The NBA: To Go, or Not To Go — and Why

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Uncategorized | 13 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here: UM hoops to NBA] Nik Stauskas grew up in Mississauga, Ontario – a Toronto suburb better known for its neighborhood hockey games than a Lithuanian kid spending thousands of hours shooting on his parents’ backyard hoop. This year, Stauskas was named Big Ten player of the year.  It worked. Glenn Robinson III took a completely different route to the NBA: His father is Glenn Robinson Jr., also known as “The Big Dog,” and was the first pick in the NBA draft twenty years ago.  If Stauskas had to...

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Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s record – and what makes it great

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

[To listen to the audio version, please click here: Bacon Final 4.11.14 for Web] This week marks the 40th anniversary of one of baseball’s signature moments: Hank Aaron hitting his record 715th home run, to surpass Babe Ruth’s 39-year old record.  But to appreciate how special that was, you have to understand who Hank Aaron is – and what he faced. You’ve heard of Babe Ruth, who might be the last century’s best-known American athlete.  Ruth loved the fans, and the fans loved him right back. That’s why, when another New York...

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The Northwestern players union: What it means, and what it doesn’t

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Uncategorized | 19 comments

[To listen to the audio version, please click here: Northwestern Union 2014] Last week, in a surprising decision, the National Labor Relations Board granted the Northwestern University football players the right to unionize, if they want. But what does that mean?  What doesn’t it mean?  And how might this change the future of college football? The NLRB’s ruling made a big splash, but it’s actually very narrow.  The decision applies only to private schools.  There are only a handful or two that play big time college football –...

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Who’s a Real Michigan Fan – and Who Isn’t?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Uncategorized | 14 comments

To listen to the audio version, click here: Bacon_final_Big_House_3-28-14 One debate I could do without is the question of who is a real Michigan fan, and who isn’t? On the face of it, the question is pretty stupid.  A Michigan fan is a fan of Michigan.  And beyond the surface, it’s still pretty stupid.  But let’s play it out. The argument goes that only those who attended Michigan can call themselves Michigan fans. The rest?  They’re mere “Walmart Wolverines”—fans who could have picked any school to cheer for, as well as any...

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Revving up the rivalry, while boosting basketball

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

[To listen to the audio version, please click here: Bacon Final 3.21.14 for web] On Sunday, the Michigan Wolverines faced the Michigan State Spartans in the final of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.  After a decade of domination by the Spartans, John Beilein’s Wolverines held the upper hand the past four years.  After losing two stars to the NBA and one to back surgery, they surprised just about everyone when they won the regular season Big Ten title this year by three games.  Now they had the rare chance to beat the Spartans...

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An Appreciation of William Clay Ford, Sr.

Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here: Ford 3.14.14] In the course of his 88 years, William Clay Ford, who died Sunday, captained Yale’s tennis team, earned an engineering degree and chaired Ford Motor Co.’s finance committee, which is enough for any lifetime. But he will likely be remembered mainly as the owner of the Detroit Lions, during five woefully unsuccessful decades. Since he took over the franchise in 1964, the Lions have won exactly one playoff game, and remain the only NFL team to miss out on all 48 Super Bowls.  (The...

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John Beilein: A Series of Surprising Successes, Starting in the Sewer

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

[To listen to the audio version, click here: Bacon Final Beilein 3.7.14] On Tuesday night, the Michigan men’s basketball team beat Illinois to earn its first outright Big Ten title in almost three decades.  What’s more impressive is how they’ve done it. Michigan’s famous Fab Five left the stage twenty years ago, and were replaced by Tom Izzo’s Michigan State teams a few years later.  For more than a decade, the Spartans dominated the state. Izzo’s teams have earned 16 straight NCAA invitations – and they’ll get another one...

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The Winter Olympics: Crass, commercial, and occasionally classic

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

To listen to the audio version, click here: Olympics 2014 Why in the world are the Winter Olympics in Sochi, one of Russia’s warmest places?  Chalk it up to corruption – both the Russians’, which we’ve come to expect, and the International Olympic Committee’s – which… we’ve also come to expect.  The IOC hasn’t just shown a willingness to be bought, but an insistence.  If you don’t pay ‘em off, you ain’t getting the Olympics. That’s how you get a Winter Olympic skating rink built in the shade of palm trees.  The...

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The Brendan Gibbons case, and the athletic department’s response

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

To listen to the audio version, click here: Brendan Gibbons 2.14.2014 The University of Michigan named a new president last month, and the football team landed another great class of recruits last week.  But there’s another story that keeps eclipsing those two. I’ve been reluctant to write about the Brendan Gibbons case, because so little is clear – from the incident that started this saga five years ago, to the various responses since. But a few things are clear, starting with this: the athletic department continually fails to follow...

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Penn State loses the coach the players love, and keeps the athletic director they don’t

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Hello Loyal Readers, and welcome to “A Lot of Clips Thursday”! Today we have this link for my in-depth look at the continued dysfunction that is Penn State’s leadership, from the athletic director to the interim president to the Board of Trustees, which is designed to fail, on’s Postgame. In the same month Athletic Director Dave Joyner made a weak attempt to keep a successful coach the players loved, then made a heroic effort to secure a coach whose four Vanderbilt former players have been charged with...

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