Finebaum came under some heat when talking about Harbaugh’s future with the program. When explaining why he thought this season would be the head coach’s last in Ann Arbor, the SEC Network host jokingly suggested that Michigan should just part ways with Harbaugh before the 2021 campaign began.
That comment set off some of the head coach’s defenders, so Finebaum tried to set the record straight in another radio appearance.
“Is Bozo the Clown available? I don’t know,” Finebaum said earlier this week on the Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin Show on ESPN radio. “First of all, I would like to go back to last Friday, and I’ve seen this story disseminated all over the country, and I’m not one of those guys that will come back and say, ‘I didn’t say that’ when the whole country heard me say it. But this is a radio show, OK? I was not delivering an opinion from the United States Supreme Court. We were having fun. We were joking around. I was saying Jim Harbaugh would probably get fired at the end of the year and then I added, well go ahead and do it now, I mean beat the rush. And what surprises me, and I don’t know where you are Key (Keyshawn Johnson), or J-Will (Jay Williams) or Shea, but I was most surprised how everyone took that literally, like I was suggesting that the athletic director at Michigan walk into Jim Harbaugh’s office today and say ‘You’re gone,’ before even playing the first game. That’s not exactly what I was saying, although quite frankly it wouldn’t matter if they got rid of him today because I think at the end of the year, we’ll still be at the same place.”
Finebaum didn’t stop there. Here’s what else he had to say about the Harbaugh era at Michigan, per 247Sports:
“First of all, he’s had a hard time developing a quarterback,” Finebaum said, explaining why the head coach has struggled in Ann Arbor. “In fact, yesterday Tennessee announced that (Joe) Milton, who transferred, would be the starter at Tennessee. I’m not trying to act like because you start at Tennessee means much at Michigan. But Jim is very hard-headed, he’s stubborn and he has no patience. And I also think he has failed to deliver on the promise that I thought he could, and that was to bring great talent by the masses. He’s had the top recruit in the country up there from New Jersey (Rashan Gary) a couple years ago. He’s had other really great players, which is understandable—you’re the University of Michigan. But when you compare that to his biggest competitor, Ohio State, he looks really bad. He couldn’t deal with Urban Meyer, and he’s dealing even worse with Ryan Day. And I think at some point, you just become stale.
“Keyshawn, he’s had a couple of good seasons. I mean, when you compare Jim Harbaugh’s record to Scott Frost at Nebraska, Harbaugh looks like Bear Bryant and Nick Saban wrapped into one. But we’re not talking about Scott Frost here. We’re talking about Jim Harbaugh, who I think is held to a higher degree because he took a team to the Super Bowl. He won the NFC. He was in championship games. He developed quarterbacks. He has not done any of those things at Michigan.”
Harbaugh is set to begin his seventh season at the helm for Michigan this weekend. His Wolverines will take on Western Michigan at noon on Saturday.
Harbaugh will likely be judged on what he does later in the season against tougher, Big Ten opponents, but starting out the year with a win this weekend is absolutely critical if he hopes to hold onto his job.