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Top Five Annoying Things About Michigan: # 3 False Idol

Calm down.  You knew it was coming. 

This entry was suggested to me by a good friend who feared it might be a bit "too soon" to faithfully execute.  Fortunately, The Greatest Rivalry in Sports knows no such courtesies.

Top Five Annoying Things About Michigan: No. 3 False Idol


False Idol?

For twenty years (1969-1989), Bo Schembechler was a walking legend on the Michigan sidelines, his iron-taloned visage, down parka, and chrome-rimmed avaitor glasses reminiscent of a State Highway Patrolman.  He was described as "a consummate 'coach's coach,'" with a "superb technical command of the game" and a "fiery disposition," attributes that led him to find success against mentor Woody Hayes in "The Ten Year War." 

During his tenure in Ann Arbor, he compiled an impressive 194-48-5 record (.796 winning percentage) and led the Wolverines to 13 conference championships and 17 bowl appearances behind the populist banner: "Those who stay will be champions."

But he was wrong.  After thirty-seven years of coaching a "'remorseless and punishing' brand of football" Schembechler walked away from the game having never sustained a program at an elite level -- and without a national championship.

Pathetic in Pasadena

In two decades Bo Schembechler followed the gold rush to Pasadena ten times.  He walked away with just two Rose Bowl victories.  Take a look:

Jan. 1, 1970 Rose Southern California L 3-10 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1972 Rose Stanford L 12-13 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1976 Orange Oklahoma L 6-14 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1977 Rose Southern California L 6-14 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1978 Rose Washington L 20-27 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1979 Rose Southern California L 10-17 Bo Schembechler
Dec. 29, 1979 Gator North Carolina L 15-17 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1981 Rose Washington W 23-6 Bo Schembechler
Dec. 31, 1981 BlueBonnet UCLA W 33-14 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1983 Rose U.C.L.A. L 14-24 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 2, 1984 Sugar Auburn L 7-9 Bo Schembechler
Dec. 21, 1984 Holiday Brigham Young L 17-24 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1986 Fiesta Nebraska W 27-9 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1987 Rose Arizona State L 15-22 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 21 1988 Hall of Fame Alabama W 28-24 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 2, 1989 Rose Southern California W 22-14 Bo Schembechler
Jan. 1, 1990 Rose Southern California L 10-17 Bo Schembechler

(Courtesy University of Michigan Athletics)

Schembechler's Wolverines finished the season in the top three only twice.

Perhaps most tellingly, Bo never got past his 1985 second-place finish.  As my friend put it, "Larry Coker has won more championships."

But Bo sure has a lot more friends.