Lilian Garcia Returns To WWE With Her Podcast Chasing Glory [Exclusive Interview]

The Official WWE Network adds longtime wrestling ring announcer Lilian Garcia’s podcast Chasing Glory to its growing roster of shows. Weekly episodes of Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia will be available on the free WWE Network. The first episode with wrestler Braun Strowman launched on Monday October 26th at 10am ET.

Lilian Garcia was born in Madrid, Spain and moved to the United States at 8 years old. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and was a runner up in the Miss South Carolina Beauty Pageant. After college she broke barriers in the combat sports world when she became a ringside announcer for the WWE. This bilingual Diva hosted WWE matches for over 15 years and was the first woman to ever announce Wrestlemania. Her well-known voice and charming personality bring the fights to life for the fans in the stands and people watching at home. Garcia sang the National Anthem before many WWE RAW events and currently holds the record for most musical performances at Wrestlemania. Garcia is a musician in her own right and has released several spanish pop albums. Along with hosting and producing her own podcast, Garcia is currently the first female in-ring commentator for the PFL (Professional Fighters League).

Photo Courtesy of Christian Oth.

Garcia is well-versed in all things wrestling and Chasing Glory makes a nice addition to the WWE Podcast Network team. Garcia goes inside the ring and deep in the minds of the people on her show. Chasing Glory features former and current wrestlers, musicians, athletes, wellness experts, and more. After being a WWE ringside announcer for over a decade Lilian Garcia is a familiar face to many of her guests. This along with her genuine sincerity allows her to connect with them and get a raw and unfiltered look on how they overcome challenges on their path to success. This podcast brings an uplifting and positive message to the audience and leaves the listener inspired.  

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Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia made its debut in 2017. It has over seven million global downloads and broke into the Top 10 on iTunes more than once. Other shows on the WWE Network include the shows Uncool with Alexa Bliss, After the Bell with Corey Garcia and The New Day: Feel the Power. Previous Chasing Glory episodes can be found here: www.YouTube.com/LilianGarcia.

I connected with singer, songwriter, actor, host, and producer Lilian Garcia over the phone from Los Angeles. She told me what signing to the WWE Network means for her podcast Chasing Glory. Garcia spoke about her early days on the big screen and in the squared circle. We connected over our passion for music and Garcia gushed about her favorite singer. Lilian Garcia wants her podcast to help and inspire people and so far she’s doing a great job!

Lilian Garcia: Hi Jake!

Jake Perry: Lillian! Hello! So nice to hear from you.

Lilian Garcia: Hi, how are you?! 

Jake Perry: Doing well, thanks. It’s a big day for you today. Congratulations on signing to the WWE network!

Lilian Garcia: Thank you very much. I really, really appreciate it. It means a lot. This is exciting. 

Jake Perry: So once again, Lilian Garcia has “something to shout about.” 

Lilian Garcia: (laughs) Oh my God, you’re a fan, I love it. Sings “You got something to shout about baby!”

Jake Perry: I must say, you have some good jams! You’re bilingual from growing up in Spain and have a few Latin pop songs out there. I listen to Latin singers like Luis Miguel. That’s how I practice my Spanish. And now you’re on the radar!  “Quiero Vivir” over here. 

Lilian Garcia: Oh my God. sings “Ahora grito, Yo Siento!” Yeah, what a fun time to put that whole album together.

Jake Perry: It seems like WWE really nurtured your music career. They had you on the show performing on RAW, they brought on your musical partner John Secada. And then also, I want to say, you might be the only person to write and perform their own theme song! 

Lilian Garcia: Oh, wow. I didn’t even think about that. 

Jake Perry: Right. You wrote it and performed it! Hulk Hogan definitely wasn’t singing “Real American.” 

Lilian Garcia:  I’m thinking R-Truth (WWE Wrestler) might’ve as well because he’s into music, but there were only a handful, and it was really special that they allowed me to do that. It was fun. It was cool when I asked them if I could go ahead when I did that song for the first one that I did was for the Originals, WWE Originals. And then I said, “Hey, can I just walk out to the song since we put it on the album?” They were like, “yeah.”  And then when we use that one, I was home for a while .I was there for 15 years. So it was kind of like we wanted to change it up. There was another song that I had done, “Ur Girl (til the end of the world)” and so we created that one as the entrance theme song. So that’s cool. 

Jake Perry: Yes, Excellent. You are on the WWE Network. I’ve been listening to the Chasing Glory Podcast and I have to say, you’re a great interviewer. You get people to tell their own story about rising from defeat, persevering through hardship, dealing with fame. Who’s your inspiration when it comes to interviewing? Did you just grow up watching Oprah or Sally Jesse Raphael? You’re really asking these great questions. These people are opening up to you. 

Real, Raw, & Inspiring 

Lilian Garcia: Wow. Thank you, to put Oprah in the same sentence, that’s amazing. I appreciate it. You know, it’s so funny because some people have tweeted to me and they’re like, you’re the Oprah of wrestling. And I’m like, wow. That’s like the biggest compliment ever. I have to say that I just genuinely love peoples’ stories. I love to hear what people go through, how they conquer through those challenges and how they even sometimes are at work and trying to be superstars. But yet they have problems at home and how they’re challenging that, or how they’re on the road all the time. And you know, their families are at home and we’ve gotten some incredible stories of that. Even something that just popped in my mind is Sting (WWE Wrestler), when he talked about how he got his dream and then he’s on the road all the time, but then all he wanted to do was run home and just quit. And he said for me, it was because I didn’t really have God in my life and found that. And it’s just incredible, these stories that you hear from these superstars that you would never imagine. 

Jake Perry: Yeah. I don’t think we’d hear these stories if they were getting interviewed by someone else. I think they feel real comfortable with you and they see your face in the ring and now they’re sitting on the couch talking to you. You’re just a genuine person and they see a familiar face so it makes these huge superstars very vulnerable and open up. And we don’t really get to hear that anywhere else except on your podcast, which is awesome. 

Lilian Garcia: Well, I really appreciate that. I think they have seen from day one that I approach my interviews with zero judgment. I’m not there to exploit their story. I’m not there for clickbaits. I just genuinely want to hear what their journeys are and in hopes with the show and them being so open, we can help somebody out there. Somebody that’s really suffering and somebody that’s feeling alone, but yet when they hear these stories, they’re like, “Oh, I’m not the only one going through this.” And I can apply this into my life and get inspired and then hang on. I mean, that’s the biggest thing is.. suicide rate is so high that I’ve been hearing, people have written in, and said I was really at the bottom of the bottom and I was contemplating something really dark and your show and hearing the superstar’s story saved me. That is extremely powerful. I know that there’s something very special with Chasing Glory and the fans have made it special by sharing it. 

Photo Courtesy of Chris Cuffaro.

Jake Perry: Now that you’re with the WWE Network, are there any changes to the show?  Are you recording from a certain studio or are they putting you up in a studio? 

Lilian Garcia: Yeah. I appreciate you asking that. I want to be clear about this because the WWE also wants to be clear about this. When they signed on this for the network that absolutely were like, we do not want to produce this. We all love the way you produce the show. We love the way you’re shooting this show. So we want you to still have full reigns on that. We want you to bring your team and you guys shoot it. We’re just going to give you access to the superstars. So I fly there with my team. We do the COVID testing, all of that. And then we go in and set up our own set. They give us a room. That’s basically it. They give us a room, we set up our own set, and I run the interviews one-on-one. there’s nobody in the room when I run the interviews. I kick everybody out because that’s the intimacy that you get. I don’t want a superstar knowing that there’s anybody there watching him in the room, being self-conscious, or anything like that. And I love that the WWE has trusted me to run these interviews and then we go home and we produce it ourselves. We edit it, we put it all together and then we turn it into the network. So I want people to know that this is the Chasing Glory product that you’ve been hearing, that you’ve been seeing on YouTube. But now you can see the audio or the video portion on the free side of the WWE network, but you can still hear the audio wherever you get your podcasts. 

Jake Perry: Awesome. Happy to hear that. Censorship’s big right now so I’m glad Vince is giving you total control, which is nice. You’ve been at the WWE for over 20 years but you grew up in Madrid, Spain. How did you even get hooked up with wrestling? Did you connect with this male dominated industry from being a military brat? 

ALSO READ: Rob Terry Is Pumped To Talk About Generation Iron: Natty 4 Life [Exclusive Interview]

Lilian Garcia: So my dad and I used to watch it when I was a kid, I used to remember yelling at the TV when Ric Flair was on there. Oh my God. He used to get me so mad (laughs), but then, I went off to college. Then after college and I had done radio and all that, then I moved to New York. And after I moved to New York is when the opportunity came through my agent who said, I’d like to try you out or they’d like to try you out at WWF. And I thought he meant the World Wildlife Fund. When he said it was the World Wrestling Federation. I was like, wait, wrestling? What could I be doing in wrestling? And then when he told me, he’s like, I know it’s not for a wrestler. I’m not really sure exactly what, but I think you should go and try it out anyway. And it was the best advice that I took because what a journey it has led me to. It’s just been able to open up a lot of doors and I just have traveled the world and gained amazing fans. The fans of wrestling are the best. They really are so devoted. They want to see you succeed, which is great. Then to be able to then bring them into Chasing Glory and all these amazing stories, and then now have the network pick it up. Man, it’s my own chase for glory. Right? It’s on my own. Pretty cool. 

Jake Perry: When the WWF to put out that casting call, I don’t know if it said ringside announcer, but if it did, it’s probably the first time they put out a ringside announcer casting call that didn’t say, looking for a balding mid-forties man with a thick mustache.

SEE ALSO: ‘You Cannot Kill David Arquette’ Shows Actor ‘Scream’ In The Wrestling Ring [Exclusive Interview]

Lilian Garcia: (Laughs) Yeah. It’s funny when I went to the audition, I didn’t even know it was for a ring announcer. I had no idea. My audition was more backstage interviewing, which I ended up doing on SmackDown. But I do remember that when I went there, there were hundreds of people, male, female, like all ages, types, everything. And then they narrowed it down to three of us. And then I got the call and they were like, we’d like to try you out two to three months. You can quit at any time during this try out. And at that point I was like, I have nothing to lose. And that was it, August 23rd of 1999. 

Jake Perry: Do you think the audience accepted you immediately? Did you feel a warm welcome from them? 

Lilian Garcia: Oh, hell no!

Jake Perry: No?

Lilian Garcia: No, it was rough because I was replacing a legend, Howard Finkel. And I also had zero training. I didn’t know to the day that I showed up at Iowa State university that day that I was going to be ring announcing that very night. And let me just add on top of that. Not only was I not trained, not only did I find out 20 minutes before I went live on the air that I couldn’t use cue cards, but the day before I had just gotten back from the Dominican Republic and I had Montezuma’s revenge. I was so upside down going through so much in my mind, but I held on somehow and I just learned, went home and really, really studied. And I think they saw the improvements so much for the week two, and how much I was really devoting time to learn and to really engulf myself in this world, that that’s what ended up helping me. And the rest is history, as they say. 

Jake Perry: What a story you have here. Some people are a little bitter about the WWE and Vince McMahon, but everything I hear out of you and everyone on your show is very positive. It seems like a good family to be a part of, which is nice. 

Lilian Garcia: I would not have been there for 15 years and still be a part of it and still sign onto the WWE network if I didn’t hundred percent want to be there. There’s no reason for me to do that. They have been amazing with me and I thank Vince and I thank the team and Kevin Dunn for taking a chance on me, someone who didn’t know anything about ring announcing and to put me out there. It was a sink or swim situation, but at the same time and made me learn really fast. And I think the fans, the reason that they actually took to me eventually was because they saw how hard I was working and they saw that I genuinely wanted to be there. I appreciate them and I think that that radiated and they could see my authenticity of wanting to be there and loving wrestling. So it’s been incredible that that continues today, that fans can be so loving and just so supportive. And now so supportive of the show, over 7 million downloads that we’ve had. That’s the reason that it’s going to be on the network now, they’re part of that. Everybody who’s been a part of this chasing glory journey from day one, they’re what I call my CG squad. I can’t do it without them. 

Jake Perry: Right. I think Vince lucked out. He’s got a good deal. He might be selling you short here. I think he’s secretly keeping you on as a staff therapist. He’s just not telling you. 

Lilian Grace: Hahaha, that’s hilarious. 

Jake Perry: I was checking out your IMDB page. It looks like you did one movie back in 1990, Modern Love

Lilian Garcia: Yess! I did. Oh My God.

Jake Perry: That’s awesome. I guess they were filming in your hometown? I saw that it was filmed in South Carolina. 

Lilian Garcia:  Yes, so it’s funny because Robby Benson, if anybody out there remembers Ice Castles, it was such a big movie at the time. He came as a director and I was actually in college and I was filmmaking producing, directing. That’s what I majored in. So he came to the university to give a class. And you had to audition to be in his class because he was just such a big star and really behind the scenes as a director, he knew what he was doing. So I auditioned for it, made his class. And then as part of the class, he was making a film and he was doing Modern Love. And so he auditioned us for different roles and sure enough, I’m there singing with my band. The funny part, the backstory on that one is I had to sing Hava Nagila at first. They were like, “you know Hava Nagila?” And I was like, “actually I do”, because I was singing in a band at the time and we were doing all these Jewish weddings and also I was like, “yep, sure do. I can do it”. They’re like, “okay, awesome, great. We’re going to have you perform Hava Nagila.”  So then that morning we’re there on set. They were like, “okay, we want you to perform it, but we want you to act like you don’t know the song.” So I’m like, Oh, okay. But they didn’t explain why. And what’s funny is now you watch the movie back and you have no idea why I don’t know the song. They kind of forgot to say, “well, we’ve asked her to play, Hava Nagila, but she doesn’t know the song, but we’re going to do it anyway.” Like they just forgot to set it up. So it looks like I have no idea what I’m doing. (laughs)

Jake Perry: But that’s so cool though. Your first credit, you’re in a movie with Burt Reynolds and Rue McClanahan! I love it.

Lilian Garcia: Yes! I know.

Jake Perry:  And also, I guess you were a karaoke host back in the day. What’s your go-to karaoke song these days? 

Lilian Garcia: Anything by Pat Benatar. Oh my God. I love that woman so much. She really influenced my singing career. My mom would always play her and I would just.. my god “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, to “Treat Me Right, “Shadows In The Dark” I was just into all her songs because she was one that really sang.  I even trained operatic, as far as my coach, because I heard that she did that. It was the best training that I got because when you train that way, even though I sing more pop rock, but I didn’t lose my voice because I learned the proper way. That was an influence that she had on my life. So she’s definitely somebody I want to get on Chasing Glory. 

Jake Perry: That’d be great.

Lilian Garcia: Oh my God. That would be amazing.

Jake Perry: Who are some of your other favorite singers? Or some Spanish singers that you listen to?  You worked with Noriega. He was part of the Latin boom, and worked with Shakira. You’re part of that movement, bringing the Latin heat! 

Lilian Garcia:  I know. Working with Tim Mitchell, who is the musical director for Shakira and working with George Noriega, who has worked with Gloria Estefan, with John Seceda, with Ricky Martin, with J-Lo. That record was so much fun to put together because the two of them are incredible, incredible at what they do. Songwriting with them, producing, all of that. I remember when the record was done and I did it in Miami and I would just fly back and forth there. And I remember I was listening to it at South Beach and I was listening to it, tears just streaming down my face. Not only was I so happy with the record, but I was also, you know, just so happy at the experience that I had had putting it together. But then I was also sad because it was done. So it was very full of emotions, but I’ve been in awe of.. I love the Latin music and I love the Latin industry. I love being able to still be fluent and use my voice in that culture and also representing the Latino market. It’s an honor for me to be, not only the first female, but the first Latina to ever announce WrestleMania and break that barrier in such a male dominated industry to then fast forward to now being the PFL cage announcer, which is the Professional Fighters League in MMA. It just got announced that I’ll be back for next season. And I was the first female and first Latina to ever be a cage announcer in combat sports. So it’s so crazy and so grateful to have these opportunities to break barriers and just represent the Latino market.  

Jake Perry: Okay, awesome. Talk about breaking barriers! One of my favorite performances of yours was the duet was Stone Cold Steve Austin. Man, that was good. 

Lilian Garcia: Oh, Oh my God. that was so funny. You’re talking about Memorial Day, “America the Beautiful”.. 

Jake PerryYes, yes, that’s the one! 

Lilian Garcia: Hilarious. Okay, let me give you a little story on that one. So he started the song on such a high note, a key, and I was like, Uh Oh, and I knew it was going to be a trouble in the middle and I didn’t want to sound operatic. You’ll hear me drop out in the middle of the song. And he looks at me and then he just goes in and takes that note, you know, just sings away, which ended up being even better that he had that moment where he was by himself. Just wailing, and I join in at the end. Yeah. So that wasn’t planned that he thought I was ribbing him. He thought that I purposely dropped out of the song. I was like, no, dude, you started the song so high. So those are the things that happen on live TV that later on when you hear the story, you’re like, Oh my God, that’s so funny. 

Jake Perry: Great television. Just to wrap things up, once again, congratulations on signing to the WWE Network! 

Lilian Garcia: Thank you. 

Jake Perry: You know, your Braun Strowman interview already got a bunch of clickbait articles. There’s a bunch of little things in there that people are picking up on and making their own articles from that’s how deep you get with these interviews Lilian!

 Lilian Garcia: Woo hoo! I didn’t even know that. Thanks for telling me. I’ve been so busy promoting the show and getting the next episode ready that I didn’t even know that. So thank you. And I want to, I say, I want to thank the media who’s doing that, who’s picking this up, but also the fans  that are definitely tuning in and more importantly, the guests that are coming on and opening up, you know, being so vulnerable and trusting me. I want to thank them so much. 

Jake Perry: Every time I tune into the podcast, I get inspired and feel positive. So you’re doing great! 

Lilian Garcia: Thats awesome. I appreciate that. That means more to me than you know.

Jake Perry: Alright Lillian. Thank you so much. 

Lilian Garcia: Thank you, have a good one. 

Be sure to follow Lilian Garcia on Instagram and tune in to the Chasing Glory Podcast on the WWE Network, iTunes, Youtube, and all podcast platforms.

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Have you checked out LRM Online’s official podcast feed yet The LRM Online Podcast Network? This includes our premiere podcast Breaking Geek Radio: The Podcast, GeekScholars Movie News, and our morning show LRMornings. Check it out by listening below. It’s also available on all your favorite podcast apps!

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Izzy Explains Why She Favors Bayley Over Sasha Banks As The SmackDown Women's Champion

YouTube star and wrestling enthusiast Izzy has taken her fandom to a whole new level. Enthralled by WWE's third brand NXT, she finds herself admiring those who have gone above and beyond to prove their worthiness for a future opportunity on the main roster. Among the many women who have stepped through the black and gold ropes, Izzy became a fan of Bayley's aspiring career. In this week's episode of The Bump, Izzy explains to the panel what inspired her to follow Bayley's career and what made her a fan of NXT.

"What got me into Bayley was how colorful and energetic she was," Izzy replied. "She was really different from all the other women, and I found myself like that with other little girls. So, that's what drew me to her.

"And NXT, it like, gave me that underground feeling that nobody really knew about. It was like the new shiny toy that everybody wants to check out. So, that's what I love about NXT."

Although her long-lived run with the SmackDown Women's Championship ended on Sunday at Hell In A Cell by her frenemy Sasha Banks, Izzy is hopeful that her "Role Model" will pull through and regain the title for a third time.

"I was really sad when she lost at Hell in a Cell because Sasha doesn't deserve that. This was the year of the 'Role Model,'" she stated with confidence. "This was Bayley's year; she was killing it. And Sasha, she's just a jealous snake. Like, who likes that?"

Izzy admits her and Banks are not on the friendliest of terms ever since "The Boss" stole her hair bow five years ago. In light of their confrontation, Banks has gone out of her way to apologize, but Izzy still holds a grudge.

"She did [apologize], actually, after the match," she noted. "She gave me a little fist bump and her giant bouquet of flowers. But, I still have a grudge against her. You know, who steals a little kid's bow? That's not cool. It's terribly mean."

With all the new and veteran talents in NXT, Izzy looks forward to seeing what the company will do with the Superstars she lists off as her favorites.

"Some of my favorites right now are Shotzi Blackheart. She is like a rock concert in the ring," she began with a big smile. "Also, Tommaso Ciampa, you know, no one will survive when they're in the ring with him. He kills it every time he brings it. Undisputed Era - I love them. Also, he's kind of like on NXT, but it's Pat McAfee. I'm so excited that he finally returned."

You can watch Izzy's full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE's The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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Japan's unbeaten 'Monster' Inoue KOs Moloney in Las Vegas debut

Japanese boxer Naoya Inoue walks to the corner after knocking down Australian challenger Jason Moloney during their bantamweight title bout at MGM hotel and casino in Las Vegas

Naoya 'Monster' Inoue defended his unified WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles in his Las Vegas debut on Saturday with a seventh-round knockout of Australia's Jason Moloney.

The undefeated Japanese superstar floored Moloney with a shuddering punch near the end of the round to retain both belts in spectacular fashion at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.

The 27-year-old Inoue landed a vicious straight right that buckled Moloney's knees in the 118-pound fight and the Australian was unable to beat the count with just one second left in the round.

"The final punch, I'm very happy and satisfied with that punch," said Inoue. "Moloney has great defence it was difficult to get through."

Inoue scored two knockdowns and improved to a perfect 20-0 with 17 knockouts while Moloney dropped to 21-2 with 18 KOs.

Inoue dominated throughout the fight which was held inside the quarantine bubble at the luxury casino on the Las Vegas strip.

Inoue's devastating punching power was on full display as he showed why he is nicknamed 'Monster'.

Inoue first knocked down Moloney in the sixth round with a left hook on the counter. He ended it one round later with a short right hand. Moloney tried to get back to his feet but was unable and referee Kenny Bayless counted him out at 2:59 of the round.

Inoue unified the IBF and WBA crowns last November by winning the World Boxing Super Series final over Filipino star Nonito Donaire by unanimous decision in a pulsating "fight of the year" contender.

The Japanese knockout specialist had dispatching his four prior foes in less than three rounds.

Inoue was to have faced another Filipino, John Riel Casimero, in April but the bout was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 29-year-old Moloney stopped Mexico's Leonardo Baez after seven rounds in June but he was overmatched against the speed and power of Inoue.

gph/dh


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Big Blue mess: Harbaugh has biggest flop yet

They are begging for him to stay in Columbus. They are pleading for him to stick around in State College. They are worried in East Lansing about a contract that’s set to expire in 14 months. Heck, even Indiana is planning on upsizing at their expense.

Amid its sixth season, the Jim Harbaugh experience at Michigan has officially flipped. It began with carnival barker attention and overzealous amounts of Big Blue optimism. It teased within inches of national prominence on the infamous J.T. Barrett fourth-down play at Ohio State in 2016.

But after No. 13 Michigan’s 27-24 home loss to 24-point underdog Michigan State, the Harbaugh experience has spiraled into a predictable heap of uninspired mediocrity.

Michigan has failed its brand and history so resplendently that opposing fan bases are openly rooting for Harbaugh to get a lifetime contract. Don’t laugh, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said just last year he wants Harbaugh to “retire here.” Hail to the Underachievers, this is one topic the Big Ten can finally all agree on. Even Nebraska.  

The latest Michigan flop under Harbaugh marks the low point of his unremarkable tenure at Michigan. Michigan State entered the game fresh off a brow beating from Rutgers, and instead of burying Mel Tucker’s recruiting juice locally, Harbaugh delivered a triple shot of adrenaline to his nascent tenure.

This is worse than Harbaugh’s 2-12 record against top-10 teams, 0-5 record against Ohio State and his four consecutive bowl losses. This is about getting beat by a decisively inferior roster, as Michigan State’s roster features a group brought in during the sputtering twilight of Mark Dantanio’s tenure.

This is exactly the type of loss that would make it insane for Michigan officials to extend Harbaugh at his pre-COVID salary of $8 million per year. And that’s why opposing fans are rooting so hard for Manuel to stand by Harbaugh, the grand diluter of a great football brand. This is Harbaugh’s third home loss to Michigan State, a statistic out of the Hoke/Rodriguez horror files.

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 31: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on during the fourth quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on October 31, 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

It’s descended to the point where folks around the Big Ten are snickering at Harbaugh’s aloofness, gawking at the predicament Manuel has on his hands and texting each other popcorn GIFs at what will happen next. Michigan is now that program in a league that everyone is staring at, wondering what they’ll do next. Do they extend the status quo and continue the laugh track? Do they try again to lure a foil to Ohio State’s juggernaut?

There’s no easy answer who they’d bring in as an upgrade. Any morsel of 2020 hope mustered after an opening blowout of Minnesota was sledgehammered away. Michigan State delivered an upset that’s as improbable as any Spartan win in the more than a century this series has been played. But there was nothing fluky about it. Michigan State was better coached, more disciplined and kept pounding away at Michigan’s obvious weaknesses, the sign of a well-coached team.  

While Michigan was costing itself points running a wildcat, MSU just kept picking on those hapless Michigan corners.

Michigan has slipped to the definition of unfounded arrogance — the Wolverines are the bluster without the results, the brand with the wrong ambassador and the familiar logo that’s making you forget why you recognized it in the first place. They are old money hanging around the country club because they always have, but as the years go on everyone else forgets why.

The issue here is that Harbaugh has failed the program with his inability to modernize it. He’s hired staff haphazardly. His recruiting department is devoid of strategy and the other Power Five recruiting departments are praying they don’t change. Forget beating Ohio State, they aren’t even competing with them for recruits.

Two games into Year 6, this is Michigan’s identity in the Harbaugh Era. It’s a disjointed offense, a defense that heads into the fetal position at key moments and, most clearly, the worst big-game coach in the sport. Annually and consistently, no one lets you down when the stakes are high more reliably than Harbaugh. But the problem that Saturday’s flop brings up is the issue of Michigan failing against a pedestrian opponent.

Michigan has no direction, no leadership and an identity tied only to its shortcomings. And they’ve yet to face a team in 2020 with superior talent. That’s when defensive coordinator Don Brown’s defenses annually turn from paper tigers into shredded paper, his schemes so predictably limited that you can already set the over-under for Ohio State at 55. (Won’t find a lot of action on the under.)

If Michigan State freshman Ricky White can catch eight balls for 196 yards, how many will Ohio State stars Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson grab? There’s nothing more certain than Brown’s aggressive man coverage getting torched each fall by high-end talent. Brown would be America’s worst chiropractor, as he’s either is incapable of adjustments or flatly refuses to execute them. Over and over, rinse and repeat with no signs of progress or hope for evolution. That’s on the head coach for enabling predictable failures.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

But this is also where the program’s scattershot recruiting comes in. Michigan’s corners looked like they belonged in the MAC on Saturday, and if your whole defense is predicated on lockdown corners, wouldn’t it be wise to have a better stable than the overmatched bunch that Michigan State mowed into infamy?

That takes head coach leadership, investment and vision. Perhaps Harbaugh’s biggest failure has been his inability to be engaged enough in Michigan’s recruiting to give it a chance to compete with Ohio State, Clemson or Alabama. Anyone who has followed recruiting closely could have seen the drop-off in Michigan’s overall talent.

We entered the season knowing that the opt-out of Ambry Thomas, Michigan’s best corner, left them vulnerable this year. It’s just that we didn’t think they’d be so vulnerable that they’d manage to make Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi, a middling Big Ten quarterback, look like an All-American.

For the first five years, Harbaugh’s teams had taken on a rhythm as reliable as the tides. They’d beat up on the Big Ten’s flotsam and jetsam and then bow down to the elite competition in the league.

Harbaugh isn’t a dummy. He’s won 72 percent of his games (48-19) there for a reason. But this loss is different. This is the worst loss of Harbaugh’s tenure because of how it exposes all its shortcoming in one resplendent mess.

And with Michigan likely an underdog at Indiana on Saturday – let that sink in – and staring at a potential 4-4 season, Michigan may finally deliver the high-end drama Harbaugh’s hire promised.

Will they keep them? Will they overpay for his results, enable his bizarreness and chuckle at his recruiting board? That’s Michigan’s national relevance these days.

Fingers are crossed in Columbus. They are thumbing rosaries in State College. And in Bloomington, they are shushing any criticism. After all, how many times does Indiana potentially get to be favored against Michigan?

They are cheering for an extension, and it would be on brand for Michigan to perpetuate Harbaugh’s unfounded arrogance. They are the only ones who fail to realize how sideways this Michigan era has gotten.

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Gervonta Davis stops Leo Santa Cruz in 6th at Alomodome

Gervonta Davis, left, is knocked down by Leo Santa Cruz during the first round of a boxing bout Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Ronald Cortes)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Gervonta “Tank” Davis knocked out Leo Santa Cruz with a stunning uppercut in the sixth round to retain his WBA lightweight championship and take Santa Cruz’s WBA junior lightweight title Saturday night at the Alamodome.

Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) stunned Santa Cruz with a pair of left-handed hooks to the side of the head in the sixth round to set up the final blow. With Santa Cruz retreating to his own corner, Davis delivered a left-handed uppercut to the jaw that dropped Santa Cruz immediately. Referee Rafael Ramos stepped in quickly to stop the bout 2:40 into the sixth with Santa Cruz unconscious with his right leg bent behind him.

“I’m so, so proud of him,” said Hall of Famer boxer Floyd Mayweather, who is Davis’ promoter. “I’m probably happier than he is.”

Headlining his first pay-per-view, Davis silenced critics who questioned his discipline due to a history of struggling to make weight. He also demonstrated his poise and repertoire at 25 years old against one of boxing’s most skilled fighters.

“That shot (the final uppercut), a couple of times (prior) he was blocking it,” Davis said. “It was stuff that, me just not going away from that punch and keep testing it.”

Santa Cruz (37-2-1) remained unconscious for a few minutes before rising with assistance and smiling while sitting on a stool to acknowledge that he was fine. Although he waved to the crowd and walked to the locker room on his own, Santa Cruz was taken to the hospital afterwards as a precautionary measure.

“I wanted to make sure he was OK," Davis said. "We fighters, we go in there with a killer mindset at the end of the day we all have families to go home to and I definitely didn’t want anything crazy to happen to him.”

The fighters exchanged a series of blows in the opening round while standing toe to toe. Davis hit the canvas late in the opening round after taking a right hook to the jaw, but Ramos quickly ruled it a slip after the fighters got tangled up.

Santa Cruz suffered his own slip early in the second round, which led to Ramos cautioning Davis. The warning upset Davis and fueled Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz became the aggressor in the third round following his early success.

Davis responded in the fourth round with a series of heavy blows to the head that seemed to stun Santa Cruz and slowed him early in the round. Santa Cruz would rally late with an overhand right straight to the nose that caused Davis to take a couple of steps back to gather himself.

In the fifth round, Davis began to assert control with a series of body shots that slowed Santa Cruz.

“When I started breaking him down to the body, I felt him breaking down,” Davis said. “There were shots that I was hitting him with, and it was touching his gloves, but his head was going (back). So, I’m like, he’s breaking down for sure. So, that’s when I started pressing him.”

Santa Cruz suffered a low blow with 1:21 remaining in the sixth round, which Davis protested. This time the warning fueled Davis, who staggered Santa Cruz with two left hooks to the side of Barrios’ temple. Santa Cruz smiled after the first left hook, but Davis charged at him and delivered another left hook before ending the bout with a left uppercut.

In the co-main event, Mario Barrios retained his WBA super lightweight championship with a sixth-round knockout against Ryan Karl before a hometown crowd at the Alamodome.

The bouts were part of the first major boxing card with a live audience since the Coronavirus pandemic shuttered all sports drew 9,024 fans to the Alamodome. Seating was limited to 11,000 due to social distancing at the 72,000-seat facility.

The heavy blows in each fight rang through the cavernous stadium with so few fans in attendance.

Due to the pandemic, Barrios had not fought since winning the then vacant title Sept. 28, 2019 against Batyr Akhmedov. The lay-off resulted in a sluggish start for Barrios in his first title defense, but found his pace beginning in the fifth round.

A right hook to the jaw dropped Karl early in the sixth round and his situation grew worse after suffering a deep cut to the middle of his forehead after butting heads with Barrios. With blood streaming down his face, Karl took a series of heavy blows to the head before referee Luis Pabon stopped the bout 2:23 into the sixth round.

Houston’s Regis Prograis, who knocked out Juan Hernandez in the second round of their super lightweight bout prior to Karl’s defeat, declared he wants to fight Barrios next for the WBA super lightweight championship.

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