What a difference a year makes. Roughly last year around this time, I launched my book Bo’s Warriors-Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football. My journey began in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and from there to the state of Michigan. There were Barnes & Noble, Michigan alumni and M Den book signings throughout the state. I was joined by such notables as Thom Darden, Jim Brandstatter, Fritz Seyferth, Coach Gary Moeller, Mike Keller, Jim Betts, and Reggie McKenzie at various venues. I appeared on the Brady Hoke radio show, and was interviewed on the Sam and Ira radio show as well. Mike Keller, my wife Linda and I also had a private meeting with then athletic director Dave Brandon.
My book launch was scheduled to coincide with the University of Michigan and Minnesota Gophers battle for the Little Brown Jug. The players and I were hoping for lightning to strike twice. Lightning first struck in 1969, during Bo Schembechler’s inaugural season. The Wolverines record going into the Minnesota game was 3-2 with losses against nationally ranked Missouri and Michigan State University. Bo’s team was not yet functioning as a team. In fact, the Michigan team was behind at the half during that battle. Coach Schembechler simply told his warriors in essence you are the better team and don’t waste this opportunity. His Wolverines didn’t allow the Gophers another point, in dominating the second half.
Schembechler’s Wolverines went on a roll and for the next three games simply tore the opposition apart. In fact, that young team couldn’t wait to play the nationally ranked Buckeyes in Ann Arbor for its final season game. If Michigan won that game, they would play in the Rose Bowl. History was made in that Saturday game, in Ann Arbor. Bo’s legacy began and he is now, the legend.
Can lightning strike twice? With new rock star head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines this Saturday, play, the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis. Going into this game, Harbaugh’s team has a 5-2 record with losses to nationally ranked Utah and to nationally ranked Michigan State University. Will the Wolverines whip the Golden Gophers and again go on to defeat number 1 ranked Ohio State University in its last regular season game? The Wolverines will likely not play in the Rose Bowl because of the new playoff bowl system.
Last year was a disaster. The former players and I talked about the possibility of Michigan beating the Gophers and turn their disastrous season around. In that game ,to make things worse, newly installed quarterback Shane Morris received a concussion and was not taken out of the game immediately. We were in the stands and from our vantage point, the play happened before our eyes. Coach Brady Hoke was criticized and, there began a snowball effect to fire coach Hoke. Athletic director Dave Brandon did subsequently fire coach Hoke and then resigned himself.
To be continued