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.
“They’ve got a lot of work to do … but man, you can see the foundation, you can see the building blocks, and this team is going to improve pretty quickly,” he says.
Bacon says that the Jim Harbaugh’s postgame press conference was the best he’s seen.
“Calm, the eyes are still on fire, the jaw is still set … but he was not about to throw his team under the bus by saying ‘we didn’t execute,’ which was one of Brady Hoke’s singsong phrases,” he says.
He cites it as an early example of Harbaugh’s “very good coaching.”
The Wolverines kick off their home schedule Saturday afternoon against Oregon State, and Bacon expects Michigan to pull out a win.
Marquee game for Spartans
Michigan State will keep the Oregon Ducks busy Saturday night, and Bacon tells us the Spartans are favored by four points.
He says that MSU’s loss to the Ducks last year may have actually played to their advantage, as it kept them “under the radar” all the way through to the end of the Big Ten season.
Bacon applauds the work Mark Dantonio has done coaching in East Lansing, and calls Saturday’s matchup a “marquee game.”
“They win this one, they’ll be a top five team for a while,” he says.
Lions to have good season
The Detroit Lions will play their season opener Sunday at San Diego.
“The big problem they’ve got is how to replace Ndamukong Suh,” Bacon says.
He describes Suh as the type of player whose value lies in his ability to really disrupt the offense of the other team.
“The guys they’ve got down there are competent, they’re good, but they’re not game changers,” he says.
Bacon tells us that the Lions are expected to have a good season and may make the playoffs by the end of it.
Tigers shut out again
The Tigers lost to Tampa Bay last night 8-0, their eighth shutout.
Bacon says that it all started at the end of the trade deadline.
“We said, if you don’t trade you’re playing to win, and if you do trade you’ve bagged it for the season. And look, once the front office has given up on the season, don’t expect the players or the fans to care any more than they do. So once they’ve bailed on it, the season is done,” he says.