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John U. Bacon

Gilda Radner in LOVE, GILDA, a Magnolia Pictures Release.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Today on Stateside, a young activist in Detroit is appealing her conviction for pulling an unloaded gun on another woman in what she says was self-defense. Plus, the ups and downs of the family restaurant are the focus of Ann Arbor writer Lillian Li’s debut novel.

John U. Bacon

Two weeks ago, Michigan football was ranked 14th. Michigan State was ranked 11th. The Detroit Lions were supposed to improve with a new coach, and Eastern Michigan was expected to slide back to mediocrity ways.

a collection of glowing rocks known as "yooperlites"
Erik Rintamaki

Today on Stateside, why President Trump's tweets are unlikely to change Ford's decision to move small car production abroad. Plus, why rocks in the U.P. are giving off an alien glow. (No, it does not involve extraterrestrials.)

Listen above for the full show, or find individual segments below. 

Ford won’t be moving production of Focus hatchback to the U.S. Here’s why.

John U. Bacon

After a few low years, the Big Ten has been riding high lately. Last year, seven Big Ten schools won their bowl games, with only Michigan on the losing side.

Going into this season, five Big Ten teams were ranked in the nation’s top 14, with four from the Big Ten East Division alone: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan.

Big Ten Preview 2018

Aug 31, 2018
John U. Bacon

I usually spend the Friday before Labor Day predicting what’s going to happen in Big Ten football. But this year, so much has already happened off the field that it threatens to eclipse whatever might happen on it.

Urban Meyer
MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

 


As summer begins to wind down, the fall football season is firing up. 

Michigan State will kick off its season this Friday at home against the Utah State Aggies. On Saturday, Michigan heads to South Bend for its season opener against Notre Dame. 

 

Urban Meyer
MGoBlog / Flickr / https://goo.gl/gGH3Hq

A couple weeks ago, I reported on the Big Ten Media Days, the annual event when every coach tells you what a great off-season his team had – in the weight room, the classroom, and yes, the community.

About the only news that seemed to come out of those two days of interviews was Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s short, simple answers to exceedingly silly or annoying questions.

But we didn’t realize the big story had just been planted under our noses. The first night of the conference, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer fired one of his assistants, Zach Smith.


Gary Shear / Unsplash

Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon is back to the grind after enjoying a much-needed summer vacation.

Bacon joined Stateside to talk about the long-awaited induction of Detroit Tiger greats Alan Trammell and Jack Morris into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and much more. 

Coach Jim Harbaugh
Maize & Blue Nation / wikimedia commons

In the news business, a lot of what we do pops up unexpectedly, forcing us to drop whatever we’re working on to handle the breaking news.

Not so the Big Ten Media Days.

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, every summer the Big Ten football coaches, players, and reporters gather in Chicago for the Big Ten Media Days. But if you had to choose between the swallows and the coaches, you’d probably take the swallows. Why? Because the swallows would give you more interesting quotes.

John U. Bacon

“Hot fun in the summertime. That’s when I had most of my fun.”

For me, the summer of ’76 stands out. I was 12.

It was the bicentennial, my family went to the Montreal Olympics, and everyone cheered for Detroit pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, the happiest ballplayer I’ve ever seen.

Life after "The Hit"

Jun 29, 2018
John U. Bacon

If you’re a casual football fan, or even if you’re not, you’ve probably seen The Hit: one of the most famous tackles in the history of the game.

It was January 1, 2013, when Michigan played South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. In the fourth quarter, with the Wolverines hanging on to a 22-21 lead, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner handed off to Vincent Smith.

John U. Bacon

Sunday marks my third father’s day. I had no idea what I was doing for the first two and, it seems, little more this time around. But the kid keeps growing anyway.

I don’t care what anyone says. The first three months are hard. You’re not getting any sleep, and the kid isn’t walking, talking, or even giving you an occasional laugh or a smile. But then things pick up.

Teddy was an early talker and a late walker. Imagine that! The genes are strong with this one. Well, kid, welcome to sports writing!

John Beilein at the 2018 NCAA Basketball Championship game.
MGoBlog

University of Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein has probably reached his greatest heights – which is saying something.

Since 2012 Beilein’s Wolverines have won four Big Ten titles and got to two NCAA finals, including one of each this spring. No Big Ten coach has done better over that stretch. What’s more impressive is how Beilein has done it: by recruiting genuine student-athletes, then coaching them up to beat teams loaded with stars. Beilein and his staff have pushed six of those underrated players to the first round of the NBA draft.

Michigan State University sign
MSU

John U. Bacon joined Stateside to discuss his thoughts on the $500 million settlement between Michigan State University and 332 survivors of abuse by former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Bacon very closely covered Penn State University as it worked its way past the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

He came to the studio to compare the two universities, and the different ways they dealt with their unfortunate predicaments.

University of Michigan Press, 2018

Week after week, month after month, year after year, John U. Bacon has brought his take on sports to us here on Stateside.

Talking sports with Bacon has revealed his straight-talking gift of cutting to the heart of the story, of making people understand the struggles, stumbles, and triumphs of those people on the field, the court, and the rink. 

Shea Patterson playing for Ole Miss
MGoBlog / Flickr / https://goo.gl/64qT3b

Last season, for only the second time in Jim Harbaugh’s 14-year career as a head football coach, his team took a significant step backward. After leading Michigan to 10-3 records his first two years at Michigan, the Wolverines dropped back to 8-5, capped by a bad loss in their bowl game.

Michigan had great defense, but sputtered on offense, mainly due to sub-par quarterbacks. Of course, when injuries force you to use your back-up, then your back-up’s back-up, that’s gonna happen.

John U. Bacon

This is the Season of Our Discontent. Or it would be, if you attached your happiness to Detroit’s professional sports teams.

Let’s start with the Pistons.

When Bill Davidson bought the team in 1974, the Pistons were bad and getting worse. But Davidson patiently rebuilt the team with the right leaders, and won two NBA titles. Then he hired new leaders, and did it all again, and won another NBA title in 2004. Along the way, they won nine division titles.

aerial view of little caesars arena
Tony Brown

 


 

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, joined Stateside today to discuss what the Red Wings should expect in the draft lottery, what the main difference was between watching the Frozen Four and Red Wings games, and why the Pistons have "stalled."

 

John Beilein at the 2018 NCAA Basketball Championship game.
MGoBlog

The Michigan basketball team beat Loyola last weekend and made it to the NCAA finals. That was a minor miracle in itself.

The team had almost no stars – with maybe one future NBA draft pick. They started slowly, with very weak defense, playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules.

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

The miracle Michigan hoped for didn't happen. The Wolverines fell to Villanova last night in San Antonio, and Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon was right there to see it in the Alamo Dome.

Back of a basketball player dribbling
MGoBlog Flickr

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. The Michigan Wolverines were on the wrong side of that divide Monday night in San Antonio, Texas. 

Michigan got off to a strong start in the NCAA men’s basketball title game then the Villanova Wildcats ran away with it. The final score was 79 to 62 and gave Villanova its second national championship in three years.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon was at the game. He joined "Morning Edition" host Doug Tribou to talk about what went wrong for U of M. 

H. Michael Karshis / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

For the Michigan Wolverines basketball team, it’s on to the championship game. One last game stands between the Wolverines and their first NCAA title since 1989.

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator, joined Stateside to discuss the Wolverines’ victory over Loyola University Chicago, the challenges ahead against Villanova, and also about Notre Dame’s historic victory in the NCAA women’s championship over the weekend.

basketball player shooting near the basket
MGoBlog Flickr

The Michigan Wolverines and the Villanova Wildcats will play for the NCAA men’s basketball championship tonight in San Antonio, Texas. The Wildcats are trying for their second title in three years. The Wolverines are hoping for their first since 1989.

The Michigan's men's hockey team has a pregame huddle.
MGoBlog / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1f2P1w6

This season, Michigan’s men’s basketball team has enjoyed another great turnaround. After a bad loss to Northwestern in early February, the Wolverines were stuck in the middle of the Big Ten – not the station of Final Four teams. But they haven’t lost since, rattling off a 13-game winning streak. That’s how you get to the Final Four.

It’s a great story – so great, it has eclipsed another great story happening across the parking lot: Michigan’s hockey team has risen from mid-season mediocrity to make the other final four.

Michigan players running the basketball down the court with a ref in the background
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, joined Stateside to give us an update on everything going on with Michigan sports (and there is a lot).

NSA

Hazel Forrest died last week at the age of 106.

According to The Chronicle Herald out of Nova Scotia, she was one of the last known survivors of the Halifax Explosion, which occurred when two ships, one loaded TNT and other explosives, collided in Halifax Harbour in 1917. It was the biggest man-made blast prior to the atomic bomb. 

Some 2,000 people were killed and many thousands more were injured. Yet, this cataclysmic event is largely forgotten, at least on the U.S. side of our border with Canada.

close-up of a basketball
David Dames / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

March Madness is upon us now that the NCAA has announced its 68-team field. Let those who love college hoops plunge into making their brackets. 

James Coller/MGoBlog / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg


    

 

Michigan has won its second straight Big Ten title by beating Purdue 75-66. 

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

There are a lot of reasons to like the Big Ten basketball tournament this year – and perhaps more not to.

What’s to like? The Big Ten can boast four of the nation’s top 15 teams, more than any other conference, including second-ranked Michigan State, and 15th-ranked Michigan. They’re all doing battle this week.

Figure skating
Queen Yuna / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Twenty years ago, Richard Callaghan helped Tara Lipinski become an Olympic gold medalist — but I was not impressed.

Sure, he can coach Tara, but who couldn't? She can skate. But what about coaching a 33-year old clod who has never been on figure skates before? If Callaghan really wanted to test his coaching skills, I would be his guinea pig.

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