Northwestern players’ unionization falls short, but NCAA wakes up

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Last year, in a surprising decision, the National Labor Relations Board granted the Northwestern University football players the right to unionize, if they wanted to. This made a big splash, but the ruling was actually very narrow. The NLRB made it clear its decision applied only to private schools in general – and to Northwestern in particular. Further, the players still had to vote to unionize, and that was hardly automatic. But the players were very shrewd, starting with their leader, former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter. They...

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First Excerpt of “ENDZONE”: Why Jim Harbaugh Came Back

Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Hello, Loyal Readers! Today we bring you the first excerpt of “Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football,” due out by St. Martin’s Press September 1. It ran in today’s online Wall Street Journal, and will run in the paper version Saturday. More excerpts coming in a week. * * * * * Please join the conversation, but remember: I run only those letters from those who are not profane or insane, and who include their FULL...

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Big Ten Media Days: The Harbaugh Effect Raises All Boats

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 12 comments

The Big Ten held its media days last week. Fourteen coaches told a few hundred reporters that their team chemistry has never been better, their senior leadership is outstanding, they had a great off-season in the weight room, and they can’t wait to get back on the field – but one man stole the show. Michigan’s new head coach Jim Harbaugh charmed the reporters with stories about everything from his daily commute to the office to his lifelong respect for Woody Hayes – yes, Ohio State’s Woody Hayes, Michigan’s sworn enemy. Yes,...

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ENDZONE sneak preview and more

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 15 comments

Hello, Loyal Readers! Good news — at least for me: rumors of my death have been exaggerated, though only slightly. From December 23 to July 19, I worked every day, usually about 16-20 hours a day the last three months, to finish ENDZONE: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football. Better news: Thanks to the amazing folks at St. Martin’s Press, it will come out September 1, as scheduled. On Tuesday, we posted a sneak preview of “ENDZONE” on MGoBlog. Full...

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The Final Four Misfit: How Michigan State Did It

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | 16 comments

Tomorrow night, March Madness resumes – even though it’s April. Why? Because there’s just too much madness for March alone. And it’s going go get madder. Of the Final Four teams, three are number one seeds. There’s Wisconsin, which won the Big Ten regular season title and conference tournament en route to a sterling 35-3 record. There’s Duke, led by the legendary Coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils won the Coaches versus Cancer Classic, the State Farm Champions Classic, and the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. And there’s the Kentucky...

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Izzo, Calipari and Knight: One of these coaches keeps getting caught

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Hello, Loyal Readers: As most of you probably know, I’m working hard to finish my latest book, “Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football,” which will be published by St. Martin’s Press on Sept. 1 — if I get it done soon enough!  (You can pre-order it on the front page of my website, if you are so inclined.) As a result, I’m writing fewer weekly commentaries during this final stretch, but I still appear on Cynthia Canty’s Stateside show on Michigan Radio on Thursdays, usually between 3-4...

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Jim Harbaugh is Back in Town – and so is Weapons-Grade Intensity

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | 16 comments

[Author’s Note: This piece is the longer version of my story that ran in the Wall Street Journal, on line Thursday, and in the paper Friday.]   When Jim Harbaugh was growing up in Ann Arbor, his father Jack, coached the defensive backs for Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan. When Jack handed his kids their lunches each morning, he’d tell them to “attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!” It’s fair to say, Jim...

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My Q&A on “ENDZONE: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football.”

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | 7 comments

NOTE: This week, Brian Cook of MGoBlog asked me a bunch of questions about my upcoming book, “Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football,” which is due out September 1.  The publisher posted it on Amazon and B&N on Monday, and it’s been the #1 football book all week.  You can pre-order it on either of those sites, listed below, or my website.  And we’ll be setting up the book tour, to run this fall, coast to coast, very soon, and posting on my website, too. Now, all I have to do is finish...

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Beilein at his best when conditions at their worst

Posted by on Feb 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Under head coach Tom Izzo, the Spartans have been to 17 straight NCAA tournaments, made it to 6 final fours and won it all in 2000 – while graduating 81 percent of his players.  Not too shabby. Thanks partly to the tough schedule Izzo puts together, his teams tend to start slowly and then build up steam as March Madness approaches.  Despite losing Gary Harris and Adreian Payne to the NBA, and Javon Bess to injury — this year’s team seems to be no exception, winning nine of its last 12 Big Ten games.   That’s coaching. But...

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Brady’s Balls, Left Sharks, and the Story We Missed

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

Everyone has been calling Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday for so long, it’s almost true.  It’s great because everyone can play, no matter your religion, or even if you don’t like football. So, it’s time to break it all down, Coach Bacon style, starting with the most important element: The ads.  This year broke another record: $4.5 million for a single spot. For that kinda dough, you better not waste a second – but they wasted whole minutes. To celebrate the spirit the Super Bowl represents, the ad makers’ theme this year was...

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