A First Date with Bo, an Excerpt from Best of Bacon by the Titular John U.

A First Date with Bo, an Excerpt from Best of Bacon by the Titular John U.

Submitted by Seth on May 3rd, 2018 at 12:00 PM

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Bo visiting Steve Everitt in 2003 [courtesy of Amy Everitt via]

Oh you think you’ve got the whole Bacon collection do you? Your Bacon shelf has the Bo one, the Rich Rod one, the aww poor Urban can’t get the pwiddy widdle Borens to like him one, the Cirque one, and a first edition of Brandon’s Lasting Lessons from when it was still called Endzone. You’ve even got that hockey one from back in the day, the Saunders one, and the more recent one where they blew up Halifax during WWI and Michigan (spoiler alert) got a hockey program.

You don’t have it. Bacon’s been at this writing thing longer than your favorite bloggers have been drawing breath, and before there were books there were articles for a dozen regional and national publications tracking Bo Schembechler, Gordie Howe, Ernie Harwell, and Tom Izzo, plus first-person stories about getting killed playing the U.S. Open golf course, skating in a Detroit Vipers hockey practice, and lifting in Michigan football’s weight room.

But you can have it because he put his 40 best articles in a book (and the 41st is slated to appear in ours). This best-of Bacon book is called, incidentally, Best of Bacon. He gave me first crack at an excerpt and I’ve chosen the one below.

This excerpt, “Bo’s Back Where he Belongs,” describes Bacon’s first week following Bo Schembechler, back in 1996, which led to Lasting Lessons (the Bo one).

Bacon Tour 2018: Bacon will be appearing at the Ann Arbor District Library May 11, Chicago May 23, Traverse City’s Indigo Hotel May 29, and Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor June 12. You can find more info on johnubacon.com.

On with the shew

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Bo’s Back Where He Belongs

I first met Bo Schembechler in 1975, when I was a ten-year-old kid asking for his autograph at a Michigan hockey game—so nervous I could not think of my own name. I met him again in August of 1996, when I was writing a section on Fielding Yost for a book on Michigan football. We got along, and he agreed to let me tag along for a week in October of 1996—a very generous offer, to say the least.

By mid-week, I already knew I had a great story, and called my editor at the Detroit News from a pay phone (that’ll date you) in Grand Rapids, urging him to spare all the space he could. He did, giving me 2½ pages, and the story earned national awards. When I met Bo in his office four days later, he told me, “Well, Bacon, you didn’t screw it up—and frankly I’m surprised.” In the next breath he asked if I wanted his papers—16 big boxes’ worth, with everything from correspondence to transcripts to game plans. I soon realized he had given me the raw materials for the book we would write together ten years later, my first bestseller. But it started with this story.

[the article AFTER THE JUMP]

The Man from Halifax, an Excerpt from The Great Halifax Explosion by John U. Bacon

The Man from Halifax, an Excerpt from The Great Halifax Explosion by John U. Bacon

Submitted by Seth on October 31st, 2017 at 10:31 AM

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John U. Bacon’s latest book, The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism, debuts November 7. The book was described by George Will as “an astonishing episode of horror and heroism,” and by David Maraniss as “absorbing from first page to last.” Bacon will start his book tour at 7 p.m., Tuesday night, November 7, at Michigan’s Rackham Auditorium, where he’ll be introduced by Michigan Radio’s Cynthia Canty. The book is available through Harper-Collins, and will be found on Amazon (pre-order), Barnes & Noble, Indies, Nicola’s, Literati, and elsewhere.

This exclusive excerpt focuses on the book’s central figure, Joseph Ernest Barss. After being wounded in World War I, he returned to Nova Scotia to rehabilitate when a ship blew up in Halifax Harbour. After spending three days helping victims, he was inspired to attend the medical school at the University of Michigan, where he started Michigan’s hockey program. completing one of the most remarkable journeys of any Michigan Man.

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Joseph Ernest Barss is one of the most important people in the long, rich history of Michigan athletics. But you wouldn’t have guessed that from his background – and certainly not from his family’s.

Barss Pillar
The story of the founder of Michigan hockey goes through the greatest tragedy in Canadian history

His great-grandfather, Joseph Barss Jr., was the most notorious privateer in Canadian history, capturing, sinking, or burning more than 60 American ships during the War of 1812, making him America’s most wanted man.

Three generations later, Joseph Ernest Barss was born in India in 1892, the son of Baptist missionaries. He grew up in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, just a few miles from Windsor, Nova Scotia, the birthplace of hockey. He attended the hometown Acadia University, which his grandfather helped found, where Ernest starred in football, hockey, baseball, and boxing.

“He was sort of a stocky fella, big thighs, who carried himself very straight,” his son, Dr. Joseph Andrew Barss, told me in 1999. “A tough guy. His ankles were so strong, he didn’t have to lace up his skates.”

After graduating cum laude in 1912 at age 19, Barss moved to Montreal, where he rose to become a district manager for Imperial Oil, earning $1,500 a year – big money for a young man at the time. He seemed to have it all: a great career, money, and fun. But Barss’s letters give the unmistakable sense that he was not fulfilled.

That changed in 1915, World War I’s second year, when one of Barss’s rowing club friends read out loud that the Germans had gassed a famed Canadian unit, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) killing 461 of the 1,068 men, including many friends of theirs from Montreal. The four men were “filled with indignation,” Barss wrote, and decided to enlist right then and there.

In his early letters back to his parents, Barss was bursting with enthusiasm for the cause, and the role he had trained to play: machine gunner. The reason the PPCLI was in such need of reinforcements, he explained, was because “there are only 53 left out of 1500. So we have some reputation to keep up. Of course, as you have probably noted, I am full of this thing. So are the other fellows.”

[Hit the JUMP for how Halifax became a WWI battleground in a flash, and Canada became a United States friend in a fortnight, and how this all resulted in Michigan starting a hockey program]

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MGoRadio 3.7: Dramatically Improved and Still Below Average

MGoRadio 3.7: Dramatically Improved and Still Below Average

Submitted by Seth on October 27th, 2017 at 6:53 PM

1 hour 22 minutes

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Excuse me sir, I found your column banal and infuriating.

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The Sponsors

We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan we’d be talking to ourselves.

Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad, Human Element, Lantana Hummus and Ecotelligent Homes

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1. Penn State After UFR

starts at 1:00

Defense got got: Penn State mitigated the DL, confused the LBs, and ignored the cornerbacks. Trace McSorley had his unstoppable throw god game. Nitpicks from getting picked apart by the Nits: don’t play an RPO team with your safeties at 15 yards, or get McCray on a Barkley-like object. Offense was some improvement, still a long way to go. Line calls look screwy: is Kugler to blame?

2. A Refuse Repartee with John U. Bacon

starts at 24:17

The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism comes out soon and Bacon just Before we start, dear listener, I want you to imagine your over/under for how many minutes it takes us to:

a) say “Shut up, John”
b) mention Dave Brandon
c) call Bacon “Dave”

Also we talk about about WWI soldier, ladies’ man, ancestral pirate, amateur surgeon, hockey coach, machine gun officer, and hero.

3. Gimmicky Top Five: Other Things That Would Lose to Rutgers

starts at 52:48

Brian takes issue with people who reply in gifs, Seth takes issue with everyone who ever talks on the internet about anything, ever. Princeton has to deal with some awful red version of Sparty trying to steal their artillery. Hillary would lose to Rutgers.

4. Rutgers Preview

starts at 1:06:00

Ross Douglas in a Jake Ryan role is not going well. The defensive tackles are big and the noses are more than solid. Michigan should be able to flip the strength of the formation, blow out Turay, and run power to the house enough times to get Brandon Peters some snaps. Their offense is three running plays and can’t get the ball to Janarion Grant. We strongly suggest Michigan’s special teams also avoid doing so.

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MUSIC:

If you or a friend made some good tunes and don't have a label out scrubbing for them we'd be happy to feature you. This week our bumper music was provided by the (A+) Machines because they gave me a sampler back when our bands played a show together. The songs are “Antidote”, “Any Given Day”, and “Come Back Swinging”. Plus as always “Across 110th Street”.

THE USUAL LINKS

A Review of ‘Playing Hurt’ by John U. Bacon

A Review of ‘Playing Hurt’ by John U. Bacon

Submitted by Ira on September 20th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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[Ed-S: Bacon’s latest book is a personal memoir of John Saunders, and Saunders’ lifelong battle with depression. Ira Weintraub (@michiganinsider), co-host of WTKA The Ticket’s flagship, The Michigan Insider, offered to review it since he read it faster than I could.

Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope by John Saunders, is available from Amazon in hardcover, Kindle, or Audiobook format, or you can get a copy from the publisher directly. Take it away Ira:

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Let me start by making a few things very clear: John U Bacon is my friend, and I think he’s a terrific writer. So, yes, I am biased in his favor. But that did not influence my opinion of Bacon’s newest book, “Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope,” which he wrote with his friend and long-time ESPN broadcaster John Saunders.

Let’s make one other point very clear – this is not a Michigan book, even though you are reading this review on a Michigan site. There are Michigan references, stories and anecdotes in “Playing Hurt.” But this is not a Michigan book. And, no, this is not a sports book, although sports is a big part of Saunders’ life story.

So what kind of book is it? It’s a life-lessons book. It’s a story of overcoming a myriad of obstacles and the ability to endure just about everything the world and society can throw at you. It is also the best book in the John U Bacon literary collection.

[Hit the JUMP for…an interview with Will Heininger?!?]

Falling Backward, an Excerpt from Playing Hurt by John U. Bacon

Falling Backward, an Excerpt from Playing Hurt by John U. Bacon

Submitted by Seth on September 12th, 2017 at 10:00 AM

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Bacon’s latest book is out and as you well know he’s mandatory reading around here. This one is a very personal memoir he did with John Saunders, the well-known ESPN personality, on Saunders’ lifelong battle with depression. The childhood victim of all kinds of abuse, Saunders tough-guy’d for a quarter century before the interior damage nearly brought down the whole giant man. As an adult he finally decided to face those demons. But when you’re carrying that kind of devil, it never goes without a fight.

Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope by John Saunders, is available from Amazon in hardcover, Kindle, or Audiobook format, or you can get a copy from the publisher directly.

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Chapter 26: Falling Backward

Saturday, September 10, 2011, was a beautiful fall day.

A car picked me up at my home for the drive to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT. When I joined the network in 1986, the entire ESPN “empire” consisted of a single building that could house all one hundred or so employees. That was all we needed to produce SportsCenter, NHL, and CFL games – which is all we had. Today, ESPN has deals with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NFL, more than 5,000 employees, and offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Hong Kong, Toronto, and South America, not to mention the sprawling campus in Bristol, which now looks more like a modern college campus than a TV network.

I was entering my 35th season in broadcasting, my 25th at ESPN, my 20th hosting ABC College Football, and my 10th season hosting “The Sports Reporters,” which might be my favorite show. It’s a good job. Scratch that. It’s a dream job.

Our oldest daughter Aleah had just graduated from Fordham University a few months earlier, and was considering law school. Our younger daughter Jenna had just enrolled at my alma mater, Ryerson University in Toronto. By any objective measure, I had a pretty good life – particularly for a guy who was raised by an abusive, deadbeat dad.

But I was just minutes away from almost losing it all.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the excerpt]

Minnesota, Hour Four: An Endzone Excerpt

Minnesota, Hour Four: An Endzone Excerpt

Submitted by Brian on October 13th, 2016 at 11:44 AM

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John U. Bacon has added a 60-page afterword to Brandon's Lasting Lessons Endzone detailing Harbaugh's first season in Ann Arbor. A paperback edition is coming out to accompany this afterword, and Bacon's generously offered to run an excerpt  from the afterword. This is it.

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History is replete with the dangers facing anyone declared the messiah. As Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said, “Pride comes before the fall.” But the praise is only dangerous if the recipient believes it. Harbaugh seems too busy to give the hype much attention.

“We’re here, in Schembechler Hall, all day,” he told me in his first spring. “But I remember telling recruits there’s a lot of excitement and hunger for Michigan football right now.”

He paused just a bit before adding, “Hungry dogs hunt best.”

That Harbaugh, the biggest catch in the coaching sea, seemed to be hungrier than the rabid fans and determined insiders who helped bring him back to Ann Arbor only made them love the guy even more.

But could Harbaugh do the job? Given the scope of the task, it wasn’t a rhetorical question. Harbaugh had to restore a program that had fallen into almost unrecognizable disrepair. He had to fill the Big House, and help get the department out of debt, while adhering to Michigan’s values of fair play. And he had to reunite the Michigan family, which had been fractured for a decade.

Harbaugh, consciously or not, started doing all these things the day he arrived, but in reverse order. The moment the tires on Harbaugh’s plane touched the tarmac, Michigan's fan base was united, in a way it hadn’t been since at least 1997.

Likewise, after thousands of Michigan fans stubbornly held on to their ticket applications until interim AD Jim Hackett named the next coach, the instant Harbaugh took the podium, the fans’ forms started flooding the department to ensure they could keep their seats, including the all-important skyboxes, which quickly sold out. The Nike contract soon followed, worth a record $173.8 million, which prompted MGoBlog’s Ace Anbender to write this headline: “Nike Gives Michigan All the Money.” It’s safe to assume Nike didn’t back up the Brinks Truck based on Michigan’s 5-7 record in 2014, but because they wanted the man in khakis.

The stunning change of fortune could only be sustained, however, with success on the field, and that would be harder to achieve.

If Harbaugh and the fans were hungry, so were the players. The Wolverines got their five Big Ten losses in 2014 the old-fashioned way: they’d earned them.

One trait throughout history that all successful generals have shared is an uncommon ability to analyze their troops strengths and weaknesses with cool detachment. Leaders in the habit of kidding themselves do not last long. Harbaugh demonstrated this vital quality when he started evaluating the game film of Michigan’s returning players in his office, which he calls his “football bunker.” Despite Brady Hoke’s top seven recruiting classes from 2012 and 2013, who were now sophomores and juniors, according to several witnesses, not only did Harbaugh grade most of Michigan’s returning players as average or lower, he was alarmed by what he termed an “intensity deficit.” They simply weren’t tough enough, physically or mentally. As a direct result, they were prone to wear down and fall apart by the fourth quarter, a tendency Michigan demonstrated in numerous games the previous seasons.

The clear-eyed assessment presented only three solutions: recruit better, coach better, and play better. In typical fashion, Harbaugh didn’t waste any time getting to work on all three.

“The biggest change,” tight-end Jake Butt told me, “and a lot of people noticed it, was this: my first two years [under Brady Hoke] we heard constant talk of challenging each other in practice, and competing to win a Big Ten title, but the level of work did not compare to what we did when Coach Harbaugh first got here. We’d always worked hard before, but we were not as smart, or as efficient.

“He made it crystal clear: The only way to win is to put the work in. Because of the environment he created, we were forced to prepare to compete against the best, every day.”

This sea change started on the first day of spring practice. While most college coaches use the NCAA’s daily allotted four hours with their team by meeting for 90 minutes or more, then practicing for 2.5 hours or less, Harbaugh decided to spend all four hours practicing, which was unheard of.

“Very first day, he got our attention,” Butt said. “I’d never done a four-hour practice. No one had. It kind of just smacked you in the mouth. By the second hour, because of the pace, it started to hurt. By the third hour, Coach Harbaugh gathered us around him, and told us, ‘This is where you guys lost games last year. You ran out of gas. You started making mistakes. And you started turning on each other.

“’These practices are not supposed to be easy. We’re not focusing on winning this or winning that. Not now. We’re just going to be the hardest working team in the country. And we’re going to embrace that.

“’We’re turning our weakness into our strength. And that’s why, this season, we’re going to win games in the fourth quarter.’”

With that, Harbaugh blew his whistle, and sent them back to their stations to complete their fourth hour of practice, at full-speed.

The visitors to that first spring practice included Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, who’ve seen several thousand practices between them. But they’d never seen this.

“Four hour practices?” Jack told me. “I’d not experienced that in my entire career. Golly, is this thing ever going to end?

“After practice, Jim ran by me and said, ‘Class on the grass.’ And just like that, it all made sense to me,” Jack said. Yes, Jack is Jim’s father, but impressing Jack Harbaugh isn’t easy, even for his children – and perhaps especially for his children. But this impressed him. “I’ve been in so many of those team meetings, which you spend three hours just preparing to run. When you finally got up there, you always had a handful of players that are grasping it, but others who had no interest in it at all. And that was about the best you could do. You get two-thirds, you think you’ve hit a home run.

“What Jim did is take the meeting out of the classroom, and onto the field, where you don’t have much choice but to pay attention! In his class, they’re looking at an actual 4-3 front, or they’re looking at a blitz, they talk about it -- and then it comes after them! Yes, they were paying attention!

“My goodness! All those years I was coaching, there wasn’t anyone who could come up with that idea? Not me, I’m not smart enough. Glad Jim is!”

Ultimately, the only opinions that mattered were the players’ – and Harbaugh had them.

“Coach was right – about all of it,” Butt continued. “Last year, when just one thing went wrong, we we were so shocked we had no ability to adjust, to come back. And we didn’t have enough strength left to do it, anyway.

“Coach talked to us about the ‘football callus,’ the soreness, and the pain, you feel at the end of the day after a good practice. So you just toughen your skin a bit, and you go another week, you get a stronger callous, and by the fourth or fifth week, a four-hour practice is nothing. And everything he told us was true."

By the end of spring ball, Harbaugh had his team.

“The 20-year olds know when the coaches are sincere,” Jim’s mother, Jackie, told me. “I just marveled at the way the players reacted to the practices. They were all quick tempo, but I didn’t see one player coming off the field, dragging or complaining. They had smiles on their faces when they came off the field, because they knew they were getting better! ‘I feel better! I understand what I’m supposed to be doing in this situation.’ And you’d see them in the hallway after, they were all so happy, so polite, so very nice. You could just see the players wanted to compete! They wanted to be the BEST!

“It was just fun for me to watch all of that, to see it develop.”

What Harbaugh’s players were doing on that practice field, when almost no one was watching, was more important to the future of the program than all the things happening outside it.

Two weeks after the Michigan State loss, Michigan traveled to Minnesota to face a resurgent Gopher team, which had thrashed the Wolverines in the infamous “Shane Morris game” the previous season. The Gophers had more motivation in 2015, after head coach Jerry Kill announced he was stepping down due to epileptic seizures.

The Wolverines had plenty of motivation of their own, including a share of the East Division title if they won out. After suffering a historic setback, would the Wolverines fold the tents, as they had in recent years, or would they take the punch and come out fighting, as Harbaugh had been training them to do since their first four-hour practice?

The teams swapped the lead in the first half, with Michigan taking a 21-16 lead early in the third quarter.

“In the first six games,” quarterback Jake Rudock told me, “I’d felt my confidence and rhythm gradually improving, but it was on and off. It wasn’t until the Minnesota game that I really got in a groove, and knew the light was staying on.”

But late in the third quarter, Rudock tried to scramble for a few yards. “But the way the geometry and physics of the situation played out, I could see the play was not setting up well for me, so I just tried to get down.”

He did, but not before two Gopher defenders got to him. “When my helmet came off, I’m thinking, ‘That’s usually not a good sign.’ It was one of those hits that just hurt – hurt real bad – and I felt it in my neck and ribs. It hurt to move, and I wasn’t breathing.”

Once he was out of the game, he told backup quarterback Wilton Speight, “Just relax. Just play. Don’t worry about the coach, or anything else. If there’s a play you don’t want to run, tell him now! Trust me, [offensive coordinator Jedd] Fisch would rather not call it than have you in the huddle saying, ‘Shit, what is this?’”

It didn’t take immediately. Speight’s three passes were incomplete, resulting in three punts, while the Gophers took a 26-21 lead with 11:43 remaining. But with Harbaugh and Fisch giving Speight the plays he wanted, Speight found his own rhythm. On third and ten from Minnesota’s 12-yard line, and about five minutes left, Speight threw a perfectly placed pass to Jehu Chesson in traffic, for a touchdown, and followed up with a pass to Amara Darboh for the two-point conversion, and a crucial three-point lead.

Down 29-26, Minnesota drove the ball to Michigan’s one yard-line with two seconds left. Interim coach Tracy Claeys bypassed the field goal to force overtime, to try for the touchdown, and the win. In one of Michigan’s most dramatic goal-line stands, the Wolverines broke through the line, stuffed the runner, and held their ground, for a gritty victory.

Harbaugh had promised them that, if they stuck with it, they’d be winning games in the fourth quarter, and here was proof.

"To be able to win a tough one, it's a great learning experience because it reinforces everything you tell them about never giving up, fighting to the end," Harbaugh said after the game. "That's the thing I'm most excited about. Our team has learned a very important lesson."

Six months later, the lesson seemed just as big.

“Against Minnesota, we battled back,” Harbaugh told me. “The big thing, to me, was this: no one gave up. That’s why I don’t think anyone on our side was surprised we had a chance to win it at the end. And when we stuffed them at the goal line – man, that was great. A thrilling victory. The wonderful feeling of winning.

“Wonderful.

“Wonderful.”

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The revised edition of Endzone is available now. (Yes, they fixed the typos.)

MGoRadio 2.4: A Cheese Called Dave

MGoRadio 2.4: A Cheese Called Dave

1 hour 39 minutes

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This was recorded before a live retail audience at Moe Sport Shops, 711 North University. Come by every Friday before a game to partake. For Homecoming we’re going to do it at the new Bo Store!

Special guests this week: Steve Lorenz of 247 sports, author John U. Bacon, who will have the afterword to Endzone very soon, Moe’s co-owner Rishi Narayan, and Liz Marek from Think Pink Go Blue with a word about Ann Arbor businesses’ work for breast cancer awareness month.

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A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out their new Bo Store on Main.

Our other sponsors are also key in the expanding empire: thanks to Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Liz Crowe, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Tailgater Concierge, who’s throwing us a tailgate tomorrow at 1300 S. Main (across the street from the stadium) to benefit Marlin Jackson’s Fight for Life Foundation.

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1a. Upon Further Review Recap

starts at 1:00

Penn State is pretty bad. Let’s talk to Steve!

1b. Across the Crooked Blue Line, with Steve Lorenz

starts at 10:15

Big recruiting weekend with a lot of top targets and most of the commits in town. May not result in instant commits but should move the needle and set them up for a good finish in February. Michigan hopes to flip two Don Brown guys, a BC commit with similar measurables to Luigi Vilain and a Khaleke Hudson-ish SAM who was committed to Penn State.

3. After Endzone, with John U. Bacon

starts at 34:56

He’s not Dave, for one. Neither is Ace. Also our very visual podcast discusses what happens to Brian’s hair when he puts a headset on. ALSO Bacon discusses how Les Miles was viewed inside Schembechler Hall under various administrations, and reveals Harbaugh’s plans to maybe explore an NFL job after he’s dead.

4. Gimmicky Top Five: Favorite Cheeses

starts at 1:03:11

Brian insisted. With special guest Rishi Narayan, co-owner of UGP and Moe’s.

5. Wisconsin Preview and Think Pink

starts at 1:14:54

The Legend of Three Sack Jack is told. Michigan faces the linebacker version of its own defensive line—minus their Glasgow—and a very good secondary so it might take some shenanigans to move the ball against them. But their offense isn’t nearly as scary.

Also Liz Marek joined us to talk about what Ann Arbor businesses are doing for Breast Cancer Awareness.

MUSIC:

"Seas of Cheese"—Primus
"Hip Hop Saved My Life"—Lupe Fiasco
"Where'd the Cheese Go"—Ween
"Across 110th Street"

THE USUAL LINKS

MGoRadio 2.0: A Mushroom Cloud in Halifax

MGoRadio 2.0: A Mushroom Cloud in Halifax

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You can’t tell but that text was very important to the production of this show.

A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out 100years.moe for the rich history of Michigan's oldest apparel store.

Our other sponsors are also key in the expanding empire: thanks to Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Liz Crowe, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad, and TheRide, Ann Arbor’s City Bus.

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We are back, this time broadcasting live from inside Moe Sport Shops on North University. Well, kinda live. Going live wasn’t so much live-live as banging on equipment until it agreed to do things. Also Brian forgot the names of both of our guests. For Brian’s benefit we will call these guests Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) from 247Sports, and author John U. Bacon, who will have the afterword to Endzone soon.

Inside the Crooked Blue Line, With What’s His Name

Various top overall recruits in the country are discussed.

After Endzone, with “Dave” U. Bacon

Michigan Hockey has a mushroom cloud in Halifax to thank for its existence. No that is not a South Park reference. Rather it’s John U. Bacon sharing a few exclusive bits about his upcoming projects, and Jim Harbaugh’s plans for Michigan.

Ace Pronounces the Warriors

Carl Grapentine is probably going to walk into Warde Manuel’s office and demand he never schedule Hawaii again.

Good Times With DeBord

A second running play is good to have against ASU.

THE USUAL LINKS

"Endzone" User Q&A With John U. Bacon

"Endzone" User Q&A With John U. Bacon

Submitted by Seth on December 3rd, 2015 at 1:15 PM

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Last summer, Bacon dropped "Endzone" (Amazon link), a nonfiction book that chronicles many of the things that had to go wrong to produce the Dave Brandon Era, and many more things that had to go right for Michigan to emerge from that disaster even stronger than before. By early September enough readers had pieced the bits of their blown minds back together enough to be like, "wait…what?" so we offered you the opportunity.81brQCbEIUL[1] Questions were asked in that thread or emailed to Brian.

One football season later, we have answers. Sorry it took this long—mostly the delay was due to one of the most questions that couldn't be answered without a few more months of data. Also Bacon was all over the country promoting the book this year, and had a kid in the interim. Plus there was football, so we held onto this for a little longer.

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1. Why not BRANDON’S LASTING LESSONS?

In Seth Fisher’s review here in MGoBlog – which I found thoughtful, well-written, and unusually good at getting beyond the surface—Seth mentioned that, at the book launch at Rackham on Tuesday, Sept 1, he’d heard I really didn’t like the faux title, “Brandon’s Lasting Lessons.”

Actually, I find it amusing, and I get the point, too. As I’ve written before, if you were to compare Bo’s Lasting Lessons to “BLL,” the contrast would be striking. And if Michigan – and other power athletic departments – don’t learn the lessons this time, shame on them. The future will not be bright.

But it’s probably not wise for any author to refer to his book as something other than its actual title. Further, I don’t want to come off as flip or snarky toward Brandon. The entire book is not about him, of course, and I did my very best to be as fair as I could possibly be to him and his record, throughout. But if other folks find BLL funny, I will not begrudge you your fun.

[After THE JUMP: the attempt to interview Brandon, typos, and what happened with MSU moving to odd years?]

Brandon's Lasting Lessons: A Review of 'Endzone' by John U. Bacon

Brandon's Lasting Lessons: A Review of 'Endzone' by John U. Bacon

Submitted by Seth on September 8th, 2015 at 6:18 PM

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Since Brian is in the story, it (again) fell to me to write this site's official review of John U. Bacon's latest book, Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football.

We'll get the Amazonian recommendation bit out of the way first: You should read it. If you are a Michigan fan, you should read it. If you are a rival fan, you should read it. If you are part of any organization that has customers and/or employees, you should read it. If you are a fan of a college football team you should read it, then try to get your athletic director to read it. If you're a fan of Texas you should just throw copies of it at Steve Patterson. Except this hardcover is over 450 pages, so that might hurt him. Do not throw copies of this book at Steve Patterson. Read it.

Since you are reading MGoBlog right this minute, either you already own the book, are going to follow this link to buy the book (hardcover/kindle) right this second, or else you're just here because you heard we are a purveyor of Blake O'Neill photographs (here you go). If you're not done with the book yet, you are invited to leave this tab open and come back when you are, since this review is going to spoiler the hell out of it. I will give you the same bit of advice that Brian did when he handed it to me:

"This book is going to blow your mind."

[After the jump: We with the broken bits of brain matter and skull on the floor try to piece that back together long enough to find a theme. (Spoiler alert) Michigan contracts a disease, but its immune system wins]