Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he and his team will “mourn” the loss to Ohio State “for a bit,” but they are confident in themselves and insulated from any negativity that has erupted after the game last Saturday.
The Wolverines were routed, 62-39, in the regular-season finale at Ohio State. They lost out on an opportunity to play for the Big Ten championship and to remain in the College Football Playoff hunt. Michigan finished the regular season 10-2, 8-1 with a share of the Big Ten East Division title and will learn its bowl destination on Sunday.
Harbaugh, speaking this week on “The Harbaugh’s Podcast: Attacking Each Day with an Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind,” said the Wolverines remain sure of themselves.
“We know who we are,” Harbaugh said. “Our players, our coaches have overcome every adversity that has been in front of them, so nothing changes. It just means the work isn’t done. We knock out these finals, and finish with a victory. That will be our intent.”
He said he has heard from friends who have asked if he has listened to the “naysayers” in the aftermath of the loss.
“It goes back to you know who you are and when you know that and you know your players are great guys and great players, it keeps you immune to all that,” Harbaugh said. “People who have texted worried about if I’m listening to the haters, no, it’s completely irrelevant because we know who we are and that keeps you immune from it.”
Harbaugh said his father, Jack, offered him “wise” words after the loss.
“The way he said it was, ‘Nov. 24, the better team won. Ohio State was the better team, congratulations to them. Had that been a week later or a week earlier, the result might have been reversed,’” Harbaugh said.
“Ohio State was the better team. They played better on that day. There’s things in life where they don’t go your way. It always seems like sometimes life is testing you. I believe the strong end up surviving and the weak end up having that keep happening to them the rest of their lives. I thought our players played a great season.
“Our coaches coached a great season. We’ll mourn that for a bit. We’ll get them back and get win No. 11.”
Jack Harbaugh suggested on the podcast that because Michigan shared the Big Ten East championship there should be a banner hung somewhere to “remind” the Wolverines of their championship.
Michigan will find out its bowl destination Sunday. If Ohio State earns a playoff berth, the Wolverines are expected to play in the Rose Bowl. If Ohio State is not a playoff team, the Buckeyes would go to the Rose Bowl and Michigan likely to either the Fiesta or Peach bowl.
Players who saw significant playing time this season will enjoy some rest this week but the others will be in the weight room before getting the week off. Starting next Monday, there will be what Harbaugh called “opportunity practices” for the younger players and weight and conditioning for all of them.
The team’s annual banquet has moved from during the week to Sunday, Dec. 9, at Crisler Center. Two days later, Harbaugh said the team will begin bowl practices in earnest.
Harbaugh was asked on the podcast about junior defensive end Rashan Gary’s decision to forego his final year of eligibility for the NFL Draft.
“We’re all thrilled and happy for Rashan’s career here at Michigan, for what’s going to come,” he said. “He’s a great guy, a great football player. He’s one of us.”