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Member since 05 March 2013 | Blog


  • SPORTS MOMENT: Can't mention it on this site for fear of angering the natives (Hint: John Cooper was involved)
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Recent Activity

Comment 02 Apr 2016

My first two reactions when I read that he verbaled to UM were:

1.  Class of 2018?  Way too far away for this to even matter right now

2.  He's potentially the top player in Ohio in his class so I'll believe he's not going to OSU when I see his LOI

For context, I'm a UM fan.  It's just been awhile since UM was able to snag the top tier prospects in Ohio so I'm skeptical for the time being.  Thankfully, there's plenty of high end talent in CA, FL and NJ that Harbaugh has been able to tap into.

Comment 26 Aug 2015

On the Harbaugh thing, I don't think he's going to stop being who he is.  Most Michigan fans would tell you they'll be willing to accept his quirks provided he doesn't trigger any major NCAA violations or commit a violent crime.  It's very easy to see why he's resented by all of UM's opposing fanbases, but from the Michigan lens he's actually been a positive force in terms of reconnecting the football program with the student fan base. 

Harbaugh awkwardly running around shirtless in the South with a bunch of teenagers isn't the kind of stuff that turned off the fans.  It was all the nickel and diming b.s. like excessive ticket price increases, shitty student seating policies, over the top piped in music at the games, banning students from bringing their own water bottles and inflammatory e-mails and comments by the ex AD.

At the end of the day, of course, it all comes back to winning.  If Harbaugh has Hoke's record 3 years from now, the fans will turn on his quirks just as quickly as they turned on Hoke's.  But I think at this point, most Michigan fans are willing to make the assumption that Harbaugh's tenure will be slightly more successful than Hoke's.

For me personally, it will be an interesting study.  I've long subscribed to the theory that some college powers are simply too big/powerful to fail for a sustained period of time.  I believe that programs like Michigan and OSU fall into this category.  Too many resources at their disposal and too much passionate interest in the football team throughout all levels of the school and alumni base to stay down permanently.  That said, if for some reason a guy as successful and driven as Harbaugh, with all of the resources of UM at his disposal, is unable to succeed in the role, I'll have to seriously question my theory.  Because in all honesty, if Harbaugh can't turn UM around, then who else can realistically be expected to do so?

Comment 26 Aug 2015

I actually asked Bacon about that one on Twitter because I had the same initial question.  He said the subtitle isn't about predicting UM's success on the field.  For anyone who's watched this team for the last 3-5 years, it's pretty obvious that the on-field product requires some dramatic improvements that won't happen in a single season. 

The subtitle refers to a return to normalcy within the program.  He's basically saying that what's returned are the types of people behind the scenes in the Athletic Dept and coaching staff whose ideologies truly are in sync with what the UM fanbase is looking for out of its football program, both on the field and off.   Things like not turning every football game or ticket into a silly advertising promotion, an AD who doesn't believe he's bigger than the program, a coaching search that actually had some intelligence to it, a program that attempts to reach out to the fan base and students rather than alienating them, etc. 

Comment 26 Aug 2015

Not sure I follow you on that one.  The game was a 1 point classic that came down to a final play.  For better or worse, the decision to run the exact same formation coming out of a timeout clearly had an impact on the result of the play.  Is that butthurt or just describing the facts of what happened?  I found it interesting - Gardner offered the most candid view I've heard on the end of that game from the UM side.

Comment 02 Jan 2015
Congrats folks. That was a hell of a win last night and I have to tip my hat to Meyer and the incredible coaching job by the whole staff. I will always hate OSU, but I still respect everything they've accomplished this year (and may yet accomplish next week). My hope is that 2-3 years down the road, some of you guys will be sending me a similar note for a really successful UM season. But until that day comes, I have to give you guys props.
Comment 31 Dec 2014
From what I read, there's no specific incentive for making the B1G championship game. Biggest single bonus he can earn is $500K for winning a NC. There's no specific incentive worth $1.5M or anything close to it. He does get a $2M signing bonus up front, which I'm sure didn't hurt things. He's also eligible for a 10% raise after Year 3 and Year 5. That would mean he wouldn't clear an annual salary of $6M until Year 6 - still a solid $2M/year lower than the original figures being reported.
Comment 31 Dec 2014

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. 

Comment 30 Dec 2014

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.  

Comment 30 Dec 2014

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.  

Comment 30 Dec 2014

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.

Comment 30 Dec 2014

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.

Comment 30 Dec 2014

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.

Comment 30 Dec 2014

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.

Comment 29 Dec 2014

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.  

Comment 29 Dec 2014

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).

Comment 29 Dec 2014

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.

Comment 29 Dec 2014

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.

Comment 29 Dec 2014

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. 

Comment 29 Dec 2014

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.