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Saturday, November 9, 2013


We all know at least one Michigan fan who really believes that his or her favorite team holds the "all-time wins record" in college football. Plenty of t-shirts to prove it, too. I mean, if you read something on a t-shirt, it must be true, right?

So this is another big day in UM Football history, since it was on this date in 1889 that the pre-Wolverines handed those boys from Albion College another gridiron lesson. (Maybe without the gridiron.) The final score was 33-4, though nobody can explain how those point totals were determined. Seems like Albion must have had one touchdown, since those were worth four points back then. Either way, rack it up and roll it into the total, and today's Michigan fans count them all as one equal victory.

But there was no head coach, and no Michigan Stadium, and no Big Ten, and no forward passing. The players didn't wear numbers, and tackling below the waist had just been legalized. The most common offensive play was the "flying wedge", a system that was later banned by President Theodore Roosevelt. And that happened 30 years before the NCAA began tracking football as a sport.

It must be either Voodoo Economics or Fuzzy Math that gets them to their exaggerated win totals. Or maybe they're just counting Rugby scrimmages as football games. When they count all those events from the 1800s, that's just exactly what they're counting.

Let's all agree that the University of Michigan was champion of the 1800s, or at least the 1880s. Although Cornell and the Chicago University Club beat them by a combined score of 86-0 later that same (three-game) season.

So this lone victory stands as the shining point of light in the grand and historic season of 1889. It is truly a day to remember for all Michigan fans everywhere.

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