college football

western michigan stadium
User TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons /

The first season after P.J. Fleck was hired to be the head football coach at Western Michigan University in 2012, the Broncos finished with a 1-11 record.

But four years into his tenure, Fleck has successfully turned the ship around.

The Broncos are a perfect 6-0  in the 2016 season so far, and are listed 24th in the latest Associated Press college football rankings. It’s the first time in the program's history that the Broncos are ranked among the nation’s best teams.

Michigan State's 30-6 loss to Wisconsin was its fewest points scored since a 2012 home loss to Notre Dame.
Steven Depolo / Flickr -

It was a full weekend of sports across the state of Michigan, headlined by the Wolverines and the Spartans hosting games in their respective home stadiums. Michigan, which remains ranked No. 4 in the nation, flexed its muscles with a 49-10 blowout of Penn State. Meanwhile, in East Lansing, it was a battle between two Big Ten teams ranked in the top ten. However, Michigan State suffered a rare one-sided loss, 30-6, to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Michigan punter Blake O'Neill
Mgoblog / Flickr -

Two memorable Michigan State football plays have been encapsulated in stop-motion LEGO videos.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Jared Jacobs, a 38-year-old sports fanatic has recreated two of the most memorable plays from the Mark Dantonio era of Spartan football.

Michigan football players practice in the spring of 2016 at Ford Field.
MGoBlog / Flickr -

A few years ago I had the chance to work out with the Michigan football team, for a six solid weeks. I lifted more weights than I any writer should, followed by an ungodly number of sit-ups, pushups and pull-downs.

Just 15 minutes into my first work out, I was sweating like a pig, and panting like a dog. You could have taken my pulse by touching my hair.

It wasn’t long before I was running to the trashcan to get rid of my breakfast.

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Corey Willis grabbed a lateral from Jesse Kroll at the Oklahoma State 12, raced for the end zone and reached across the goal line for a miraculous last-play touchdown that gave Central Michigan a stunning 30-27 victory over the 22nd-ranked Cowboys on Saturday. (Watch the play below)

Clockwise from top right: Jim Harbaugh, Mark Dantonio, Kirk Ferentz, and Urban Meyer.
photos from wikimedia and wikipedia /

Two years ago, the Southeastern Conference was dominant, while the Big Ten looked like a doormat. Experts cited the Midwest economy, and the migration to the South and West. But during opening weekend, the Big Ten teams lost only two games, while the SEC lost 7. The difference is not demographics, but coaching.

Michigan is undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country heading into next weekend's rivalry game in East Lansing against Michigan State.
Flickr user Anthony Gattine/Flickr /

It's that time of year again as college football kicks off this week.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about the five Division I teams that will begin the 2016 season. 

U of M and MSU will face off on Oct. 29

What's that sound you hear?

It might be Wolverine fans chortling and Spartan fans growling as ESPN unveils its Future Power Rankings for college football. 

Every year, the network peers into the future to try to predict which college football programs are going to thrive and succeed.

This year, ESPN ranks U of M fifth, while Michigan State takes 10th place. 

Maya and Gene Washington
Maya Washington

When you see a college football team run out onto the field, it's hard to remember that not so long ago, few, if any, of those young players would be black. 

A powerful documentary from filmmaker Maya Washington tells the story of when and how that changed. 

Through the Banks of the Red Cedar shows us the way Michigan State University coach Duffy Daugherty confronted racism on the football field by bringing young black players from the South to East Lansing. 

EMU's mascot, "Swoop."
Eastern Michigan University

HBO’s “Real Sports” ran a feature last week on the arms race in college sports. It questioned why Eastern Michigan University still spends so much money to compete in Division I football.  Michigan Radio sports commentator John U Bacon has been asking the same question for a decade.

Jim Harbaugh didn't like the call.
MGoBlog / Flickr -

Mens sana in corpore sano.

Sound mind in sound body.

It’s a simple philosophy, which states that exercise is good for your brain. What was revolutionary a century ago is common sense to us. It’s also the best reason to support school sports, something Americans believe in more than any other culture.

Evan Dougherty / Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

Football is America’s sport. And it is, at times, dangerous. Most sports can be. But the concussions, brain trauma and their long-term side effects have become a sometimes deadly epidemic that can no longer be ignored by collegiate and national football leagues.  

Stack of newspapers.
user Jon S / Flickr -

Last week, laid off 29 more employees.

On Monday, Alabama beat Clemson for college football’s national title.

These might seem unrelated to you, but not to me. I see a pattern here – and a warning for college football, if it’s smart enough to listen.

Stunned Michigan fans, the "Windmilling Kicker" from MSU, and the Green Bay Hail Mary. It was quite a year in football for Michigan.
Screen shots from ABC, ESPN, and the NFL Network.

2015 was a pretty good year for college football fans in the state – especially for fans of its two Big Ten schools.


The Michigan Wolverines finished their 2014 season in horrible shape, on and off the field.

After the students held a campus rally, hoping to get athletic director Dave Brandon fired, a popular website, MGoBlog, did the job for them. When MGoBlog published Brandon’s insulting emails to fans, including, “Quit drinking and go to bed,” Brandon had to resign.

Michigan State football
User: spartanjoe / Flickr

Michigan Radio’s sports commentator  John U. Bacon and Stateside Host Cynthia Canty break down last weekend's Big Ten Football action.

Ann Arbor and East Lansing were the scenes of some BIG butt-kickings over the weekend: Michigan State served up a 55-16 shellacking to the Nittany Lions—setting up the Spartans to face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis next weekend, and Ohio State came to the Big House and embarrassed Michigan, 42-13.

Plus, Bacon gives predictions on the Big Ten Championship and the college football playoffs. 

Go Blue / The University of Michigan

Maybe do some lunges today, or jog around the block or something.

Just get the blood flowing a little, in between Thanksgiving's feasting and Saturday's football marathon of snacking and sitting and watching Michigan and Michigan State wrap up the regular season with  big, emotional, must-watch games. 

Jim Harbaugh pleads his case. Michigan's head coach first arrived in Ann Arbor as a kid in 1973.
MGoBlog / Flickr -

At a recent press conference, Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked how he was preparing his team for the upcoming games with Penn State and Ohio State.

Harbaugh responded that he coaches them like it's playoff football: If you win, you get to keep playing.

He likened the games to the pick-up basketball games he played at Pattengill Elementary in Ann Arbor.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Fans will notice enhanced security at this week’s U of M - Ohio State football game.  

There will be a lot on the line on the field at the Big House when the Wolverines and the Buckeyes face off on Saturday.

The lines to get in will be big too.

The Detroit Lions prepare to take on the Minnesota Vikings.
The Detroit Lions

The Lions have won only one game this year, and in their most recent game, Matt Stafford suffered 13 hits, seven sacks, and the Lions went from a 17-6 lead over Minnesota to a 28-19 loss.

Bacon says to the Ford family's credit, they've stayed out of the way as the team struggles.

"They're pretty much everything you want in owners except an inability to hire the right coach," he says.

Jalen Watts-Jackson is mobbed by his teammates after scoring the winning touchdown at the Big House. He says the injury occurred when he was tackled by Michigan's Jake Butt.
screengrab / YouTube

Two updates to "The Game" that ended in dramatic fashion in Ann Arbor Saturday night:

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh visited President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House today. Harbaugh was there for a "higher-education awareness event" according to David Shepardson of the Detroit News.

Fans react to the end of the Michigan-Michigan State game on October 17, 2015.
screen grab / ESPN

Last Friday, I said Saturday’s game would be the "Mother of all Michigan-Michigan State games."


Clearly, I had no idea. For the first time in years, the rivalry was billed as a heavyweight prize fight – and it delivered.

The Paul Bunyan trophy is up for grabs this weekend. Will it stay at MSU?
user megstersdad / Wikimedia Commons -

Well, it is finally upon us. The Mother of all Michigan-Michigan State games.

And it’s about time.

This rivalry has too often been dismissed as a regional affair, not a national showpiece. That’s partly because the two teams are almost never ranked at the same time.

When one is up, the other’s done.

Lately, it’s been all Michigan State. The Spartans have beaten Michigan six of the last seven, often embarrassing the Wolverines in the process.

The Paul Bunyan trophy is up for grabs this weekend. Will it stay at MSU?
user megstersdad / Wikimedia Commons -

So, there’s some game happening this weekend.

No. 7 Michigan State is facing No. 12 Michigan, and Michigan is favored to win this game.

“For the first time in many, many years, the nation will be watching this game,” says Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon.

Bacon says no one saw this type of game coming earlier this year, when Michigan wasn’t expected to do much.

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon joins us for this week’s sports roundup.

Wolverines moving forward

Bacon tells us that despite the 24-17 loss to the Utah Utes last week, the Wolverines played “far better football on both sides of the ball than I’ve seen in a long time.”

He tells us he didn’t anticipate a win for Michigan, but he did expect to see 60 minutes of honest, fundamental football, and it looks like that’s what we got.

Michigan is undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country heading into next weekend's rivalry game in East Lansing against Michigan State.
Flickr user Anthony Gattine/Flickr /

The wait is over: College football begins this week.

The University of Michigan kicks off the Jim Harbaugh era at Utah tomorrow night, and Michigan State will play Western Michigan at Kalamazoo Friday night. lists Michigan State at 20-to-1 odds to win the college football title, putting the Spartans at seventh in the rankings.

“It sounds like a long shot, but if you’re seventh, that’s not bad,” says Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon.

Northwestern University football players sought to organize.
Northwestern University / Athletics

The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that college football players cannot unionize, at least for now. The decision involved players at Northwestern University, a charter member of the Big Ten. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says the players still made their point.

Jim Harbaugh arrives in Ann Arbor as Michigan's new head coach in December, 2014. He first arrived in Ann Arbor as a kid in 1973.
MGoBlog / Flickr

When Jim Harbaugh was a freshman quarterback at Michigan, he showed up a few minutes late for his first team meeting – a definite no-no.

Bo Schembechler screamed, “You will never play a down at Michigan!”

Urban Meyer
MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

The Big Ten entered the bowl season battered from a brutal decade.

How bad was it?  

Michigan’s sworn enemies, Michigan State and Ohio State, had given up hating the Wolverines.

Urban Meyer
MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

Ohio State University beat Oregon 42-20 in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.

Michigan Radio commentator John U. Bacon joined us to discuss the game.


Jim Harbaugh will be the next coach of the University of Michigan football team.

UM Interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett made the announcement at a packed press conference in Ann Arbor.

Harbaugh will be paid roughly $5 million a year, plus incentives, over an eight-year contract.