1947 Michigan Wolverines football team

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1947 Michigan Wolverines football
National Champions
Rose Bowl Champions
Big Ten Champions
Rose Bowl, W 49–0 vs. USC
Conference Big Ten Conference
Ranking
AP #2
1947 record 10–0 (6–0 Big Ten)
Head coach Fritz Crisler (10th year)
Offensive scheme Single-wing formation
MVP Bump Elliott
Captain Bruce Hilkene
Home stadium Michigan Stadium
Seasons
« 1946 1948 »
1947 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#2 Michigan 6 0 0     10 0 0
Wisconsin 3 2 1     5 3 1
Minnesota 3 3 0     6 3 0
Illinois 3 3 0     5 3 1
Purdue 3 3 0     5 4 0
Indiana 2 3 1     5 3 1
Iowa 2 3 1     3 5 1
Northwestern 2 4 0     3 6 0
Ohio State 1 4 1     2 6 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1947 college football season. In its tenth year under head coach Fritz Crisler, Michigan compiled a perfect 10–0 record, won the Big Ten Conference championship, and defeated the USC Trojans by a score of 49–0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl game. Although ranked second in the AP Poll at the end of the regular season, the Wolverines were selected as the nation's No. 1 team by a 226–119 margin over Notre Dame in an unprecedented AP Poll taken after the bowl games.[1] The 1947 team outscored its opponents, 394–53, and has been selected as the best team in the history of Michigan football.[2]

The 1947 Michigan Wolverines included five players who have been inducted into the College or Pro Football Halls of Fame: left halfback Bob Chappuis (who finished second in the 1947 Heisman Trophy voting), right halfback Bump Elliott (who received the Chicago Tribune trophy as the Big Ten MVP), defensive quarterback Pete Elliott, defensive end Len Ford, and tackle Al Wistert. Offensive tackle Bruce Hilkene was the team captain, and quarterback Howard Yerges was the field general who became known as "Crisler's 'second brain.'"[3] Jack Weisenburger was the "spinning fullback" and the 1947 Big Ten rushing leader.

The 1947 Wolverines were the first team fully to embrace the concept of defensive and offensive specialization. Previously, most players had played their positions on both offense and defense. In 1947, Fritz Crisler established separate offensive and defensive squads. Only Bump Elliott and Jack Weisenberger played on both squads. In November 1947, Time magazine ran a feature article about the 1947 Wolverines focusing on the new era of specialization marked by Crisler’s decision to field separate offensive and defensive units.[4] The Time article noted: "Michigan's sleight-of-hand repertory is a baffling assortment of double reverses, buck-reverse laterals, crisscrosses, quick-hits and spins from seven different formations. Sometimes, watching from the side lines, even Coach Crisler isn't sure which Michigan man has the ball. Michigan plays one team on offense, one on defense...Whenever Michigan's defensive team regains the ball, Crisler orders: 'Offense unit, up and out,' and nine men pour onto the field at once."[4] Crisler's single-wing formation in action was "so dazzling in its deception" that the media nicknamed the 1947 team the "Mad Magicians".[5]

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 27, 1947 Michigan State* Michigan StadiumAnn Arbor, Michigan WWJ-TV W 55–0   72,015
October 4, 1947 Stanford* Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, Michigan W 49–13   66,779
October 11, 1947 Pittsburgh* #2 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, Michigan W 69–0   60,085
October 18, 1947 at Northwestern #1 Dyche StadiumEvanston, Illinois W 49–21   47,260
October 25, 1947 Minnesotadagger #1 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, Michigan W 13–6   85,938
November 1, 1947 at #11 Illinois #2 Memorial StadiumChampaign, Illinois W 14–7   68,487
November 8, 1947 Indiana #2 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, Michigan W 35–0   85,938
November 15, 1947 at Wisconsin #2 Camp Randall StadiumMadison, Wisconsin W 40–6   42,335
November 22, 1947 Ohio State #1 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, Michigan W 21–0   85,938
January 1, 1948 vs. #8 USC* #2 Rose BowlPasadena, California (Rose Bowl) KTLA W 49–0   87,516
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.

Season summary[edit]

Pre-season[edit]

1947 Michigan team engaged in calisthenics

The 1946 Michigan football team compiled a record of 6–2–1 and closed the season with four consecutive wins over ranked opponents by a combined score of 162 to 19. In December 1946, lineman Bruce Hilkene was selected as the captain of the 1947 team. Hilkene had previously been selected as the captain of the 1945 team, but he was transferred as a Navy trainee and did not play for Michigan in 1945.[6] Coming off a strong finish, the 1947 team featured a number of veterans from the 1946 squad. The returning veterans included halfback Bob Chappuis who set a Big Ten Conference record for total offense in 1946 and finished second in the voting for the Chicago Tribune Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten.[7][8] Other returning starters included quarterback Howard Yerges, halfbacks Bump Elliott and Gene Derricotte, fullback Jack Weisenburger, ends Len Ford and Bob Mann, and linemen Hilkene, Bill Pritula, Quentin Sickels, Dominic Tomasi, and J. T. White. With a solid veteran core, the 1947 Wolverines were expected to be one of the best teams in the country.

Week 1: Michigan State[edit]

Week 1: Michigan State at Michigan
1 2 3 4 Total
Mich. St. 0 0 0 0 0
Michigan 14 14 20 7 55
Scoreboard at Michigan Stadium reflects a 55-0 victory over Michigan State.

On September 27, 1947, Michigan opened the season with a non-conference game against Michigan State College. Playing in Ann Arbor in front of 73,115 spectators, the Wolverines defeated the Spartans, 55–0. The game was the first as head coach of the Spartans for "Biggie" Munn, who had been an assistant coach at Michigan from 1938 to 1945. Michigan dominated the game, outgaining Michigan State 504 yards to 56. Michigan head coach Fritz Crisler played second, third, and fourth string players later in the game, using 37 players in all. Bob Chappuis ran for three touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass for another. Jim Brieske made seven of eight point after touchdown (PAT) attempts in the game.

Michigan scored twice in the first quarter on touchdown runs by Jack Weisenburger and Chappuis. The second touchdown was set up by a 53-yard run by Bump Elliott. The Wolverines added two more touchdowns in the second quarter on short runs by Chappuis and Bump Elliott. Three more touchdowns followed in the third quarter, including a long touchdown pass from Chappuis to Len Ford with Ford running the last 35 yards after the catch. Center Dan Dworsky also scored on a 36-yard fumble return.[9][10]

Michigan's starting lineup against Michigan State was Ford (left end), Hilkene (left tackle), Soboleski (right guard), Dworsky (center), Wilkins (right guard), Pritula (right tackle), McNeill (right end), Weisenburger (quarterback), Derricotte (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Kempthorn (fullback).[9]

Week 2: Stanford[edit]

Week 2: Stanford at Michigan
1 2 3 4 Total
Stanford 0 6 0 7 13
Michigan 28 14 0 7 49
Weisenberger blocks for Chappuis against Stanford

In the second week of the season, Michigan hosted Stanford. The game was the first between the two schools since the 1902 Rose Bowl which Michigan won by a 49-0 margin. In the 1947 rematch, Michigan scored 28 points in the first quarter and won the game 49-13.

Michigan's starting lineup against Stanford was Mann (left end), Hilkene (left tackle), Soboleski (right guard), White (center), Wilkins (right guard), Pritula (right tackle), Rifenburg (right end), Yerges (quarterback), Chappuis (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Weisenburger (fullback).

Week 3: Pittsburgh[edit]

Week 3: Pittsburgh at Michigan
1 2 3 4 Total
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 0
Michigan 0 20 21 28 69

In the third week of the season, Michigan hosted Pittsburgh. Michigan dominated the game, winning by a 69-0 score and outgaining the Panthers 496 yards to 69. One week earlier, Notre Dame had beaten Pitt by a score of 40-6. Pitt converted only one first down in the entire game. After the first quarter in Ann Arbor, the score was 0-0. Michigan's offense began to click in the second quarter with three touchdowns, followed by three more in the third quarter and four in the fourth quarter. The games highlights included a 70-yard touchdown pass from Bob Chappuis to Bob Mann, a 40-yard interception return by Bump Elliott, an 80-yard punt return by Gene Derricotte. Michigan's ten touchdowns were scored by Mann (2), Derricotte, Jack Weisenburger, Bump Elliott, Don Kuick, Tom Peterson, and Len Ford. Jim Brieske converted 9 of 10 PAT attempts. In The New York Times, Walter W. Ruch wrote: "Angered by the fact that it had not been able to score in the first quarter, it 'poured it on.'"[11]

Michigan's starting lineup against Pitt was Ford (left end), Wistert (left tackle), Soboleski (right guard), Dworsky (center), Sickels (right guard), Dendrinos (right tackle), McNeill (right end), Pete Elliott (quarterback), Derricotte (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Kempthorn (fullback).[11]

Week 4: at Northwestern[edit]

Week 4: Michigan at Northwestern
1 2 3 4 Total
Michigan 14 14 21 0 49
Northwestern 7 0 0 14 21
Bump Elliott "bums a ride" from Northwestern's Jules Slegel

On October 18, 1948, Michigan played its first road game against Northwestern at Dyche Stadium in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan jumped out to a 49-7 lead after three quarters. Playing against Michigan's third team, the Wildcats scored 14 points in the fourth quarter for a final score of 49-21. Highlights of the game included a 59-yard punt return by Gene Derricotte and a 52-yard touchdown run on an end around by Bob Mann. Michigan's seven touchdowns were scored by Jack Weisenburger (2), Bob Chappuis, Bump Elliott, Henry Fonde, Tom Peterson, and Mann. Jim Brieske converted all seven PATs for Michigan. After four games, Michigan had scored 222 points in 240 minutes, prompting comparisons to Michigan's "Point-a-Minute" teams of the early 1900s.[12]

Michigan's starting lineup against Northwestern was Ford (left end), Wistert (left tackle), Soboleski (right guard), Dworsky (center), Sickels (right guard), Kohl (right tackle), McNeill (right end), Pete Elliott (quarterback), Derricotte (left halfback), Fonde (right halfback), and Peterson (fullback).[12]

Week 5: Minnesota[edit]

Week 5: Minnesota at Michigan
1 2 3 4 Total
Minnesota 0 6 0 0 6
Michigan 0 7 0 6 13

In the fifth week of the season, Michigan played its homecoming game against Minnesota. Michigan won a close game by a score of 13-6. Michigan scored first on a long touchdown pass from Bob Chappuis to Bump Elliott. The final touchdown in the fourth quarter followed a 24-yard interception return by Jack Weisenburger to the Minnesota 21-yard line. Gene Derricotte scored after faking to the right and then running through a hole on the left side and into the endzone. Chappuis was held to 26 rushing yards, less than two yards per carry.[13] While Michigan won a close game over Minnesota, No. 2 Notre Dame defeated Iowa in South Bend, 21-0. In the AP Poll released after these games, Notre Dame passed Michigan to take the No. 1 ranking.

Michigan's starting lineup against Minnesota was Mann (left end), Hilkene (left tackle), Tomasi (right guard), White (center), Wilkins (right guard), Pritula (right tackle), Rifenburg (right end), Yerges (quarterback), Chappuis (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Weisenburger (fullback).[13]

Week 6: at Illinois[edit]

Week 6: Michigan at Illinois
1 2 3 4 Total
Michigan 7 7 0 0 14
Illinois 0 7 0 0 7
Bump Elliott runs 74 yards for a touchdown against Illinois.

In the sixth week of the season, Michigan traveled to Champaign, Illinois for Illinois' homecoming game. For the second straight week, Michigan won by a narrow margin 14-7. Late in the first quarter, Michigan took a 7-0 lead on a 74-yard punt return by Bump Elliott and a PAT by Jim Brieske. Illinois tied the game in the second quarter on a run by Russ Steger. Michigan's winning touchdown was set up by a 52-yard passing play from Bob Chappuis to Bump Elliott. Elliott was tackled the four-yard line, and Fonde ran for the touchdown. Brieske again converted the PAT. Neither team scored in the second half.[14]

Michigan's starting lineup against Minnesota was Mann (left end), Hilkene (left tackle), Tomasi (right guard), White (center), Wilkins (right guard), Pritula (right tackle), Rifenburg (right end), Yerges (quarterback), Chappuis (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Weisenburger (fullback).[14]

Week 7: Indiana[edit]

Week 7: Indiana at Michigan
1 2 3 4 Total
Indiana 0 0 0 0 0
Michigan 7 14 7 7 35

In the sixth week of the season, Michigan regained its momentum and defeated Indiana 35-0 in Ann Arbor. In a game played amid intermittent snow flurries, highlights included a 61-yard run by Weisenburger in the second quarter and a 50-yard pass from Bob Chappuis to Dick Rifenburg in the fourth quarter. Michigan's five touchdowns were scored by Bump Elliott (2), Howard Yerges, Dick Rifenburg, and Henry Fonde.[15] Notre Dame defeated Army, 27-7, and retained the No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll.

Michigan's starting lineup against Minnesota was Mann (left end), Hilkene (left tackle), Tomasi (right guard), White (center), Wilkins (right guard), Pritula (right tackle), Rifenburg (right end), Yerges (quarterback), Chappuis (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Weisenburger (fullback).[15]

Week 8: at Wisconsin[edit]

Week 8: Michigan at Wisconsin
1 2 3 4 Total
Michigan 13 7 6 14 40
Wisconsin 0 6 0 0 6
Elliott brothers, Crisler and Hilkene celebrate Big Nine championship in Wisconsin.

In the eighth week, Michigan traveled to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin to play Wisconsin. Michigan won the game, 40-6, to clinch the Big Nine championship irrespective of the outcome of the following week's game against Ohio State. The game was played in cold, cloudy conditions amid rain and snow. Wisconsin came into the game on a four-game winning streak and "had been given a good chance to win."[16] The New York Times wrote that Michigan's "overwhelming superiority" was too much for the Badgers as Bob Chappuis "threw passes long and short and sliced through the Wisconsin line with increasing effectiveness."[16] Chappuis threw three touchdown passes, and Gene Derricotte returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown. Michigan's six touchdowns were scored by Howard Yerges (2), Derricotte, Weisenburger, Rifenburg, and Tom Peterson.[16] While Michigan defeated Wisconsin by 34 points, Notre Dame won a narrow victory against Northwestern, 26-19. After these games, Allison Danzig wrote:

"While Notre Dame was yielding as many touchdowns to Northwestern's intercepting Couriers as its six previous opponents combined had scored, the Maize and Blue was furnishing one of the season's finest offensive displays in rain, snow and mud. Against a Wisconsin eleven that had won first-ten rating, Bob Chappuis, Bump Elliott and associates executed Crisler's clever concepts of attack with a speed, power and finish in their running and passing operations that marked one of the campaign's high spots."[17]

In the AP Poll following week eight, Michigan retook the No. 1 spot.

Michigan's starting lineup against Minnesota was Mann (left end), Hilkene (left tackle), Tomasi (right guard), White (center), Wilkins (right guard), Pritula (right tackle), Rifenburg (right end), Yerges (quarterback), Chappuis (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Kempthorn (fullback).[16]

Week 9: Ohio State[edit]

Week 9: Ohio State at Michigan
1 2 3 4 Total
Ohio State 0 0 0 0 0
Michigan 7 0 7 7 21

On November 22, 1947, Michigan concluded the regular season with a 21-0 win at home against rival Ohio State. Bump Elliott, Bob Chappuis, and Jack Weisenburger each ran for touchdowns, and Jim Brieske converted all three PATs. Late in the game, the fans at Michigan Stadium began chanting, "California, Here I Come."[18] At the end of the game, Fritz Crisler was "streaming tears of joy as he walked off the field."[18]

Michigan's starting lineup against Ohio State was Mann (left end), Hilkene (left tackle), Tomasi (right guard), White (center), Wilkins (right guard), Pritula (right tackle), Rifenburg (right end), Yerges (quarterback), Chappuis (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Weisenburger (fullback).[18]

Final AP Poll[edit]

Despite the Wolverines' win over Ohio State, Notre Dame, after defeating Tulane 59-6, overtook Michigan in the AP Poll released on November 24, 1947. In a close vote, Notre Dame scored 1,798 points, and Michigan scored 1,768 points.[19] Notre Dame's margin was reduced to eight points (1,184 points for Notre Dame, 1,176 points for Michigan) in the AP Poll released on December 2, 1947.[20] On December 6, Notre Dame beat No. 3 USC, 38-7. In the final AP Poll released two days later, Notre Dame received 107 of 146 first place votes and edged Michigan by 1,410 points to 1,289.[21] Although Michigan would defeat USC three weeks later by an even larger margin that Notre Dame, the final AP Poll in the late 1940s was taken at the end of the regular season and before any bowl games were played. At the time, Notre Dame did not participate in Bowl games. Accordingly, on December 10, 1947, the Dr. Henry L. Williams Trophy was presented to Notre Dame for finishing No. 1 in the final polling.[22]

Rose Bowl: USC[edit]

Rose Bowl: vs. USC
1 2 3 4 Total
USC 0 0 0 0 0
Michigan 7 14 7 21 49
Main article: 1948 Rose Bowl

As the Big Nine Conference champions, Michigan played in the 1948 Rose Bowl against the University of Southern California. The game was Michigan's first appearance in a bowl game since its 49-0 victory over Stanford in the 1902 Rose Bowl. The 1947 team duplicated that score, defeating USC 49-0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl. The 49-point margin was the worst defeat in the history of the USC football program, and Michigan's 491 yards of total offense set a Rose Bowl record. The Wolverines threw four touchdown passes, and Jack Weisenburger ran for three touchdowns. Michigan completed 17 of 27 passes for 272 passing yards in the game.

On its second drive of the game, Michigan drove 63 yards for the game's first touchdown. The drive featured a 21-yard pass from Chappuis to Bump Elliott and a 17-yard gain to the nine-yard line on a pass from Chappuis to Dick Rifenburg. Weisenburger ran for the touchdown from the one-yard line, and Jim Brieske kicked the PAT. In the second quarter, Michigan increased its lead on a drive featuring a 23-yard gain to the 10-yard line on a pass from Chappuis to Gene Derricotte. Weisenburger again ran it in from the one-yard line with Brieske again kicking the PAT. Late in the second quarter, a 52-yard punt by Weisenburger pinned the Trojans inside their one-yard line. USC punted, giving Michigan good field position. They scored on a drive that featured a 27-yard gain on a pass from Chappuis to Bump Elliott and a 16-yard run by Chappuis, and concluded with an 11-yard jump pass from Chappuis to Elliott. Brieske converted his third PAT, and Michigan led 21-0 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Michigan added to its lead on 18-yard touchdown pass in which Chappuis rolled out to his right and threw across the field to quarterback Howard Yerges, who was open at the nine-yard line. Yerges caught the ball and ran it in for a touchdown, giving Michigan a 28-0 lead. The Wolverines closed the game with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The touchdowns came on a one-yard run by Weisenberger, a 46-yard pass from Henry Fonde to Derricotte who was open at the 25-yard line and ran untouched down the right sideline, and a 29-yard pass from Yerges to Rifenburg. Brieske converted all seven PATs for Michigan.[23]

Michigan's starting lineup in the Rose Bowl was Mann (left end), Hilkene (left tackle), Tomasi (right guard), White (center), Wilkins (right guard), Pritula (right tackle), Rifenburg (right end), Yerges (quarterback), Chappuis (left halfback), Bump Elliott (right halfback), and Weisenburger (fullback).[23]

National championship controversy[edit]

Response to Michigan's Rose Bowl win[edit]

After the final AP Poll, Michigan went on to beat USC in the 1948 Rose Bowl, a greater margin that by which Notre Dame had beaten USC (38-7). Michigan's 49–0 victory was the largest margin of victory ever against a USC team and the most points scored in Rose Bowl history. Football writer Pete Rozelle reported on the reaction of the assembled writers in the Rose Bowl press box. "From Grantland Rice down through the ranks of the nation's top sports writers assembled in the Rose Bowl press box yesterday there was nothing but glowing expletives for the synchronized Michigan Wolverine wrecking crew that powered over Southern California, 49-0. While for the most part hedging from a comparison of Michigan with Notre Dame, the consensus of the scribes was that the offensive-minded Ann Arbor squad deserved no less than a co-rating with the Irish as America's Number One Collegiate eleven."[24] Grantland Rice, the dean of the nation's sports writers, wrote of Michigan: "It is the best all-around college football team I've seen this year. The backfield's brilliant passing and running skill gives Michigan the most powerful offense in the country."[24] Red Smith of the New York Herald Tribune said, "No other team that I have seen this season did things with so little effort. Crisler has so many that do so much."[24]

Debate over which team was best[edit]

Notre Dame supporters argued that the post-season AP poll was final and should not be revisited. They contended that Michigan had run up the score on USC, noted that Notre Dame had not had an opportunity to play in a bowl game, and asserted that Michigan and other Big Nine schools were unwilling to schedule Notre Dame in the regular season.[25]

Detroit Free Press sports editor, Lyall Smith, argued the debate should be answered by comparing the two team's performance against common opponents. Smith noted: "They played three common foes. Notre Dame beat Pitt, 40–6, a margin of 34 points: Michigan beat Pitt 59–0. Notre Dame defeated Northwestern, 26 to 19, a margin of seven points: Michigan beat the 'Cats 49 to 21, for a 28-point advantage. Notre Dame dropped USC, 36 to 7, in what Coach Frank Leahy termed his team's 'greatest game of the year,' while Michigan slaughtered the same Trojans, 49 to 0. Against those three common opponents the Irish scored 104 points to 32. Michigan's margin was 167 to 21."[26] Smith also pointed to Michigan's strength of schedule: "The teams Michigan played won 42 games, lost 48 and tied five. Notre Dame's adversaries won only 30, lost 45, and tied 6."[26]

Special post-bowl AP poll[edit]

In response to the debate over which team deserved to be recognized as the nation's best, the Associated Press decided to hold a post-bowl poll. The AP reported on the rationale for the special poll this way: "The Associated Press is polling sports editors of its member papers throughout the country to help settle the argument as to which is the better football team – Michigan or Notre Dame. The AP's final poll of the top ten teams, released December 8 at the conclusion of the regulation season, resulted in Notre Dame winning first place with 1,410 points. Michigan was second with 1,289... Returns so far received indicate that voting in this latest poll is likely to be the heaviest ever recorded."[27] Another AP report indicated the special poll was "conducted by popular demand" to answer "the burning sports question of the day" and to do so "at the ballot box."[28][29]

Michigan was voted No. 1 in the post-bowl poll by a vote of 226 to 119. The AP reported: "The nation's sports writers gave the final answer Tuesday to the raging controversy on the relative strength of the Notre Dame and Michigan football teams, and it was the Wolverines over the Irish by almost two to one—including those who saw both powerhouses perform... In the over-all total, 226 writers in 48 states and the District of Columbia picked Michigan, 119 balloted for Notre Dame, and 12 called it a draw. Opinion of the 54 writers who saw both in action last fall coincided at almost the same ratio, with 33 giving the nod to Michigan, 17 to Notre Dame, and four voting for a tie."[30][31][32] The 357 votes cast in the post-bowl poll represented "the largest ever to take part in such an AP voting."[30]

Commenting on the special poll, Michigan coach Fritz Crisler said "the men who voted couldn't have made a mistake if they had picked either team." He described Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy as a "superb coach."[33] Notre Dame President, Father John Cavanagh said, "We at Notre Dame feel grateful for the magnanimous statement of Coach Crisler. I listened to Michigan against Southern California and have only praise for the skill and accomplishment of your fine team."[33]

Despite the magnanimous statements of Coach Crisler and Father Cavanagh, the reversed decision in the post-bowl poll only stoked the debate over which team was best. Said one columnist: "Hottest argument of the moment is the one over which had the better football team, Michigan or Notre Dame."[25] Forty years later, the debate was still ongoing. In 1988, Michigan center Dan Dworsky noted: "Notre Dame still claims that national championship and so do we."[34]

Players[edit]

Varsity letter winners[edit]

On January 5, 1948, head coach Fritz Crisler announced that he had awarded varsity letters to 35 members of the 1947 football team.[35] The 35 letter winners were:

Reserves[edit]

  • John M. Andersen - end
  • James L. Atchison - tackle
  • Robert M. Ballou - tackle
  • Richards S. Brown - end
  • John D. Combes - halfback
  • John Eizonas - tackle
  • Bob Erben - center
  • Alan Fitch - guard
  • Daniel Frank -
  • John Ghindia - quarterback
  • David L. Gomberg - tackle
  • Norman E. Jackson - tackle
  • Donald A. Jones
  • John J. Kulpinski - center
  • Conrad B. Kuzma -halfback
  • Charlie Lentz - halfback
  • John C. Linville - guard
  • Hugh R. Mack, Jr. - quarterback
  • John E. Maturo - guard
  • James Morrish - halfback
  • Frank Nakamura - guard
  • Donald Nichols - center
  • Alton Noble - halfback
  • John Padjen, Jr. - guard
  • James H. Poppy - tackle
  • Prentice Ryan - halfback
  • Ralph Salucci - guard
  • Irwin Small - quarterback
  • Kenneth L. Smith
  • Richard Strauss - tackle
  • Robert E. Twining - tackle
  • Kenneth J. Varrige - guard
  • Edward W. Wedge
  • John H. Wilcox - halfback

Individual awards and honors[edit]

  • Captain: Bruce Hilkene
  • 1947 All-Americans: Bob Chappuis (first-team All-American on teams selected by the Associated Press, United Press, Saturday Evening Post, Collier's Weekly, the Walter Camp Football Foundation, the Football Writers Association of America, and the Central Press, NEA and INS wire services); Bump Elliott (first-team All-American on the Saturday Evening Post team; second-team on teams selected by the Associated Press, the United Press, the Central Press, and the Football Writers Association of America); Len Ford (second-team All-American on teams selected by the United Press and Central Press); Bob Mann (second-team All-American on the team selected by the Associated Press); J. T. White (second-team All-American on the team selected by the Football Writers Association of America).
  • All-Conference: Bob Mann, Howard Yerges, Bob Chappuis, Bump Elliott
  • Most Valuable Player: Bump Elliott
  • Meyer Morton Award: Alvin Wistert
  • Heisman Trophy voting: Bob Chappuis finished 2nd in the Heisman voting behind Johnny Lujack. Lujack had 742 points, and Chappuis had 555.
  • College Football Hall of Fame: Bob Chappuis, Bump Elliott, Al Wistert

Coaching staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FBS Football Championship History". ncaa.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  2. ^ Jones, Todd (2007). "Michigan". In MacCambridge, Michael. ESPN Big Ten College Football Encyclopedia. ESPN Enterprises. p. 60. ISBN 1-933060-49-2. 
  3. ^ Dave Lewis (January 3, 1947). "Once Over Lightly". Long Beach Independent. 
  4. ^ a b "The Specialist". Time. 1947-11-03. 
  5. ^ "Old Is New New Is Old Back To The Future With The Single Wing". Sports Illustrated. 2008-12-01. 
  6. ^ "Army Names Steffy As Captain: Guard Is Unanimous Choice as 1947 Leader; Michigan Selects Hilkene". The New York Times. December 4, 1946. 
  7. ^ "Wolverines Roll To 58-6 Conquest: Chappuis Totals 1,002 Yards for 7 Conference Games as He Stars for Michigan". The New York Times. November 24, 1946. 
  8. ^ "Agase Named 'Most Valuable'". The New York Times. December 15, 1946. 
  9. ^ a b "Wolverines Rout Spartans By 55-0: Chappuis Scores Three Times as Michigan Displays Its Running, Passing Skill". The New York Times. September 28, 1947. 
  10. ^ 1948 Michiganensian, Michigan State game summary, p. 92.
  11. ^ a b Walter W. Ruch (October 12, 1947). "Wolverines Crush Panthers by 69-0: Michigan Extends Its Streak of High-Scoring Victories Before Crowd of 59,964". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ a b Walter W. Ruch (October 19, 1947). "Michigan Victor at Evanston, 49-21:Beats a Plucky Northwestern Eleven in Big Nine Battle Before Crowd of 48,000". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ a b Walter W. Ruch (October 19, 1947). "Michigan Topples Minnesota, 13 to 6: Wolverines, Outrushed by the Gophers, Take Advantage of Breaks Before 85,000". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ a b Louis Effrat (November 2, 1947). "Wolverines Fast: Elliott's 74-Yard Score on Punt and Long Gain on Pass Sink Illinois; 71,119 Fans See Thriller". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ a b "Michigan Routs Indiana, 35-0: 85,938 See Chappuis Star as Wolverines Take Another Stride Toward Title". The New York Times. November 9, 1947. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Michigan Routs Wisconsin For Big Nine Title by 40-6". The New York Times. November 16, 1947. 
  17. ^ Allison Danzig (November 17, 1947). "Michigan's Victory at Madison One of Season's Finest Displays". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ a b c Walter W. Ruch (November 23, 1947). "Michigan Tops Ohio, 21-0, For 9th Victory in a Row". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ "Notre Dame Goes to the Top Again: Irish Displace Michigan in Football Writer's Poll". The New York Times. November 25, 1947. 
  20. ^ "Notre Dame Retains Lead in Poll But Michigan Eleven Closes Gap; Irish Hold Only Eight-Point Leeway Over Wolverines in Balloting of Writers – Southern California in 3d Place". The New York Times. December 3, 1947. 
  21. ^ "Notre Dame Voted Nation's Top Team". The New York Times. December 9, 1947. 
  22. ^ "Notre Dame Gets Trophy". The New York Times. December 11, 1947. 
  23. ^ a b "Records Smashed in 49-to-0 Victory: Michigan, in Bid for National Honors, Gains 491 Yards and Sets Modern Scoring Record; Brieske Kicks 7 Points; Southern California Defense Futile Against Chappuis and Weisenburger". The New York Times. January 2, 1948. 
  24. ^ a b c Rozelle, Pete (January 2, 1948). "Scribes Warble Praises of Mighty Big Nine Kings". Long Beach Press-Telegram. 
  25. ^ a b Al Warden (January 11, 1948). "Patrolling the Sport Highway with Al Warden". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. 
  26. ^ a b Smith, Lyall (1948-01-04). "Michigan or Notre Dame? Hot Argument Still Raging Throughout U.S.". Florence (S.C.) Morning News. 
  27. ^ "AP to Conduct Special Poll". Ironwood Daily Globe. January 3, 1948. 
  28. ^ "Michigan Winner Nearly 2-1 Over Irish in AP Poll". Albuquerque Journal. January 7, 1948. 
  29. ^ Grimsley, Will (January 6, 1948). "Michigan the Uncrowned National Grid Champion: Wolves Win 2-1 In Special Poll; 119 Ballots Cast for Irish, 226 for Mich.". Ironwood Daily Globe. 
  30. ^ a b John Chandler (January 7, 1948). "Writers Rate Irish Second to Wolverines". The Kingsport (Tenn.) News. 
  31. ^ John Chandler (January 7, 1948). "Scribes of Nation PIck Michigan: A.P.'s Poll Favors Wolverines; Final Vote Stands at 226-119". The Salt Lake Tribune. 
  32. ^ "With Men Who Know Football Best: It's Michigan 2 to 1 Over Notre Dame". The Amarillo Daily News. January 7, 1948. 
  33. ^ a b Jerry Liska (January 7, 1948). "Leahy Praises Wolverines After Voting". The Kingsport (Tenn.) News. 
  34. ^ Mal Florence (December 27, 1988). "The Magicians: Split Personality in 1947 Helped Michigan Drive Everyone Crazy". Los Angeles Times. 
  35. ^ "Michigan Awards to 35: Major Insignia for Members of Football Team Announced". The New York Times. January 6, 1948. 
  36. ^ Peter C. Dendrinos, born July 6, 1926, at Muskegon, MI. Founded Chef Pierre, Inc., in 1955 with his father. Served for many years as president and chairman of the company, which manufactured baked goods. The company was sold to Sara Lee in the 1980s. Served as the mayor of Traverse City, 1978. Died July 24, 2010, at Franfort, MI.
  37. ^ Edward D. McNeill, born October 13, 1927, died September 7, 1999, SSN issued Ohio, last address Swanton, Ohio

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