The University of Michigan Football starts fall camp this week with high expectations. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh takes the field to prepare his team after dominating the off-season.
The guy is clearly non-stop.
He’s an international sensation whether presenting the Pope with a Michigan football helmet or criticizing the Trump administration for budget cuts to legal services for the poor.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) May 2, 2017
I hope reports that White House trying to defund Legal Services Corp aren't true. LSC is CRUCIAL to making justice system fair. #LSCmatters
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 28, 2017
Coach Harbaugh has clearly won the off-season.
Now entering his third season there are three numbers to keep in mind as we judge the on-field progress of his program.
The last time Michigan beat arch rival Ohio State was in 2011. Ohio State fans are quick to point that Michigan last beat Ohio State in a gap year after disgraced Jim Tressel resigned prior to the season. The Buckeyes stumbled to a 6-7 record and served up Brady Hoke’s only win the rivalry.
The last Michigan victory over a fully armed and operational Buckeye team was 2003. While Michigan still holds the overall lead in the rivalry (58-48-6) since 2000 the Wolverines are a paltry 3-14.
The hammer and nail aren’t rivals– too often Michigan has played the nail as Buckeye teams have hammered them on the way to national titles and Big Ten Championships.
Jim Harbaugh is only responsible for the last two losses, but a win this season would be a major achievement.
It’s been 13 years since Michigan’s last Big Ten Championship. Since the Big Ten went to a championship game format in 2011, Michigan has never made the trip to Indianapolis.
Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, and Iowa have all played in the Championship after Michigan’s regular season ended. Last season Michigan crushed Penn State 49-10 only to falter late in season and stand idly by as the Nittany Lions won the Big Ten Championship.
Four times Michigan’s division rivals (Ohio State, Michigan State-twice, and Penn State) have the won the league championship.
Off-season trips to Rome, Florida, and Normandy are great– but a December trip to Indianapolis would serve as tangible evidence of program growth.
It’s been 20 years since Michigan won the National Championship. The t-shirts and hats celebrating the victory are fading.
A bid in the college football playoffs which Michigan was tantalizingly close to last season before being tripped up by season losses to Iowa and Ohio State would make Michigan fans giddy.
Jim Harbaugh didn’t return to Ann Arbor to beat Air Force. The expectations at Michigan are higher than that. Outsiders have seen the alleged revival of Michigan before. Rich Rodriguez was brought in with expectations of greatness and instead oversaw the collapse of program. Brady Hoke had mini-revival going until things fell apart during this third season.
Harbaugh has put together great recruiting classes and assembled a top rate coaching staff.
Now it’s time to start erasing the numbers of Wolverine futility and creating some for their rivals.