10. 18th Rose Bowl Appearance
Where: Pasadena, Calif.
What: The football team went to the Rose Bowl for the
first time since its national title in 1997.
Why it was so great: If you weren’t actually in
Pasadena, you were sure as hell watching this game on television.
Even though Michigan got creamed by Southern California —
losing 28-14 — it was still something to tell the
9. Elise Ray shines at NCAAs
Date: April 17
Where: Los Angeles
What: Junior Elise Ray won an NCAA title in the uneven
Why it was so great: Ray has seemingly done it all in the
world of gymnastics, including being a former U.S. Olympic
gymnastics team member. She has won two other NCAA titles —
in the balance beam and the all-around.
8. Socc it to ’em
Date: Dec. 6
Where: Santa Clara, Calif.
What: The men’s soccer team made its first NCAA
Elite Eight appearance.
Why it was so great: In just its fourth year as a varsity
team, this squad hadn’t even made the NCAA cut up until this
year. To get to the Elite Eight, No. 12 seed Michigan knocked off
St. Peters and No. 5 seed Notre Dame before losing to Santa Clara.
And all without second-leading goal scorer Knox Cameron, who was in
the United Arab Emirates playing soccer with the U.S. Under-20
7. Field Hockey in Final Four
Date: Nov. 21
Where: Amherst, Mass.
What: The field hockey team made its third NCAA Final
Why it was so great: A loss to Penn State in the first
round of the Big Ten Tournament resulted in a poor seeding in the
NCAA Tournament. But Michigan beat No. 4 North Carolina and No. 5
seed Michigan State to make it into the Final Four. The Wolverines
ultimately lost to No. 1 seed Wake Forest, which went on to win the
6. Socc it to ’em, too
Date: November 23
Where: Storrs, Conn.
What: The women’s soccer team made a surprising
NCAA Elite Eight appearance.
Why it was so great: After either losing or tying 12 of
its first 15 games, the team had a late-season surge, winning six
of its last eight. The team beat Oakland and No. 4 seed Notre Dame
(just like the men!) before bowing out to Connecticut.
5. Gophers kiss Rose goodbye
Date: October 9
What: The football team beat Minnesota, 38-35.
Why it was so great: This Wolverine victory surprised us
all. Many fans had already turned off their televisions after
Michigan was trailing by a pitiful 21 points entering the fourth
quarter. Miraculously, the Wolverines pulled it together —
scoring four touchdowns and a 33-yard field goal in the last minute
of the game — to take home the cherished Lil’ Brown Jug
for the 15th consecutive year.
4. Track Stars
Date: March 13
Where: Fayetteville, Ark.
What: Junior Nate Brannen (pictured) recaptured the NCAA
800-meter outdoor track title. The distance medley relay team
— Brannen, junior DarNell Talbert and sophomores Andrew
Ellerton and Nick Willis — won the title also.
Why it was so great: Not only was the relay team’s
time of 9:27.77 fast enough to win the NCAA title, it was the
fastest relay that has ever been run in all the world.
3. Super Swimmers
Date: March 27
Where: East Meadow, N.Y.
What: Sophomore Peter Vanderkaay (pictured) won the NCAA
title in the 1,500-meter freestyle. The 800-meter freestyle relay
team — Vanderkaay, senior Dan Ketchum, junior Andrew Hurd and
sophomore Davis Tarwater — also brought home a title.
Why it was so great: This title was important to all
these swimmers, but for Ketchum, it was extra special —
before this, the senior had two second-place and four third-place
2. NIT Champs
Date: April 1
Where: New York
What: The Michigan basketball team won the National
Invitational Tournament with a 62-55 victory over Rutgers.
Why it was so great: After the NCAA ruled that Michigan
could participate in postseason play this year, the Wolverines
wanted a Tournament bid that much more. When the team made it into
the NIT, most Michigan fans were thinking “Ho-hum.” But
the team blew us all away when it took home the title.
1. Buckeye Battering
Date: November 22
Where: Ann Arbor
What: The Michigan football team beat Ohio State, 35-21,
in Michigan Stadium.
Why it was the best moment: After the rival Buckeyes beat
the Wolverines in Columbus in 2002, they went on to win the
National Championship. Simply sickening for maize and blue
faithful. So what could be sweeter revenge than taking the Rose
Bowl bid from them in the Big House this season?