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The 1970’s Big 10 Wikipedia Entries Were Mostly Written By A Michigan Man

Stunning news from Michigan.

President Ford In His Younger Years Photo by Liaison

A few weeks ago, Tony Dungy called Minnesota the next Clemson, saying that the Golden Gophers were on the same timetable as the Tigers were on their rise to the top of college football. It’s crazy, and we’ll come back to it, but that wasn’t the insane internet wormhole I fell into. No, Dungy saying that Northwestern was the team they circled for an automatic win is what landed me on Wikipedia entries for 1970’s Big 10 Football. I wanted to see if the Wildcats had beaten the Gophers during his playing career (once, his sophomore year) and if they were really pushovers in those days (terrible in those four years, but second in the conference two years earlier).

That’s my excuse for being on the 1971 Big Ten Conference Football Wikipedia article. Scanning what was on the page, I noticed that Michigan games had brief descriptions of what happened in the game, but not a lot of other games did. There was one course of action: analyze the length of every regular season game included on the Big 10 pages for the years 1971-1980 to see if Michigan dominates the free encyclopedia like they did the gridiron. To find out, I put each year’s game summary into Excel and found the character count of everything after the score. Was there really a connection between games Michigan played in and the length of descriptions for each game?

The Champions Of The Obsessed

Team Games Avg Desc Length of Game
Team Games Avg Desc Length of Game
Michigan 110 441.45
Ohio State 107 164.61
Michigan State 110 110.5
Purdue 110 94.5
Illinois 110 90.9
Wisconsin 111 85.39
Minnesota 110 82.26
Iowa 111 80.16
Indiana 110 76.91
Northwestern 110 73.17

The Buckeyes won the 10 Years War, but the history pages were written by the Victors. (vomit) (more vomit) Coming in at almost three times as much verbiage over their rivals, Michigan has the most virtual ink spilled in this sliver of internet history.

You might have noticed Ohio State came in second and wondered if there was a reason. Think carefully: why would the Buckeyes get attention from someone that went to Michigan?

Ah looos-ah her

School Wins Avg Wins Description Losses Avg Loss Description W-L Desc Diff
School Wins Avg Wins Description Losses Avg Loss Description W-L Desc Diff
Ohio State 91 113.31 16 456.38 -343.07
Michigan 99 419.01 11 643.45 -224.44
Wisconsin 48 33.15 63 125.19 -92.04
Michigan State 57 75.16 53 148.51 -73.35
Illinois 42 55.52 68 112.75 -57.23
Northwestern 23 40.87 87 81.71 -40.84
Minnesota 54 69.67 56 94.41 -24.74
Iowa 31 73.68 80 82.68 -9.00
Purdue 58 92.78 52 96.42 -3.64
Indiana 42 91.10 68 68.15 22.95

Oh yeah, there’s the rivalry in action. Puttin’ in effort to highlight when the Bucks lose. The second-longest writeup of a game was in 1977, when No. 4 Ohio State lost to No. 3 Oklahoma on a last-second field goal after coming all the way back from a 20-0 deficit. Wisconsin being third in that graph is almost entirely because while the Badgers lost a lot in those days, they also lost to Michigan a lot a lot.

My Family Hates Michigan For A Reason

Wisconsin-Beater Losses Total Description Avg Description
Wisconsin-Beater Losses Total Description Avg Description
BYU 1 201 201
Colorado 2 0 0
Illinois 4 284 71
Indiana 5 324 64.8
Iowa 5 778 155.6
Kansas 2 0 0
LSU 2 402 201
Michigan 8 3532 441.5
Michigan State 5 112 22.4
Minnesota 6 716 119.33
Missouri 1 0 0
Nebraska 1 0 0
Northwestern 1 0 0
Ohio State 10 436 43.6
Purdue 7 802 114.57
San Diego State 1 0 0
UCLA 2 300 150


Different Times Different Fords Were Mentioned

Year Ford Mentions? Stanford Mentions? Tim Cliford Mentions?
Year Ford Mentions? Stanford Mentions? Tim Cliford Mentions?
1971 0 2 (Rose Bowl v Michigan) 0
1972 0 0 0
1973 1 (Wanted Michigan for Rose Bowl) 2 (lost to Michigan) 0
1974 1 (Presidency) 2 (Mike Langford with 3 FGM for the Cardinal) 0
1975 0 1 (Mike Langford's FGM with 9 seconds left secures tie) 0
1976 2 (Visited Michigan during Stanford game, lost to Carter) 1 (Shutout after President inspired Michigan) 0
1977 0 1 1
1978 0 1 0
1979 0 0 6 (Silver Football and Big 10 stat rankings)
1980 0 0 6 (Lee Corso went for 2 and the pass failed to lose to Purdue by a point)

Mostly Written

Every year has a brief summary of the Big 10’s top performers to start, and notes on the bowl games with a Big 10 participant. 1973, 1978, and 1979 basically stop there. Other years have game quotes and highlights about many-but-not-all games played, but these three are completely empty. It’s not like there wasn’t intrigue either. 1973 was the Michigan-Ohio State 10-10 tie that got the conference to relax their “Rose Bowl or Bust” attitude. Purdue hired Northwestern’s coach, who then turned around and hired Indiana’s head coach, who then brought Lee Corso into the conference.

By A Michigan Man

Meet Wikipedia admin Cbl62. Between late February and early March 2017, Cbl62 wrote the majority of the Big Ten’s history circa 1971-1979, having already knocked out 1980 the year prior. I also really want this Wiki admin to keep at this! His most recent edits have been on SDSU football. Not the Aztecs, by the way - the Jackrabbits! Here’s someone who loves all aspects of college football. Sure, there’s the passion for the alma matter, but then there’s what makes the sport special. You end up exploring these weird little pockets and having a richer appreciation for the entire crazy enterprise.

Before digging into this, I didn’t know that Wisconsin was the first Big 10 team to travel to Baton Rouge, or that two Big 10 teams poached coaches from another Big 10 team in the same coaching carousel. Some people share their love for the wonderful dumbness of college football through interviews, broadcasting, writing, “writing,” or even just high-fiving anyone around you wearing the same colors. Cbl62 is doing it through Wikipedia. That’s awesome.

In an incredibly small way, even Tony Dungy contributed by saying something so insane it sent me down this Wikihole.