Michigan fans have spent the last six years finding every excuse imaginable to defend Jim Harbaugh’s failures on the football field. The long list of scapegoats includes Rich Rodriguez, Brady Hoke, the administration, the spot, the refs, the morals, the standards and now COVID. Year after year, Michigan fans rush to defend the shortcomings of a man who is paid elite money to be an elite head football coach of an elite football program.
Nearly a full six years into his hire, there is nothing elite about Jim Harbaugh’s job performance at Michigan. The time for making excuses in Ann Arbor is over.
At 2-4 on the season and 0-3 at home, the Wolverines are now on track to finish with their worst regular season record since Harbaugh’s arrival - with only Maryland and Ohio State remaining on the schedule. Not only has Michigan lost every home game so far this season, they’ve managed to do so in spectacular fashion. The Wolverines dropped their first home game against the Michigan State Spartans as a three-touchdown favorite. Michigan followed that up with a historic blowout loss at home to Wisconsin, a team that hadn’t played a game in two weeks due to a COVID outbreak. This Saturday, Michigan fell to a Penn State team that entered the afternoon sitting at 0-5 (the only winless team in the Big Ten Conference).
Worse yet, all of this is occurring during a year in which Michigan is faced with the decision to either renew Jim Harbaugh’s expiring contract or to cut him loose.
Based on the results so far, it’s hard to imagine any reasonable justification Michigan would have for renewing Jim Harbaugh’s contract. In fact, renewing his contract under these circumstances would set a dangerous precedent for what are considered to be “acceptable” results at the University of Michigan. Michigan refused to accept failure from Rich Rodriguez after three years and refused to accept failure from Brady Hoke after four. Under no circumstances should Michigan be willing to accept failure from Jim Harbaugh after year six.
If Michigan hopes to retain its reputation as a premier football program, the powers that be must send a clear message that failure is not acceptable - not even from a man like Jim Harbaugh.