripped).
* Kordell Stewart's Hail Mary as time expired in '94, giving the Buffs an improbable victory over the Wolverines (I was at that game and I still remember thinking, after he first let go of the pass, "Wow. That might actually get close to the endzone").

Well, those are mine. What about you? What is your most painful, heartbreaking, "coulda, shoulda, woulda" Michigan loss?