Michigan is sitting at 1-3 with a terrible loss to Michigan State, a bad loss to a solid Indiana team and an absolute beatdown at the hands of Wisconsin. With a trip to Rutgers planned for this weekend, Michigan and Jim Harbaugh need a win in the worst way. If somehow the Wolverines were to lose to the Scarlet Knights, the city of Ann Arbor might implode. Here's what a win and a loss would mean for Harbaugh and the program.
Unfortunately, a Michigan win this weekend over Rutgers won't do much of anything for anyone.
The Wolverines are favored by 10.5 and honestly should never lose to such an inferior program, although we've already seen that happen this season. Jim Harbaugh and his staff should be able to coach their team to a win over Rutgers in their sleep. Even though Michigan has been bad, no one is going to pick against the maize and blue against a program like Rutgers despite the Scarlet Knights playing better football this year under Greg Schiano.
It also wouldn't do much for the fanbase. So many Michigan fans are fed up with Harbaugh and what they've seen on the field this year that even a big win against a bad Rutgers team won't quell the disappointment. You don't have to look very hard to find fans ready to rain on any type of parade whether it be positive recruiting updates, news about the basketball team or quotes from the players. The maize and blue faithful have had it up to their foreheads.
On a positive note, a win would be great for the players and their confidence. They don't care who they're playing against. Beating another man down and leaving a stadium with a win always feels good. If certain players like Joe Milton, any of the running backs, receivers who have had some drops or the defensive linemen can play well, it will only help what they're trying to do moving forward. Rutgers isn't a very good team and doesn't have the kind of talent Michigan does, but those are still Division I scholarship athletes within the Big Ten conference. At the end of the day, a win is a win and the Michigan players are dying for one.
If Michigan goes into Piscataway and loses to Rutgers, there won't be enough words to describe how far the program has fallen under Jim Harbaugh.
Losing to Michigan State was really bad. That's an inept Spartans team and might finish the year with just that one win. For Michigan to lose to them was unacceptable, but at the time just felt like a very unfortunate occurrence. Then Michigan got handled, pushed around and beaten convincingly by Indiana. The Hoosiers are pretty darn good, but Michigan hadn't lost to IU since 1987 and falling by 17 is also unacceptable. Talks of moving on from Jim Harbaugh really heated up and people were unified by the idea of changing things at the top of the program. Finally, the near 40-point drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin in Ann Arbor, all but sealed the deal. There are virtually no Harbaugh supporters left and people genuinely seem to want a new head coach in Ann Arbor. If Michigan loses to Rutgers, you won't be able to find one person who wants Harbaugh to remain in Ann Arbor. Period.
I've written several iterations of "Harbaugh's time is running out," but a loss to Rutgers would bring out the torches and pitchforks from even the most avid Harbaugh supporters. There's not much defending him right now, but a loss this weekend would be absolutely and unequivocally indefensible.