Friday, June 12, 2009

Fifteen Plays - The Bad and The Good

I read the mgoblog pretty regularly and Brian posted and "Oh, what if...." blog recently that got the MMQ to thinking about which plays or moments in Michigan History that stuck with me that I would love to have a do-over on.....Brian's 10 appear here first and my additions appear after. But I also added 15 that I would Love to RELIVE AGAIN! for the sheer enjoyment of the moment and the sensation I had when it happened...

10. Michigan v Nebraska, 2005 Alamo Bowl – Steve Breaston is RIGHT THERE and you don’t flip the ball to him? Oh Ecker. I would go back and have you make one little pitch. Although this game had no global impact or anything, it would’ve been nice to beat Nebraska.
9. Michigan v Northwestern, 2000 - Did we really deserve to win this game? Probably not. But we certainly would have but for one little fumble, almost an unforced error by Anthony Thomas (one of my favorite players.) If he just puts both arms on the ball in the waning minutes, Michigan wins an odd Big Ten shootout.
8. Michigan v Michigan State, 1990 – We got jobbed on the 2-pt conversion. If Desmond can hold on for just another .5 seconds, it’s good. This game marks my first sports bet. It, um, wasn’t my last.
7. Michigan v Ohio State, 2006 – How many plays in this game could’ve gotten us a victory? I’ll focus on 2, though both involve the same player, Shawn Crable. Crable had Beanie Wells for a loss in the backfield, and let him get by for 7. Then he gets the infamous penalty on Troy Smith, and if his head were just a few inches lower he’s probably in the clear and we have a shot at the win. This game isn’t on the list as a guaranteed win, but I’d just have liked to see us with the chance at the end. That’s why it isn’t higher.
6. Michigan v Texas, 2005 Rose Bowl – Vince Young loses if Dusty Mangum’s FG attempt is blocked. I forget which defender it was, but one Wolverine was literally an inch or two from blocking it. It certainly appeared to me that if he didn’t touch the football, he felt the breeze on his hand as it went by. Would’ve been nice to have won this one, and we were maybe an inch away.
5. Michigan v ND, 1990 – This game was on ESPN Classic the other day. Michigan was leading by 28-14 in the 4th quarter and driving deep in Irish territory. I’m thinking, how the hell did we lose this game? Then Elvis tossed a bad interception to Michael Stonebreaker, and the rest is history. If that ball is just tipped or dropped, or sails over his head, we kick a FG and win easily. Sigh.
4. Michigan v ND, 1988 – Mike Gillette’s field goal attempt sailed wide by inches. Lou Holtz goes on to win a MNC, and I generally hate life for awhile. This one was personal, though Michigan only lost 2 games (and tied Iowa) and had a great season.
3. Michigan v Appalachian State, 2007 – Shawn Crable, can’t you just block the guy? Seriously? Or Steve Brown, can’t you just tackle the guy in the first quarter? Really? Truth is you could probably pick 10 plays from this game an inch here or there and it goes the other way.
2. Michigan v Iowa, 1985 - If that damn field goal at the end misses, or one Wolverine hand gets on it, chances are Michigan wins a National Championship for Bo a year after going 6-6. Yes, Michigan tied Iowa, but I personally believe that if we’d topped Iowa we’d have beaten Illinois. Just the impact of that game alone warrants being very high on this list, but for me personally, well. We all have that first loss when you’re old enough to know what’s really going on and you’ve developed enough of a passion that it *matters*. This was that game for me personally. It hurt. A lot.
1. Michigan v Colorado, 1994 - I don’t even really have to say which play, do I? It would be nice to avoid sitting there in the stands for a half hour after the game just looking at the crumpled up freebie program and thinking about the meaninglessness of existence. Feel free to share your own, I'm sure I've forgotten a ton. And please let me know if you have a time machine I can borrow.

MMQ's Additional Top 5 Do-Overs:

11. MIAMI vs. Michigan at the Big House 1988 - After beating Vinne Testaverde in 1984, this looked like another win in the 3rd quarter...But the Jimmy Johnson Referee juggling call changed the outcome - for sure. If we get that call, the game ends differently.
12. Michigan vs. Auburn Sugar Bowl 1983 - Triando Markaray doesn't step out of bounds at the 32 yard line and tries to get an additional 5 yards for Ali Haji Sheik to attempt a field goal that would have beat Auburn 10-9 (Score was 9-7) in the Sugar Bowl. Auburn never drove the ball past the Michigan 25 yard line that entire game and Michigan had one TD and could have won the game if we had the chance to kick. This one hurt a lot as we were in control of the game the whole way...
13. MSU 2001 - Sparty Bob and the 1 second clock....Enough said....
14. Michigan USC Rose Bowl 1977 - If the REF COULD JUST SEE THE CHARLES ROGERS FUMBLE Michigan wins their first Rose Bowl for Bo. I remember this one like it was yesterday. Even the announcers were baffled that they had called a TD.
15. Arizona State vs. Michigan Rose Bowl 1986 - If we could have just completed a pass and scored one more TD, Cooper would have lost ANOTHER game to Michigan. This one hurts 'cause it was my first Rose and I wanted a win pretty bad.


1. Michigan-OSU 1997 - Yep. Number 1 on the list. Not the Rose against Washington of the same season when we clinched the national title. This game had everything. OSU was a capable team. Potential Heismann winner Charles Woodson and a gritty offense. Cold November day that sent chills down your spine from the great plays and the cold. MMQ's Brother in Law calling the Woodson return before it happened. Wife and her crew sneaking into the game in the 4th quarter without tickets to join in the celebration. Perfect day.
2. Michigan - OSU 1985 - First OSU game in the Big House as a student. Jimmy Harbaugh goes under center and launches a 4th quarter 77 yard TD pass to John Kolesar who makes the catch and scampers directly to the student End Zone which goes bezerk. Another great game that had everything.
3. Michigan-OSU 1986 - Jim Harbaugh prediction game. I wasn't at the game (it was in Columbus), but we watched it in the Washtenaw Ct. apartment on Campus. Great game and room mates make for a memorable experience. While I would love to relive this game, I am not sure my liver could handle it.
4. Michigan vs. MSU 2004. - Triple OT. I only wish I had worn a sweatshirt or at least taken one into the stadium with me. The weather was hot and 80 degrees when we went in and it dropped at least 30 degrees before it ended. But what a game.
5. Michigan PSU 2005 - Mario Mannigham from Chad Henne. This one was fun because PSU was undefeated and Michigan was bad....I mean bad. But they won it in the closing seconds with the pass for the winning TD...
6. Michigan PSU 2002 - Sorry Penn State, but this was another great game that Michigan won in their first ever OT game in the Big House. Another satsifying win under the lights.
7. Michigan-USC Rose Bowl 1987 - We beat Rodney Pete and bring home the Roses! Satisfying win in Pasadena at the 2nd attended Rose Bowl.
8. Michigan-Notre Dame 1986: In enemy territory, we Road Tripped to the MUCH HATED DOMER LAND for the Lou Holtz Innauguration into the Michigan Notre Dame series. Michigan won a close game and raucous celebration ensued.
9.Michigan Notre-Dame 1991 - The Catch. Elvis to Desmond on 4th down from the Domer 25...Desmond stretches out and makes a circus catch that starts his road to the Heismann.
10. Michigan vs. Washington State Rose Bowl 1998 - Sitting at the HogsBreath saloon in Key West nursing one of the more memorable hangovers I've ever had, we witnessed Michigan clinch the National Title! Celebration on Duvall Street afterwards as multiple Michigan fans gathered and sang the victors while I hoisted the flag. Not a bad way to spend New Year's day if you couldn't be in Pasadena.
11. Michigan vs. Notre Dame 2003 - 38-0. This game was hyped and it was only a 3 point spread. Yes, a 3 point spread. Losingham's innauguration was an embarrassment...but the game and day was extremely satisfying.
12. Michigan-Nebraska 1985 Fiesta Bowl - Nobody picked Bo, Harbaugh and Jamie Morris to beat the Cornhuskers that year. Nobody. In fact, we were big underdogs in that game. One of Bo's better games.
13. Michigan-PSU 1983 - Michigan goes into Happy valley with 2 losses and the PSU faithful already have the ROSES OUT! I'm a junior in high school and I am glued to the set and they are showing the PSU fans on TV celebrating at their pre-game tailgates like it's a done deal. Keith Jackson, long time ABC announcer and closet Michigan fan makes a simple statement, "Folks, it's still Michigan." Michigan goes on to beat Joe Pa, which has become sort of an annual tradition, to welcome him to the Big 10.
14. Michigan-Iowa 1997 - The greatest comeback in Michigan history and becomes the foundation for the National Title run. Great game with emotional swings - I remember being angry and bummed at halftime and then I was totally elated in the 4th quarter....and finally:
15. Michigan-Indiana, 1979 - While I didn't attend the game and it wasn't on TV, I think the reason to want to re-live this day should be pretty clear. Bob Ufer said it all: "Under center is Wangler at the 45, he goes back, he's looking for a receiver...He throws downfield to Carter! Carter has it! Touchdown! Touchdown Anthony Carter!"...and lest we forget - "Johnny Wangler to Anthony Carter will be heard for another 100 years of Michigan Football!" Question is, would I actually want to be at the game or sitting in the living room listening to it on the old radio that was in the hand-me-down "Hi-Fi" set that came from my Grandma and Grandpa listening to the Ufe? That is the question...