Sunday, December 31, 2006

Michigan to honor Bo & Pres. Ford with helmet sticker for Rose Bowl game

Michigan will adorn their helmets with a "48/BO" sticker during the Rose Bowl game in honor of President Gerald R. Ford and Coach Bo Schembechler both of whom passed away in the past couple of months. The number "48" is being used to represent President Ford because that was his jersey number during his playing days (1932-1934) at Michigan. President's Ford's number is one of of only five in Michigan football history to be retired. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo by Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Michigan works activities into Rose Bowl schedule

Michigan has been conducting their closed practices at The Home Depot Center since they have arrived in California but they have managed to work in some fun activities around their tough practice schedule. On Thursday night, December 28, 2006, the Wolverines attended a private party at the Improv Comedy Club in Los Angeles. The team watched multiple comedians perform their sets before a couple of the players took the stage and tried their hands at telling a few jokes. One of the players to reportedly brave the hecklers was team funnyman Darnell Hood.

On Friday, December 29, 2006, Michigan took a short trip to Santa Monica Pier. A couple of the players even took a quick dip in the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean. Also, a group of players (including Mike Hart, Jamar Adams, Jason Olesnavage and Matt Hornaday) went to Children's Hospital of Los Angeles to visit with kids. A picture gallery of both activities with photos by John T. Greilick (The Detroit News) can be found here. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Mike Hart, backup kicker Jason Olesnavage, and Jamar Adams with Dr. Cecilia Fu (who earned her undergrad degree at U of M) by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News.

Labels: ,

Michigan 2007 Rose Bowl Media Guide

Michigan's Rose Bowl Media Guide is available on-line in PDF format. It is divided up in sections. Click on the links below and read to your heart's content. If you ever wanted a question answered about Michigan Football, the answer is probably in there or it probably did not happen. Just kidding. However, the Rose Bowl guide is extremely comprehensive and is another job well-done by the University's Athletic Media Relations Department. Without further ado:

  • Table of Contents (PDF)
  • Rose Bowl Game Notes (PDF)
  • 2006 Season in Review: Game Notes (PDF)
  • 2006 Season in Review: Statistics (PDF)
  • 2006 team Player Bios (PDF)
  • 2006 team Coaches & Support Staff (PDF)
  • Bowl History: Recaps (PDF)
  • Bowl History: Records (PDF)

For the sake of comparison, the USC 2007 Rose Bowl Media Guide can be found here. Go Blue!


Friday, December 29, 2006

De-fense, De-fense!!!

All the reports coming out of California today seem to be about the defense. In today's Detroit News, Bob Wojnowski ("Wojo") has an article entitled "Michigan 'D' must rebound." Similarly, in today's Detroit Free Press, Michael Rosenberg has an article entitled "Defining moment looms for defense." Apparently, it is the consensus that Michigan's defense needs to play better in the Rose Bowl than it did on November 18th. Keeping with the all-defense theme, Angelique S. Chengelis' Rose Bowl Notebook in the Detroit News features quotes from USC All-American wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett on his perceptions of where Michigan's secondary can be exploited. The quotes sound dangerously close to bulletin board material. The Rose Bowl Notebook also contains the mention that Linebacker Shawn Crable has announced that he will be returning for his final year of eligiblity next year. At the Detroit Free Press, in addition to Rosenberg's article mentioned above, there is an article by Shawn Windsor entitled "Speed Factor: Michigan players are big and strong, but still have to deal with Big Ten misconceptions." Additionally, Windsor wrote a Michigan Notebook in which he observes that Def. Coordinator Ron English remarked that the defense is shaping up and that Coach English likes the looks of how the younger players have been practicing. Finally, click here for a photo gallery by Eric Seals (Detroit Free Press) entitled "Road to the Rose Bowl." Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Shawn Crable, Leon Hall, Def. Coordinator Ron English, and David Harris at Rose Bowl press conference by Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006)

Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, passed away on December 26, 2006 at the age of 93. President Ford was a three year letterman (1932-1934) while playing center and linebacker on the football team for the University of Michigan. He was a member of the undefeated Michigan teams that won the Big Ten and national championships in 1932 and 1933. President Ford was named the team's MVP in his senior season of 1934. The University of Michigan later retired his number "48" jersey. U of M's School of Public Policy is named for Ford and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is located on the University of Michigan campus. For information regarding the memorial service, go to Go Blue.


2007 Beef Bowl at Lawry's Restaurant

Michigan players consumed 612 pounds of meat at this year's Beef Bowl according to Shawn Windsor's article in today's Detroit Free Press. The annual event is held at Lawry's Restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Lawry's Beef Bowl. As noted in Windsor's article in the Detroit Free Press, the team that wins the Beef Bowl wins the Rose Bowl game 70% of the time. USC is at Lawry's Restaurant tonight (December 28th) trying to better Michigan's feat of finishing 612 pounds. Typically, teams average in the high 400s to low 500s. The Wolverines must have been hungry. Click here for a photo gallery of pictures by Eric Seals (Detroit Free Press) taken at The Beef Bowl. Michigan has enjoyed a lot of success at the Beef Bowl going 12-3 at the event. Unfortunately, it has not fared as well in the actual Rose Bowl games. This year, however, the Wolverines look to make a clean sweep of the events. Go Blue!

*Note: Picture of Michigan Wolverines devouring their meals at Lawry's Restaurant on December 27th by Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Alan Branch is big but is still a kid at heart

Angelique S. Chengelis (a/k/a "The Angel of the Big House") did an oustanding profile of Alan Branch in yesterday's Detroit News. In the article, Branch states that he watches cartoons throughout the day and he has completed five coloring books this past year. The 6'6", 330 lb. Defensive Tackle did not state, however, whether he would declare for the NFL draft by the January 15th deadline. He states he has not yet made up his mind whether to return next season for his senior year. It is possible that the 2007 Rose Bowl game will be Branch's last game in a Michigan uniform. Let's hope not. Go Blue!


ABC-TV set to use same broadcast crew for Rose Bowl that it used for M/OSU game

The Rose Bowl game is being broadcast by ABC Sports Television and will feature the same broadcast crew that worked the Michigan/Ohio State game. As before, it will be Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Bob Davie (analyst) and Kirk Herbstreit (analyst) in the booth with Lisa Salters (USC sideline) and Bonnie Bernstein (U of M sideline) on the field. Once again, I must strenously protest on behalf of college football fans everywhere the fact that Erin Andrews will not be part of the crew working the game. Ms. Andrews, as noted in previous posts, is the preeminent sideline reporter in the game bar none. If Ms. Andrews were to work the Rose Bowl, ABC would not need two sideline reporters for the game as Ms. Andrews can do more covering both sidelines on her own than Bernstein & Salters can do together. Ms. Andrews is widely hailed as the best prepared sideline reporter in the game. Michigan fans only had the privilege of seeing Ms. Andrews work one of its games this season. A sideline reporter needs to add something to the broadcast. Ms. Andrews accomplishes that. She lights up the screen every time she appears on camera and leaves viewers waiting for the next time they cut to her. ABC Sports should put Ms. Andrews on the Rose Bowl broadcast team. It would improve the broadcast immensely. Go Blue!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Rose Bowl Clutch Performer III

In previous posts, I have recognized the clutch Rose Bowl exploits of Tyrone Wheatley (1993) and Brian Griese (1998). Not all the clutch Rose Bowl game performances, however, have been on the offensive side of the ball. In 1989, it was John Milligan of the defense that made a clutch play that keyed the victory. Milligan was an inside linebacker in his junior year out of Trenton High School in Trenton, Michigan. The Wolverines had pulled ahead of USC 22-14 with under two minutes to go in the game but the Trojans had the ball and a chance to tie. USC QB Rodney Peete (that season's Heisman Trophy runner-up) drove the Trojans down the field for what looked like was going to be the tying score. However, Milligan intercepted a pass with fifty seconds remaining to give the Wolverines the win and Bo his second Rose Bowl victory. Incidentally, Milligan went on to become a team co-Captain in his senior season. Go Blue!

Labels: ,

Team arrives in California today

The Michigan Wolverines are scheduled to arrive in California on December 22, 2006 for their Rose Bowl trip. The team is staying at the Park Hyatt Los Angeles Hotel in Century City. The Wolverines will practice at the Home Depot Center. They are also scheduled to be at Disney's California Adventure Park on December 26, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. On December 27th at 4:30 p.m., the team will head over to Lawry's Restaurant for the Annual Beef Bowl. They have to have some fun while they are out there. Go Blue!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Double Trouble

Michigan has one of the best wide receiver tandems in the country in Mario Manningham (M2) and Adrian Arrignton (A2). However, the Wolverines Rose Bowl opponent-the USC Trojans- are able to counter with their own dynamic duo of Steve Smith (S2) and Dwayne Jarrett (DJ- no double initials here). Smith and Jarrett were both named first-team All-Americans this year and Manningham was a Heisman Trophy candidate until he went down with an injury midway through the season. When Manningham went down, Arrington really stepped up his performance for the Wolverines as he scored 7 touchdowns in the final eight games of the season. With these four gamebreakers on the field, there is a potential for this to be a high scoring Rose Bowl game.

Dwayne Jarrett (junior/junior) had 58 receptions for 773 yards and a team leading 10 receiving touchdowns. He is the Pac-10 Conference career leader in touchdown receptions with 39. He broke the old all-time conference record of 32 this season and he is only a junior. Jarrett has caught at least one pass in every game (37) he has played in during his career and he has gone over the century mark in receiving yardage in a game twelve times. He was a consensus All-American pick for the second consecutive season.

Steve Smith (senior/senior) was the Trojans leading receiver with 64 catches for 975 yards this season and he scored 8 touchdowns. Smith is USC's #5 career receiver and he has posted eight 100-yard receiving games during his time with the Trojans. His best game this season came against conference foe Oregon State when he caught 11 passes for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was a consensus first-team All-American selection in 2006.

Mario Manningham (sophmore/sophmore) missed three games due to injury but still managed 32 receptions for 624 yards (19.5 avg.) and 9 touchdowns. "Super Mario" led the Big 10 conf. in receiving yardage and touchdowns when he originally went out with his injury. After missing three games, he returned for very limited action versus Ball State before playing against Indiana and Ohio State to end the season. The Wolverines hope to have him back up to tip top shape for the Rose Bowl because no one in the nation is better at stretching a defense than M2. All but one of his career touchdown catches have come from beyond the redzone. The one that was inside the 20-yard line was the catch he made last year with no time left on the clock that defeated Penn State. Even with the emergence of A2, a healthy M2 is Michigan's go-to guy.

Adrian Arrington (junior/sophmore) had 36 receptions for 510 yards (14.2 avg.) and 7 touchdowns in 2006 after missing almost all of last season after suffering a season ending injury in the first game. Arrington had a spectacular season, scoring- as previously noted- seven touchdowns in the season's final eight games. Michigan's offense never missed a beat when he seamlessly transitioned into the role of #1 receiver while M2 was out for a few games in the middle of the season. If the Trojans try to double cover M2 in the Rose Bowl, Arrington will likely make them pay by scoring multiple times. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Adrian Arrington by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

USC Trojans ready for battle

One of the few football programs that can rival the storied tradition of the Michigan Wolverines is that of their Rose Bowl opponent: the USC Trojans. While Michigan will be making its Big 10 best 20th appearance in the Rose Bowl, the USC Trojans will be appearing for a record setting 31st time in the Rose Bowl game. It should be noted that while Michigan has had some difficulty in Rose Bowl games (going 8-11), the Trojans are 21-9 in "The Grandaddy of Them All." Additionally, USC won the Pac-10 conference for the fifth consecutive year this season and will be appearing in a BCS game for the fifth straight time. The Trojans (10-2) feature five first-team All-Americans. To learn more about what Michigan is up against, you can check out the USC 2007 Rose Bowl Media Guide. It is extremely informative and well done. From everything I've seen, this game is shaping up to be a classic. Go Blue!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rose Bowl Clutch Performer II

Michigan has only managed four wins (out of 15 attempts) in the Rose Bowl game since the 1969 season when Coach Schembechler first arrived in Ann Arbor. Nevertheless, certain Wolverines have stepped up over the years to deliver big performances on January 1st to help Michigan's bid for victory. One of the all-time clutch Rose Bowl performances was turned in by running back Tyrone Wheatley. (see post of July 28, 2006- Tyrone Wheatley: Clutch Rose Bowl Performer). Another all-time clutch Rose Bowl performance that needs to be recognized is the 1998 game played by QB Brian Griese.

Michigan entered the Rose Bowl game 11-0 and ranked #1 in the nation. The pressure could not have been any greater. Yet, Griese led the team with ease going 18 for 30 passing for 251 yards and 3 touchdowns. His three td. passes went for 53 yards, 58 yards and 23 yards respectively as Michigan beat Washington State 21-16 to win the National Championship! For his efforts, Griese was named the game's MVP and he earned a place in Michigan lore as one of the all-time clutch performers in Michigan football history. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Brian Griese by Allsport/Jonathan Daniel

Labels: ,

Michigan's history in the Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl game is nicknamed "The Grandaddy of Them All" as it was the first post-season collegiate football game. Michigan's ties to the big game go all the way back to the beginning as Fielding Yost's Wolverines beat Stanford 49-0 in the inaugural Rose Bowl game in 1902. Michigan played in the Rose Bowl -and won- three more times (1948, 1951, 1965) prior to Coach Schembechler's arrival in Ann Arbor in 1969. Michigan played in five (5) Rose Bowl games during the 1970's and had the best regular season record of any school during the decade as the Wolverines went 96-10-3. However, they were never able to win any of their Rose Bowl games as they went 0-5 (1970, 1972, 1977, 1978 & 1979).

Coach Schembechler was able to capture his first Rose Bowl victory in the 1981 game with a 23-6 victory over Washington. That win evened Michigan's all-time Rose Bowl record to 5-5. The Wolverines had four more Rose Bowl trips under Bo (1983, 1987, 1989 & 1990) with Michigan earning a 22-14 victory over USC in the 1989 game. Overall, Bo's Rose Bowl record was 2-8. It should be noted that sometimes it is reported as 2-7. That is because Bo was not actually on the sideline (or even at the game) of the 1970 Rose Bowl game. Bo had suffered a heart attack the night before the game and was forced to turn the reins over to Def. Coordinator Jim Young. Thus, in some record books, Bo is 2-7 and Jim Young is 0-1.

Bo retired after the 1990 Rose Bowl game after having led Michigan for 21 seasons and he was followed by Gary Moeller. After a one year transition, Coach Moeller picked up where Coach Schembechler left off as the Wolverines had back-to-back Rose Bowl game appearances in the 1992 and 1993 games. That means Michigan appeared in the Rose Bowl game 4 times in 5 years (1989, 1990, 1992 & 1993). That was the second time the Wolverines had accomplished that feat as Michigan had played in the Rose Bowl four times in five years previously under Bo (1977, 1978, 1979, & 1981). Coach Moeller was 1-1 in the two Rose Bowl games in which he coached the Wolverines with his win coming in the 1993 game where Tyrone Wheatley (15 carries, 235 yards, 3 tds.) led the Wolverines to a 38-31 victory over Washington.

Coach Carr took over as Head Coach in 1995 and made his first appearance in the Rose Bowl in the 1998 game with his undefeated Michigan team that was playing for the National Championship. The Wolverines defeated Washington State 21-16 in one of the most important games in Michigan football history giving the Wolverines the AP National Championship. Following that game, the Wolverines did not play in the Rose Bowl in the next five years. However, they played in 2004 (USC) and 2005 (Texas) and are playing this year (USC) in the game for the third time in four years. Coach Carr is 1-2 in Rose Bowl games and is looking to even his record in "The Granddaddy of Them All" with a win on January 1, 2007 versus USC. Go Blue!

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mike Hart finishes 5th in Heisman Trophy balloting

Running back Mike Hart (junior) finished 5th in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy. Hart had a standout season for the Wolverines as he posted career highs with 301 carries for 1,515 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns this season. Hart's top-5 finish in the Heisman Trophy balloting means Michigan has placed a player in the top-10 in three of the past 4 seasons. (Chris Perry was fourth in 2003 and Braylon Edwards was tenth in 2004). However, Michigan still has a long way to go to match the record it set under Coach Schembechler. (See post of June 22, 2006: A Wolverine was in Top 10 of Heisman balloting 8 of 9 years from 1974-1982). In that post I authored during the summer, I made the prescient statement, "As for 2006, you can never count out a healthy Mike Hart from stepping up and running himself right into the Heisman race." That is in fact what happened as Hart was able to stay healthy and he managed to impress enough Heisman voters to achieve a top-5 finish as well as garner five first-place votes. As for 2007, if he returns-as it appears he will-Hart will be one of the leading contenders to win next year's Heisman Trophy. Go Blue!


Monday, December 04, 2006

How Coach Carr ranked the teams

Coach Carr is one of the 63 coaches with a vote in the USA Today Coaches' Poll that comprises a 1/3rd component of the BCS Standings (along with Harris poll=1/3rd and composite computer rankings from six polls=1/3rd). Here is Coach Carr's final ballot in the USA Today Coaches' Poll:

  • #1 Ohio State
  • #2 Michigan
  • #3 Florida
  • #4 Wisconsin
  • #5 LSU
  • #6 Oklahoma
  • #7 Louisville
  • #8 Southern Cal
  • #9 West Virginia
  • #10 Auburn
  • #11 Notre Dame
  • #12 Boise State
  • #13 Wake Forest
  • #14 Arkansas
  • #15 Texas
  • #16 Virginia Tech
  • #17 Rutgers
  • #18 California
  • #19 Tennessee
  • #20 Brigham Young
  • #21 Nebraska
  • #22 Texas A&M
  • #23 Boston College
  • #24 Georgia Tech
  • #25 Oregon State

Go Blue!


The Character of a "Michigan Man"

Open message to all the Wolverine faithful: At the University of Michigan there is the well known slogan that Michigan is the "Leaders and Best." There is much talk, especially in the football program, about acting like a "Michigan Man." That is to say that the students, alumni and fans should conduct themselves with a certain amount of honor, intelligence, skill and character among other traits. Coach Carr has exemplified these qualities for years and has been widely hailed as a preeminent "Michigan Man" during his entire coaching tenure. Coach Carr's grace under fire during this past weekend's media onslaught regarding the BCS selection process should serve as a guide for all Wolverine fans as to how they should conduct themselves as the debate rages over whether Michigan got "ripped off" (or worse) when the University of Florida was selected as Ohio State's opponent in the BCS National Championship game. Coach Carr's conduct has been a credit to the University of Michigan and to the game of college football as a whole. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all the Maize and Blue faithful who are bitterly complaining about the selection process. When Michigan fans complain about not being chosen to play in the BCS National Championship game it reflects poorly on the University and everyone associated with the Wolverines. The selection process has not hit anyone harder than it hit Coach Carr yet he has maintained a classy stance and he has protected his dignity and that of the University. It is time for the Michigan faithful to follow Coach Carr's lead (just like the football team does) and start acting like "Michigan Men." The season is not over yet. There is a championship to win. A ROSE BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP! It is time to focus on winning, not whining. Go Blue!

2007 Rose Bowl Game

The Michigan Wolverines will be playing the USC Trojans for the eighth time in the Rose Bowl when they meet on January 1, 2007. Overall, this will be the Wolverines 20th Rose Bowl appearance and third in the last four years. Everything you need to know about this year's match-up can be found by clicking here. Go Blue!


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Michigan headed to Rose Bowl

Michigan was leapfrogged by the University of Florida Gators for the #2 spot in the BCS standings and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game. Consequently, Michigan is headed to Pasadena, CA to play the Pac-10 champion (USC Trojans) in the Rose Bowl. The match-up between the two traditional Rose Bowl rivals will take place on January 1, 2007. As for commentary about the selection of Florida over Michigan for advancement to the BCS title game, click here to read the article of columnist Gene Wojciechowski. Go Blue!