2005 was a year most Michigan fans would prefer to forget. A miserable, ref-incompetence fueled loss to Notre Dame. A loss to Wisconsin because the defense was so poorly coached and winded it would've been preferabl to field the Crew Team at the end of the game. A loss to Minnesota that I stil can't explain (I mean they WERE TRYING TO RUN OUT THE CLOCK TO GO TO OVERTIME!!! /sobs/). Another loss to Ohio State and the worst refereed game I've ever seen in my life in the Alamo bowl against Nebraksa. Even so, there were bright spots. Second on that list was a 34-31 OT win over Michigan State. #11 Michigan State. I miss John L. Smith.
But the undisputed highlight of the 2005 season was the Penn State game. The Lions came into Ann Arbor undefeated and ranked 8th in the country. Michigan on the other hand was 3-3 and on it's way to one of it's worst seasons in 40 years (ohhhhhh..... how little we knew). But the Wolverines were loaded on offense despite the screwy start. Henne, Hart, Manningham, Long, Breaston, et al. I mean they were ranked #2 in the country going in to the Notre Dame game!
It doesn't get any better than that. Thank god Steve Breaston dropped that second to last pass. You watch the end of this game and think to yourself, "Why couldn't they have done this all year!?" But that misses the point. Despite all the firepower on both sides of the ball, the 2005 squad was insanely young. All of your skill positions, a decent chunk of your line and large portions of the defense were either first time starters or underclassmen. Remind you of anything? That 2005 squad's linebackers and safeties..... yeah. You get the picture.
The 2005 squad really wasn't as good as everyone thought, and in hindsight, it was at best a 9-3 team. And that's it's ceiling. But with another season under its belt, it did pave way for the 2006 Michigan squad that for 10 weeks made Michigan fans as happy as they've been since 1997. And along the way, they managed to rip the hearts out of Penn State Fans once again. Ain't that just the cherry on the sundae?
#5: 2001 Michigan 20 - Penn State 0
#4: 2002 Michigan 27 - Penn State 24 (OT)
#3: 1998 Michigan 27 - Penn State 0
#2: 2005 Michigan 27 - Penn State 25