Happy New Year 2017 – Today is the first day of an entire year that will be dedicated to Michigan Football Firsts. We have over four hundred Michigan Football Firsts to share with everyone this year. Although we don’t have one for every day of the year, we have 20-25 “firsts” for each day of every month. Some days, like today, will have multiple firsts and some days won’t have any. However, we will still talk about a player or event that has something to do with Michigan football for every calendar date in 2017. It took almost three years to develop this collection. We look forward to sharing it with Wolverines fans in 2017! Here we go!
The first day of January is a very significant day in Michigan football history. Fortunately, there are a lot of “good things” that happened on this date. Of course, we all know that some “not so good things” have also occurred on this date. Here is a summary of many of the “good” things and a few of the “bad” things associated with Michigan football and this calendar date:
1902 – In Michigan’s first post-season game, the Yostmen destroyed Stanford 49-0 in the first meeting between the two schools; Also, the end to Michigan’s first National Championship season. There’s more! This was also Michigan’s first 11 win season. Neil Snow was the first man to be named the Rose Bowl Player of the Game. Finally, the 1902 Rose Bowl would be the first game that the Wolverines ever played in the month of January!
1948 – Second Bowl is also a BIG winner. Number two ranked Michigan beats USC by a score of 49-0. This would be the first time in history that the Associated Press Rankings Poll was taken after a bowl game. Michigan was voted as the “final” National Champion after Notre Dame was voted National Champion at the end of the regular season. Naturally, both teams claim the National Championship for the 1947 season. Program win number 395 was very big!
1970 – Bo Schembechler’s first Rose Bowl turns out badly as he has a heart attack on the eve of the game. His deflated team lost a heartbreaker to Southern Cal (10-3). The only good news was that Bo would be back and that turned out to be the best news of all!
1976 – Michigan plays in the Orange Bowl – first non-Rose Bowl post-season game in the history of Michigan Football. Wolverines (#5) lose their first and only game against Oklahoma (#3) by a score of 14-6
1981 – Sixth time is a charm. Team # 101 gives Bo his first Bowl/Rose Bowl win with a 23-6 victory over Washington.
1986 – Michigan plays in Fiesta Bowl for the first and only time. Wolverines take on a powerful Nebraska team and win going away – Wolverines 27 and Huskers 23.
1991 – Michigan meets the University of Mississippi for the first time in program history at the Gator Bowl. Wolverines trounce the Rebels by a score of 35-3 to earn program win #712.
1994 – Team #114 plays North Carolina State for the first time in program history at Tampa, Florida. Wolverines blow out the Wolfpack in the Hall of Fame Bowl. Final score 42-7 and program win #739 is in the books. Michigan finishes season at 8 wins and 4 losses.
1998 – Brian Griese leads the offense and Charles Woodson lead the defense to a victory over Washington State in the 1998 Rose Bowl. Michigan claims their first national cham;pionship in 50 years. Also, it is the first 12 win season in UM football history. Brain Griese becomes the first Michigan walk-on to be a Rose Bowl MVP.
1999 – Michigan plays in first Citrus Bowl in program history. Also, first and only game against Arkansas so far. This victory is sweet – # 15 Wolverines win 45-31 over #11 Arkansas.
2000 – Michigan returns to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1976. Also, first game of 21st Century. Wolverines win in overtime (only one so far) and win their first bowl game in two tries in Miami. Final score # 8 ranked Wolverines defeat the #5 ranked Crimson Tide by a score of 35-34.
2001 – The Wolverines defeat the Auburn Tigers by a score of 31-28 in the Citrus Bowl. Lloyd Carr becomes the first Michigan Head Coach to win four consecutive bowl games and ties the program streak for consecutive bowl victories.
2003 – Team #123 Meets Florida in the Outback Bowl for the first game ever between the two storied programs. Wolverines post program victory #823 with a 38-30 triumph in Tampa, Florida.
2008 – The Wolverines play in the program’s first ever Capital One Bowl in Orlando, FL. Team #128 sends Lloyd Carr out as a winner. Wolverines defeat Florida and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow by a score of 41-35. Carr becomes the first Michigan Head Coach to win six bowl games and ends up at 6-7 for his career.