MY father, a retired auditing professor of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, wrote this poignant review of the Michigan Wolverines’ 2014 football season, set to the tune of the main refrain of “The Victors,” Michigan’s fight song. At his encouragement, I turned my father’s poem into a slideshow-style video, which we posted to YouTube for all to enjoy.
(Assorted, copyrighted imagery and audio was used throughout this presentation, with no attempt to obtain permission — that would have been prohibitively difficult and/or impossible, and the video isn’t intended for commercial purposes, so I decided to go ahead with it. Big thanks to all whose work appears within!)
What follows is commentary about the meaning of the lyrics/imagery contained in the video:
This video was actually released just after the beginning of the 2015 season, which proved fortuitous as it enabled the “Templum” joke (see Penn State section below).
The title photo of a smattering of students in the stands could easily be mistaken for fans arriving early before the game starts, but it’s actually from the middle of a game. There’s no way to convey that in the picture, unfortunately.
This is just a pretty standard photo of Michigan’s coach looking like an earnest but unimpressive bumpkin.
Besides highlighting the paltry standings of the teams Michigan beat, this chart also points out that due to conference rearrangements, Michigan is now an Eastern division team, while the words of its official song say that it’s a team from the West. The song’s lyrics rhyme “West” with “best” — here “East” is rhymed with “least.”
Angelo Di Maria’s living-legend statue of Penn State coach Joe Paterno had to be ripped out of the ground/wall after Paterno was found to have participated in the coverup of the Jerry Sandusky child rapes that went on for years. The statue’s whereabouts are now unknown, Sandusky is in prison for life, and Paterno died two months after being fired. Perhaps this is why most institutions wait until well after their heroes’ deaths before making statues to them.
Badly rocked by the scandal and laden with sanctions, the Nittany Lions still managed to hold the Wolverines to just a five-point win.
The actual inscription below Paterno’s name said “Educator Coach Humanitarian,” not “Nunquam Amittitur Ad Templum,” which is Latin for “Never Lost To Temple.” In Penn State’s first game of 2015, the Temple Owls beat them by 17 points.
The Maryland Terrapins (“Terps”) and Rutgers Scarlet Knights — new to the group that typically plays Michigan — both beat the Wolverines in 2014. For this frame, I picked the strongest, most menacing graphics I could find (there were many wimpy, goofy options that I purposely avoided), and overlapped them in a way that makes them look like a united front. The colors match nicely too.
Several years before (as pictured), Appalachian — a really nothing team — barely beat Michigan on Michigan’s home field. So here it is suggested that beating Appalachian in 2014 was some kind of needed revenge.
The Wolverines also beat the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks. It was the Redhawks nineteenth consecutive loss, then the Redhawks went on to lose two more games before they finally won one.
This picture shows the coach making a fist but not looking very sure of himself. A big, dopey player seems to be standing by cluelessly, while another looks to be having some sort of trouble with his helmet. Probably just an unfortunate photo — but ideal for this stanza.
If you look carefully, you can see that Michigan’s underground stadium has bad areas of standing water (which was worse than this earlier in the game). Plus you can see that the predominant color of the remaining fans is that of the visiting Utes; the Michigan fans had all left their homecoming game by this point.
“Our Lady,” of course, is the English translation of “Notre Dame.” (The pictured artwork, unofficially known as Touchdown Jesus, can be seen from their stadium.) Notre Dame didn’t just win, they held the Wolverines to zero points while scoring 31 of their own.
This was an actual attempt to get Michigan fans to show up for the Minnesota Golden Gophers game. It backfired by creating bad publicity.
Michigan sent their quarterback back into the game without realizing he had a concussion. Some think this mistake may have contributed to the firing of their coach at the end of the season. The Gophers handily dominated, taking back the Little Brown Jug trophy.
This photo was chosen for the way it makes Sparty look gigantic and serious. The inset shows the Paul Bunyan trophy that Michigan State retained after beating Michigan very badly in this game. The absurdity of Michigan referring to Michigan State as “little brother” is being indicated here.
The #8 Spartans were selected to play the #5 Bears in the Cotton Bowl. The Spartans won. Meanwhile the Wolverines did not play in any bowl game.
This historic photo shows Michigan’s coach looking somehow sleazy and conniving, while OSU’s coach appears to be giving him a deadpan stare, as if to say, who the hell are you?
Michigan’s arch-rival Buckeyes clobbered them easily, the Bucks’ twelfth win of the last fourteen games between the two teams.
Of all five-win teams this season, the Virginia Cavaliers were ranked the best (via other metrics). This photo suggests how goofus a team can be, but still be better than the Wolverines. (And who could pass up the chance to include that cheerleader?) Also slammed is the word “nigh,” (meaning “near”) which is featured in the Wolverines official song.
This montage of bowl game logos reminds us how easy it is to get into a bowl game these days. The Wolverines were not selected for any bowl game, and have won only two bowl games in the last dozen years.
The first-ever college football championship victors: The Ohio State University Buckeyes (including coach Urban Meyer in the lower-left), posing with President Obama. Regrettably, this photo is significantly cropped — several players are out of the shot — but I wanted the ones who are visible to be recognizable.
The Wolverines were a power team a long, long time ago. Notice the dinosaur added in the upper-left. It’s so natural, you almost don’t see it.
Michigan’s coach, looking flummoxed. Notice I added a red slash through his “M” — that’s a Buckeye thing, that you can often see on the OSU campus: If a sign says “SPEED LIMIT 60,” someone will have put a red-tape slash over the letter M.
Also notice that the music is attributed to George “Rosey” Rosenberg — he wrote the tune from which Michigan’s main stanza (repeated throughout this video) was ripped-off without permission, payment, or even attribution. Re-using the tunes of old traditionals is a time-honored, university practice — but Rosey’s “Spirit of Liberty March” was composed just seven months before the Wolverines appropriated its best part. Naked plagiarism, apparently, is a time-honored practice at the University of Michigan.