Countown to College Football Day 22: Michigan
Today we preview the team, the team, the team. The victors themselves, Michigan.
School: University of Michigan
Fight Song: Hail To The Victors
Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh (78-33, 20-6 at MIchigan)
Stadium: Michigan Stadium(The Big House) (Capacity: 107, 601)
Greatest Moment in Program history:
For Michigan, a program whose success runs back to the days of Fielding Yost, national championships have been hard to come by. Some of that may be that their fiercest rival Ohio State is also a consistent national power. Under the legendary Bo Schembechler, Michigan found themselves playing in the Rose Bowl, undefeated or with one loss multiple times. Outside of the brutish, three yards and a cloud of dust Big 10, Michigan struggled with the speed and passing games of the Pac 10 and lost five trips to the Rose Bowl in a row. Under Schembechler and Gary Moeller, Michigan remained a consistent op ten program, but never quite reached the top of college football. In 1997, a couple years after Moeller was relieved of his duties after a drunken tirade in a restaurant, Lloyd Carr brought an undefeated MIchigan squad into the Rose Bowl. Their opponent was the quintessential Pac 10 team, a lightning fast Washington State team with a powerful spread offense. Michigan had a monstrous front four and one of the greatest players ever to play college football, Charles Woodson. They held the previously unstoppable Cougars to 16 points, finishing the season 12-0 and winning a share of the National Championship.
Current State of the Program:
Michigan is a program that knows itself. Emphasis is placed on being a "Michigan Man", which is a vague term meaning unyielding loyalty to the school as well as humility and respect. Michigan, like its conference foe Nebraska, has a program identity that any deviation from it is greeted with displeasure. Both schools pride themselves on physical football. When Nebraska fired hired Bill Callahan and Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez to bring the programs into the modern era with their offenses, the excitement was quickly followed by disappointment. Michigan and Nebraska were supposed to be physical squads with great defenses and played with great effort. Callahan and Rodriguez teams would score and give up a ridiculous amount of points. After Rodriguez was fired, Michigan hired "Michigan Man" Brady Hoke. Hoke recruited well, but lacked the coaching acumen to win at a Michigan level. Then came Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh is one of the finest football coaches on the planet. A month into his first season, Michigan was playing like Michigan again. Power football and tough defense. His staff is one of the best in football, and they have the resources to compete with Alabama in the long term. Last season ended with three crushing close losses, including a heartbreaking and controversial overtime loss to Ohio State. A good portion of the defense has graduated. Yet the recruiting classes have been strong, and Harbaugh's wizardry on offense and Don Brown's genius on defense means that any hiccups with a younger team this year will be quickly fixed. Michigan will be fighting Urban Meyer and Ohio State for Big Ten titles and national titles for the forseeable future. As it should be.
vs Florida - W
vs Cincinnati - W
vs Air Force - W
at Purdue - W
vs Michigan State - W
at Indiana - W
at Penn State - W
vs Rutgers - W
at Minnesota - W
at Maryland - W
at Wisconsin - L
vs Ohio State - L