Profiles of the Big Ten: Michigan Wolverines

When you think Big Ten football, one of the first names you think about is the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines have won or shared 42 titles in football to lead the league. They've won or shared eleven national championships, most recently sharing the 1997 title with Nebraska. Michigan football has one of the most storied histories in all of college football.  It's a laundry list of accomplishments:

  • 877 wins all-time (most in college football)
  • 124 All-Americans
  • 223 consecutive home games with over 100,000 fans in attendance
  • 25 undefeated seasons

Nebraska fans are certainly proud of the streak of 304 consecutive sellouts, but I wonder if 223 consecutive crowds over 100k isn't a more impressive number when you consider the sheer number of fans who've watched games at the "Big House".

As Big Ten expansion becomes more and more likely, CornNation begins a series of profiles of other Big Ten programs to familiarize fans with their future conference foes. We start with the Michigan Wolverines.

Michigan Stadium has a capacity of 108,000 fans, though when you consider visiting fans and bands, crowds regularly exceed 110,000.  It's been said that former Michigan athletic director Fielding Yost once envisioned a capacity crowd of 150,000 fans at some point. This December, they'll set up a portable ice rink on the field for a college hockey game against Michigan State. Dubbed 'The Big Chill at the Big House", the game is now technically sold out with 100,098 tickets sold. The rest are being held for purchase by students. Needless to say, this will set a record for the largest crowd to ever watch a hockey game in person. The previous record was broken this week when 77,803 watched Germany beat the United States at the World Championships. In 2001, 74,544 watched Michigan and Michigan State battle at Spartan Stadium.

Michigan's 11 national championships sounds impressive until you realize that all but one occurred prior to 1949. Michigan fans. In fact, in the past sixty years, Michigan has only won the Big Ten title 11 times outright. Michigan has an overall losing record (19-20) in bowl games, including an 8-12 record in the Rose Bowl.

One of the reasons why Nebraska fans are thinking positively about the Big Ten conference is to get away from Texas. Many Husker fans are tired of the domineering attitude shown by Texas, and fans are looking to move away from the condescension of the Longhorns. Be careful what you wish for...because if there is one fan more arrogant than the Longhorn fan, it's the Michigan fan.

For those of you who periodically check Husker Mike's Blasphemy, you'll see that I also cover Nebraska-Omaha hockey.  UNO just switched conferences themselves, and previously played in the CCHA with Michigan, and I can tell you that Michigan is everything we think Texas is - and then some. Having more than their fair say in conference rules? Check. Arrogant fans? Check. Coaches you can hate? Well, truth be told. Michigan has Texas beat handily here. Mack Brown seems like a pleasant enough fellow. Rich Rodriquez, on the other hand, has his hands full with the NCAA at this point. Think Augie Garrido was unsportsmanlike when the Longhorns refused to accept the runner up trophy at the College World Series? Meet Red Berenson, the Weasels hockey coach.

You'll note that I use the term "Weasels" to represent the Maize and Blue's mascot; that too is a response to the arrogance that flies out of Ann Arbor throughout the sports season. That's why, when you get a chance to knock of the Weasels, it's the greatest joy for fans.  (Think Colorado fan combined with Texas' self-righteousness and Oklahoma's record of accomplishment.  That's Michigan for you.) I'll submit the following evidence from UNO fan Rick Jeffries, who let loose a rant describing a 2006 UNO hockey victory over Michigan, where UNO skated through Jack Johnson, an all-American at Michigan who went on to play for the LA Kings and the 2010 US Olympic team.

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Photo Courtesy huskers.com

Certainly if Nebraska and Michigan meet up as conference opponents, it'll quickly become the Big Ten's newest rivalry. Weasel fan is still sore about having to share the 1997 National Championship, suggesting that it was a pity vote for Tom Osborne and unjustified since Michigan didn't need a deflection off a players foot to go undefeated.

When Michigan and Minnesota play, the victor is awarded the "Little Brown Jug" as a trophy. As a trophy for the winner of the Nebraska-Michigan game, I would propose none other than "Shevin Wiggins' Shoe".  This one play might go down in history of the new Big Ten conference, as it affected not only Nebraska and Missouri, but eventually Michigan as well.

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