That Jim Harbaugh hot seat starts now


Jim Harbaugh

Photo: Gregory Shamus/AP

Another rivalry game, another loss for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines.

In the latest installment of The Game, between Michigan and Ohio State the outcome has become typical, some semblance of a fight from the Wolverines only to come out on the losing end to the Buckeyes.

It was Ohio State’s sixth straight win over Michigan and their eighth over the course of their last 10 meetings not including the vacated win back in 2010 where of which the Buckeyes won that contest 37-7.

However as typical as a loss to Ohio State may be for Michigan, there was something different about this latest loss.

Namely this season for the Maize n’ Blue was supposed to be different.

The amount of hype for Michigan heading into the 2017 campaign in a way was overwhelming. But not overwhelming to the point where success was an insurmountable task for Harbaugh and company. Overwhelming in the sense that Michigan making headway in 2017 was seemingly all you heard about.

And for good reason.

We were entering year three of the Jim Harbaugh era which included a high-priced, NFL caliber coaching staff, a returning starting quarterback in Wilton Speight and a still formidable defense. Not to mention a top 10 recruiting class from 2016 that perhaps could have come into its own and the chance for fans to get a good glimpse of a top five recruiting class from 2017.

And with Ohio State maybe taking a step back based on what they lost this past offseason, this was Michigan’s chance to propel themselves up the standings in the Big Ten East, make a run at the Conference and as a result possibly finding themselves inserted into the College Football Playoff.

All the pieces seemed to be in place for 2017 to be Michigan’s year.

That is until they weren’t.

As quickly as the hype surrounding Michigan formed, it began to die out as the season progressed and the blemishes of Harbaugh’s squad reared their ugly head.

The offensive line was weak. The running game looked uninspired and the quarterback situation, something that Michigan was thought to have too much of was insufficient.

This in turn led to some very typical results for Jim Harbaugh.

Instead of building on what happened in 2016, for the first time in the Harbaugh’s three seasons in Ann Arbor the Wolverines failed to eclipsed the 10 win mark.

But it gets worse from there.

Since taking over from Brady Hoke three years ago Jim Harbaugh has for the very most part been nothing more but full of disappointing outcomes.

According to Brian J. Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press, Harbaugh is now 0-3 against Ohio State, 1-2 against Michigan State, 0-4 against the Buckeyes and Spartans at home, 0-6 as an underdog and a staggering 1-6 against teams ranked in the top ten.

Additionally, according to Brett McMurphy, Michigan along with Missouri are the only power five teams whose wins this season came against teams that finished the season without a winning record.

But what’s most frustrating about Michigan’s situation is where the team seemingly should be at this point.

In year three at their respective schools, Urban Meyer and Nick Saban both won National Titles while Harbaugh has managed to guide his squad to fourth place in the Big Ten East.

And to say a comparison with Meyer and Saban is unfair is totally unfounded.

Harbaugh is among the highest paid head coaches in college football today making $7 million a season placing him ahead of Meyer’s $6.4 million per year. Saban ranks in at number one making $11.1 million while Dabo Swinney follows up at number two making $8.5 million per season.

In fact, only Harbaugh and former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez (now with Arizona) are the only two coaches within the top five monetary earners in college football who haven’t brought a National Title to their programs.

In any sense Michigan’s fortunes need to change in 2018.

And it’s not like people should be demanding a National Title next season in Ann Arbor. Even though at this point fans wouldn’t be out of line with those expectations given what hasn’t happened yet.

On that note a Big Ten East title and a trip to the Conference Championship shouldn’t be out of the question. But with that means victories over Ohio State and probably both Penn State and Michigan State which again shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Harbaugh in year four.

And to those who say that’s asking to much, I simply want to know why?

In large part it was Jim Harbaugh himself who elevated expectations in Ann Arbor. Not to mention if you can’t count on a head coach who’s making $7 million dollars a season to win the Big Ten East, what can you count on him for at this point?

I’m sorry but I’m not seeing Urban Meyer put the Buckeyes in reverse.

Each and every season Ohio State is always living up to their expectations by challenging for the Big Ten title, earning a spot in the College Football Playoff and in some sense being in the discussion when it comes to a National Title.

But what happens in Harbaugh doesn’t at least win the Big Ten East in 2018?

Obviously any extenuating circumstances will need to be examined, however Michigan fans will need to ask themselves how much longer they’ll be willing to wait for some success to take place in Ann Arbor? Those will be hard questions to come to terms with, especially considering Jim Harbaugh has been thought to be the best head coach Michigan has had since Lloyd Carr.

But there’s also the right had coach that’s still eluded the Michigan program up until this point and the jury is still out on Harbaugh.


About Adam Hernandez

Adam Hernandez is the founder of The Majors Sports Network and EMPIRE Media LLC.

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