In some ways, 900 is just a number. It’s not a “milestone number” – not like, say, 500 or 1,000. But to Michigan fans, 900 is the number, same as 7,125 or 155 are the numbers, when it comes to career rushing yards and touchdown passes. It’s a reason to pound their chest and say “We’re Michigan, winners of more college football games than any other program in the country!” Or, for the more precise Michigan fans, an opportunity to gloat that their school has 67 more wins than Ohio State.
It’s also a reason for the present to revisit the past …
*Michigan began its program with a win (1879) and before too long rivaled the Ivy League schools as one of the country’s best clubs. It’s only fitting that Fielding Yost showed up in Ann Arbor just in time to claim win No. 100 – during his quarter century at the helm of the program, Yost’s teams rarely lost, and not long after the “Point-a-Minute” years, Yost helped Michigan reach win No. 200.
*Michigan reached the halfway point – win No. 450 – under Bennie Oosterbaan, who coached in the 1940s and ’50s. He helped the Wolverines win three straight titles, but, at the start of his fourth season, Columbus welcomed Woody Hayes to campus and Michigan’s wins and Big Ten dominance slowed down a tad.
*Bo Schembechler fought back, and helped Michigan claim Nos. 600 and 700. The team’s 800th win came in 2000, as the school entered its third century of football.
It’s a long history – 1,248 games. Of them, Michigan carries a .736 winning percentage – also the best all time.
The next 100 wins will bring more stories. Maybe another Heisman? Another national title? Michigan will be there, ready to add on to the legacy of college football’s most successful program.
– Big Ten Notes –
• Ohio State sophomore Bradley Roby has quietly put up some nice numbers. This summer, no one knew what the Buckeyes defensive backfield would look like, and only that the coaching staff felt the group was extremely deep. Roby has made his way into the lineup and, through seven games, he is leading the Big Ten in passes defended (14), has averaged a respectable 5.3 tackles a game, notched two interceptions and one sack.
• Kudos to Navy, which last week claimed its first Big Ten win since 1979. The Midshipmen scored the final 10 points to defeat Indiana, 31-30.
• Wisconsin is slowly working its way back up the Big Ten’s rushing leaderboard. The Badgers now rank fifth in team rushing, averaging 200.6 yards per game. Only Ohio State and Northwestern have scored more touchdowns on the ground.
– This week’s schedule –
Saturday, Oct. 27
Iowa at Northwestern, 11 a.m.
Indiana at Illinois, 11 a.m.
Purdue at Minnesota, 2:30 p.m.
Michigan State at Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m.
Ohio State at Penn State, 4:30 p.m.
Michigan at Nebraska, 7 p.m.
**all times CT
– Spotlight –
QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
This is it. This is the game Martinez has been building toward. A win at home will put his Cornhuskers in the driver’s seat in the Legends Division; a loss will all but kick Nebraska out of contention. After a terrible outing in Columbus, Martinez bounced back last week with a near-flawless effort in the win over Northwestern. Last year against Michigan, he completed just 9 of 23 passes. He’ll need to have a much better performance than that on Saturday.
-- He Said It (quote of the week) –
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer commenting on the performance of Kenny Guiton, who replaced injured starting quarterback Braxton Miller and guided Ohio State to a victory over Purdue in overtime:
“Some of the efforts I saw tonight were legendary. I mean, that was a moment that I’ll certainly never forget – the quarterback jogging into the game, the old right-hander. (He) just did a heck of a job.”
– Big Ten Mailbag –
Todd from Michigan: Got a Big Ten Title Game pick? Last week’s article did not include it.
Sure, Todd, same as everyone’s: Michigan and Wisconsin. I might be the only person right now, though, who believes the Badgers can (and will) win the game, and earn a third straight trip to Pasadena. Wisconsin is getting better each week, while the Wolverines are stumbling to the finish line.
Tweet your questions to Mike Beacom @mikebeacom, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week one question will be selected for this column. Be sure to include your first name and city/state.
Mike Beacom is the Big Ten football editor for Lindy’s. Follow him on Twitter @mikebeacom