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Football Season Starts in 117 Days

Waiting for the opening Saturday of college football is agonizing. All we want is 13 weeks of Brent Musberger "pardner" one-liners, the buzz of Michigan Stadium in late November, and jokes about the Bowl Championship Series. Fear not, bleary-eyed traveler. This is a continuing series with the purpose of getting through the long, hot summer and back to the glory of football season.

Gregory Shamus

Team 117's distinction in Michigan lore is having two of the best defensive captains to ever play for the maize and blue.

Jarrett Irons and Rod Payne started a combined 89 games and were both first team All-Americans that season. Irons finished second all-time for tackles in Michigan history, and Payne was drafted by Cincinnati in the third round of that year's draft.

They may have finished 8-4 that season, but many of the key players from this team stayed on for the following year's national championship run. The high point included a rare west coast victory against UCLA and a win down in Columbus to end the year.