It's always interesting perusing the college football blogosphere and seeing what other fans think of our situation with Harbaugh. Obviously most of the time it is negative. We all know that Michigan creates ire everywhere just by being Michigan, and that is doubly compounded by Harbaugh.
Notre Dame has always struck me as an odd animal for offering criticism. Eric Murtaugh, a longtime ND blogger and noted M-hater from One Foot Down, has a new blog called 18 stripes, and never misses a chance to rip on M.
Excerpt from one of his more recent posts:
2017 seems like the year a long honeymoon starts ending for Harbaugh in Ann Arbor – expectations for year three will still be extremely high despite massive turnover on both sides of the ball. The schedule isn’t kind to the Wolverines either – they open in Dallas against Florida and down the stretch face road games at Happy Valley and Camp Randall before hosting Ohio State.
Michigan has recruited well enough that the floor remains high, but a step back even to 9-4 could start bending perceptions of Harbaugh from “crazy genius” back toward “just insane”.
This is a common thread among ND writers/fans. I've seen it from MSU and OSU fans too, but on this particular occasion I've limited my perusing to Irish corners.
Following is some additional noteworthy commentary. (Sources at the bottom)
You have to hand it to Michigan. There was no one - at least, no one who wasn't living in the fantasy land known as Ann Arbor - who genuinely believed that Harbaugh would leave the NFL for Michigan, even if it was his alma mater. The Wolverines were abysmal following the 2014 season, where they fell to 5-7 amidst blowouts, a concussion scandal, and the resignation of the athletic director - the very definition of a college football tire fire. Why would any coach with options walk into that?
Then when you realize Harbaugh is actually insane by clinical definitions it becomes easier to understand why he took the job. Of course, that won't stop the fans from eating him alive when he loses a third straight time to Ohio State. All the goodwill Harbaugh has built up from his two seasons will vanish come 4 p.m. on November 25th.
When does the Harbaugh honeymoon end?
The answer is obvious: 2017. Harbaugh is the only Michigan coach besides Rich Rodriguez to fail to beat the Buckeyes in his first two seasons. It's hard to see a triumphant Michigan squad succeed this year, either. They return so little that the losses spell doom for the Wolverines so much it could result in a 9-win season. That will prompt the very real grumbles from Michigan fans that Harbaugh isn't the right guy after all. The so-called Maize and Blue faithful can only take the abuse from Urban Meyer for so long before they decide it's time for a change.
Notre Dame only wishes it could play Michigan this year, when the Wolverines' loss of so many starters means the chance of a crushing defeat at the hands of the Irish would be surprisingly favorable. Alas, they'll have to wait until 2018, when the Wolverines will be a title contender.
Will Harbaugh still be the coach by then? Keep your eye on the game against Ohio State at noon on November 25. If the Wolverines lose that one (again), Harbaugh might just be given his walking papers, even if he's 11-1. Common sense tells us to never underestimate the delusional arrogance of Michigan fans.
In other news, Notre Dame went 4-8 last season.