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John U. Bacon

College basketball is so corrupt, the FBI itself felt it had to investigate it, busting a bunch of coaches this past fall. But that’s not the case here in Michigan, where two of the sport’s greatest leaders happen to work. It’s also home to one of the game’s most underrated rivalries.

Entering Saturday’s game between Michigan and Michigan State, the Spartans had just snapped their 14-game winning streak -- and lost their number-one ranking with it -- by losing to Ohio State. But they were still ranked fourth, with the best three forwards Tom Izzo has ever had in his 23 years coaching Michigan State, and that’s saying a lot.

mark6mauno / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

Some hate the snow, others love it, but there is no arguing that snow has been the mother of invention for many a Michigander. Case in point: Snurfing.

 

Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Carrie Lu / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

 

We’ve had some listeners reach out on twitter to put in a request: talk some hockey!

We aim to please, and the timing is perfect — it’s the mid-season mark.

 

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, joined Stateside to give us an update on all things hockey, with a side of basketball and football.

New Lexus Velodrome
Courtesy of Dale Hughes

 

Take one impossible dream, and add an angel donor with deep pockets.

What do you get? An impossible dream that comes true – in this case, a new indoor velodrome that's just opened up in Detroit's Midtown area.

It makes Detroit one of only three U.S. cities to have a specially-designed facility for indoor bicycle racing, and its designer believes this velodrome could put Detroit racers in future Olympics.

 

 

Charles Woodson, 1997
Bentley Historical Library

Heisman Trophy winner and former Michigan cornerback and safety Charles Woodson was named to the 2018 College Football Hall of fame class Monday morning. He marks the 34th Michigan player or coach to be inducted.

Woodson helped Michigan football to its 1997 national championship and in addition to the coveted Heisman Trophy, earned first-team All-American Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He recorded 18 interceptions in his three years at Michigan. He is currently the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman award.

Bo Schembechler talks to Jim Harbaugh during a 1985 game against Notre Dame.
Bentley Historical Library

This year, for the first time, the Big Ten failed to place a team in the four-team College Football Playoff. But the league redeemed itself by winning its first seven bowl games – an amazing run. The Big Ten was just one win away from an unprecedented 8-0 bowl record: Michigan versus South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

Jim Caldwell
A Healthier Michigan / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

 

 

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, joined Stateside today to bring us our first sports update of the new year.

 

Listen above for the full conversation, or catch highlights below.

 

On Caldwell's firing

 

“I've been calling for it for a while. Very likable guy by all accounts. The players love the man. The Ford family, not a small thing of course in this case, loves the guy," Bacon said, "He's a genuinely decent guy, however he did not succeed at the Indianapolis Colts, he did not succeed at his previous stop coaching for Wake Forest in the college ranks, and he failed at Detroit with a fair amount of talent Detroit now has."

Lions fire coach Jim Caldwell after missing playoffs

Jan 1, 2018
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Lions have fired coach Jim Caldwell.

Detroit made the move Monday, dismissing a coach who received a multiyear contract extension before the season.

The Lions ended their season with a 35-11 win over to Green Bay. They went 9-7, their third winning record in four years.

Detroit met relatively modest expectations this season, but raised hopes by starting with a 3-1 record before fading.

John U. Bacon

Time to look back on 2017 – but we’ll spare you the serious stuff and stick to sports.

Even in sports, alas, Michiganders waded through a lot of bad news, starting with the passing of Mike Ilitch. He and his wife Marion opened their first Little Caesar’s Pizza Treat in Garden City, Michigan, in 1959. Twenty years later they had built an empire big enough to support a kid’s hockey league that produced NHL players.

By 1982, they bought the long-dormant Detroit Red Wings, drafted a kid named Steve Yzerman, and started a two-decade dynasty that won four Stanley Cups.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting next month, Flint’s first city-organized youth basketball league in 15 years will tip off.

Sean Croudy, the city’s director of community recreation, says the program will fill a void in after-school programs for 8- to 17-year-olds. Croudy adds it’s not just about playing basketball.

“Teamwork, build self-esteem,” says Croudy. “A lot of learning opportunities.”

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says promoting sports is also an important part of helping Flint kids exposed to high lead levels in the city’s tap water.

Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

To sum up the year in sports, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon said this: “If you like mediocrity, I mean really like it, Motown is the place for you.”

He sat down with Stateside host Cynthia Canty to explain.

Courtesy of Yuka Sato

Today's MI Curious question is especially timely with given that the South Korea winter Olympics are right around the corner.

Why do so many international Olympic figure skaters train in Metro Detroit?

The question came from listener Dan Major of Clinton Township. To find the answer, Stateside went to the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills. 

Ford Field
Brook Ward / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This is the day Detroit makes its pitch for one of two Major League Soccer franchises.

The Motor City bid is led by Dan Gilbert, Tom Gores, and Martha Firestone Ford, who know a thing or two about owning pro sports teams with the Cavaliers, Pistons, and Lions, respectively. And they're proposing Ford Field as the site for the new MLS team.

How strong is Detroit's bid?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Pontiac Silverdome will go out with a bang tomorrow as explosives begin the demolition of the former home of the Detroit Lions.

During its four decades of existence, the Silverdome was the home of Detroit Lions and the Detroit Pistons. The stadium played host to the Super Bowl, Wrestlemania, mega rock concerts and Pope John Paul II.

MGoBlog / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator, joined Stateside today for a roundup of the week’s sports news.

Mike Lantry kicks a field goal against Ohio State in 1973.
Bentley Historical Library

During every University of Michigan football game for the past few years, they’ve honored a veteran, some going back to World War II. But even by those standards, Saturday’s was special.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Dwayne Haskins replaced injured star J.T. Barrett in the third quarter and led No. 8 Ohio State from behind to beat Michigan 31-20 Saturday for the Buckeyes' sixth straight win in the storied rivalry.

  The Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten) head to the Big Ten championship game next week to face No. 5 Wisconsin, with hopes of making the College Football Playoff.

  The Wolverines (8-4, 5-4) have lost 13 of 14 to Ohio State, including the last three with coach Jim Harbaugh.

A Healthier Michigan / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When the Detroit Lions host the Minnesota Vikings tomorrow, they’re continuing a Michigan tradition that goes back further than many of us can remember. How and when did this tradition of Thanksgiving football get started?

Mark Harvey, the state archivist at the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to recount the history of the Thanksgiving game.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Monday night’s Issues & Ale event dove into the complicated world of sports – where players kneel during the national anthem, college students get payoffs, and misinformation swells around concussions and other injuries.

MGoBlog / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator, joined Stateside today for a roundup of the week’s sports news.

User Xanteen / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Americans have become obsessed with concussions, and with good reason. But for medical professionals, it’s a double-edged sword: people are interested, but they also have more misinformation.

For example, concussions last only a week or two, while smaller, more frequent hits can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE – but the two are often lumped together.

Cleavers / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, joined Stateside today for a sports roundup. 

Brook Ward / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A plan to build a multi-million dollar soccer stadium in downtown Detroit appears dead.

Billionaire businessmen Tom Gores and Dan Gilbert have struck a deal with the Ford family to use Ford Field for a future Major League Soccer franchise. Gores and Gilbert have been bidding for a future MLS franchise for more than a year. The league is expected to announce its expansion plans next month.

Keith Allison / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

He was one of the most beloved of Detroit's pro athletes before he left.

Now, Justin Verlander is going to be sporting a World Series ring thanks to that trade a couple months ago that sent him to the Houston Astros. The team beat LA in game seven last night to win the series.

A football.
Innovation_School / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today is the day for Stateside’s weekly sports roundup with John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator.

Jim Harbaugh during last week's Penn State game.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

After the Michigan Wolverines lost to Michigan State, they beat Indiana and then traveled to Happy Valley to take on Penn State, looking for a little more redemption.

What a difference a year makes.

Courtesy of the ACLU of Michigan

She wants to wrestle with the University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s team, but the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) says its rules are clear: “Women wrestle women, men wrestle men in practice and competition. Period.”

Now wrestler Marina Goocher has the ACLU on her side in her fight to compete against the men. That includes staff attorney Bonsitu Kitaba with the ACLU of Michigan.

Justin Verlander winds up in his Tigers jersey
Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's time to talk some sports.

The Lions had a bye week. That means we'll dive straight into college football, and the fact that Michigan State has moved up two places, to Number 16, in the AP Poll, while Michigan dropped out of the AP rankings for the first time since 2015.

Larry Nassar mug shot
Michigan Attorney General's office

A former Michigan State University sports doctor’s sexual assault case will continue as scheduled – despite objections by both the defense and the prosecutors.

Both sides agree Dr. Larry Nassar’s Ingham County trial needs to wait. Nassar will be sentenced on federal child pornography charges soon.

The current schedule has that court date happening the same week as jury selection for sexual assault charges in an Ingham County court.

The prosecutor and defense said that with all the media attention, Nassar wouldn’t be able to get a fair trial with that schedule.

Rosemarie Aquilina is the judge in the Ingham County case. She says there will be over 700 jurors to choose from.

“Those jurors will be told not to listen to the media.  Not to do any homework,” Aquilina said.

Nassar is accused of sexually assaulting multiple young gymnasts under the guise of medical treatment.

Aquilina says that trial will go forward as planned.

A flag with both the University of Michigan and Michigan State
yooperann / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Thousands of football fans are pouring into Ann Arbor for tonight’s face-off between the U of M Wolverines and MSU Spartans.

The long-standing rivalry between the two teams and the game’s later-than-usual 7:30 start time have local officials on guard.

Diane Brown with U of M's Division of Public Safety and Security says the department has a comprehensive security plan in place, “as usual.”

She says at the beginning of each season and each week, the department looks at its plans to see if any adjustments are needed.

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