Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Michigan's Bowl game History

Tonight when the Michigan Wolverines take the field against the Virginia Tech Hokies, the Wolverines will be making their 41st appearance in a bowl game, and tonight's Sugar Bowl will mark the 35th time that Michigan has played in a New Year's Day/January bowl game.

Michigan will be playing in the teams 2nd ever Sugar Bowl, the 1st since playing the Auburn Tigers on New Year's Day 1984.


The Wolverines have played in every current BCS Bowl, the Rose, Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar bowls.


The Wolverines are 8-12 All-Time in the Rose Bowl, 1-0 in the Fiesta, 1-1 in the Orange, and 0-1 in the Sugar.


The Rose Bowl, the grandest of all bowl games for Big Ten teams, began on New Year's Day 1902, with Michigan beating Stanford, 49-0.


The game was so one sided that the captain of the Stanford team went over to Fielding Yost, Michigan's Head Football Coach, and, with 8 1/2 minuets left in the game, told Yost that Stanford had had enough, and the game was called.


Michigan would not play in another bowl game until they played in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day 1948.


In an amazing coincidence, the Wolverines pounded the USC Trojans by the same score, 49-0, that they had beaten the Stanford team 47 years earlier.


Because Michigan played in the Big Ten (earlier Western) Conference, they played in only 4 bowl games between 1901-1974, each time playing in the Rose Bowl.


The Big Ten rule until 1975 was that only the conference champion could go to a bowl game, and that game was the Rose Bowl.


Also, no Big Ten team was allowed to play in back to back Rose Bowls, meaning many great Michigan teams could never qualify for any bowl game in certain seasons.


In 1948 Michigan backed up their 1947 undefeated National Championship season with another undefeated season, but couldn't defend their Rose Bowl Championship, and didn't play in any bowl game.


Michigan would play in the Rose Bowl following the 1950 season, defeating California, 14-6.


The Wolverines won the 1950 Big Ten Championship by defeating Ohio State in the infamous "Snow Bowl" game in Columbus.


Michigan had a very difficult time in the decade of the 50's and into the 1960's, finally getting back to the Rose Bowl following the 1964 Big Ten Championship season, defeating Oregon State, 34-7, in the 1965 Rose Bowl.


That win over Oregon State gave Michigan a unblemished 4-0 bowl record.


The Wolverines would go 16 years before winning another bowl game.


Bo Schembechler became the Michigan Head Football Coach in 1969, and proceeded to stun the Big Ten and all of college football by beating the defending conference and National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes in the final game of the season.


The 24-12 Wolverines beating of the Buckeyes gave Michigan it's 1st conference championship in 5 years, and the Wolverines returned to the Rose Bowl, losing to USC, 10-3.


Schembechler never saw that Rose Bowl, suffering his 1st of many heart attacks, something that some would say, was the beginning of the bowl curse for the Wolverines under Schembechler.


Michigan would win outright Big Ten Championships in 1971, 1976-77-78, go to, and lose each of those Rose Bowls.


On January 1, 1976, Michigan became the 1st Big Ten team to play in a bowl game other than the Rose bowl, when they played the defending National Champion Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl, losing 14-6.


The Big Ten was forced to revised it's ridiculous bowl system after the fiasco that followed the 1973 Michigan-Ohio State game.


Ohio State and Michigan dominated the conference in the 70's, and either the Buckeyes or the Wolverines were the only Big Ten representatives in the Rose Bowl game between 1968 and 1980.


In 1973 the Buckeyes and the Wolverines battled each other for 60 minuets, and after the 3 yards and a cloud of dust had cleared, the game ended in a 10-10 tie.


Michigan should have, by conference rules. gone on to play in the Rose Bowl, as conference champions, because they and the Buckeyes tied the game, and the conference title, and the no repeat rule would take effect and not allow the Buckeyes to play in Pasadena.


In a moment of panic, the Big Ten Presidents met and voted, 6-4, that the Buckeyes would go to the Rose Bowl, not the Wolverines.


Michigan's starting QB, Dennis Franklin, had injured his throwing arm, and the Big Ten didn't want the conference champion to go into the game without it's best QB.


Bo and the Michigan program were furious over the decision, and Bo would never forgive the conference presidents, especially the Michigan State Spartans, for voting against the Wolverines.


The Buckeyes went on to win the Rose Bowl, while back in Ann Arbor, a healthy Dennis Franklin was wondering what might have been.

Michigan's 1972-73-74 football team would have a 30-2-1 record, and they would play in zero bowl games.


In 1979 Michigan played it's second ever bowl game in the State of Florida, in the Gator Bowl here in Jacksonville, losing to North Carolina, 17-15.


The loss left Bo Schembechler with a 0-7 Bowl record.

In 1980 the Michigan Football team rallied from a 1-2 start, won their last 9 games, winning the Big Ten Conference Championship, and Bo took his Wolverines to the Rose Bowl for the 6th time.


For the previous six times the Wolverines played under intense hardship, such as Bo's heart attack in that first Rose Bowl after the '69 season, and in heart breaking fashion, like the last second, game winning FG by Stanford in 1972, a 13-12 loss for the Wolverines.


On January 1st, 1981, Michigan, led by a ferocious defense that refused to allow a touchdown, and the brilliance of All-American wide receiver Anthony Carter, the Michigan Wolverines defeated the Washington Huskies, 23-6, the teams 5th Rose Bowl victory, and the 1st under the leadership of Michigan's coach, Bo Schembechler.

After that Rose Bowl win, Michigan's bowl record was 5-7 overall, 5-5 in the Rose Bowl.

Michigan played in the not so famous Astro-Blue Bonnet Bowl after the 1981 season, beating the UCLA Bruins, in another great game from Anthony Carter, 33-14.


The Wolverines went back to the Rose Bowl the next year, and UCLA avenged it's previous years bowl loss to the Wolverines, beating Michigan 24-14.


Michigan played in their 1st ever Sugar Bowl on New Year;s Day, 1984 , losing a tough, close game to a great Auburn team with Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, 9-7.


Michigan suffered through a bad 1984 season, including losing starting QB Jim Harbaugh, and played in the 1984 Holiday Bowl losing to eventual National Champion BYU, 24-17.


In 1985 Michigan lost only once, at #1 ranked Iowa, tied once, at Illinois, and the 9-1-1 and 5th ranked Wolverines headed to their 1st ever Fiesta Bowl, against  #8 ranked Nebraska.


With a healthy Jim Harbaugh at his finest, Michigan beat the Cornhuskers 27-23, on New Year's Day 1986.


Michigan won the Big Ten Championship the following season, and Big Ten MVP Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines went to Pasadena on New Year's Day 1987, to play the Arizona State Sun Devils.


Michigan got out to a fast 8-0 lead before losing, 22-15. 


In 1987 Michigan finished 7-4, and went to play Alabama in the Hall of Fame Game in Tampa, Florida.


On New Year's Day 1988 the game, now known as the Outback Bowl, was the 1st time I had ever seen Michigan play a football game in person.

For the second time in his career as Michigan's Head Coach, Bo Schembechler would not coach his team, suffering another heart attack that left the Michigan leader at home in Ann Arbor.


Garry Moeller, Bo's assistant, and future Michigan Head Football Coach, took command of the team.


Michigan rolled early, led by leading rusher Jamie Morris, 'Bama came back behind running back Bobby Humphrey, in a fantastic see-saw back and forth game.


With under a minute to go, Wolverines QB Demetius Brown hit WR John Kolesar in the end zone with the game winning TD catch.


I was, to say the least, as happy as and Wolverine fan could ever be.


Beating Alabama, one of the best football teams in college football history was fantastic, but it wasn't the Rose Bowl, and the following season, 1988, proved to be a banner year for the Wolverines.


Following a 8-2-1 season, the Wolverines, undefeated champions of the Big Ten, went back to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, to face the Trojans of Southern California, New Year's Day 1989.


Michigan gave Bo his 2nd, and final Rose Bowl win, 22-14, behind MVP Leroy Hoard and his pair of rushing TD's.


Michigan fans didn't know that not only would this be Bo's last win ever in the Rose Bowl, the following season, 1989, would be Bo's final season as the leader of Michigan Football.


The Wolverines returned to Pasadena on New Year's day 1990, as back to back Big Ten Champions, and once again faced USC in the Rose Bowl.


In what would be Bo Schembechler's final game as the leader of the Wolverine football program, the Trojans beat Michigan, 17-10.


Fittingly, a bad call by an official on a Wolverines fake punt led to a huge blow up by Bo, who gave it to the officials one last time.


That fake punt, in a 10-10 tie, from the Wolverines 46 yard line gained 24 yards, and the momentum was all with Michigan.


Michigan never recovered, the Trojans went on to win the game.


Michigan played in 2 more Rose Bowls, back to back, after the 1991 and 1992 seasons, losing to the Washington Huskies in the 1992 game, then turning the tables on the Huskies in the 1993 game.


In the 1993 Rose Bowl Game Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley ran for 234 yards...in just 3 quarters, and the Wolverines defeated the Huskies, 38-31, avenging the previous years 34-14 loss to Washington, who won back to back Rose Bowls and National Championships.

Michigan had some mediocre teams in 1990, '93, '94, '95, and '96.


Michigan defeated Ole Miss in the 1991 Gator Bowl Game, 35-3. 


The entire Wolverine offensive line was awarded the Gator Bowl MVP Award after Michigan's 700+ yards of total offense.


It was my second ever Michigan game in person, and I was in Maize & Blue heaven watching the Wolverines run up and down the field.


On New Year's Day 1994 Michigan played in the Outback bowl, hammering North Carolina State, 42-7.


The following season, 1994, Michigan won it's 3rd straight bowl game, all under Bo's replacement, Garry Moeller, in the '94 Holiday Bowl beating Colorado State, 20-10.

In 1995 and 1996 Michigan was led to bowl games under Lloyd Carr, who replaced Moeller, and lost bowl games both years, to Texas A&M, 22-20, in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, and to Alabama, 17-14, in the Outback Bowl.


Michigan's bowl record stood at 13-15 All-Time.


The 1997 season under 3rd year Lloyd Carr was simply one for the ages.


I first started following the Wolverines in 1976, and every year I and the rest of the Wolverine Nation would dream of Big Ten Championships, Rose Bowl titles, and, if it all came into place, a National Championship.


Michigan gave every one of he fans all of the above, and more.


The Wolverines won every single football game it played in 1997, every non conference win, including beating Notre Dame and Colorado, and then they won every single Big Ten football game, beating Michigan State, the Buckeyes, and the Iowa Hawkeyes, a heart pounding, nerve racking 28-24 come from behind win at the Big House.


It was my first ever game at Michigan Stadium, and the win made me 3-0 All-Time in attending Wolverines football games.


In the Rose Bowl the #1 ranked Wolverines, led by Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson, shut down a high powered Washington State team, beating the Cougars 21-16.


Washington State had averaged over 40 points that season, but Woodson and the best defense in Michigan history would shut them down, and Brain Griese and the Wolverines won their 1st National Championship since 1948.

The 1998 Rose Bowl victory started a unprecedented win streak for Michigan in bowl games, in which the Wolverines would win 5 of the 6 bowl games, including their one and only BCS Bowl win.


In 1998 Tom Brady took over as Michigan's QB, and in his 2 years as the starting QB, would lead the Wolverines to a record of 20-5,  leading the team to back to back bowl wins.

In the Citrus Bowl, on New Year's Day 1999 Brady and the Wolverines beat the Arkansas Razorbacks, 45-31.

The next year, 1999, Brady's Senior year, Michigan completed another 10+ win season, the 3rd straight 10+ win seasons for Michigan under Lloyd Carr, as the Wolverines defeated Alabama Crimson Tide in the Orange Bowl, on New Year's Day 2000.


Brady threw for a Michigan bowl record 369 yards, and Michigan came away with the win after a missed extra point in the 1st OT by Alabama's place kicker.


On New Year's Day 2001, Michigan won it's 4th consecutive bowl game, a 31-28 win over the Auburn Tigers in the Citrus Bowl.


The streak of bowl wins came tumbling down to earth the following year when Tennessee beat the Wolverines, in the Citrus Bowl, 45-17, on New Year's 2002.


That loss to the Volunteers was forgotten the next year, New Year's Day 2003, when the Wolverines went to Tampa and beat the Florida Gators, 38-30, in the Outback Bowl.


Michigan was back in the Rose Bowl after beating the rival Buckeyes, 35-21, in the 100th meeting between the two Big Ten schools.

Michigan played in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, 2004, the 18th trip to Pasadena for the Wolverines.

In the game the #4 Wolverines played #1  USC, and the Trojans beat Michigan, 28-14, winning the National Championship.


In that stretch between Rose Bowls, the 1997-2003 football seasons, the Michigan football team compiled a 69-18 record, and added a bowl record of 5-3.

On New Year's Day 2005 the Wolverines were back in the Rose Bowl again.

In a classic match up between the #13 Wolverines and the #6 Texas Longhorns, Texas kicked a last second FG to beat Michigan, 38-37.


The rest of the bowl games, from 2005-2010 weren't pretty for the Wolverines.

It started in San Antonio, Texas, in the Alamo Bowl, following the 2005 season that saw the Wolverines drag themselves to a mediocre 7-4 season.


It ended in a loss to Nebraska, 32-28. 


In 2006 Lloyd Carr had the Wolverines at 11-0 for the second time in his career as Michigan's Head Football Coach.


On the final day of the Big Ten season he led the #2 ranked Wolverines into the annual battle with the Buckeyes, who were also 11-0, but ranked #1 in the country.


The day before the two great rivals met in Columbus, the heart and soul of Michigan Football for 37 years, Bo Schembechler, died of heart failure in Detroit.


Bo's death left the entire Wolverine Nation, myself included, in complete shock.


Bo had last coached the Wolverines in 1989, but to us Michigan fans, Bo was Michigan Football, period.


The #2 Wolverines scored on their opening drive in that 2006 match up, and took a 7-0 lead.


It would be Michigan's only lead of the game, as the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines, 42-38.


The #1 Buckeyes went on to play in the BCS National Championship Game, and the Wolverines headed back to Pasadena, to once again play in the Rose Bowl.


The Wolverines were still ranked #3 in the country, and a win in the greatest bowl game ever would give Lloyd Carr and Michigan a good ending to a season that saw them lose their greatest champion, Bo Schembechler, and a loss to the #1 Buckeyes.


At halftime of the 2007 Rose Bowl Michigan and USC were tied at 3-3.


The second half didn't finish the way anyone who loved Michigan wanted.


USC, still a national power under Pete Carrol, outscored Michigan in the second half, 29-15.


In 2007 Michigan Football didn't have it's greatest year.


In the opener, the same team that went into Columbus, Ohio the past November ranked #2 in the country, lost it's 3rd consecutive football game.


it wasn't just the fact that Michigan lost, but who they lost to.


FBS National Champion Appalachian State, who had won back to back National Champions came into the Big House and beat the #5 Wolverines, 34-32.


The next week the Wolverines, still in shock over the loss to Appalachian State, were humiliated again, this time by the visiting Oregon Ducks, 39-7.


The 0-2 start to the 2007 Michigan Football season was horrific to all who called themselves Wolverine fans.


Maybe another team would have folded, given up, but the Senior Class, led by QB Chad Henne, RB Mike Hart, and LT Jake Long, the Wolverines went on a roll, winning eight straight games.


After those 8 wins Michigan lost to Wisconsin, 37-21, and Ohio State. 14-3.


After the loss to the Buckeyes Lloyd Carr announced he was retiring after 13 years as the Wolverines Head Football Coach.


Coach Carr led the Wolverines to the Capital One Bowl (formerly the Citrus Bowl), on New Year's Day, 2008, against the Florida Gators and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.


With Rich Rodriguez, his successor on the sideline, Lloyd Carr led his Wolverines out into the sunshine of the Capital One Bowl, his last game as the leader of Michigan Football.


When the day was over the Wolverines raised their coach on their shoulders, celebrating a 41-35 win over the Gators.


Chad Henne torched the Gators all day long, passing for 373 yards.


It was the 1st bowl win for that Senior Class of Michigan Football.


Michigan's win gave the Wolverines a Citrus/Capital One Bowl record of 3-1, all under Carr, and a 19-20 record in all bowl games.


If 2005 and 2007 were bad, 2008 and 2009 were simply horrendous.


Since 1968, Bump Elliot's last as Michigan's Head Football Coach, the Wolverines had compiled a 40 year run of never having a losing season.


In 1984, with injuries to key players, including Jim Harbaugh, Michigan finished the season with a 6-6 record, the only time in that 40 year span the Wolverines didn't record a winning season.


In 2008 Michigan won just three games.


In 2009 Michigan won only 5 games.


Those 2 years of Michigan Football were the worst since 1962-63, when the Wolverines won a total of 5 games.

The Michigan streak of 40 straight winning seasons and 33 consecutive trips to bowl games were over.


Rich Rodriguez led the Wolverines to a mediocre record of 7-4 in 2010, and the Wolverines went back to another bowl game.

Michigan was invited back to Jacksonville, Florida, my hometown for 30 years, to play in the Gator Bowl, on New Year's Day, 2011.

Michigan had previously played in the Gator Bowl, in 1979, and 1991.


Michigan Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez would lead his Wolverines out of the tunnel of the Gator Bowl looking to win his 1st bowl game as the Wolverines leader, and in the same breath, keep his job.


Michigan led the Gator Bowl 7-0, and 14-10.

They would not score another point.


Mississippi State, and average SEC football team, then proceeded to hammer the Michigan defense, and the Bulldogs scored 42 un answered points in a 52-14 win.


The loss gave Rich Rodriguez a 15-22 record in three years as the Michigan Head Football Coach.


It was his last game as the leader of Michigan Football.


Michigan's Gator Bowl loss gave the Wolverines a All-Time record of 19-21 in all bowl games.


Michigan's 40 bowl games include 20 Rose Bowls, 4 Capital One/Citrus Bowls, 4 Hall of Fame/Outback Bowls, 3 Gator Bowls, 2 Orange Bowls, 2 Holiday Bowls, 1 Fiesta Bowl and 1 Astro Bluebonnet Bowl.


Tonight it's all Geaux Blue! as the 132nd edition of Michigan Football is in the Big Easy, New Orleans, for the Sugar Bowl.

Wouldn't it be great to add the Sugar Bowl on the great list of Wolverine bowl victories.



 






















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