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university of michigan football

michigan vs. notre dame football players on a field
MGoBlog / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

The Michigan football team entered this season ranked 7th nationwide, and were picked to win the Big Ten title. With a lot of good players and coaches coming back from a 10-win team the year before, it made sense.

But on the season’s first play, senior quarterback Shea Patterson injured his oblique muscles, and took weeks to fully recover. The offense, and the team’s new offensive coordinator, Josh Gattis, struggled along with him.

two staffers in Michigan football locker room
Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

Everyone sees the football coaches and the players when they go to a game at the Big House.

What we don’t see are the 67 full-time staffers that support them, almost around the clock. These include everyone from athletic trainers to strength coaches to nutritionists, videographers, and academic advisors, just for starters.

MSU and U of M football stadiums
Flickr user Ken Lund

College football is back. With Michigan State and Michigan about to begin their seasons, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Morning Edition host Doug Tribou for a preview. 

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

A cooperating prosecution witness testified on Tuesday that he paid college football players at seven major football programs, including the University of Michigan. The schools named were Notre Dame, Northwestern, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Alabama, and North Carolina.

John U. Bacon

The latest college football bowl season might have gone worse for in-state teams, but it’s hard to imagine how.

First, the good news: four state schools were invited to bowl games this year, while Ferris State got to the final game of the Division II playoffs.

John U. Bacon

The people who run all 39 college football bowl games recently picked the 78 teams they want to showcase this holiday season – even though there are only 130 teams to choose from. In other words, they have to dip into the bottom half of teams to fill the bowls.

football
Bill Couch / Flickr / https://bit.ly/2Ejgq34

Last Sunday, the Peach Bowl in Atlanta invited the Michigan Wolverines to play Florida. But is that good news for Michigan fans, or bad?

football
Kaveman743 / Flickr / https://bit.ly/2KKaWih

After Michigan football finished a disappointing 8-and-5 last year, most pundits figured the Wolverines wouldn’t be much better this year. Worse, they had one of the toughest schedules in the country.

Plenty of pundits have raged about the soaring salaries of college coaches, and rightly so. 

Over the past three decades, the average football coach’s salary increased tenfold to $2.5 million. That’s about 25 times more than the average college professor earns, whose salary has merely kept pace with inflation. Today the highest paid public employee in 39 states is either a basketball coach or a football coach.

Michigan v. Penn State
MGoBlog

Looking at this year’s Michigan football schedule, everyone who plays, coaches, covers, or follows the team knew it would be a tough run, maybe the toughest in the country.

Michigan’s schedule included five ranked teams almost half the schedule. Three of them sat right in a row, in the middle of the season: Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Penn State. The players called that the gauntlet, until defensive end Chase Winovich renamed it “The Revenge Tour,” because all three teams had beaten Michigan last year.

John U. Bacon

Michigan and Michigan State both faced highly ranked opponents last weekend.

The unranked Spartans suffered a couple bad losses, and entered last week’s game looking for a miracle against eighth-ranked Penn State at Penn State, no less, one of the toughest places to play. But the Spartans pulled the upset, earning them a 4-2 record and a return to the top 25.

Michigan kicker Jake Moody
MGoBlog

When we last checked in with the Michigan football team four weeks ago, the Wolverines had just lost to 12th-ranked Notre Dame, then crushed Western Michigan.

But the Wolverines still had more questions than answers, especially after coming off a disappointing 8-5 season the year before.

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.

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. 

 

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.

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.

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."

MSU football and helmet
Wikimedia Commons

Three of Michigan's college football teams are headed to bowl games. The selections were announced Sunday.

Michigan State will play in the Holiday Bowl. The No. 16 Spartans and No. 18 Washington State will meet in San Diego on December 28.

The University of Michigan will ring in 2018 in Tampa, Fla. The Wolverines will face South Carolina in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.

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.

Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

This ​story is part of Mornings In Michigan, our new series about morning rituals from across our state.

For a lot of folks, Saturday is this week’s second major holiday. That’s when the University of Michigan and Ohio State University will meet for their 114th football game. Kickoff is at noon in Ann Arbor.

To find out what it’s like inside Michigan Stadium on the morning of a game, Morning Edition producer Lauren Talley and host Doug Tribou went behind the scenes before the Wolverines hosted Rutgers in October.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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