Michigan is a talented football team, in that they have football talent who plays for the University of Michigan Wolverines.
But their team isn't as talented as their players would indicate, and after every Michigan loss to Ohio State during the Jim Harbaugh era the Michigan media has gotten increasingly bold about asking just why in the hell that is the case.
There are a number of ways Harbaugh could answer these questions. "We haven't maximized our talent, and that's on us, the coaches." "It's clear that we need to make fundamental changes to our program and we need to raise the level of our effort." "Woof woof I'm Jimmy the Rappin' Dog and I'm here to say that we'll focus on producing All-Americans ev-a-ry day."
Basically there are a number of less-emasculating ways to admit that yes, Michigan simply doesn't have the players from top to bottom to compete with Ohio State. Instead, when asked again about the gap between his team and the Buckeyes, Harbaugh responded like this:
Jim Harbaugh was insulted when I asked him what the difference is between Michigan and Ohio State. pic.twitter.com/U2s091hvDM— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) November 30, 2019
Not only is that a really salty and weak dodge of the most fundamental problem for Michigan re: Ohio State, as other Ohio State postgame transcripts from MGoBlog show, it isn't the first time he's either ignored the comparison or offered bland platitudes.
In 2018, when asked about possible deficiencies in personnel, coaching, or recruiting:
"No, I like our players, like our coaches. They do a phenomenal job."
In 2017, when asked about why Michigan needed to get "stronger" and what that meant:
"Need to do that. Need improvement. Need to get stronger. Need to get better. That’s our mission."
In 2016, when asked about literally anything:
"My view of the first down was that it was that short [holds hands apart about eight inches]."
Some other gems from today's six minute Jim Harbaugh postgame press conference, courtesy of USAToday:
- "I thought our team was well-prepared, I thought they were playing good football. It was a good football fight and it got away from us today. Give them credit for playing well."
- "We made some mistakes and they executed very well."
- "We really want to win the game, yes."
- "We’ll regroup and come back and play our next game. Regroup and retool."
Michigan envisions itself as a kind of bulwark against Ohio State Big Ten hegemony, a program capable of matching the Buckeyes in terms of facilities, coaching, recruiting, and players. While it has been readily apparent to fans and the media that this hasn't been the case for a long, long time, it appears unlikely that things will improve for the Wolverines as long as their head coach doesn't seem to understand the reality of what 0-5 really means for his team.