college football

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 - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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 - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Last week, MLive.com 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 - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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 - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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 - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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

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.

The Wolverines taking the field in 2009. They enter this season with 90-to-1 odds at the championship, but fans hope Harbaugh can turn them around.
flickr use Anthony Gattine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


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.

Vegasinsider.com 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.

Wikimedia

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.

MGoBlog

An analysis by Forbes' Chris Smith values the University of Michigan's football program at $117 million - behind Notre Dame ($122 million) and the Texas Longhorns ($131 million).

Football teams are school entities, so they can't be bought or sold. Smith calculates the value of the program on four things:

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined us in the studio today to analyze what happened in Michigan sports this week.

You can listen to our conversation with him below:


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Eighth-ranked Michigan State is favored to beat the struggling Wolverines by more than two touchdowns.

A victory would mark the Spartans’ sixth win over the Wolverines in their last seven games, establishing unquestioned dominance over the state for the first time in 50 years.

Calling your little brother “Little Brother” gets a bit awkward when he keeps kicking your butt. A win would also preserve the Spartans’ hopes of a national title – something no other Big Ten team can realistically claim.

Michigan’s dreams are more modest, but more urgent.

User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

 

 

The spotlight this week is on one of the deepest college rivalries in sports: Michigan vs. Michigan State.

The Wolverines will travel to Spartan Stadium this Saturday.

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon says the game means "survival" for Michigan. "Michigan has lost 6 out of the last 7 to the 'little brother' -- by the way, calling them little brother gets a bit old when they keep kicking your butt."

But, as Bacon explains, Spartans are just as hungry for this game as the Wolverines. The rivalry is so personal that people from outside the state sometimes don't get it. Plus, if they win this weekend, Spartans will have a real shot for the Big Ten title, a Rose Bowl berth, and even the national title.

MSU football players.
User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

If you've forked over money for a ticket to a football game, do you have a responsibility to stay there until the end of the game? 

If you are a student, sitting in the student section at a Michigan State Football game, the answer seems to be yes, you do.

Coach Mark Dantonio and Spartan Athletic Director Mark Hollis have been very clear: They were disappointed in seeing so many fans leave early last Saturday night against Nebraska.

There were nearly 76,000 in the crowd at the start of the game, and there were plenty of empty seats by the end, when MSU nearly lost the game. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the University of Michigan is taking precautions to avoid a repeat of the mistakes that allowed a Wolverine football player with a concussion to re-enter a game last week.

U of M plans to have more eyes on the field during this weekend’s football game against Rutgers.

Last week, quarterback Shane Morris suffered a concussion late in the game against Minnesota. But while the television audience saw the hit that left Morris dazed, none of U of M's coaches or medical staff saw it or took action.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan students are demanding top athletic department officials be fired, in the wake of the football program’s concussion controversy.

Hundreds of U of M students chanted “Fire Brandon” during a rally on the Ann Arbor campus tonight.   Brandon is Dave Brandon, U of M’s athletic director.

The students are upset about many things, from the latest concussion controversy to the cost of tickets. Many students are also dissatisfied with the Wolverine football program’s disappointing season. 

Pascrell office

The University of Michigan’s concussion controversy has reached the halls of Congress.

A New Jersey congressman wants the Big Ten conference to investigate the University of Michigan’s compliance with its own head injury protocols.

The university is under fire for allowing a player return to the field during a football game Saturday after he suffered a mild concussion. Quarterback Shane Morris appeared to be dazed after a hard hit in the second half of the game against Minnesota. 

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