I take no pleasure out of writing this article. Many of you may know me as one of the biggest Michigan fans/defenders at Woodward Sports. However, I have to be honest about the athletic program that I root for and often times live and die for. Michigan hockey lost in the Frozen Four Thursday night by the score of 5-2 which ended their National Championship hopes. This has been a recurring trend throughout the Wolverines athletics program. They can often times run through the Big Ten conference, but when it comes to winning big games on a national stage, they tend to fall short. If you find yourself upset at me at this point of the article, just keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.

Michigan Hockey

The Michigan hockey program has been one of the most consistent winning programs in college hockey for the last 30 years. Furthermore, Michigan won National Championships in 1996 and 1998. Since 1998, they have been to eight Frozen Fours. However, they have yet to capture a National Championship in its last 8 Frozen Four appearances. Additionally, in seven of those eight Frozen Four appearances, the Wolverines have lost in the round of four.

Making 8 Frozen Four Appearances in less than 25 years is remarkably impressive. However, not winning a National Championship during that time period is absolutely unacceptable. It is almost impossible to get that close so many times but not cash in. Unfortunately, this is a theme of the Wolverines athletic program across the board.

Michigan Basketball

Michigan basketball has been one of the better programs in college basketball for the past 35 years. In the 1988-1989 season, Michigan won the National Championship. It was the greatest team in program history and was a sign of more great things to come for the Wolverines basketball program. Since its 1989 National Championship, Michigan basketball has been to the National Championship game 4 times. However, they have lost all four of those matchups. Two of those National Championship game losses were expected.

The 1992 Wolverine basketball team lost to an all-time great Duke team featuring Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, and Bobby Hurley. The 2018 Michigan basketball team lost to an all-time great Villanova team featuring Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, and Donte DiVincenzo. Both of those teams also featured all-time great coaches in Mike Krzyzewski for Duke and Jay Wright for Villanova.

However, Michigan’s losses in 1993 and 2013 were games in which they had the better overall team but lost on that day. I would consider them massive disappointments and missed opportunities.

Missed Opportunities

  • 1993. Michigan vs. North Carolina. The 1993 Wolverine basketball team was one of the best Michigan teams of all-time. That team featured Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, and Jalen Rose as sophomores after losing to Duke in the National Championship game the previous season. Both Chris Webber and Juwan Howard would go on to become top 5 NBA draft picks. (Webber #1 in 1993, Howard #5 in 1994) while Jalen Rose would be the #13 overall pick in the 1994 draft. This was a team that was loaded with high end NBA talent. The North Carolina team they were facing was also a great team featuring NBA talent. However, North Carolina only had two players that would go on to become first round NBA draft picks in Eric Montross and George Lynch. The Wolverines of course had three future NBA first rounders on their team. Despite the talent advantage, Michigan would go on to lose this game 77-71. One of the most heartbreaking losses in Wolverine basketball history.
  • 2013 Michigan vs. Louisville. The 2013 Michigan basketball team was absolutely loaded with talent. This Wolverine team would feature 5 players that would go on to be first round NBA draft picks. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. were sophomore stars, while Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Caris LeVert were freshmen who contributed heavily to this team. Louisville, on the other hand only had one first round draft pick on their team which was Gorgui Dieng. As you can see, the Wolverines had a major talent advantage, particularly when it comes to NBA talent. However, they would go on to lose that game 82-76 in what was just another example of a Michigan team losing a big game they should have won.

Michigan Football

Michigan football’s 1997 team is the greatest football team in Wolverine football history and the most revered sports program in Wolverine athletics history. The 1997 team won the National Championship led by Heisman Trophy Winner Charles Woodson. However, since 1997, Michigan has not been able to capture another National Championship. In this time period, they have gone 2-4 in major bowl games, including 0-3 in their last three Rose Bowl Appearances. Most importantly, the Wolverines are 0-2 in college football playoff appearances. Michigan made the college football playoff for the 2021 season and 2022 season but lost in the first four matchup both times.

Michigan’s loss in the 2021 college football playoff was understandable. They went up against a historically great Georgia defense which featured five defensive players that were drafted in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Wolverines were dominated in that game by a score of 34-11, but they clearly lost to a better team and had a great season overall.

2022 was a different story…

However, the 2022 college football playoffs was a different story. Michigan’s semifinal matchup was against a very good TCU team but a TCU team that Michigan was heavily favored against. Michigan was the better team. However, it was clear that Michigan took TCU lightly and underestimated TCU’s physicality and pace. TCU consistently won the line of scrimmage and was able to punch Michigan in the mouth.

Michigan still should have won that game.

Michigan had the ball with a chance to win late in the 4th quarter, despite quarterback J.J. McCarthy throwing two pick sixes which directly gave TCU 14 points. Furthermore, Michigan’s offense finished two drives that ended up inside the TCU two-yard line with exactly zero points. Michigan ended up losing that game by a score of 51-45 in what was the most painful Michigan football loss I had ever experienced. Once again, a Michigan team could not win the big one.

Michigan Baseball

Michigan baseball has not been as successful as the other teams mentioned in this article. However, the 2019 team made a run to the College World Series and were matched up against Vanderbilt who has been a true blue blood of college baseball. The Wolverines won the first game in a best of three series and had Vanderbilt on the ropes. However, Vanderbilt won the next two games and captured the College World Series. Once again, when a Michigan team had the opportunity to win a National Championship, they came up short.

In Conclusion

None of the Wolverine athletic programs I mentioned in this article have won a National Championship in the 21st century. Let that sink in. Michigan has continued to prove what we unfortunately already know. A great Big Ten athletics program that consistently falls short on a national level. That is a standard that should not be acceptable at Michigan.


For more from the author, Sam Reynolds, give him a follow on Twitter @Flannel_Sam

Tweet: @WoodwoodSports or comment on your favorite social media platform!

The Woodward Sports Shop has ALL NEW Apparel – check it out here!

Photo Credit: © Detroit Free Press


Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Leave A Comment

By Published On: April 8th, 2023Categories: Michigan, NCAA

Detroit’s First All Digital Sports Network!

Listen to Your Favorite Shows LIVE each and every weekday. Download the Woodward Sports App Today!