Following last year’s 42-27 win over Ohio State, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh used his postgame press conference to take a shot at Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day, suggesting that Day was “standing on third base thinking (he) hit a triple” after inheriting the program from former head coach Urban Meyer.
With the two programs set to meet again this week with a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game and potential berth in the College Football Playoff on the line, Harbaugh addressed his comments, which were in response to Day reportedly saying Ohio State was going to “hang 100” points on the Wolverines following a heated argument during a Big Ten conference call.
“It was definitely a counterpunch by me to the comment that they’re going to hang 100 on us, etcetera, kind of like Sugar Ray Robinson,” Harbaugh said during an appearance on 97.1 The Ticket on Tuesday. “But the fact is, I think (he) is a great coach. I think he is a tremendous football coach. Truth be known, that’s how I feel. You can see it week after week with his team. He’s as good a coach as there is in football.”
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Harbaugh accused the Buckeyes of breaking rules regarding on-field instruction time during the conference call, which occurred in August 2020. Ohio State didn’t get the chance to reach triple digits that season, though, as a coronavirus outbreak within the Michigan program forced The Game to be cancelled.
Harbaugh previously declined to expand upon his comment, which Day was also asked about during his press conference on Tuesday afternoon. He took the high road, but also left the door open for him to discuss it more in the future, perhaps if they beat the Wolverines on Saturday.
“I’m not going to talk about it right now,” Day said. “Maybe there’s another time to hit on that, but like I said, there’s certain things you listen to, there’s certain things you don’t. Any time you’re in a high-profile game with a lot of stuff going on, there’s a lot of things said, but there’s a time and a place to talk about that – and it’s not now.”
The loss itself – which snapped the Buckeyes’ eight-game winning streak in the series – was enough to fuel the Buckeyes all offseason, but there’s no denying Harbaugh’s comments add another layer of intrigue to Saturday’s game, which pits two unbeaten teams for the first time since 2006.
“At the end of the day, we got beat in that game and we had to figure out why that was,” Day said. “A lot of people have opinions when you lose a game, and we had to identify what was real and what wasn’t, and try to go from there. We certainly don’t get caught up in other people’s opinions. We cherish ours and try to make great decisions on how to move forward, and that’s what we did.
“It’s one of the greatest rivalries there is in the country, and any time you’re fighting tooth and nail to win The Game because of what’s on the line, there’s friction at times. That’s just the way it works. We try to just focus on ourselves, focus on respect for the rivalry by working it every day out of the year and going to go play as hard as we possible can on Saturday.”
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