For the fourth straight season, Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines failed to get the job done in a huge game against rival Ohio State.
For that reason, there are some in Ann Arbor and in the media that aren’t buying the hype around Jim Harbaugh as a head coach. Despite a 10-2 record in 2018, it may not be too hard to find someone who considers this fall a failure for the Wolverines. That’s not the way ESPN Kirk Herbstreit sees it. He joined Tiki and Tierney on CBS Sports Radio and was asked by the hosts what he thought of Michigan’s 2018 season. While the Wolverines may need to tweak some things, Herbstreit still sees them as being on the right track.
“I don’t look at it as a failure,” Herbstreit said. “You might say that he didn’t beat Ohio State, so it’s a failure. I look at it like they are still a team that I think is close to getting where they want to be. They have to continue to adjust Their scheme, defensively, it’s old-school Mickey Andrews. They play man-to-man every snap. You don’t ever see that in college football. It works in about 10 or 11 of the games they play, and then they run into Dwayne Haskins and an offensive line that can protect with a lot of crossing routes and speed. Ohio State looked like an NFL team just throwing it around.”
As Herbstreit pointed out, Michigan could very well win 11 games this season. Not many programs would turn their nose up at that. The Wolverines still have a great opportunity in front of them.
“If they beat Florida, that’s 11-2 and a New Year’s Six bowl win,” Herbstreit noted.
Herbstreit has seen what it’s like to be on the losing end of the rivalry. John Cooper, who coached at Ohio State from 1988 to 2000, struggled against Michigan but still coached for more than a dozen years there.
“Well, I can tell you,” Herbstreit said. “I can tell you because I lived that. John Cooper, I think his record when he was there was like 2-13-1 or something. They gave him a long time to go out there. He could not beat Michigan. It was like a helmet game. It was like they pressed so hard when they got into that game, and I think with Michigan they have to avoid getting into Ohio State and making it feel like that.”
While some fans may be losing patience with Harbaugh, it seems like he has the full backing from the universe. Besides, Harbaugh has done some great things with the program in his time there. That may get overshadowed by his losses to Ohio State, but that should be taken into account when evaluating his job performance.
The Wolverines will look for that 11th win on Dec. 29, when they play the Gators in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.