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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.

western michigan stadium
User TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Western Michigan University Broncos suffered their only loss of the season this week in the 2017 Cotton Bowl classic, but now there's more bad news for the university and its fans.

Head Coach P.J. Fleck is heading to the University of Minnesota to coach the Golden Gophers.

The decision comes three days after the Gophers' head coach was fired for mishandling an alleged sexual assault that involved some of his players.

Fleck led the Broncos to a 13-and-1 record this season and the first bowl game win in school history the season prior.

Western Michigan finished the season with a 13-1 record while earning its first conference championship since 1988.
GS Photo | Western Michigan Athletics

It has been a historic season for the Western Michigan football team.

After finishing with just one win after the 2013 season, the Broncos wrapped up the 2016 campaign with an undefeated regular season (13-0). The Mid-American Conference champions then earned a spot in the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked team outside of the "Power Five" conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12).

The season ended on a sour note though, as the Broncos played Wisconsin tough, but ultimately fell to the Badgers, 24-16

Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli made a leaping 8-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter and the Badgers won 24-16 in the Cotton Bowl on Monday to deny Western Michigan an undefeated season.

The TD catch by Fumagalli with 14 minutes left, in the back of the end zone between two defenders, came three plays after a rare interception thrown by Zach Terrell and made it 24-10.

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.

They used to play the Cotton Bowl game in the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. Not anymore. It's now played in the AT&T Stadium.
user bmendez68 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s college bowl season, and around these parts, that can only mean one thing: Rumors of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh going to the NFL!

Of course, that seasonal rumor comes with many other traditions, including ridiculously irresponsible click-bait stories based on absolutely nothing, everyone freaking out because of it, and the whole thing amounting to zero. ‘Tis the season – and will be every season Harbaugh is Michigan’s coach, any NFL team needs a coach, and any reckless reporter needs a few thousand more Twitter followers.

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. 

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

Well Michigan fans, we were pretty much resigned to this, but now it’s official: no. 6 Michigan juuust missed a spot in the College Football Playoff. 

Instead, the Wolverines are heading to the Orange Bowl, where they’ll face off against Florida State. 

It’s the first time Michigan has appeared in this game since Tom Brady led the team to victory over Alabama in 2000. 

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.

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.

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:

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

 

While their friends may have been moving back to dorms or apartments to start the new school year, a group of occupational therapy students from Western Michigan University moved their things into their new rooms at the Clark Retirement Community on Keller Lake.

It’s one of the first research projects of its kind in this country: three college students living side by side with senior citizens.

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.

western michigan stadium
User TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The first season after P.J. Fleck was hired to be the head football coach at Western Michigan University in 2012, the Broncos finished with a 1-11 record.

But four years into his tenure, Fleck has successfully turned the ship around.

The Broncos are a perfect 6-0  in the 2016 season so far, and are listed 24th in the latest Associated Press college football rankings. It’s the first time in the program's history that the Broncos are ranked among the nation’s best teams.

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.

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.

According to MLive.com, Western Michigan, Central Michigan (both shown) and Eastern Michigan spent $72.6 million in institutional funds on athletics, more than the 10 other public universities in Michigan combined
Flickr user Jacob Enos/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

MLive recently published an in-depth look at Michigan's public universities, and how they subsidize sports with tuition dollars. 

What stood out more than anything is the fact that among the schools that offer NCAA-level athletics, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan collectively spend more tuition dollars on sports than the other ten public universities combined. 

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. 

https://wmich.edu/news/2016/08/33779

The president of Western Michigan University announced today he’ll retire next summer, after 10 years on the job.

"I don't feel 71, but this fall I will be 71 years of age,” President John Dunn says. “And I’ve often counseled people, that I think there are opportunities that are places to begin, and there's sort of a time to know you've given a lot of energy and good hard work."

Dunn oversaw the launch of the university's medical school, its affiliation with Cooley Law School, and $500 million in construction projects, according to the university.

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


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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan universities are a major draw to international college students, according to new report.

The Institute for International Education’s annual Open Doors report ranks the state of Michigan has having the ninth-largest population of international college students, nearly 30,000. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed House Speaker Jase Bolger's father to serve on the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

James Bolger is a retired Michigan State Police official who lives in Whitehall. The Kalamazoo Gazette says he'll fill the seat vacated when Trustee Michelle Crumm resigned.

Bolger will complete Crumm's eight-year term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

Bolger earned a master's degree in public administration from Western Michigan.

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. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report shows Michigan college students are carrying a lot of student loan debt.

The Institute for College Access and Success says Michigan college graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2012 owed nearly $29,000 in student loans.

Debbie Cochran is with the institute. She blames the recession and declining government support for forcing students to borrow more to pay for college.

flickr /Michigan Historic Markers

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - A college prank?

Police at Western Michigan University are looking for a large historical marker stolen from outside the birthplace of the Kalamazoo school.

The marker was discovered missing Thursday at East Hall. Size would make it difficult to hide: Like other state markers, it's 54 inches tall and 42 inches wide.

Baker College of Flint / Facebook.com

When a child grows up in the foster care system, they face some unique challenges as college students.  They may lack the financial and emotional support their classmates get from families.

The Michigan Department of Human Services is trying help them out.

They awarded seven universities in Michigan shares of an $800,000 grant.

The money will pay on-campus coaches at Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Baker College of Flint, Ferris State University, Saginaw Valley University, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan-Flint who will work with former foster youth.

(courtesy of Wikipedia)

A large turnout is expected today at a memorial service for former Michigan congressman Howard Wolpe.  

Wolpe died October 25th at his home in Saugatuck. He was 71.  

Former Michigan congressman Mark Schauer will be among the speakers at the memorial service at Western Michigan University. He says Wolpe was a mentor and inspiration. 

"He made his decisions based on principles and values…and intelligence. And always trying to do what’s right for the people he represented," says Schauer.  

Wolpe represented Kalamazoo in Congress for seven terms and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1994.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Students of Western Michigan University are reacting to the donation of $100 million dollars to Western Michigan University for their medical school. MLive reports:

A few hours after the announcement of a $100 million cash gift to jump-start Western Michigan University’s medical school, the event was replayed on a video kiosk inside the Bern­hard Center and caught the at­tention of several students.