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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.

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

Jim Harbaugh during last week's Penn State game.
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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.

Michigan vs. Notre Dame. The two teams play their final game in 2014.
Michigan Football / Facebook

For the first time in their 119-year football rivalry, Michigan and Michigan State football will play at night this Saturday.

The 7:30 kick-off time excites the recruits, the players, and the students. In other words, young people. The night game bothers many older fans, and worries store owners, university officials, and the police.

True, the late starts can bring a new energy to the game, which it did when Michigan hosted Notre Dame in Michigan’s first ever night game, in 2011. After the Wolverines pulled off an amazing 17-point comeback, the crowd stuck around for 30 minutes, just to cheer.

But older fans don’t like getting in their cars after midnight, especially when many have to drive several hours. Everyone else is worried about how fans will behave after a full day of tailgating. Some restaurant owners are prepared to close their doors if things get out of hand, and the police and university leaders of both schools are working to keep that from happening.  

So why risk it? That one’s easy: Money.

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I’ve always said the two toughest jobs in this state are not governor, mayor of Detroit, or CEO of General Motors, but goalie for the Red Wings and quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines, because you can never do enough.

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The Lions will play under the Monday night spotlight this evening as they face off against the Giants.

Last week, fans watched the team start the season with a win – amidst errors all over the place.

Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight with coach Jim Harbaugh during last week's game in the AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
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Hang around the Midwest long enough and you’ll hear just about every Big Ten fan say, “I love fall!”

It makes a lot of sense when you experience our famously frigid, gray winters, our non-existent springs, and our surprisingly steamy summers.

But in Big Ten towns, life begins anew not in spring, but in fall— when the students and professors return right on schedule, concerts and shows pack the calendar again, and the whole cycle starts over.

Michigan's All-American tight end Jake Butt was projected to be a first round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but a torn ACL in the Orange Bowl made him a fifth round pick. Luckily, he had some insurance.
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The 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia wrapped up this past weekend and there were a number of storylines involving players with Michigan connections.

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.
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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.

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.
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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.

Jim Harbaugh pleads his case.
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The University of Michigan was fined by the Big Ten for comments by football coach Jim Harbaugh after Saturday’s game against Ohio State University.

The school was fined $10,000 after Harbaugh criticized the officiating during Saturday's double-overtime loss to the Buckeyes.

The Big Ten Network tweeted a picture of the conference's statement regarding Harbaugh's comments. 

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.

A play during the Michigan Ohio State game on Nov. 26, 2016.
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Curtis Samuel swept in for a 15-yard touchdown after Ohio State barely converted a fourth-and-one play, and the second-ranked Buckeyes beat No.

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.
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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.

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.
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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.

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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.

Michigan punter Blake O'Neill.
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Two memorable Michigan State football plays have been encapsulated in stop-motion LEGO videos.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Jared Jacobs, a 38-year-old sports fanatic has recreated two of the most memorable plays from the Mark Dantonio era of Spartan football.

The Detroit Lions lost a 15-3 fourth quarter lead before losing their home opener to the Tennessee Titans, 16-15.
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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 football players practice in the spring of 2016 at Ford Field.
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A few years ago I had the chance to work out with the Michigan football team, for a six solid weeks. I lifted more weights than I any writer should, followed by an ungodly number of sit-ups, pushups and pull-downs.

Just 15 minutes into my first work out, I was sweating like a pig, and panting like a dog. You could have taken my pulse by touching my hair.

It wasn’t long before I was running to the trashcan to get rid of my breakfast.

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

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.

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