college sports

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 /

One thing that college football fans love about the sport is that you never really know what's going to happen from week to week. It's tough to predict, and there are a number of interesting stories happening across the Michigan sports landscape that very few people saw coming. 

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon admits that he knew Michigan would be good under Jim Harbaugh, but not this good this quickly. He knew Michigan State would have a down year (by their standards), but not bad enough to have their first five-game losing streak in 25 years. He knew Western Michigan would be good, but not good enough to be 8-0 and ranked in the Top 20 for the first time in school history.

jim harbaugh at podium
Courtesy MGoBlog / Creative Commons --

Michigan has seen particularly warm weather the past few days, and one person taking notice is the University of Michigan's head football coach Jim Harbaugh. 

On his weekly radio show, Harbaugh talked about recruiting prospective candidates and why he loves living in Michigan. He also joked that global warming could help the football team's recruitment efforts, according to MLive's Nick Baumgardner:

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

Two years ago, the Michigan Wolverines had just lost to Rutgers to post an anemic 2-4 record. Fans were miserable, especially the students, and they showed it by staying home instead of going to the stadium.

Last week, Michigan beat Rutgers 78-0. They’re undefeated, and ranked fourth in the nation. What a difference a couple years make – or one coach, take your pick.

That coach, of course, is Jim Harbaugh, and he’s probably the hottest coach in America.

Courtesy Ed McDonald / Flickr

Arnold Palmer was born on the cusp of the Great Depression in Western Pennsylvania. His father, Deke, had been the greens keeper at Latrobe Country Club, advancing to club pro when Arnold was four.

A club pro has to listen to every member of the country club like they’re the most important person in the world. According to John Feinstein’s classic book, A Good Walk Spoiled, that’s a habit Arnold learned, too. Whether he was talking to a young professional, the hundredth fan that day, or, heaven forbid, a reporter, Palmer made eye contact, every time, and made the other person feel like they were a valued friend.

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.


A former USA Gymnastics team physician accused of sexually abusing two gymnasts faces 16 more abuse complaints at the university where he was a faculty member. The Indianapolis Star obtained Michigan State University police reports filed this month for abuse allegations since 1996. The newspaper cites interviews with four women claiming Dr.

Michigan is ranked No. 4 in the nation after their 51-14 home win over Central Florida.
user Missy Caulk / Flickr -

It was a big weekend for Michigan sports headlined by the Detroit Lions' dramatic 39-35 season opening win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The post-Calvin Johnson era began with Lions kicker Matt Prater redeeming himself for an earlier missed extra point by hitting the game-winning field goal with four seconds left. 

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.

Michael Jordan was Michigan's honorary captain for the Wolverines' matchup against Hawaii Saturday. The Michigan marching band acknowledged the university's new marketing deal with Nike by forming the Jordan Jumpman logo (right).
Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

There are a lot of happy fans in Michigan this weekend after a football rarity. All five of the state’s Football Bowl Subdivision teams won their season openers.

It’s the first time Michigan, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Western Michigan all won in the opening week of a season since 2001.

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

Fall doesn't officially begin for another few weeks, but the start of the college football season is a sure sign that summer's over. Tonight Michigan State opens its season in East Lansing against the Furman Paladins. Furman University is in South Carolina, by the way.

The University of Michigan kicks off its 2016 campaign Saturday against the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Michigan Stadium. The home teams are heavily favored in both of those games.

Sports author and commentator John U. Bacon joined Michigan Radio's Doug Tribou for a season preview.


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. 

The University of Michigan and Nike have a new agreement that will last at 11 eleven years and could be extended to 15.
Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

A contract that could be worth $173.8 million between the University of Michigan and Nike went into effect today at midnight.

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

It’s seems like eons ago now, but just two years ago, Michigan football coach Brady Hoke seemed poised for a solid season. With eight or nine wins, Hoke’s job would be safe, athletic director Dave Brandon would give him a contract extension, and the Brandon-Hoke Era would continue for many years.

On the West Coast, everybody expected Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers to make their fourth straight trip to the playoffs.

Former Michigan State hockey coach and athletic director Ron Mason passed away early Monday at age 76.
Courtesy photo / MSU Athletics

Ron Mason, who spent 23 years as Michigan State's head hockey coach and ranks second on college hockey's all-time wins list with 924 career victories, passed away early Monday at age 76. 

John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined us today to talk about college sports recruiting. Specifically, the wooing and courting that happens when a college or university-level coach has his or her eye on a "hot prospect."

At a Big Ten event.
Big Ten Facebook page

In 1895, seven university presidents created the Big Ten – the world’s first academically-based athletic conference.

It was a good idea, and caught on across the country.

The conferences they created weren’t just a random group of schools thrown together. They sought kindred spirits, and they were amazingly good at finding them. So good, in fact, that nothing defined our nation’s regions better than these conferences.

Eastern Michigan University
krossbow / Flickr -

Eastern Michigan University was featured in an episode of HBO's Real Sports, highlighting athletic departments that are losing money and students who are footing the bill. Many have suggested, including Michigan Radio's John U. Bacon, that the school's struggling football program should be dropped or at least moved down to a lower division.

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.


After Tom Izzo graduated from Northern Michigan in 1977, he became the head coach of the Ishpeming High School Hematites, named for one of the minerals they mine in the Upper Peninsula. 

Once the Hematites were driving to play an arch rival, when suddenly the players started yelling, “Coach! You gotta stop the bus! It’s Suds!” Izzo replied, “What’s a ‘suds’?!”


John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right).
MGoBlog / Flickr -

If you’re a fan of college basketball, there’s nothing better than March Madness, the massive 68-team single-elimination tournament that determines the national champion. It begins on Wednesday and captivates the sports world for the next three weeks. And thanks to millions of dollars being poured into office pools each year, it captivates a lot more than just sports fans who are filling out their brackets in an attempt to predict the winners.

However, if you’re a fan of daytime TV or productivity in an office environment, then this might not be your favorite time of year.

Playing tackle football.
Patrick Briggs / Flickr -

Political writer George Will, a famously avid baseball fan, once said football combines the worst elements of American culture: violence, and committee meetings.

Football isn’t getting rid of the committee meetings, also known as huddles, but this week the Ivy League decided to reduce the violence.

John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us again for this week’s sports roundup.

Football Roundup

Oct 9, 2015
A football field.
user: Michael Knight / Flickr

On Monday night, the Detroit Lions – the NFL’s lovable losers – found a spectacular new way to break their fans’ hearts.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the team’s best player, was just about to cross the goal line with a go-ahead touchdown when he let a Seattle defender knock the ball out of his hand, and into the endzone.

John U. Bacon

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

Tigers lose to Royals

According to Bacon, the Tigers' story hasn’t changed.

“There’s nothing to see here, people,” he says, explaining that the team showed their hand at the end of the trade deadline some weeks ago.

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.

John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon brings us this week's sports roundup:

Tigers approaching the trade deadline

The Tigers came out of this past weekend 11.5 games behind AL Central Division leaders the Kansas City Royals.

After the Red Sox, “beat the crap out of us,” as described by Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, there’s some question as to how things are going to play out approaching Friday’s trade deadline.

User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Governor Rick Snyder’s air gun legislation veto, a new criminal justice commission, and legislation that forbids Michigan public university athletes from unionizing.


Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that forbids athletes at public universities in Michigan from organizing a union. It was one of 17 bills signed today by the governor.

The university athlete bill is an effort to preempt what happened at Northwestern University in Illinois, where football players at the private college voted last spring to form a union. There was no known similar effort at a Michigan university.


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:

User: Michigan Women's Track and Field / facebook

Wolverine fans, here's a question for you: What is the best team on campus?

Take the spotlight off football and basketball for a minute, and shine it on the Wolverine team that is ranked No.1 in the nation. According to the NCAA, it's the Michigan Women's Cross-Country team.

Brook Handler of Rochester Hills is the team's captain. She says they train hard everyday and cheer each other on during races. 

"Everyone really really wants to get to that top spot, and the drive that this team has is tenfold what it was a few years ago," says Handler.

* Listen to our conversation with Brook Handler above.