Coach Jim Harbaugh (#4), shown above with his coaches and teammates, helped end a mini-Big Ten Championship “drought” when he led the Wolverines to a share of the title in 1986. Yes, Michigan failed to win the Big Ten Title, or a share, from 1983 to 1985. Of course, that was an “eternity” in the Bo Era. That was the last time that Jim Harbaugh was associated with a Big Ten Football Championship. In order to claim a share of the title, all Harbaugh had to do was win a game in Columbus. Well, you know the story. He guaranteed victory and then his teammates backed him up to the tune of a HUGE 26-24 win in the Horseshoe. Harbaugh hasn’t guaranteed any championships this year, but he did agree with the Big Ten Media poll that said Michigan is the favorite to win the championship this season.
Now, Coach Jim Harbaugh has two championship challenges in 2019. Michigan has not won a Big Ten Championship since 2004. Yes, this “drought” has now reached fourteen years. To make matters worse, another streak is also at stake this season. What most Michigan fans don’t know is that the greatest championship streak in Big Ten history is at risk in this, the last season, of the thirteenth decade of conference play. Here’s what you need to know about the greatest championship streak in Big Ten Football History.
Jim Harbaugh has won a lot of games since he returned to Ann Arbor in 2015. His record is respectable at 38 wins and 14 losses and so is his winning percentage which currently sits at seventy-three percent. Unfortunately, he is 0-4 on Big Ten Championships and that’s a problem. Actually, it is a BIGGER problem than you imagined. Very few people know that Michigan owns the greatest championship streak in the history of the Western/Big Ten Conference. Unfortunately, that streak is at risk, great risk, and time is running out!
Yes, Michigan was one of the charter members of the Western Conference in 1896. After two tries, they won their first conference championship in 1898 and got a legendary fight song to boot. So, Michigan won one championship in four attempts in the first decade of the Big Ten Conference. Now, thirteen decades later they are the only team in Big Ten History to win at least one championship in every decade of conference play, except the current one which ends in 2019. Check out the numbers below and see for yourself.
|Decade||Years||Decade Title(s) *||Season (s)|
|2||1900-1909||Five||1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1906|
|4||1920-1929||Four||1922, 1923, 1925, 1926|
|5||1930-1939||Four||1930, 1931, 1932, 1933|
|6||1940-1949||Four||1943, 1947, 1948, 1949|
|9||1970-1979||Seven||1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978|
|10||1980-1989||Five||1980, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989|
|11||1990-1999||Five||1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998|
|12||2000-2009||Three||2000 2003, 2004|
*Note – Michigan left the conference and played as an independent from 1907 to 1917.
So, the numbers above add up to forty-two Big Ten Championships – no other conference team can claim more. You can see that there have been some lean decades where the Wolverines only managed to win one championship in a ten-year period. However, there have been other decades where Michigan has won, or shared, five to seven titles in a decade. Michigan Football History has way more “ups” than “downs”, that’s for sure. No other Big Ten program has achieved as much as the Wolverines – period!
Unfortunately, none of that history has been much help in the thirteenth decade of conference play. Now, Michigan’s destiny in 2019 rests in the hands, hearts and minds of the Wolverine players and coaches who showed up for practice earlier this month. There are lots of signs that Team #140 could be a very special team. Again, the Big Ten Media voted the Wolverines as the favorite to win the championship at the Big Ten Media Days in late July, but it won’t put any wins on the board!
Yes, Jim Harbaugh has two simple jobs this season. First, he has to end the Big Ten Title drought at fourteen seasons. Second, he has to extend Michigan’s “decade streak” to thirteen. Coach Jim Harbaugh has many reasons to like his football team this year and so does Wolverine Nation. I hope this is the year that Coach Harbaugh takes his Wolverines on a little road trip to Indianapolis so that his Wolverines can help him meet the championship challenges of the 2019 season. Yes, they have the potential to make this a special season. Go Blue!
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