3 biggest benefactors from Jim Harbaugh departing Michigan football for the NFL

Who will benefit the most from Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan football for the NFL? We examine that question by looking at teams and head coaches that benefit.
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; As fans rush the field, Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; As fans rush the field, Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

Michigan football fans had to be disappointed when head coach Jim Harbaugh decided to leave the Wolverines for the LA Chargers of the NFL.

But one person that probably wasn't disappointed, is Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. Maybe Day is bothered, because with Harbaugh coaching in the NFL, he'll never be able to enact revenge on Harbaugh for the "born on third base" comment. He was 0-2 in the next two games against Michigan.

So in terms of benefactors, the biggest one from Jim Harbaugh leaving is Ohio State/Ryan Day. It won't do anything to reduce the pressure on Day, but it should make Michigan less formidable, even if Sherrone Moore is a really good head coach, it's hard to believe he'll be as successful as Harbaugh. Just like Ryan Day hasn't been as successful as Urban Meyer.

Truth be told, this won't change that much for the Buckeyes. Ohio State out-recruited Michigan throughout Harbaugh's tenure. In terms of recruiting rankings, Ohio State always had more pure talent, but Harbaugh beat them anyway.

Maybe Moore will even recruit better than Harbaugh, it's hard to say, but Michigan feels less formidable with Harbaugh gone and Ohio State is the biggest benefactor of that after getting relegated to No. 2 in the Big Ten over the past three seasons.


Nobody has benefited more from the big coaching events (Saban and Harbaugh) this month than Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs.

College football fans wanted to talk about how the Alabama dynasty was dead last year, but the Tide ended Georgia's winning streak and were a play or two away from beating Michigan and winning the national title.

Kirby Smart still owns just one win over Nick Saban in his time at Georgia. That could have changed going forward, but the most formidable foe in the SEC is now retired. Michigan was building a yearly national title contender. Moore could keep that train on the tracks, but Moore and Ryan Day aren't Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer -- the last two head coaches to win national titles at Northern schools.

Michigan and Alabama could still be formidable. Plus, other programs like Oregon are starting to emerge, but in terms of college football powers, after Georgia and to a lesser extent Ohio State, all the other big threats have major question marks, which could lead to even more UGA titles.


Coming into the Big Ten, Oregon is another team in a solid position to capitalize on Michigan losing head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Ducks and Wolverines do actually compete for a quite a few recruits on the West Coast and that should only increase now that they are part of the same conference.

More than anything, it takes the top team in the conference and weakens them. As I said, Moore could be a great head coach. But there will be some drop off. Jim Harbaugh is arguably the best head coach in college football, or was, so losing him is a blow, no matter how you slice it.

dark. Next. NEXT . Way-too-early 12-team Playoff Projection

If Michigan suffers some transfer portal losses, the Wolverines could be much weaker than if Harbaugh stuck around and since the Ducks seemed poised for a national title run, they are another program that could really benefit from Harbaugh going to the NFL.