John U. Bacon

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 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 -

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.
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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 -

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 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. 

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 -

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.


It has been a difficult couple weeks for sports fans in Michigan. On the day of Muhammad Ali's funeral (Ali spent nearly two decades of his life in Berrien Springs, Mich.), it was announced that hockey legend Gordie Howe passed away at the age of 88. And on Monday, June 13, while the hockey world was still grieving the loss of "Mr. Hockey," Michigan State coaching legend Ron Mason died at age 76

Muhammad Ali lived with Parkinson's Disease longer than his career as a boxer
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With the passing of Muhammad Ali, there has been no shortage of praise that has been heaped upon the boxing legend, who to many, was more than just a fighter. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says while his list of accomplishments in and out of the ring was worthy of admiration, it was how he lived his life in his later years that deserves the most credit. 

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland
Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have the fourth-highest payroll in major league baseball, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Despite this, the Tigers have lost 11 out of their last 13 games.


The NFL's Lombardi Trophy on display
Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr -

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon breaks down how the Detroit Lions did at the NFL Draft, which included the selection of two Michigan Wolverines. Bacon also talks about the NCAA reversing its decision to ban satellite football camps.

Listen to the full interview below.

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.

Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy
Keith Allison / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It has been a rough week for Detroit sports over the last week. The Pistons and the Red Wings both had their seasons come to an end in the first round of their respective playoffs. The Tigers were swept at home by their division rival, the Cleveland Indians. But on the horizon later this week, the Detroit Lions are getting ready for the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Red Wings will host Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.
Mark Goebel / Flickr -

It’s playoff time for a pair of Michigan sports teams as the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons have kicked off their respective post seasons.

The Wings emerged from the weekend trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one, with the all-important Game 4 at the Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

The Pistons are in what many are calling a “David vs. Goliath” matchup with the top-seeded Cavaliers, and dropped the first game of the series 106-101 in Cleveland.

Both teams have challenges in front of them. But can they advance?

Jim Harbaugh watches closely during Michigan's Spring Game.
MGoBlog / Flickr -

Last week, the NCAA finally ruled on Jim Harbaugh's satellite football camps for the University of Michigan.

They said that teams are no longer allowed to hold camps outside of their own facilities.


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.

Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions
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As spring approaches here in Michigan, we near one of the most exciting times of year for a sports fan in the Great Lakes state.

Right now, the Red Wings and Pistons are heading down the stretch of the regular season, fighting for playoff spots, while the Lions are making big offseason moves. On the hardwood, the NCAA tournament is just around the corner as Michigan State and Michigan are hoping to be a part of “March Madness” next month. Not to mention pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training as the Tigers get ready for another season.

The Wolverine football program, with its famed winged helmet, has taken some lumps over the years.

Even before Jim Harbaugh accepted Michigan’s offer to become the Wolverine’s 19th head coach last December, the buzz was deafening.

It was the Saturday after Christmas, and I spent the afternoon on the phone with insiders about the search for a coach. Once I heard the Harbaughs had a flight scheduled for Monday, and a hotel reservation, I was done wondering if the deal was for real.

But it was 10:30 at night, so I thought there was no point in tweeting the news at that hour. My wife told me I might as well, so she could stop hearing me talk about it.

So – fine, I tweeted it.

The Wolverine football program, with its famed winged helmet, has taken some lumps over the years.

This time a year ago, there was no scarcity of news coverage of the troubled University of Michigan football program, leading to the firing of athletic director Dave Brandon and coach Brady Hoke, and the eventual hiring of Jim Harbaugh as the new Wolverine coach.

John U. Bacon

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

Tigers returning to form

After a 15-8 win over the Cubs on Wednesday, it looks like the Tigers might be returning to form.

But Bacon tells us it’s too little, too late.

John U. Bacon

  The Big Ten held its media days last week. Fourteen coaches told a few hundred reporters that their team chemistry has never been better, their senior leadership is outstanding, and they can’t wait to get back on the field – but one man stole the show.

Michigan’s new head coach Jim Harbaugh charmed the reporters with stories about everything from his daily commute to the office to his lifelong respect for Woody Hayes – yes, Ohio State’s Woody Hayes, Michigan’s sworn enemy.

When Harbaugh left the podium for the next coach, some guy named Kyle Flood of Rutgers – whom you’ve never heard of and probably won’t again -- half the assembled media got up and left the room to follow Harbaugh into the hallway, to ask him still more questions. He happily obliged.

  Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio had to field plenty of questions, too – but his were about Michigan, and Harbaugh himself. He’s still getting them this week. What’s a fella have to do to get out of the shadow of a man who just arrived, and hasn’t even coached a Big Ten game yet?

John U. Bacon

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

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.

This was a big week for the Detroit Red Wings. The team signed defenseman Mike Green and veteran center Brad Richards.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says that while the Red Wings have a top line of players, people often don't realize that in hockey third- and fourth-string players can be just as important. And the Wings need more than a few key players.

But securing top talent says a lot about how the Wings are perceived by NHL fans and players.

Bacon says it shows how strong the organization is when it can recruit top players even when Detroit doesn't have the best reputation in the country. 

John U. Bacon brings us the week’s sports roundup:

Michigan women’s softball team

The Michigan women’s softball team reached the Women’s College World Series only to lose the series 2-3 against the Florida Gators. Bacon believes what head coach Carol Hutchins and her team have achieved is nothing short of a miracle.

Michigan had to play half its schedule on the road before playing their first home game. “Imagine, if you will, the University of Alabama hockey team taking down the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA championship”.


With the Detroit Red Wings' season over, Bacon claims that with trade deadlines and summer camps in August, the Red Wings need to get a new coach by June. Jeff Blashill, head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, is said to be the man to succeed Mike Babcock.

red wings warming up before a game
Flickr user Ellen / Flickr

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round series. This is the 24th straight season the Wings have made it to the playoffs.