It’s time for Harbaugh and Wolverines to face the music
Taller adam | 6 hours ago
Michigan has a good football program, and it’s certainly a lot better since Jim Harbaugh took control as a coach in 2015.
The Wolverines, on paper, are talented enough to win 9 or 10 games every year, and they’ve always done so under the guidance of their 7th-year head coach.
Saturday’s bitter 37-33 loss to Michigan State’s No.8 shouldn’t change opinions – at least not drastically – about the trajectory of the winged helmet wearing wolverines, which was No 6 in the Associated Press poll entering the rivalry clash.
At 7-1, Michigan’s dreams are always within reach. The season is not over because of the heroic return of the Spartans in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Again Michigan is a good program and has been at its best for at least 20 years.
However, Harbaugh’s futility against ranked teams and rivals cannot be ignored. He’s 3-9, combined, against Michigan State and Ohio State. He has lost 2 in a row to the Spartans and has yet to beat the Buckeyes.
These are the goals of Ann Arbor: to beat rivals, win meaningful matches and compete for a league title.
With the exception of beating their rivals, the Wolverines have consistently worked to get back to the top of the Big Ten rankings.
But they have to overcome the bump.
They must realize that they are not part of the elite; they’re just good – and that’s OK, for now. Now in Season 7 under Harbaugh, it’s time for Michigan to put their money where their mouth is and bounce back from Saturday’s shocking loss.
Yes, there were questionable calls on Saturday. Each game has at least one or two. Harbaugh, however, was merely coached by Mel Tucker, who, in his second season at East Lansing, is the only MSU coach in the past 20 years to win his first two meetings against Michigan.
It’s time for Harbaugh and Michigan to self-assess and formulate a winning strategy for the rest of the season. There are still four games left in the regular season schedule, and the Wolverines – if they succeed – could easily end with another 10-game winning season … maybe even 11 if they find a way to topple the mighty Ohio. State, who is clearly the top of the class in the B1G.
“It’s not the way we wanted it to be,” Harbaugh said of the loss to MSU. “The players played hard – and now they’re going to have to step up their resolve. “
It’s up to the players to make things work for the rest of the year. But Harbaugh also has to take responsibility and face the fact that he has failed when the cards are on the table. An atrocious record against ranked teams hovers above his head like a black cloud.
He’s 11-17 against the top 25 teams, 2-9 against those teams on the road and 2-13 against the top 10 opponents. There’s no way to water it down: Harbaugh just failed to do it at a high level.
Of course, the Wolverines have the power of the stars and have beaten lesser opponents. But the glory of a 7-0 start in 2021 quickly faded when the clock ran out at Spartan Stadium. UM should have won this game, leading 30-14 in the 3rd quarter. But the train derailed and CB Charles Brantley became another legend in the Spartans rivalry with his interception that sealed the game at the end of the 4th quarter.
Michigan loves its football history, which has been romanticized with sayings like “team, team, team,” the phrase “Michigan Man” and lots of bravado.
This was then, which is now. And even then, Michigan was not a contender for the annual national title. It was always a 9-11 win team, regardless of the hype and hysteria.
Firing Harbaugh seems like the easy way out, at least in the minds of some fans. It would be a stupid move, however. Why fire a guy who has done more for Michigan football in the past 7 years than coaches like Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke? Why start another reconstruction? Why ignite the flames of an overexaggerated story and set sky-high expectations?
Michigan is a good team with a good coach. Not everyone can be the elite, and it’s time for the Wolverines to get real and realize that they have a lot of work to do before they are recognized as a top program, starting with their own league.