Ohio State football: Could Buckeyes chase Jim Harbaugh back to NFL?
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What are the odds that another loss to Ohio State means Harbaugh moves on?
— SIrv (@keyshawn_irvin) November 19, 2017
The rumors are out there already that NFL teams will try to make another run at Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, even coming up as recently as Saturday when ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit mentioned them during College GameDay. I don’t think there’s all that much reason to buy into them now, but his first three seasons haven’t played out quite the way many envisioned when he returned to his alma mater as a savior for the Wolverines. If Michigan drops a third consecutive game to the Buckeyes, combined with the losses to Michigan State and a fourth-place finish in the East Division this season, that could impact his future.
Now, that doesn’t mean in any way that Michigan would put him on the hot seat or even remotely think about firing Harbaugh. But the administration might start questioning a few of his tactics and wonder why it needs to go to the kind of lengths it has for his quirks ― for example, such as it did during the preseason by hiding the roster from Freedom of Information requests. Those things make a school that prides itself on doing everything the right way look ridiculous. It’s also spending a lot of money on his salary and sending his team overseas for spring practices without getting the type of on-field return for its investment that it surely envisions.
So, if the questions arise with Harbaugh, might he bristle at any attempts to control him and look for another option? Again, I don’t think that’s going to happen. But it’s also still kind of hard to believe at this point in his tenure that the offensive line at Michigan continues to be such an issue, that the quarterbacks would be such a weakness and his third regular season might end without a single victory over a team with a winning record.
Harbaugh seemed to have everything going his way heading into the Horseshoe last season and couldn’t get the job done with a senior-laden roster. This time around he’s a double-digit underdog in the Big House, and another loss in The Game quite simply isn’t going to play well with anybody around the Michigan program.