With a 56-27 loss in 2019, Jim Harbaugh became the first Michigan head coach to start his tenure 0-5 against Ohio State, as well as just the second coach in the history of the rivalry to go winless in his first five games, joining Buckeyes head coach John Cooper, who actually started 0–5-1 against the Wolverines.
Cooper’s ultimate downfall was that he did not beat Michigan enough, as he finished his time in Columbus a disastrous 2-10-1 against the Wolverines. And if Harbaugh isn’t able to turn the tide soon, he’ll surely suffer the same fate in coming years.
Harbaugh is well aware of that fact, too, as evidenced by his answer to a question at Big Ten Media Days on Thursday afternoon about where Michigan’s program currently stands and the steps needed to make the Wolverines a championship contender.
“Well, I’m here before you, enthusiastic and excited as I ever am, always am, even more to have at it, to win the championship, to beat Ohio and our rival Michigan State,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what we want to do, and we’re going to do it or die trying.”
Harbaugh, who has lost all five games by a combined score of 221-126, also shared a story about him, his wife and daughter recently climbing a mountain – a good analogy for the tall task he faces in catching the Buckeyes.
“I don't know how high it was. It was pretty high. We probably did 15,000 steps to get up there,” Harbaugh said. “We were getting up close to the top and (my daughter) said, 'We've got to apex, Dad. We're got to get to the top.' You're darn right we do. We've got to get there. That's what we've got to do. We've got to apex this and we've got to get to the top. She's got that gene in her, and I was darn glad to see it.
"I've got that gene in me. And some of the (players) we've talked about here already. We’ve got that gene in us. We've got to get to the top."
Harbaugh will have his next shot at the win column when Michigan hosts Ohio State on Nov. 27. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. on FOX.
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