Gotcha, and good to debate the nuances of the college football offseason with you again. Hope all is going well with you otherwise.
Agreed, and you could make a reasonable argument that even 40 years ago, some of the antics Bo and Woody were pulling were not appropriate at the time much less now. I wasn't trying to say that Harbaugh's sideline behavior is appropriate. My only point is that if we're going to call him out on it then we should also acknowledge that some of our coaching heroes from the past were just as flawed in this regard.
Clearly the comparison to Woody didn't sit well with the natives but let's be honest guys - being a dick on Twitter against the SEC isn't worse than slugging an opposing player in a nationally televised bowl game or chucking a first down marker on the sidelines in a fit of rage. I'm not judging Woody, as I previously said I think he was a great coach who did a lot of great things. But I don't get all of these comments implying that OSU is above having someone with Harbaugh's immaturity as its head coach when the greatest coach in OSU's history is remembered in part for a series of publicized tempremental outbursts.
If you hate Harbaugh because he's the grating, impossibly annoying coach of a rival team I totally get it. You should hate him with a passion. But acting like his style is something that OSU wouldn't stoop to is just as disingenuous as all the UM fans who said they wouldn't want Urban as coach back in 2012-2014 because of how cutthroat he was when it came to recruiting and processing kids.
Nobody would dispute that Woody Hayes made significant contributions to his country or to OSU. But there was also no disputing that his behavior during games and in the locker room was every bit as childish and immature as what we see from Harbaugh. I'm not going to turn this into a discussion of who did more for his country because clearly that was Woody. The point is that if behavior and maturity are ideals that you hold sacred in a head coach, I don't see why Bo and Woody get a free pass in all of this.
They were complicated individuals who did many great things, but they were complete toddlers on the sidelines during games. It was this style of coaching that had a direct influence on Harbaugh. Woody passed it on to Bo, Bo passed it on to Harbaugh.
I'm always interested when OSU fans accuse Harbaugh of acting like a child when he subtweets or throws a sideline tantrum, not because they're wrong, but because they fail to see where he got a lot of his confrontational behavior from as a coach. The hissy fits you guys are complaining about are straight out of the Bo and Woody school of coaching.
There are many folks on this site who rightfully hold both Bo and Woody in high regard, but I wonder how many of you guys actually watched them while they were coaching. For those that did, it's pretty hard to criticize Harbaugh's behavior if you're going to stay silent about the histrionics of Bo and Woody. In their day, they were two of the most hated coaches nationally just like Harbaugh is today.
Jim Harbaugh in 2007 when he was the coach at Stanford. What he said at the time was true and ruffled a lot of feathers in Ann Arbor. His point was that kids in the program should be pushed to take on tougher majors, like what he was observing at Stanford. This is actually something that he's made a point of trying to emphasize more with the recruits he's been bringing to UM, so I'm not sure how this makes him a hypocrite.
Given how much you guys hate Saban and Harbaugh, I'm fascinated to read the takes in this thread.
Even though most of you will never admit it because he coaches UM, you know deep down you should agree with Harbaugh on this one. He may annoy the crap out of most of the country, but at least he's not a blatant hypocrite like Saban.
Yep. Job stuff and parenthood have a nasty way of eating into all my old free time.
Hope things are going well for you.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.