Monday, September 09, 2013

The Mysterious Case of the Not-Shutout Streak

(Author's note: Like our friends at MVictors, we love a good Michigan mystery, or Mich-stery, as it were.  This is not so much a mystery but trying to account for an extra 12 games.)

October 20, 1984.  Michigan loses to Iowa at Kinnick 26-0.  This is the last known date that a Michigan football team failed to score in a Division I-A or I-FBS football contest.  Since that date and including this season's two games, Michigan has played 352 games and scored points in all of them.  This puts them within striking distance of BYU's record of 361 consecutive games with points.

There's just one problem.  The NCAA record book already thinks Michigan has the record, except where it doesn't.

This is a link to the NCAA FBS record book for 2013.  Buried deep within the book, on Page 117, you will see a header that says "Longest Streak of Games Without Being Shut Out" and you will see it says 362-Michigan.  This is 12 more games than the Bentley archive credits Michigan with during the streak.  Oddly, it makes no sense, as Michigan's streak before the 1984 Iowa game extends back to 1977 and the "We're #1, no wait" Minnesota debacle.

But wait, go back to page 18 of the record book.
361—BYU, Oct. 3, 1975, through Nov. 15, 2003 (ended with 3-0 loss to Utah, Nov. 22, 2003)

So, the records conflict, but the front of the book is accurate.

Trust me, I want Michigan to get this record, it's one of the few things that ties every era of Michigan football in my lifetime together.  But I want it to be legitimate and the fact that game 361 to tie it would be Iowa and 362 to beat it would be Ohio State would make it all the better.  But the current number is actually, really 352.


Misopogon said...

Prediction: Michigan loses the shutout streak against MSU this year, yet still wins when State's offense is awarded NCAA's first negative points for a play so counter to the stated offensive goal of forward movement and scoring the refs have no other choice. Michigan wins 0 to -2.

Unknown said...

Luckily with Rich Rod's offenses, this is the one significant streak which was left intact from his tenure (unless you also count the current win streak vs. Indiana as something significant). Gone were the winning season and bowl streaks, and the Penn State streak.

Something else a lot of people don't know about Rich Rod's tenure? Going into 2008, Michigan for years had been the all-time points leader and the all-time composite #1 in the AP Poll. Now Michigan sits behind Oklahoma and Ohio State in the all-time points category (it would take a couple of seasons of U-M in the top five and OSU unranked for U-M to climb back into #2 on the list -- basically what happened in reverse during the RR years -- and not much more than that to get back to #1, I think). Michigan still leads for all-time seasons ranked in the final poll, however.

When you think about it, the consecutive not-shut-out streak is pretty darned impressive, particularly given the huge number of Top 10 and Top 25 games that U-M played in the 1990s, and given the vagaries of Midwestern weather in the fall. There have been several games in that streak in which U-M scored only a field goal. It wouldn't have taken much more than a sudden stiff breeze for at least one of those kicks to have gone wide and broken the streak.

James said...

I love that BYU's streak ended in a 3-0 game. In a weird way, games like that are kind of compelling.