August 8, 2022

Has the sky fallen on Jim Harbaugh?

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh before an an NCAA football game against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

For a coach that has a salary of seven million annually, takes his players on trips overseas during the spring and has the support from Tom Brady, you would think that individual boasts an impressive record. However, it’s year four for Michigan’s Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and he’s 9-9 over his last 18 games with the Wolverines. No other coach in recent memory was heavily sought after like the way Michigan pursued Harbaugh. The red carpet was laid out for him when he returned to the collegiate ranks. Wolverine fans viewed him as their messiah hoping he would lead college football’s all-time winningest program back to the promised land after his predecessor Brady Hoke left it in ruins. Late legendary Wolverine coach Bo Schembechler said it himself that a Michigan man will coach Michigan. Harbaugh is definitely that, having played quarterback for five years under Schembechler and led the team to the Rose Bowl in 1986. After his arrival ticket sales sky rocketed, recruiting efforts upgraded, Jordan replaced Addidas as the brand on the uniforms and the players were more talented and tougher. That has created momentum and changed the culture around the program, however there’s still one huge lingering issue and that’s Michigan’s 1-5 record against its rivals Michigan State and Ohio State during Harbaugh’s tenure. Harbaugh ducked reporters questions at Big 10 Media Days in July about why he has struggled with the Buckeyes and Spartans. Considering that’s what he was brought back to the program for you would think that would be his top priority. I’m sure the Wolverine fan base wouldn’t have a problem with Harbaugh staying the night at recruits houses just as long as the team continues to win and not lose repeatedly to their rivals. The coach said his team has to get better and work harder and that’ll lead to championships. The loss last Saturday at Notre Dame didn’t show any of that. The all-star defense gave up two first quarter touchdowns. The offense looked completely inept and Ole Miss graduate-transfer Shea Patterson looked like a wide-eyed true freshman playing quarterback for the first time. Now it’s back to the drawing board for Harbaugh and the Wolverines. Sometimes its not the players at all, but instead it’s who’s coaching the student-athletes. Bringing in canned Florida coach Jim McElwain to coach the receivers was a head-scratcher. The Wolverines beat the Gators twice when Harbaugh and McElwain went head-to-head. McElwain must have a “if you can’t beat them join them” motto. Harbaugh also hired another assistant on his staff who was fired at his previous stop as head coach in former Kansas State coach Ron Prince. It’s only week two and the Wolverines have a couple cupcakes to play in the non-conference before going through their meat grinding Big 10 schedule. As for Michigan fans, y’all better hope Harbaugh didn’t put all his eggs in the Patterson’s basket. If the junior signal-caller doesn’t improve from his lackluster performance in the loss to Notre Dame, Michigan will have the same problems with the quarterbacks being a liability to the team and it’ll be a long season.