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college football

Western Michigan had a season for the ages that ended at the Cotton Bowl. Unfortunately, for stepping stone schools like WMU, success doesn't usually last very long.
GS Photo | Western Michigan Athletics

It's been a roller coaster ride for Western Michigan football fans over the last year. The Broncos entered the 2016 season as favorites to win the school's first conference title since 1988, as head coach P.J. Fleck had them as a program on the rise.

They backed that up, and then some, by finishing the regular season with an undefeated 13-0 record and becoming the first Mid-American Conference team to be invited to play in the high-profile Cotton Bowl Classic. They gave Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin all they could handle in the game, but ultimately suffered their first loss of the season, 24-16.

Broncos fans were on the national stage, and they were in a top notch bowl game, which is why they had to start looking for a new head coach.

First, the good news: A hearty four college football teams from the state of Michigan were invited to play in bowl games this winter: the University of Michigan, plus Eastern, Western and Central Michigan. The only top-tier team not to qualify: Michigan State, which fell all the way from a top-four spot in last year’s playoffs to a dismal 3-9 record.

Now, the bad news: All the teams from Michigan lost.

Western Michigan finished the season with a 13-1 record while earning its first conference championship since 1988.
GS Photo | Western Michigan Athletics

It has been a historic season for the Western Michigan football team.

After finishing with just one win after the 2013 season, the Broncos wrapped up the 2016 campaign with an undefeated regular season (13-0). The Mid-American Conference champions then earned a spot in the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked team outside of the "Power Five" conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12).

The season ended on a sour note though, as the Broncos played Wisconsin tough, but ultimately fell to the Badgers, 24-16

Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium
Bahamas Bowl

It’s been a long time since the Eastern Michigan Eagles have been in a bowl game. Today, the football team will play in their first bowl game since the 1987 season.

The Eagles (7-5) will play the Old Dominion Monarchs (9-3) in the 2016 Popeye's Bahamas Bowl at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN and you can livestream it here.

You can also find live stats of the game here.

Did the sun set on the Lions' playoff hopes at MetLife Stadium on Sunday?
Gabriel Argudo Jr / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

There were plenty of missed opportunities, but in the end, the Detroit Lions fell short against the New York Giants on Sunday. They lost 17-6 and while they are still sitting in first place in the NFC North division with two games to play, they have a tough task ahead of them.

Watch highlights of the Lions at the Giants below:

They used to play the Cotton Bowl game in the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. Not anymore. It's now played in the AT&T Stadium.
user bmendez68 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s college bowl season, and around these parts, that can only mean one thing: Rumors of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh going to the NFL!

Of course, that seasonal rumor comes with many other traditions, including ridiculously irresponsible click-bait stories based on absolutely nothing, everyone freaking out because of it, and the whole thing amounting to zero. ‘Tis the season – and will be every season Harbaugh is Michigan’s coach, any NFL team needs a coach, and any reckless reporter needs a few thousand more Twitter followers.

As the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs, the Lions now have to win three straight games away from Ford Field to reach their first Super Bowl in team history.
meesh / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The month of December is here and, believe it or not, the Lions are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Some fans may be surprised by this, but what might be more surprising is the way that they've done it. 

Jim Harbaugh pleads his case.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The University of Michigan was fined by the Big Ten for comments by football coach Jim Harbaugh after Saturday’s game against Ohio State University.

The school was fined $10,000 after Harbaugh criticized the officiating during Saturday's double-overtime loss to the Buckeyes.

The Big Ten Network tweeted a picture of the conference's statement regarding Harbaugh's comments. 

Fans blew up the internet this weekend with their video and screenshot analysis of whether or not J.T. Barrett of Ohio State got the first down in the second overtime against Michigan. The referees ruled he did.
Twitter: @Bluekts_ @nlwolfe80 @TheGambler100

Aside from Western Michigan beating Toledo to finish the regular season undefeated, and Eastern Michigan clinching their first bowl game in nearly 20 years earlier in the week, it was a pretty rough week for most Michigan college football fans.

John U. Bacon joined Stateside for his weekly sports roundup and it was all about football.

On Thursday, the eyes of the nation were on the Detroit Lions coming back to win in the fourth quarter for the seventh time this season. When the dust settled, the Lions were all alone in first place in the NFC North with a one game lead over the Minnesota Vikings (and Detroit owns the tiebreaker over Minnesota after winning both games this year). 

Two days later, the eyes of the nation were fixed upon "The Game" between Michigan and Ohio State and it lived up to the hype.

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 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One of college football's most historic rivalries continues Saturday when the University of Michigan visits Ohio State in Columbus for the 113th meeting between the teams.

But this year, there's more at stake than just pride.

If Michigan wins, the Wolverines will advance to the Big Ten conference championship game in Indianapolis next weekend. Ohio State needs to win and also needs Michigan State to beat Penn State in order to make it.

Image courtesy of Jeffrey Fox / Ohio State University

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Stadium is sure to be rocking on Saturday when the rival Ohio State and Michigan football teams take the field.

Geologists will find out just how much.

They've planted sensors around the stadium this year to measure the seismic activity created by fans.

Desmond Howard strikes the Heisman pose after he returned a punt for a touchdown against Ohio State in 1991. Could we have another memorable rivalry game this Saturday?
Brian Masck / desmondhoward.com

There are few rivalries in American sports bigger than Michigan against Ohio State. However, it has been 10 years since "the game" has been as big as this. Back in 2006, the two rivals played in what was called the "game of the century" when, for the first time, Michigan and Ohio State both entered the game undefeated. That day, No. 1-ranked Ohio State edged No. 2-ranked Michigan 42-39.

On Saturday, both teams will enter The Horseshoe (Ohio Stadium) with one loss each, with the Wolverines ranked No. 3 and the Buckeyes are No. 2. Could we see another "game of the century?" 

Even the dinosaurs at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago were excited about the Cubs' first World Series win since 1908. This one is flying the "W" flag, which is customary after a Cubs victory.
Josh Hakala / Michigan Radio

If you heard the sound of cheering coming from the other side of Lake Michigan last Wednesday night, you were likely listening to (most of) the city of Chicago rejoicing. Late into the evening, the Chicago Cubs won the club's first World Series title in 108 years, in one of the most dramatic ways possible. It took 10 innings, but when the dust settled, the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in the winner-take-all Game 7. Some have gone so far to call it the greatest game ever. (Watch the highlights below)

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon wrote about it recently and joined Stateside during his weekly sports roundup, calling it a"once in a lifetime" game.

Michigan punter Blake O'Neill.
Mgoblog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last year, football fans witnessed the Mother of all Michigan-Michigan State games. For the first time in years, both teams were ranked, revved up, and ready to go.

The Spartans moved the ball much better than the Wolverines, but still trailed Michigan until the last play of the game.

How was that possible?

Because Michigan’s fantastic punter, an Australian named Blake O’Neill, was having the game of his life, pinning the Spartans deep in their own end, time and again.  

western michigan stadium
User TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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 - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

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 - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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 - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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
FLICKER USR MARK DELL https://flic.kr/p/8HGMDv

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. 

Spartan football helped dad escape Jim Crow

May 18, 2016
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. 

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