According to at least some Michigan fans, the Jim Harbaugh honeymoon period is over. The Wolverines have seen some decent results under the famous alumnus. However, the program hasn’t taken the next step up to the level that rival Ohio State occupies.
After back-to-back 10-3 seasons to start his Michigan tenure, Harbaugh went 8-5 last season. You can see it as a step back spurned by the loss of top veterans… or a bad sign for Harbaugh’s future, with many of “his guys” taking over as the team’s veterans. It is probably too early to call.
What is pretty certain is that there is a segment of the fan base that Harbaugh needs to win back over, which really didn’t seem to exist through the first two years. However, his boss does not appear to be among those ranks.
Athletic director Warde Manuel is currently working on an extension with men’s basketball coach John Beilien. In discussing it, he was asked about Harbaugh’s status.
Jim Harbaugh is not currently up for a contract extension, but along with Beilein, Warde Manuel wants him around for the long haul.
He hopes both coaches retire with the Wolverines. From the Detroit Free-Press:
“I love my coaches across the board, love those two guys (Harbaugh and Beilein) in particular,” Manuel said. “I’m extremely pleased with where we are from a staffing standpoint. Jim and John are two people that I would love to see retire at this institution (when they) retire from coaching.”
Even with a down 2017, I imagine most fans are still squarely on Harbaugh’s side. This season could go a long way towards fixing one of the biggest issues that the team has had during his tenure.
Michigan has not gotten great quarterback play, especially the last two seasons. This year, former Ole Miss star Shea Patterson is expected to win the job, after being one of the top QBs in the SEC over the last two seasons.
And of course, he could just knock off Ohio State. Even if the team went 8-5 again, if Michigan scores a win over the Buckeyes for the first time since 2011, there’ll be some serious celebrations in Ann Arbor.