Through the first six years of his tenure, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh looked like he was good, but he would never be great.
Michigan was on the verge of winning the Big Ten a couple of times but Harbaugh could never get over that Ohio State hump and he was disappointingly losing to Michigan State every other year.
Then the 2020 COVID-19 season seemed to spark something in him.
Michigan had just gone 2-4 and the fanbase was down on Harbaugh. His seat was red-hot and something needed to change. He was winless against Ohio State with no Big Ten titles and no playoff appearances in six years. That’s not what he was hired to do.
In 2021, his Wolverines got off to a hot start and looked like a completely different team. They then lost at Michigan State which had fans singing the “here we go again” tune. They responded by reeling off four straight wins to end the season, including a huge one over Ohio State to win the Big Ten East. The Wolverines then rolled Iowa in the Big Ten title game and made the playoff before getting bounced by eventual champion Georgia.
In his follow-up season, he repeated as the Big Ten champ, going into Columbus and bullying Ohio State. Harbaugh did to Ohio State what the Buckeyes had done to him for years.
And it feels like it’s just getting started.
Michigan football recruiting at a scary level
What inspired this article was the fact that Michigan landed a five-star quarterback in Jadyn Davis over Ohio State and continued its torrid recruiting streak under Harbaugh.
The 2023 class was good for Michigan, but it wasn’t the “elite” group that everyone kind of expected. The 2024 class is becoming just that. Harbaugh currently has the No. 3 class in the country after landing Davis as his next five-star quarterback and we’ve seen him win with classes in the 10-20 range. I can’t imagine how good his elite classes will be on the field.
Harbaugh is continuing to prove that he’s here to stay and that pains me as a fan of a rival Big Ten team.