There Are Dennis Franklin Days to Michigan Football

Gregory Shamus

Nine days. That's all that remains until opening Saturday in Ann Arbor. All the off season hi jinx, NCAA tomfoolery, hit pieces, scandals, and replays of painful losses will just float away come sunrise on that day. Michigan Stadium has sat dormant for too long, the sidelines empty, clamoring for the rumble of band, team and fans. Our countdown series continues down the home stretch, honoring the players and games of Michigan lore.

Dennis Franklin resides in a special place among Michigan's freakishly-good quarterbacks during the Schembechler era. Not only for what he accomplished on the field, but for what he didn't get to do, which was play in a Rose Bowl. Franklin took over for Tom Slade in 1973, and endured the shunning of Big Ten athletic directors when Ohio State got voted into Pasadena instead of Michigan. The following season, Michigan lost only to Ohio State, and was denied a postseason again. He won 20 games as a starter, and was part of a Wolverine class that was 30-2-1 from 1971-74. The play that best showcases his raw abilities under center is a play from that famous 1973 tie against the Buckeyes, in which he fooled all 11 guys stacked in the box expecting Ed Shuttlesworth to run up the middle (jump to 7:55):

And then Rick Leach came to town right after him.

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