Gigantic spreads: 5 memorable Michigan games where the Wolverines were massive favorites
ANN ARBOR -- According to most noted oddsmakers, Michigan isn't expected to just beat Massachusetts on Saturday.
Its expected to demolish Massachusetts on Saturday.
The Wolverines opened the week as 45 1/2-point favorites to beat the Minutemen, the largest recorded Michigan point spread in school history.
The last time Michigan was favored to beat Football Bowl Subdivision team by 40 points or more was 1981, when the Wolverines were 41-point favorites against Northwestern. The Wolverines didn't cover that day, winning just 38-0.
Saturday marks the highest point spread in school history, but it's certainly not the only time Michigan has been favored by more than three touchdowns. Here's a look at five memorable games (wins and losses) where the Wolverines were gigantic favorites.
No. 2 Michigan 34, Ball State 26
Line: Michigan -32.5
Nov. 4, 2006
How about that Brady Hoke?
In his fourth season at Ball State, Hoke brought his Cardinals into Michigan Stadium to face an unbeaten Wolverine squad that was more than likely already looking ahead to a matchup with No. 1 Ohio State at the end of the month.
It didn't take long for Hoke and company to grab Michigan's attention, though.
The Cardinals led 9-7 after one, and despite 17 unanswered points from Michigan in the second quarter, Hoke's team trailed by just 12 at the break.
Ball State climbed within just one score at 34-26 with a touchdown and two-point conversion midway through the fourth, and marched all the way down the field minutes later looking for a game-tying score. But a Nate Davis fourth-and-goal pass from the Michigan 8 fell incomplete, allowing Michigan to dodge a massive bullet.
The Wolverines responded by thumping Indiana on the road by 31 points the next week before eventually falling to No. 1 Ohio State 42-39 in the season-finale.
No. 15 Michigan 48, Hawaii 17
Line: Michigan -38
Nov. 28, 1998
This one isn't memorable because it was unexpectedly close or thrilling, but because it was just plain weird.
It was played one week after Michigan's traditional regular-season finale with Ohio State, and was about as meaningless as a November game could ever be. The Big Ten conference title had already been decided, and Michigan was simply hoping to avoid the massive distraction of just being in Hawaii.
Even the game time was weird, as it kicked off at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time, forcing most Wolverines fans to stay up until the wee hours of the next morning to watch the game.
Everything went as planned for Michigan, though, as both Tom Brady and Drew Henson helped the Wolverines trample the winless Rainbow Warriors. Michigan would then go on to beat Arkansas in the Florida Citrus Bowl to clinch a 10-win season.
No. 3 Michigan 22, Illinois 22
Line: Michigan -28
Nov. 14, 1992
Michigan entered this matchup as a massive favorite, and as a team that still had a very realistic shot at winning a national championship.
But 10 fumbles changed all of that.
The Wolverines coughed up the ball a whopping 10 times against the Illini, losing four of them -- one at the Illinois goal line. In total, Michigan turned the ball over six times.
The Wolverines had to come back late, too, trailing Illinois by three in the game's closing moments before facing a fourth and long with less than a minute to go. Gary Moeller elected to let Peter Elezovic boot a 39-yard field goal with 16 seconds to play, ensuring the tie in an era that did not feature overtime.
The tie clinched a Big Ten title for the Wolverines and a trip to the Rose Bowl, but ultimately cost Michigan any remaining shot at a national crown. Michigan finished the season 9-0-3 -- a year that also included ties against Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Minnesota 20, No. 2 Michigan 17
Line: Michigan -25.5
Nov. 15, 1986
Another shot at a national championship, and more turnover-produced heartbreak.
Michigan entered the game 9-0 with a 15-game winning streak in hand for what was supposed to be a relatively easy tuneup for the regular-season finale with Ohio State.
Instead, Michigan turned the ball over four times -- resulting in 17 Minnesota points -- and was forced to watch from the sideline as future NFLer Chip Lohmiller slammed home a 30-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to hand the Wolverines a stunning defeat.
Michigan would go on to beat Ohio State the next week to claim the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl bid, but the loss no doubt still stung.
Interestingly enough, the Minnesota loss also prevented Bo Schembechler from taking over as the school's all-time winningest coach. He went on to pass Fielding H. Yost for No. 1 all-time the following week against the Buckeyes.
Appalachian State 34, No. 5 Michigan 32
Line: Michigan -33*
Sept. 1, 2007
Do we really need to go into detail with this one?
Usually, most Las Vegas sports books do not publish betting lines for Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly 1-A) games against Football Championship Subdivision (Formerly 1-AA).
However, Pregame.com's R.J. Bell confirmed earlier this week that an unofficial line for the Michigan-Appalachian State game was 33 points.
Obviously it was one of the greatest upsets in college football history, and without question the worst in Michigan football history.