Michigan historian Dr. Sap and I have started a new podcast on the lore of Michigan football. And this time we were extraordinarily lucky to have as our guests the defensive captain of the 1976 Wolverines, Calvin O’Neal, and Bo Schembechler’s right hand man and greatest offensive line coach in football history (@ me!) Jerry Hanlon.
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1. GIMMICKY TOP FIVE: YOU KNOW IT’S A BO SEASON WHEN…
(starts at 1:00)
Seth & Sap set the stage for the Most Bo season of the Bo era. Lots of running, and a loss on natural grass to a future Big Ten West team. Nationally: Pitt had Tony Dorsett, USC, Alabama, and Ohio State were the other contenders. Oklahoma and Texas were great teams too.
2. SETTING THE STAGE
(starts at 11:22)
Preseason #1 to some. Bring back most of the offense, and a fair bit of the defense too, though there’s concern on the defensive line. Bo has open heart surgery in the spring. Coming off the disappointment of 1975. Run through the roster. Story of Mike Kenn: had to wait most of a week after signing day for his LOI because he was 6’6"/205—tried to make him a tight end but according to Hanlon: “It was like throwing the ball against that wall.” Story of O’Neal’s recruitment: Moeller worked him out of heading to MSU, MSU showed up with a limo.
3. THE GAMES PART I
(starts at 48:19)
We go through every game, from the one that Calvin O’Neal got an interception on to the many, many, many games when he did not. Sap plays us some clips from inside the locker room at halftime of the Wake Forest game. Bo gets hollered at for running up the score by putting 70 on the President’s Navy when the President visited. Fake punt takes the air out of MSU.
4. THE GAMES PART II
(starts at 1:34:06)
What happened against Purdue? What happened to Illinois when they came for senior day after that? What happened to all the record books after that game, and what was the record for passing touchdowns in a season before? Which Michigan player told Jerry Hanlon he guaranteed not just a win but a shoutout over Ohio State? Which quarterback did they have in Columbus anyway? Who took Ufer’s horn?
5. ROSE BOWL & WRAP
(starts at 2:09:21)
The players are all given hideous blue jerseys to go on the Tonight Show. Also hideous injuries during that game. Hanlon wonders what they could have done to better prepare their teams for those Rose Bowls, because they never had a good performance—Sap suggests it was getting an indoor facility so they could, you know, practice before the bowl games. We talk about where this team fits in the pantheon of teams, MVPs, most overlooked players, and how the players felt when the maize (not yellow) pants came back.
- "The Rubberband Man"—The Spinners
- "The Boys Are Back in Town"—Thin Lizzy
- "Tie Your Mother Down"—Queen
- “Something He Can Feel”—Aretha Franklin
- “Across 110th Street”