OP's post makes plenty of sense to me. If I was OSU, I wouldn't be scared for the same reason I wasn't scared as a UM fan when Meyer took over at OSU. OSU's ability to run a strong program is independent of whatever's going on at Michigan and vice versa. Michigan's mediocrity over the last 7 years has been heavily self inflicted and has had very little to do with Urban Meyer or anyone else in Columbus. For example, it wasn't Urban Meyer's great coaching or recruiting skills that caused UM to nearly lose to Akron or fall on its face against the likes of Maryland, Rutgers, or make a brutal mess out of its last two coaching searches. That was all UM's doing and requires fixing, which is why Harbaugh was hired.
The two teams play each other exactly once a year. If and when UM becomes a team that consistently wins every game on its schedule EXCEPT for OSU, then I'll worry about Meyer. My advice to OSU fans would be to take the same approach with Harbaugh. There's no reason why both teams can't flourish if they're run properly. They certainly had no problem doing so for 40 years or so before UM decided to start repeatedly punching itself in the face. I think the hiring of Harbaugh should do for UM what Meyer's hiring did for OSU, but that doesn't mean OSU will go into the tank as a result.
BVW - UM's poor performance this year along with the rest of the B1G nearly kept OSU out of the playoff with one loss. If you guys had beaten Wisconsin in the B1G championship game by a normal OSU-Wisc margin (typically 7 points or so based on recent history prior to this year) instead of 58-0, Baylor or TCU would have ended up with the 4 seed.
It broke right for you guys this year, but my guess is you don't want to get in the habit of needing to win the conference championship game by an 8 touchdown margin in order to secure a playoff spot. Better strength of schedule in the form of legitimate UM and Penn State teams could help. 06 is a bad example, but what about 07? Part of the reason why OSU was able to get into the NC picture late that seasons was because the national perception of winning the B1G wasn't nearly as low as it is today. The win in Ann Arbor that day against a ranked UM team actually meant something in the eyes of the pollsters/BCS at the time.
Good luck vs Bama this week.
Come on.....you know you missed me!
(Happy New Year by the way)
Yes, this is mostly consistent with my understanding of the situation as welll. The only piece I disagree with is the leverage comment. You're absolutely right about the whole trading/tampering thing. But if Harbaugh wasn't interested in UM and wanted to stay in the NFL, he could have forced the 49ers' hand. There was no way they were going to bring him back for next season the way everything went down.
So they would have eventually either tried to trade him or just outright fired him if they couldn't work out a trade. For the trade piece, Harbaugh could have written his own ticket because no team would trade for him with just one year left on his contract - the team getting him would have to be able to agree to a new contract extension. So if Harbaugh didn't want to go to a particular team, he could have killed the whole thing by refusing to sign an extension. And if he eventually got fired, like I said he could have done the broadcasting thing for a year and jumped back in the NFL pool next year.
But overall I agree with your views above. UM needs to get someone strong in now who can build a program back up and leave a succession plan to make sure things can run smoothly after he's gone. If this all works out and Harbaugh stays for a good 5-6 year run before going back to the NFL, both sides will get what they wanted out of it.
Any rational UM fan (like myself) isn't proclaiming NCs or anything like that, but at least get your facts straight. Harbaugh's overall college record was 58-27, which included 4 (not 3) years at Stanford and a BCS bowl win in 2010. This was especially notable because the Stanford program he inherited was 1-11 the year before he arrived.
The coaching careers of Meyer and Harbaugh are actually pretty similar. They each started off small for a short time before getting on the national radar due to big turnaround jobs in their second stints, leading to "rock star" coaching status and celebrated accomplishment at their third stops. Breakdown is as follows:
Meyer's first job: 2 years at Bowling Green, 17-6 overall record
Harbaugh's first job: 3 years at San Diego, 29-6 overall record
Meyer's second job: 2 years at Utah, 22-2 overall record and one BCS bowl win (inherited a team that had gone 13-10 the prior 2 seasons)
Harbaugh's second job: 4 years at Stanford, 29-21 overall record and one BCS bowl win (inherited a team that had gone 6-17 the prior 2 seasons)
Meyer's third job: 6 years at Florida, 65-15 overall record, 3 BCS bowl wins, 3 SEC title game appearances, 2 SEC titles and 2 NCs (inherited talented but significantly underachieving team from Ron Zook)
Harbaugh's third job: 4 years in San Francisco, 44-19-1 overall record, 3 NFC Championship appearances, 2 NFC West titles, 1 NFC Championship, 1 Super Bowl appearance (inherited talented but significantly underachieving team from Mike Singletary)
If it makes you feel better though, Harbaugh's contract is not $48M for 6 years. That was complete horseshit reporting by NFL insiders who were way off base. It's just been made public that his contract is $5M/year plus incentives, or effectively what he was making in the NFL. So now when he presumably flames out at UM, you can rest eaiser knowing that this coach who has "won nothing" didn't cost as much as you first thought.
Didn't he win the MAC the year Ball State went 11-1 or 12-1 or whatever it was? I'm too lazy to check, but I would assume that if he ever won a conference title, that would have been the year.
Yes, just saw that on Twitter as well. Apparently, he specifically stated that he didn't want to be the highest paid coach in CFB or the B1G and wanted to allocate a greater pool of money to his assistants.
So still an NFL caliber offer and nothing to sneeze at, but once again a complete disconnect between the NFL insiders and the truth. Like I said, the money helped, but it's not the primary reason he's coming back to UM.
I agree completely. Meyer was the shot of instant credibility that OSU needed at a time when there was incredible negativity and doubt swirling around the program. Harbaugh is the same thing for UM.
Disagree - I've been following the details of the story on this one for 7-8 weeks, far longer than this story has been in the national media. The NFL insiders reporting the "no interest" were completely out of the loop and botched the story. The parameters of a deal have been in place since the beginning of December, and there was never a point where Harbaugh rejected them and they came back with a larger offer. They went big right from the start, but for weeks none of the NFL reporters took any of this seriously and failed to properly report on what was happening.
All of their sources were in NFL circles - mostly agents who presumed it was idiocy for a top NFL coach to lower himself by returning to the college game. For whatever reason, they either ignored or were unable to access the real story from insiders/boosters connected to the UM program. Had they done so, they would have seen a much different picture of what was going on behind the scenes. I was especially surprised that ESPN didn't get any good intel on this from their college insiders - those guys were kept pretty much silent on this and deferred everything to the NFL guys, who straight up blew it.
In terms of a failure to get the story right or speak to the correct sources, this miss by the NFL guys was on par with some of the missed reporting on the LeBron to Cleveland story and Peter King's debacle on the Ray Rice-Roger Goodell story, By the time the NFL guys even began to acknowledge that Harbaugh to UM might, maybe be sorta kinda possible (no more than 7-9 days ago tops), the full contract had already been put together and verbal assurances had been provided that Harbaugh was likely coming back to UM immediately following the conclusion of the NFL regular season.
The NFL reporting went into full spin control at that point, creating this narrative that it might only happen because UM had recently come back with a new offer. They then went on to feverishly speculate which NFL teams would be pushing Harbaugh up until he signed with UM, completely ignoring the fact that none of those teams could even start talking to Harbaugh without permission from SF, as he was still under contract with them and was scheduled to be for another year. Talking to him ahead of getting SF's permission would constitute tampering under NFL rules.
The "mutual parting" between SF and Harbaugh was part of the UM negotiation; I don't know what compensation they gave to SF but it must have been something of consequence to get SF to step aside immediately in the final hours of the NFL regular season before other teams could contact SF to discuss a potential trade for Harbaugh. None of that was reported on by ESPN/NFL Network either, but it was a critical step in the process.
Finally, for what it's worth, Mike Garofolo at Fox Sports tweeted out late last night that the Raiders offered Harbaugh more money than UM yesterday but he still turned it down.
Like I said, I don't deny the big offer helped get Harbaugh to UM and I am in no way ashamed that UM swung big with this. I'd rather have my teams insulted for spending like the Yankees than for being cheap like a small market baseball team. But if money was THE issue here, there was plenty of it to be made in the NFL, and with more potential options for Harbaugh to choose from.
As a fanatical college football base, I'm surprised some of you guys are so hung up on why he's coming back. Many of you claim to prefer college football to the NFL product anyway. This guy grew up living and breathing UM football in Ann Arbor as a kid and starred as a QB at his dream school in college. If any of you had done that for your dream school (OSU) and then 25 years later, that same school that you're nuts about as a fan and alumnus offers you good compensation to come back and coach the team.......I mean, wouldn't you do it in a heartbeat? I know I would. That's part of the emotional attachment to the college game that doesn't have the same equivalent in the NFL.
I still can't believe Andersen left Wisconsin for friggin' Oregon State. That was definitely not a high point in recent B1G history.
The NFL reports you're reading are incorrect and were debunked several days ago by Bruce Feldman and John Bacon, who have been much closer to this story than the Schefters and Rappaports of the world. He will not earn $8M/year and this will become apparent once the full contract terms become public. It will still be a very expensive contract, no doubt, but he will be making less than Saban (who makes around $7.2-7.3M/year).
I also agreed that UM was desperate to land him so I'm not sure why you think I'm disagreeing with you. In desparation, they aggressively went after the top coaching candidate available and landed him. Are you suggesting they should have just thrown their hands up and said "F it, let's not even bother trying because the OSU fans at 11W think our program sucks"?
My only point was that there was certainly no desperation on Harbaugh's part. SF didn't want him but many others in the NFL clearly did. That gave him multiple options to remain in the NFL if pro football was clearly his preference.
He was already making $5M/year in SF and likely won't be making more than $7M/year at UM if that. I'm pretty sure his NFL agent could have gotten him a $6-6.5M/year contract in the NFL without too much effort. At that point, the difference in money would have been fairly negligible. So while the money helped UM's position greatly, Harbaugh didn't say yes just for an extra $500K/year.
I think the ability to have full control over the day to day operations of a program (including assembly of the roster) without the restrictions of a salary cap or a GM looking over his shoulder were key drivers in his decision. He's a hyper competitive maniac who wants full control over the team he's coaching. That kind of a wish list sometimes plays better at a big time college program than it does in the pros. It's why guys like Meyer, Saban and Coach K stay in college year after year despite the numerous professional opportunities that have likely been available to them over the years.
Make no mistake, I think Harbaugh will end up in the NFL again one day whereas Meyer will probably never choose to leave the college ranks. But to claim that Harbaugh was desperate or went to UM just because of the money is not an accurate statement.
Desperation on UM's part for sure, but definitely not Harbaugh's. The guy is viewed in NFL circles as an elite coaching talent and had a chance of securing the coach/GM combo platter in NY (Jets) or Chicago based on today's firings. Could also have gone to Atlanta where they already have a Pro Bowl QB in Matt Ryan. And if he didn't like any of his NFL options this offseason but wanted to get a better gig, he could have taken a year off, gone into broadcasting and then had his pick of NFL jobs next year. That dude had more leverage in his existing position than most of us will ever have professionally in our lifetimes. So saying that Harbaugh went to UM because he was desperate is about the most inaccurate way you could describe his situation.
And to reiterate a point I made earlier today, he's going to get paid good money at UM but it won't be $8M/year. What he's getting paid is in line with what he would have made in the NFL (give or take) had he chosen to stay there. The money definitely helped but all it did was get UM a seat at the big boy table to be taken seriously. If this was purely a money issue Harbaugh would not have pulled himself off the market less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the NFL's regular season. He'd still be shopping his services around and assessing today's openings as well as potential openings from some playoff teams that bow out early (e.g. Indy).
Harbaugh strikes me as the kind of guy who does whatever he wants to do. I'm pretty sure that if he wanted to stay in the NFL, there were any number of jobs he could have landed that would have paid him on par (or even better) with what he'll be making at UM.
I also enjoy how the narrative on UM's coaching hires has flipped. Before the posts I used to read on 11W were that UM would never get a guy like Harbaugh because they were too cheap. Now the only reason he's coming to UM is because of all the money they offered him.
FYI - the base structure of the contract won't pay him $8M/year. It is going to be less than that, in part because the number of years has been misreported to date in the press. I've read elsewhere that it's more like a 7-8 year contract and heavily backloaded. Average value will still be pretty good, but nothing that the NFL couldn't match or beat.
All the contract offer did was get UM in the conversation. There are a lot of other reasons beyond money why Harbaugh is taking the UM job. If Harbaugh truly preferred being in the NFL, that's exactly where he'd still be today, especially now that the Bears could theoretically offer both the coach and GM positions to him.
Thanks, 2nd place sounds a lot better than 5th place (or whatever place we finished in this past year). Like I said in an earlier thread, I have no idea what the exact future for UM football holds under Harbaugh but it will be nice to not have to worry for the first time in 7 years whether we hired/employed the right guy as our head coach. I'm going to enjoy this day the way many of you likely enjoyed the hiring of Meyer back in 2011. We can argue about predictions and September Heismans another time.
I don't deny Harbaugh's personality is grating and at this point, I'm good with it. There are plenty of people who think that guys like Meyer, Saban and Belicheck are complete dicks too, and it doesn't seem to be hurting their ability to secure talent and win games. I saw what happened when UM hired the guy who all the other coaches and players personally liked (Hoke), and it didn't translate to wins on the field. I'd rather have the driven, competent asshole coaching my team than the loveable teddy bear who continually mismanages the clock in key situations.
Speaking as a fan of the program, here are my views:
1. Right now, beggars can't be choosers. The past 7 years of mediocrity were due to a combination of factors, but a weak coaching tree/succession path following Lloyd Carr was certainly one of them. We need to plant a new tree, so to speak, and get the coaching pipeline up and running again.
2. The on-field results have been unacceptable for most of the last decade. The biggest worry about 4-5 years from now isn't "what happens if Harbaugh leaves?", it's "what happens if we still haven't turned the ship around?". If Harbaugh comes in and turns the program back into a legit Top 10 team, we'll happily deal with the NFL stuff several years from now. Alabama operates under the same cloud with Saban, and don't forget that a lot of critics opined that OSU would deal with similar drama when Meyer was first hired (not NFL specific, but more of the health issues and a historical pattern of jumping from college job to college job after a few years to look for a bigger challenge).
3. I don't know what the exact future for UM football will hold under Harbaugh, but I can tell you that for the first time in 7 years I won't spend much time worrying about whether we hired the right coach. This is the guy UM had to get, just like Meyer was the guy OSU had to get in 2011 and Saban was the guy Alabama had to get in 2007. There's plenty of existing talent on the roster that a good coaching staff can take advantage of, just like when Meyer first got to OSU. Will the roster look better 2-3 years from now? Sure, but it's not like Harbaugh's inheriting the talent from a 1-11 Stanford team like he did when he first got to Palo Alto. I'll take my chances with a coach of Harbaugh's caliber any day of the week, especially at the collegiate level.
I know it sounds horrible, but I was openly rooting for UM to miss a bowl game and lose out towards the end of the regular season once I realized it was the only chance of firing Hoke and making any type of realistic play for Harbaugh. Like most fans, I considered it a long shot and only became cautiously optimistic about it actually happening 2-3 weeks ago. I'm completely ecstatic about the hire as I'm sure many of you were when Meyer was hired on the heels of the Tat-Gate season.
OSU fans rightfully criticize UM's program for being a dumpster fire over the last few years, but eventually fires get extinguished. I've mentioned on this board periodically that almost all of the big name national programs have gone through stretches like this in my lifetime, only to later turn it around once they hired the right coach. And if Harbaugh's not the right coach to turn UM around, then I'm out of ideas as to who is. He's won in college, he's won in the pros, he has ties to the school, he's a complete, arrogant ass who will immediately infuriate his rivals (as evidenced by the various threads I've been reading about him on this site during the week of OSU's biggest football game since the 2007 NC) and most importantly....... he wears a friggin' headset.
Hope that gives some context around what the UM fanbase thinks of the hire.
Thanks Hovenaut, and best of luck to you guys against Bama this week. If Meyer can pull off the upset with a 3rd string QB, I will be in serious awe.
I think the point is that even without Harbaugh, UM was pulling in Top 10 classes and bringing in high level recruits. Clearly a number of those players didn't develop well under Hoke, but the UM brand has long had serious pull when it comes to recruiting, just like OSU. You pair that brand with a top tier coach, and it's not exactly rocket science as to what will happen on the recruiting trail. You've witnessed it for the last 3 years with the OSU/Meyer pairing. It doesn't mean that OSU will slip in recruiting; it simply means that UM will have plenty of success alongside them.
We'll only accept him if he brings along Rod Roddy to be the new stadium announcer.
Hey now, that's not fair......we no longer have a f*cked up AD because he resigned last Friday. Now we simply have NO permanent AD. Addition by subtraction baby!
I'm a hardcore UM fan. And bless this thread, because the day I venture onto an OSU site and see that their fans no longer care about beating and hating UM is the day I'll know that UM is completely irrelevant in college football.
To the OP from MSU, there's nothing I can say to justify how shitty UM's program is at the moment compared to rivals like MSU, OSU and others. But it is worth noting that the same period of time when UM's program completely fell off a cliff (the last 7 years) is also when UM's basketball program emerged from a decade of complete irrelevance to become a national power again. And as bad as UM's football program has become (pretty atrocious as we're all aware), just understand that the basketball program was in even worse shape in the early-mid 2000's.
The basketball program came back from the abyss because of the combination of a good coaching hire and the built-in advantages that a large, nationally known program like Michigan can enjoy when it's not intentionally shooting itself in the foot. If basketball, a sport that is a clear #2 in the pecking order at UM behind football, can come back the way it did, then I have faith that it won't take long for UM to field a legitimately good football team again IF they can hire the right coach. If not? Then my Fall Saturdays will continue to involve doing things other than watching UM crap itself against teams with a pulse.
In the pieces of the responses where Brandon actually took the time to elaborate on how he shared the fans' frustrations but that the athletes and coaches were working hard to get things fixed, I absolutely could see where he was coming from. The problem is the other pieces, the snarkiness and condescension. That works well if you're a frustrated fan posting on a blog or in the Twitter-verse, not so well if you're the AD at a major program dealing with a customer base who's already pissed off at you for rising ticket prices, poor on-field product and skywriting gaffes.
Brandon's two biggest problems are that he is not in touch with his fanbase and he is not self aware. There are a number of good things he's done as AD, but they've been complete sabotaged by the two problems above and he has nobody to blame but himself.