The final national College Football Playoff Championship of the era featuring four teams will take place Monday evening at NRG Stadium in Houston. Kickoff between top-ranked Michigan and No. 2 Washington is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Naturally, we’ve decided to take a look back at the logo and nickname history of both programs, both of which are aiming to win their first national championship of the century, with the Huskies sharing the title in 1991 and the Wolverines doing the same in 1997.
It’s no surprise that Michigan’s nickname stems from a border dispute with Ohio, known as the „Toledo War“. As the two sides argued over where the state boundary would lie, Michigan residents were known as „Wolverines“.
It’s unclear whether the residents of Michigan adopted the nickname to demonstrate strength and tenacity, or if Ohioans chose the nickname to allude to the ferocious and greedy habits of a wolverine, but that’s how the state got its nickname.
When the university moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor in 1837, it also adopted the wolverine as its nickname. Michigan briefly had live mascots, sourced from Alaska, kept in the Detroit Zoo and brought to Michigan Stadium on game days in 1927.
However, the animals were ultimately too aggressive to be brought into the stadium, with all but one being returned to the Detroit Zoo. One, named „Biff“, remained in the campus zoo, but it’s unclear how long he survived.
As for their logo, the Wolverines‘ block „M“ dates back to 1907, when fans in the stands of Ferry Field formed the letter by holding up newspapers. The demand for clothing with the block „M“ skyrocketed, and the university adopted it as its logo.
Meanwhile, Washington’s sports programs had two unofficial nicknames, including „Indians“ and „Vikings,“ before adopting the Sun Dodgers as their official mascot after a student vote in 1920.
The nickname was replaced with „Huskies“ just two years later, as most people believed it had no special meaning, presented an inaccurate reflection of the Pacific Northwest, and was not easily caricaturable.
Reasons for „Huskies“ included the simple characterization, fitting into newspaper headlines, and capturing the true spirit of Seattle, known as the „Gateway to Alaska“ since the Alaska Gold Rush.
Washington’s original logo featured a smiling child with an umbrella, not exactly highlighting the Sun Dodgers nickname. However, the rest of the logo history is easily recognizable, with various iterations of a husky and the modern block „W.“