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John U. Bacon

If the Red Wings don't turn things around in the final 23 games of the season, the record of 25 straight seasons of playoff hockey at Joe Louis Arena will end.
Mark Goebel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In all the four major sports, no team has had a longer streak of consecutive playoff appearances than the Detroit Red Wings.

The last 25 years, Red Wings fans have enjoyed playoff hockey in the spring, but that could be coming to an end.

Derrick Walton Jr.'s Wolverines beat Wisconsin last night.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan’s basketball team, led by two strong seniors, was expected to return to the NCAA tournament this year, for the seventh time in coach John Beilein’s tenth year. But after the Wolverines dropped three of their first four Big Ten games, few would have taken that bet.

John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right) are in danger of both missing out on the NCAA tournament
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We're midway through February, which for college basketball fans means March Madness is just around the corner. Many fans around the state are likely saving those sick days to watch the opening round of the men's NCAA tournament, but fans in the Great Lakes State aren't guaranteed to have a home team to root for this year. 

Tom Brady in 2009, quarterback for the New England Patriots.
Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady just won a record fifth Super Bowl Sunday night. He’s now being called the greatest of all time. But you wouldn’t have guessed that 25 years ago, when Brady had to fight for playing time on his high school junior varsity, a team that had not scored a touchdown all year.

John U. Bacon

Today, big time college football coaches are media stars, with thousands of followers on Twitter. They’re rich and famous, whether they should be or not. Even assistant coaches are millionaires. But it wasn’t always that way.

This week in Ann Arbor a few hundred people gathered to remember a college football coach who wasn’t rich or famous. But he’d earned the respect of everyone there.

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.

GS Photo | Western Michigan Athletics

Western Michigan University Coach P.J. Fleck has announced he’ll leave the Broncos for the Minnesota Golden Gophers next year.

Fleck led what John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, called a “dormant” team to a successful 13-1 season. The Broncos were the only team, other than Alabama, to enter the bowl games undefeated.

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.

Since the Lions lost to the Packers 31-24 on Sunday night, Green Bay will host a playoff game at Lambeau Field in front of their cheeseheaded fans.
Phil Roeder / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was a good news/bad news situation for the Detroit Lions on New Year's Day. The good news was before their regular season finale at Ford Field against the Packers, the New York Giants did Detroit a favor by beating the Washington Redskins. With the Giants win, that clinched a playoff spot for the Lions. 

The bad news is that the Lions let a halftime lead slip away and they lost to the Packers, 31-24. That defeat cost Detroit their first division title (and first home playoff game) since 1993. Their consolation prize? The No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs and a Saturday night matchup in Seattle against the Seahawks, who haven't lost a home playoff game since 2004.

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:

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. 

Game of the century

Dec 2, 2016

The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry has long been considered the nation’s best.

But for all the great Michigan-Ohio State games, the two teams never entered The Game ranked first and second, until 2006 -- The Game of the Century. And despite the fact that the century was only six years old, the game delivered, with Ohio State winning a 42-39 classic.

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.

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?" 

John U. Bacon

It was supposed to be simple. Before the college football season started, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State were all ranked in the top twelve. The three teams were expected to battle all fall, with the Big Ten East Division title coming down to the Michigan-Ohio State game, and the winner going to the four-team national playoff.

Well, the best laid-plans, and all that. After compiling an amazing 36-5 record over the past three years, the Spartans won their first two games, before losing their next seven. The wheels have all but come off in East Lansing, where they’re just playing for pride.

Western Michigan finished the season with a 13-1 record while earning their first conference championship since 1988.
Joel Dinda / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was a stunning weekend at the top of the College Football Playoff Rankings as the teams ranked second, third and fourth (the top four qualify for the playoff) were all upset.

One of those teams was the University of Michigan who fell to Iowa on the road by the score of 14-13. The last time the teams ranked second, third and fourth all lost on the same day was in 1985.

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.

On Michigan Radio, we don’t normally cover baseball outside the state. But we have to make an exception this week, because the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

If we don’t talk about this now, we might not get another chance for 108 years. And who knows? I could be gone by then.

Why should you care about either team?

Well, maybe you shouldn’t. These are just games, after all, while we’re in the throes of the most serious election in decades.

For the first time since 2012, the Paul Bunyan Trophy has returned to Ann Arbor after Michigan defeated Michigan State, 32-23.
University of Michigan photography

For the first time since 2012, the Paul Bunyan Trophy is back in Ann Arbor.

The trophy, which dates back to 1953, is awarded to the winner of the Michigan-Michigan State football game. This weekend, the Wolverines defeated the Spartans in East Lansing 32-23.

The victory resulted in this tweet from Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh:

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 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 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.

High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. was the site of one of Michigan's most lopsided wins in program history, 78-0 over Rutgers.
slgckgc / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was a big weekend for football around the Great Lakes State. The University of Michigan stole most of the headlines with an historic 78-0 road win over Rutgers. It was a dominant win in just about every phase of the game as the Wolverines "took the paddle" (as John U. Bacon likes to say) to the Scarlet Knights.

After a one-sided loss, there are always fans and sportswriters who like to criticize the head coach for running up the score. However, John U. Bacon said in his weekly segment on Stateside, it wasn't Jim Harbaugh being a bad sport.

The Wolverines have "arguably the best defense in the nation right now," Bacon told us.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio


It’s time to check in with Michigan Radio sports commentator, John U. Bacon.

For Tigers fans, the baseball season is over. There won’t even be that make-up day for the rained-out game last week.

The Tigers ended the season with a 1-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

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.

The Detroit Lions lost a 15-3 fourth quarter lead before losing their home opener to the Tennessee Titans, 16-15.
meesh / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's not easy to be a Detroit Lions fan. Like many across the state of Michigan and beyond, Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon has been through a lot (of losing).

As a result, it came as no surprise to Bacon that after the Lions won their season opener on the road against the Indianapolis Colts in dramatic fashion last week, they would return home and lay an egg. On Sunday, the Lions had a 15-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans going into the fourth quarter, but their defense allowed a pair of touchdown passes and lost the game 16-15.

Michigan is ranked No. 4 in the nation after their 51-14 home win over Central Florida.
user Missy Caulk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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. 

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. 

Athletes with Michigan connections have performed well at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
Flickr user Kirilos/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Summer Olympics in Rio are heading down the home stretch, and if you're an American, there's a lot to cheer about. 

One of the main headlines in the Summer Games has been the return of Michael Phelps. The swimming icon who spent time early in his career at the University of Michigan, finished this year's competition with five gold medals and a silver. With six more, he extended his all-time record of career medals to 28. In fact, Phelps has more gold medals, 23, than the next closest person has total medals (18).

Phelps won his six medals in Rio at the ripe old age (by Olympian standards) of 31. Most believe this will be his last Olympics, but will it be?

John U. Bacon

 

The wait is over — Nike’s line of University of Michigan apparel is finally available. Crowds lined up outside the MDen on State St. in Ann Arbor to wait for the new gear to be released at 12:01 am Monday. Football coach Jim Harbaugh and Athletic Director Ward Manuel both appeared at the retail store.

But not everyone understands the hype that came with the switch from Adidas to Nike, like Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon. He said, “I must not be their target audience because I don’t get it.”

Jim Harbaugh didn't like the call.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

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