Author: Adam Wesoloski
Originally Published: December 24, 2006

Head coach Fritz Crisler let loose his “Mad Magicians” with one of the trickiest offenses in college football history. “For sheer deception, there had been nothing like the Magicians before,” wrote Ivan Kaye in Michigan Today. “And there has been nothing like them since — three men handling the ball was just an ordinary play. The plays that really gave them a kick were the ones where four or even five men handled the ball. It would wear out the spectators and drive defenses crazy.”

As a result, Michigan, led by tailback Bob Chappius, wingback Chalmers “Bump” Elliott, QB Howard Yerges and fullback Jack Weisenburger, went 10-0 in 1947. While the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were named No. 1 by the AP at the end of the regular season, Michigan forced the voters to reconsider after crushing USC 49-0 in the Rose Bowl, and were ranked No. 1 in an unofficial postseason AP poll.

Some people recognize the U/M “Mad Magicians” football team of 1947 as one of the best college football teams of all time. The single-wing offense featured the spinner cycle and the buck lateral series, where as many as 5 players might handle the ball on one snap from the center. The team, coached by Fritz Crisler, ran 180 plays from seven different formations. Members of the backfield were Jack Weisenburger, Fullback; Bob Chappuis, Tailback; Bump Elliott, Wingback, and Howard Yerges, Quarterback.

Read more about the Mad Magicians here and below:

The Magicians: Split Personality in 1947 Helped Michigan Drive Everyone Crazy

1947 College Football National Championship