Jim Harbaugh is building a Monster at Michigan

Submitted by The Mad Hatter on April 6th, 2016 at 10:41 AM

Fluff piece from the Sporting News about how aweseome Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football team are.



Will Michigan be a monster? It took Harbaugh one year to get the Wolverines back to that comfortable place where Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr had the program.

It's similar to another model at a college football powerhouse. Nick Saban went 7-6 in his first year at Alabama in 2007 before a 12-2 record in Year 2. From there, Saban created a national championship superstore. Harbaugh has the same resources to work with at Michigan. He took three years to compile a winning record at Stanford. He is ahead of schedule with the Wolverines. 



April 6th, 2016 at 12:16 PM ^

I wouldn't say he's ahead of schedule at all (ahead of schedule would've been beating Utah, Staee or OSU). 


But I do think he's on schedule towards something big. 


You can't compare his progression at Stanford to Michigan because Michigan was wayyyy better off when he took over and also has bigger institutional advantages that helped in recruiting sooner. 


Harbaugh absolutely needs to beat at least one of the rivals this year. If he doesn't, season 2 will be a colossal failure no matter what happens in the rest of the games (especially if he loses to MSU). Given how we return essentially everyone and MSU/OSU lose essentially everyone (and MSU doesn't bring in a freshman class nearly as talented as ours) we must win. 

9-3 regular season with a great bowl win was a success in season 1. 


For season 2 to be a success, with the circumstances surrounding other teams and our cakewalk of a nonconference schedule, we need to go at least 11-1 in the regular season. But if we lose 1 game and don't win the division, 


April 6th, 2016 at 12:50 PM ^

Beating Florida by our huge margin was a fantastic win.


But if you don't realize that Florida was playing horribly the entire 2 months before they played us, you're being willfully ignorant. (Almost lost to Vanderbilt at home, almost lost to Florida Atlantic at home, slaughtered by Florida State, slaughtered by Alabama)


April 6th, 2016 at 12:52 PM ^

Obviously not.


However, people would need to stop hailing him as an instant savior for the time being. And if we lose to both in 2016, I would feel very little confidence going into 2017, a year when we will be losing a ton and neither of them will. Starting 0-3 vs. one or both of them? Pretty bad. (That would put Harbaugh behind Hoke). Again, still definitely has a very safe job, but people on here would need to cool the jets on worship at all costs.


I have full confidence Harbaugh will right the ship eventually, but he has a golden opportunity to do so this year that he needs to take advantage of to live up to his billing. 

The Oracle

April 6th, 2016 at 1:19 PM ^

The MSU game would have been a major upset, and it took a fluke play to keep it from happening. And that happened before they started getting good QB play. OSU were defending champs and might've been the most talented team in the country. As hard as it was to watch, the outcome really shouldn't have been too much of a surprise. In fact, the game preview here pretty much predicted what actually happened. I agree that there is an excellent chance to beat both this season, but they're both still excellent programs and there are no guarantees, especially when QB is currently a big question mark. 5-7 to 10-3, with essentially the same roster. A great recruiting class with more to follow. There will be colossal failures.


April 6th, 2016 at 1:34 PM ^

Ohio State should NEVER beat Michigan by 30 points in Ann Arbor. NEVER.

That is always a failure and always unacceptable no matter the circumstance. Yeah, they should've beaten us, but getting utterly creamed at home is not to be expected. EVER. I cannot believe a true Michigan Fan would suggest that we should just be okay with that.

We haven't lost to them by that much in the Big House in DECADES. Even Brady Hoke and Rich Rod had much, much closer games than that in Ann Arbor. 

BRADY FREAKING HOKE was only down by 7 to the Buckeyes halfway through the fourth quarter in COLUMBUS a week before they beat Wisconsin 58-0 and then won the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

In 2015 we let a team that had lost to Michigan State's backup quarterback in the Horseshoe 7 days earlier run us out of our building.


Now, that doesn't make the season a failure. But stop acting like everything has already been fixed for god's sake and 2015 was all ponys and rainbows. 



The Mad Hatter

April 6th, 2016 at 1:45 PM ^

A couple of points to consider..

The team was banged up to hell, and not just the lines.  If we had played them as healthy as we were by the time of the Citrus Bowl I think the game would have been much closer.

MSU beating them knocked OSU out of their slumber.  They were sleepwalking through the entire season and didn't expect to lose to MSU.  They came to Ann Arbor looking for blood and revenge (even more than usual).

Durkin was checked out by the time of The Game.  His defensive strategy was crap and once OSU adjusted at the half he had no answer for them.  I think the game would have been a lot closer if Mattison was DC.

That said, they were the better team and they won.  I don't think that's going to be the case this year.



April 6th, 2016 at 2:33 PM ^

In addition, we also didn't have the speed and offensive skill guys to match up well with OSU this past year.  They simply had way more raw talent.  That is already starting to even out with their personnel losses, and our recruiting gains.  This year's game should be different, assuming our QB situation works out ok.


April 6th, 2016 at 6:13 PM ^

Yeah, I agree with you guys too, which is why I said we shouldn't have beaten them.


However, there is a big difference between losing to Ohio State and losing to Ohio State 42-13 at home.

They beat us worse than they beat a ton of other teams they played all season and those teams have much less talent and speed than we do. 


April 6th, 2016 at 3:05 PM ^

Them beating us was an upset, the spread fluctuated between Michigan -6 all the way up to -7.5. I think it closed at 7. ML was around +200 for State. The rankings mean nothing. We were the favorite and should have won the game.

We will be favored again this year in EL and need to win that game, period.


April 6th, 2016 at 6:08 PM ^

not that i disagree with all your comments but just wanted to point out that lines are intended to draw equal money on both sides.  point spreads often play out as accurate and theyre certainly a nice benchmark but they function to balance books.  vegas lines vs rankings is not exactly scientific.  not busting chops (i actually agree m losing was an upset), just commenting that point spreads arent always the ultimate indicator (though theyre often accurate).

and youre right, theyll likely be favored again next year and need that w


April 6th, 2016 at 8:06 PM ^

That's not necessarily true. "Sharp" sportsbooks set lines they believe to be accurate, and will usually only adjust the line via sharp money (pro bettors). Sites like 5dimes will hold a line even if it has 80-90% one sided action if they believe the line to be accurate. 

In some cases yes books want even actions, but not all books function the same. Square books like more even betting action, but some experience books will hold their opinion if they feel it is accurate. 

ND Sux

April 7th, 2016 at 7:30 AM ^

to mention the Utah have as part of your reasoning.  FIRST game (of season and staff) on the road, at night, new defensive scheme, new offensive scheme, new QB in the scheme, plus Utah was not too shabby at all.  We were 6 point dogs (IIRC) for a lot of legitimate reasons.


April 6th, 2016 at 12:28 PM ^

Stanford was a disaster when he took over. Michigan was a talented team that was badly coached and badly managed (DB). Going 10-3 was right on schedule and pretty much in line with what he did at Stanford... except that JH in 2016 >>> than JH in 2007.



April 6th, 2016 at 12:30 PM ^

regard to Jim being right where he wants to be now............daily improvement.

For as out of touch as they are on many football related topics, I think sports commentators and writers aren't off base in the "three year" expectation. However, even that comes with a lot of flexibility.  Most aren't hired with a full recruiting cycle to work with so when they say "He'll have his own men with a few year's experience in his system," it's obvious that is going to vary based on what you walk into.

Obviously, most aren't going to walk into a Les Miles situation at LSU or Urban Meyer at OSU, equipped with  the most talented roster in their respective conferences, with the bonus of having the players that fit your system perfectly.

All who mentioned Hoke's recruiting on the defensive side are absolutely correct as giving him a solid foundation to build off of on that  side of the ball. I also have a ton of respect for Mattison's coaching ability and the difference in quality of coaching was so damn apparent when we realized we actually had a receiving core on par with the conference's best. I do think the lack of a  running game allowed us to realize Harbaugh's abilities - although I don't think there were too many doubters - because he  had to devise some clever schemes, especially early, that allowed the offense to put some points on the board.

The record was a bonus, but just like Saban's first year at Bama, he accomplished what he had to as to taking full ownership and leaving no doubt as to expectations. It's also quite obvious, imo, the media is getting a bit carried away with expectations as to season number 2. And as they are suggesting, it might not matter who emerges as qb as to having another good season. However, based on all of those that saw the Spring Game and were more impressed with Peters than the other three and simply the overall awareness of everyone on this site, the monster is still in its infancy until we line someone up under cernter that is generally regarded as good as anyone in the conference.