Brian December 8th, 2014 at 12:15 PM


THAT'S THE SPIRIT. User "Number 7" on the correct way to take all information:

1.  All good news is good news.  (Because it's good news.  Duh.)

2.  All bad news is good news.  (Because it's probably just a smokescreen, because timing.)

and, thanks to this,

3.  No news is good news.  (Because also timing.)

Don't forget "4. In case of 2, annihilate the messenger."

ON HARBAUGH'S INTEREST LEVEL. I like it when NFL guys fire off things that I know aren't true, because then I can rail against 'em. It provides a level of certainty that's rare in any coaching search, and especially this one featuring a primary candidate who's employed until the end of December.

So: I know that the Michigan end of things referred to here…

…certainly does not think they're going to have to move on, at least not to the point of being "convinced" about anything. There was a meeting of some variety—executed slightly better than Jeremy Foley's—but the aftermath of it has not seen any lack of pursuit or increased focus on guys other than Harbaugh. Since Michigan didn't advertise it to the nation, we can't be certain exactly who was involved. I've heard it was high-level, possibly a Hackett-Harbaugh face-to-face.

I don't know what's going to happen, but the NFL-facing sources have been so strident about things that I know are not true multiple times that I take every new report from them with a grain of salt. If they end up being right it's not going to be because they're super plugged in.

ALSO HARBAUGH. Heard that he took in the OSU game with a bunch of former teammates who were asking him to fix things, to which he said (paraphrased) 1) you'll have to wait a bit here and 2) I'll have to get paid like a top five college coach.

The upshot of the first bit: Harbaugh isn't going to to anything that would be seen as abandoning his team, even as their playoff odds get extremely long. Don't expect something until the 28th, if Michigan is still waiting then.

The upshot of the second: I don't think we're talking Godfather money here, but something approximately Saban/Meyer yes. This was apparently the subject of a brief tug-of-war at the AD/prez/regents level when Schlissel balked at the idea and the regents were like "no, actually, this makes sense because X and Y." They are good to go for compensation, with donor aid.

UNLESS! That is, unless Harbaugh gets canned before the season's over. That would be completely nuts on San Francisco's part, but guys who cover the team are broaching the idea:

With a trip to Seattle coming Sunday, where the 49ers haven't won since 2011, before Russell Wilson was drafted, there's a reasonable chance Harbaugh doesn't last the season.

The precedent is Harbaugh's predecessor Mike Singletary, who was fired in Week 16 of 2010, after San Francisco was eliminated from playoff contention. That year, the Seahawks won the NFC West going 7-9.

If they're so inclined Michigan could step in and save the 49ers a hunk of money. With Harbaugh's contract an asset, it's unlikely he gets fired-fired; SF would probably not want him across the Bay and if so would want to get at least a mid-round pick out of it. Speaking of across the Bay…



THIS BETTING MARKET IS ALL OVER THE PLACE. After pulling their Harbaugh prop over the weekend, it returns with the Raiders a heavy favorite:

And then a heavier one:

That wild swing is likely because of the weekly NFL reporter scoffing and the fact that Harbaugh talked to Raiders owner Prince Valium after San Francisco lost to his team on Sunday. I'm a little skeptical Harbaugh's going to take the worst possible NFL job, one that might not even be in Oakland next year, but that ain't good. On the other hand:

And they just dropped the M odds to 4-to-1 as money comes in on them once again. Woo!


What did they talk about? I asked Davis, who laughed and said:

“I told him, ‘You stole our dysfunction!” Davis said. “‘That’s supposed to be our thing!’”

THE PLAN B TIER. With everyone laser-focused on Harbaugh there continues to be little clarity as to who might be the backup plan. Les Miles said he had not been contacted by Michigan, and I continue to believe that he's facing too much internal opposition to get a serious sniff.

Sam Webb has had a couple posts on Greg Schiano and Steve Addazio in the last couple days, names that alarm and boggle.  The most recent was at least about how Addazio is a more likely candidate than Schiano; I choose to interpret that information as "we do not want Greg Schiano so passionately we would choose to hire Steve Addazio over him." Corroborating is Steve Lorenz, who says all the noise about Schiano has come from his end($), with no Michigan folk mentioning his name.

That leaves Addazio's presence. Bald Brady Hoke makes no sense as any kind of candidate except to your crazy old coot grandfather who has all his savings in gold and doesn't trust the FDIC. Unfortunately, we have a lot of those hanging around. FWIW, I haven't heard one thing about him.

I don't think anyone has a strong grasp on who Plan B is. Rivals is pushing guys like Sean Payton and Bret Bielema; meanwhile on WTKA this morning Sam was talking about Jim Mora. I have heard diverse and sundry names, none of which stand out from the crowd. Clint Brewster's five guys not named Harbaugh or Miles seems like a realistic baseline: David Shaw, Mora, Dan Mullen, Kyle Whittingham… sigh… Addazio.


kind of looks like Scott Bakula

PINKEL? Seeing chatter about Mizzou's Gary Pinkel, but… like… okay remember what happened when Nebraska hired Mike Riley? Gary Pinkel is a bit like that. He's obviously got a much better track record than Riley what with his five ten-win seasons in the last eight years, but he would be 63 by the time he coached one game at M. By the time he got his guys in here he'd be ready to retire.

Pinkel may be an excellent coach, but is he that much better than a guy a decade younger than him? Coaching transitions suck; do you want to guarantee yourself another one in 5-7 years?

HE DOES THIS EVERY YEAR. One of the most attractive candidates on the B tier is on the verge of signing an extension:

Scott Stricklin expects a contract extension for Dan Mullen soon.

"Dan, in his defense, his focus has been recruiting, being in bowl prep," Stricklin said. "But I'm optimistic we can get that wrapped up pretty soon."

Ah but there's a  catch with the headline here:

Mississippi state law doesn't allow for a state employee's contract to extend more than four years. In each of the five previous seasons Stricklin and Mullen have come to an agreement. This year appears no different.

Iowa fans envy Mississippi State law so hard right now. But anyway: because of this law MSU has gone back to Mullen every year for a pro forma extension. That statement from the AD is based on hope and expectation and not nearly as meaningful as it would be otherwise.

There's been a bare minimum of Mullen chatter aside from some national guys on Scout saying he would jump if given the opportunity, so for whatever (probably bad) reasons are out there he does not seem like a likely option if Harbaugh falls through. That makes no sense to me, nor big chunks of the coaching fraternity. It is what it is. I'm still hoping this apparent lack of interest is because there is no serious interest in anyone not named Harbaugh just yet.



THIS, HOWEVER, IS THE END OF BUTCH. Butch Jones gets extended to 2020 at $3.6 million a year(!). In two years at Tennessee he's 11-13 and his best win is likely over South Carolina this year. Recruiting's going in the right direction, but as Hoke demonstrated that's not always enough.

In any case, that's enough to knock Jones off the Plan B list.

Etc.: Oregon State contacts Hoke. Note that they have not contacted Schiano. In Oregon State's opinion we would be downgrading if we hired Greg Schiano. Baumgardner column.



December 8th, 2014 at 12:47 PM ^

What you are willing to say you're "sure" about has expanded greatly since the last coaching search.  I assume this means there is more and better information inside available as a result of the age/expansion of MGoBlog and the general competence of its content.  Congratulations.


December 8th, 2014 at 1:21 PM ^

Heard that he took in the OSU game with a bunch of former teammates who were asking him to fix things, to which he said (paraphrased) 1) you'll have to wait a bit here and 2) I'll have to get paid like a top five college coach.


That's the most positive thing I've heard yet, from any source

The_Mad Hatter

December 8th, 2014 at 2:12 PM ^

Imagine what that scene would look like.  Bunch of guys that all played together 30 years ago watching their beloved Michigan get yet another swirly at the hands of tOSU.

Those guys probably talked some mad and convincing shit to Jim.

WTF Jim! How are you ok with this happening? You know you could fix this, right? Who gives a shit about the NFL Jim.  This is embarrassing for all of us, fix it Jim, etc, etc.

If he really had those guys over to watch The Game, I'm a lot more optimistic about him coming here. 


December 8th, 2014 at 1:50 PM ^

I don't know how the NFL's collective ego would handle one of their better coaches shunning them to go back to college. Their attempts to marginalize Harbaugh as a crazy person (we know he's crazy, but in a good way) are getting old. It's starting to feel like that guy who knows his girlfriend is going to dump him, so he starts telling all his friends how crazy and not hot she is. Kind of sad really.


December 8th, 2014 at 2:14 PM ^

Adam Schefter was just on sports radio in NYC and was asked about Harbaugh relative to the Jets.  The upshot was that he said "If I had to bet a dollar, I'd bet that he ends up with the Oakland Raiders."

But more interesting is that he didn't repeat any new info that he hasn't been saying for weeks, and his argument was basically "Jim Harbaugh is an NFL guy, so he won't be at Michigan."  And the draw to Oakland was that his wife is from California. 

In other words, no one knows anything and is going based on assumptions and opinions.


December 8th, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

Because that would be a lot of M fans throwing around a lot of money simply on something they "want" to happen.  Most people on gambling sites don't throw around large sums based solely on fandom.  Those who do aren't on gambling sites very long.  

Most movement you see on national bets has a lot more to do with what the smart money is doing.  Professional gamblers who make smart bets, not fans.  

My point is, there could be real information out there, and all of the people who know it are putting max bets on it. 


December 8th, 2014 at 12:53 PM ^

Professional gamblers don't have an account with They are rated a D-, payouts there take 2-3 months, if they ever come, they aren't a reputable sportsbook.

$2k win limits, mean that they are taking $250-$650 max bets, thats not a lot of money in the sports betting industry, when $2k is a normal size bet for a professional bettor.


December 8th, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

Relying on (out of Costa Rica) which has a D- grade would be like citing the Onion for news, If these recreational bettors get it right, it will be coincidence and not inside information; Just like the NFL guys if Harbaugh doesnt come.

No "sharp" or professional bettor would ever have an account with those people.


December 8th, 2014 at 1:12 PM ^

OK - I admittedly am not familiar at all with this particular site, and since it has gotten so much airtime lately, not only here but also by guys like RJ Bell and other national people, I assumed it was legit and indicative of actual Vegas lines.  

My statements were regarding an actual Vegas line, so if this site isn't legit, then yes, that changes my opinion of all of this.  If it's such a junky site, why are we even talking about it?  In that case, it should be disregarded completely.


December 8th, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

RJ Bell runs a tout site, (selling picks) that actually has rumored financial backing from Colin Cowherd, so I think that is why ESPN gives him some credibility although he is a snake oil salesman.

I know we have been posting a lot of what is tweeting out and they may be taking bets on Michigan causing the odds to shink. However, these would be from recreational bettors not pros.

As for why we are talking about it, I guess because it fits the narrative of what we all want to believe (Harbaugh to Michigan), but in reality it should be largely disregarded.

Gerald R. Ford

December 8th, 2014 at 1:59 PM ^

I am a total non-gambler due to sucking at it.  

Are there venues/sites that ARE very reputable (ie that a savvy pro would use) that are currently accepting bets on this quesiton?  If so, what are they saying.  If not, then this is the only venue, and it seems plausible that those in the know might go ahead and use it.  


December 8th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

Mullen "does not seem like a likely option if Harbaugh falls through"

Yes, this is the case.  Perhaps we came to it from different ends of the interest/availability spectrum, but the result is the same. He is not a real candidate and will not be the coach at Michigan.

FWIW, I don't think Mullen is going anywhere unless LSU or some other elite SEC/ACC job opens up. (or the NFL)


December 8th, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

Is his salary next year really a factor? I'd imagine any big time coaching contract would have offset language for another pro or college job in the event of a firing. It's still dumb for them to do so because of possible trade compensation, but money isn't material (he's at $5M and I'd think he gets a raise at his next stop).


December 8th, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

49ers beat reporter tweets this a.m. that if York/Balke become convinced they cannot trade Harbaugh he'll be fired.
Now...what would make it impossible to trade him? If news comes out that Harbaugh's canned it's almost certain they're convinced he's going back to college!