Michigan Wolverines

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. 

Three months after adopting a plant-based lifestyle, Ramirez had lost 45 lbs and was off all five of his daily medications.
Marc Ramirez

In the late 1980s, Marc Ramirez played football for the University of Michigan.

While he was playing he was able to eat pretty much whatever he wanted and stay healthy. 

Then he graduated, and without all that physical activity, he started gaining weight and developing health problems.

The NFL's Lombardi Trophy on display
Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

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.

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.

Jim Harbaugh watches closely during Michigan's Spring Game.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

NEW YORK (AP) - V.J. Beacham scored 18 points, including the 3-pointer that gave Notre Dame the lead for good, and the sixth-seeded Fighting Irish beat 11th-seeded Michigan 70-63 on Friday night in the first round of the East Regional at Barclays Center.

  The Fighting Irish (22-11) didn't take a lead in the game until Beacham's 3 with 9:26 left to make it 51-48. From there on there were five lead changes and three ties.

  Notre Dame will face 14th-seeded Stephen F. Austin in the second round on Sunday. The Lumberjacks upset third-seeded West Virginia 70-56.

John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right).
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

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.

The University of Michigan's Nike apparel debuted at 12:01 on August 1.
John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us to talk about the Spartans' ninth Big Ten Championship and the upcoming bowl season.

Spartans take Big Ten 

The Spartans emerged victorious on Saturday, winning their ninth Big Ten Championship and giving Iowa its first loss of the season.

The Hawkeyes stayed on top until MSU pulled out a nine-minute, 22-play, 82-yard scoring drive to secure the winning touchdown.

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. 

Picture from the Michigan-Ohio State game in 2013.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  

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

Big Ten in College Football Playoff rankings

Big Ten teams are dominating the College Football Playoff rankings with four teams holding positions in the top ten.

Both Michigan State and U of M rose in the rankings this week, State from ninth to fifth and UM from 12th to 10th, while Ohio State fell from third to eighth place.

Bacon says the most surprising move was Iowa's rise to third.

The University of Michigan's Nike apparel debuted at 12:01 on August 1.
John U. Bacon

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

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Jalen Watts-Jackson grabbed a flubbed punt and lumbered 38 yards into the end zone for a touchdown on the final play of the game, giving No. 7 Michigan State a shocking 27-23 win over No. 12 Michigan in one of college football's most unlikely endings.

  With the Wolverines ahead 23-21 and 10 seconds left, Michigan punter Blake O'Neill bobbled a low snap, and spun around to try and make the kick. But he was hit, the ball popped free and Watts-Jackson caught it, broke a few tackles in the final yards and made it into the end zone.

The University of Michigan's Nike apparel debuted at 12:01 on August 1.
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.

The University of Michigan's Nike apparel debuted at 12:01 on August 1.
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 2016 college football season is here!
Anthony Gattine / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK


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.

The University of Michigan's Nike apparel debuted at 12:01 on August 1.
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.

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!”

John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right).
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Under head coach Tom Izzo, the Spartans have been to 17 straight NCAA tournaments, made it to eight Final Fours and won it all in 2000 – while graduating 81% of his players.

Not too shabby. 

Bentley Historical Library / University of Michigan

The private jet eased onto the airstrip at Detroit Metro Airport, just a few miles from where Charles Lindbergh once tested World War II bombers.

This plane’s mission wasn’t nearly so serious.  But the joy it gave to the people below might have exceeded just about everything since VJ Day.

The jet’s cargo was James Joseph Harbaugh.  He’s just a football coach, but he was doing exactly what many experts said he would never do: leave the bright lights of the NFL for the college towns of the Big Ten.  This decision – mystifying to most NFL reporters -- explains why the masses might be forgiven if they mistook Harbaugh for their savior. 

But why did Harbaugh do it? 

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:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan athletic director is slashing student ticket prices for next fall’s football season.

U of M students were in near revolt earlier this fall, not only because of the school’s struggling football team, but also the higher prices they had to pay to watch a game at the Big House.   

The athletic department has agreed to slash prices for next season.  

The price for a student ticket package for all seven home games next fall will cost a third less than this year. The school’s also working on reduced pricing for students with financial need.

Michigan Athletic Director, David Brandon.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon says the university will make changes to ensure student-athlete safety.

This comes after U of M confirmed overnight that quarterback Shane Morris did play after suffering a mild concussion in Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

Here’s how Morris appeared after the hit:

Brandon issued a statement blaming  “a serious lack of communication” for allowing Morris to return to the game. He says the communication problem involved the team’s medical staff and coaches.

Brandon released the details of the communication breakdown in his statement:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke is on the defensive against allegations he continued to field a player who may have suffered a concussion during Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

Creighton Miller carrying the football for Notre Dame against the 1943 Michigan team. Bob Rennebohm of Michigan (wearing jersey #88) is also pictured.
1944 Michiganensian

Michigan and Notre Dame have the longest running duel among major college powers, and one of the best. But that seems to be coming to an end this Saturday – and with a twist: For the first time, it’s Notre Dame that’s backing out.

The rivalry between Michigan and Notre Dame goes back to 1887, when a band of boys from Michigan took a train to South Bend and literally taught their counterparts how to play the game.  

The 2007 Michigan - Appalachian State game.
user Derrick S. / Flickr

Well, it goes back to 2007, the year the NCAA allowed schools to add a 12th regular season game, for no reason but revenue.

Yes, another shameless money grab on the backs, knees, and skulls of amateur athletes. 

To find an extra opponent, Michigan had to scramble.

When a Division I-AA team called Appalachian State agreed to come to Ann Arbor for a flat fee of $400,000, fans wondered why Michigan had scheduled a team from the second tier for the first time – and, where the heck is that place?

It turns out Appalachian State isn’t even a state.  (I looked it up.)    

Their fight song didn’t instill much fear, either: “Hi-Hi-yike-us.  No-body like us.  We are the Mountaineers!  Always a-winning.  Always a-grinning.  Always a-feeling fine.  You bet, hey.  Go Apps!”

“The Victors,” it was not.

Michigan Stadium.
UM Photography

Saturday brings the start of a new college football season. Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about what is in store for the teams.

Bacon discussed the re-match between Michigan Wolverines and Appalachian State, the pending Michigan State against Jacksonville State game, and the Big Ten.

*Listen to the full interview with John Bacon above. 

UM Ford School

Last week, I explained why Michigan students are dropping football tickets in record numbers.

It touched a nerve – actually a few thousand nerves.  Not just among Michigan fans, but college football fans nationwide.

It’s all well and good to criticize Michigan’s athletic administration – and cathartic for the fans, apparently.  But it doesn’t solve the central problem: How can they keep fans happy?

Allow me to offer a few suggestions.

A typical student's view inside the Big House.
Andrew Horne / wikimedia commons

One debate I could do without is this: Who are the real Michigan fans?

I realize that sounds pretty stupid. Anybody who cheers for Michigan is a Michigan fan, right? But we make it harder than it needs to be.   

Some folks believe only people who graduated from Michigan can call themselves real Michigan fans.

The rest? They are mere “Walmart Wolverines” – fans who pick their college teams the way they pick their professional teams: mainly by geography.

Big Ten tournament champion Michigan State University, runner-up University of Michigan and Mid-American conference champion Western Michigan University all play their first tournament games today. 

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