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Bacon: Harbaugh considers QB change, calls for higher medical standards in Big Ten

Oct 30, 2017

Today is the day for Stateside’s weekly sports roundup with John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator.

Listen to the full conversation with Stateside host Cynthia Canty above, or read highlights below.

On the World Series

Bacon began his weekly sports roundup today praising Justin Verlander. The once-Detroit pitcher now has a shot at winning the World Series with the Houston Astros.

Verlander starts in Game Six on Tuesday. It’s a game that could win Houston its first championship.

“[Verlander has] been pitching extraordinarily well, even better than his Detroit days the last couple years,” Bacon said. “And you know dog-gone well, no matter how much money you got, if you are a professional athlete, you want that ring. And he is that close, and it’s now in his hands – which, for a pitcher, is only one out of four shots.”

On the Pistons

The Pistons knocked off defending champs Golden State 115-107 on Sunday night, which Bacon called “very surprising in some ways.”

“And definitely a sweet win,” he said. “It’s regular season, I grant you, but I’ve always believed – and we’ve talked about it – Stan Van Gundy is a heck of a coach and they’re going in the right direction.”

On the Lions

It seems to be turning into the fall of discontent for Lions fans. What started as a promising season is turning sour.

The team lost by five points last night to the Steelers. They made it to the red zone five times, but couldn’t score a touchdown.

“A bit surprising actually, because Stafford is a hell of a quarterback,” Bacon said. “You’ve got Golden Tate back – that’s your go-to guy. And not one touchdown – five field goals, and Prater has got to be one of the best field goal kickers in the league.”

“My basic take on this team is they’re not going to be in the cellar with Stafford on this roster and Bob Quinn, the new GM, is very bright, from New England. But they’re not going to win a Super Bowl title either. They’re built to be a wild card team. And that’s what they’re going to be.”

On medical care in the Big Ten

Now for a story that, if true, many find awfully disturbing. Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight fractured three vertebrae during that game against Purdue on Sept. 23. Now, his father Bobby is talking openly about how Purdue handled his son’s injury. Bacon pointed to this article by The Detroit News for details.

“Wilton Speight’s dad said it and it hit home with me: If I am now looking at a college for my son’s future, I am now asking them about medical care,” Bacon said. “I’m asking them about what kind of facilities they’ve got in the locker room and elsewhere, because if this happens, I want to know he’s getting the best possible care. And at Michigan you do and at Michigan State you do, and Purdue – get in line at student health behind a kid with a cold. It’s crazy.”

Listen above to hear Bacon's comments on the Spartans' tough loss in the third overtime period against Northwestern and on Michigan's new quarterback.

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