It's officially panic time for Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines following today's brutal loss at Wisconsin.
The Wolverines came into the 2019 season with Big Ten championship hopes. ESPN's Football Power Index named Michigan the favorite in the league. Several pundits predicted Harbaugh's team to win the Big Ten and make the College Football Playoff.
Now, technically, that could still happen. But anyone who predicted Michigan to do anything of substance on a national level this year is looking very, very wrong.
Michigan fell to Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium, 35-14, in a game that wasn't as close as the final score. The Wolverines trailed the Badgers, 28-0, at halftime and were mostly uncompetitive for three quarters.
A Michigan team in Year 5 of the Jim Harbaugh era simply can't lose a game in this fashion. Beating Wisconsin on the road isn't easy - no Wolverines coach has done it since Lloyd Carr - but you can't go down like this.
So, what now?
Panic, basically. Even the most-loyal of Harbaugh defenders seem to be backing off their stances now.
"Michigan is a complete disaster. I was certain Harbaugh would be successful there. Same with Chip Kelly at UCLA. Thus far, and likely forever, wrong on both accounts,"
Michigan is a complete disaster. I was certain Harbaugh would be successful there. Same with Chip Kelly at UCLA. Thus far, and likely forever, wrong on both accounts.
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) September 21, 2019
">Dan Wetzel tweeted.
Michigan fans have predictably been melting down on message boards all afternoon. And, hey, it's tough to blame them.
"It’s almost like ... and just hear me out ... Jim Harbaugh is an average college coach and Shea Patterson isn’t a game-changer," Barrett Sallee tweeted.
Is it fair to wonder if Harbaugh was ever as good as advertised? Maybe, maybe not.
But one thing is certain: the Wolverines just aren't at a level people expected them to be when Harbaugh took over this program. And at this point, it's fair to wonder if they'll ever get there.
With today's loss, Harbaugh falls to 40-15 as Michigan's head coach.
Up next for the Wolverines: a home game against Rutgers. Then: home vs. No. 18 Iowa, at Illinois, at No. 13 Penn State, home vs. No. 7 Notre Dame.
Harbaugh needs to rebound from this loss as well as possible, but it's not going to get much easier.