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College Football

Jim Harbaugh: The Problem With Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Is Jim Harbaugh

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 16: Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh watches the pregame warm ups prior to the start of the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images

No Big Ten team can really be said to be having a “good season,” since the conference is only playing football because a cast of cynical dingdongs wanted to wring as much profit (or, good PR) as possible out of their unpaid labor force. Even bearing all that in mind, though, Michigan is inarguably having a bad one.

The Wolverines entered Saturday’s game against Wisconsin with losses to Michigan State, and No. 10 (lol) Indiana, and then preceded to get whomped by a historic margin. It’s the program’s worst start in over 50 years, and yesterday’s 49-11 loss marked Michigan’s worst home loss since before the second World War. It’s also worth noting that Wisconsin hadn’t played in nearly a month after a huge COVID-19 outbreak that affected their top two quarterbacks at once, forced two canceled games, and closed their facility for a week. It’s not just that Michigan got blown out at home, either. The team looked utterly disjointed in the process, and absolutely as bad as that brutal final score suggests. Joe Milton tossed picks on both of his first two passes.

After the game, head coach Jim Harbaugh took the heat:

“The thing that stands out the most is the coaching … making sure that [the players] have an understanding of what to do and, therefore, they can go for it,” he said. “Because there seems to be hesitation, there seems to be some confusion, some lack of communication on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively, and getting things adjusted to, getting things fixed, just identifying how to improve in those areas are some of the first things that we’re going to address.”

ESPN

I suppose it’s correct that a completely uncohesive performance on both sides of the ball that results in a historic loss to a rival comes down a team-wide failure of preparation and execution, which therefore falls on Harbaugh. It’s just that the waters are just so inherently muddy, and everything feels so stilted and unrepresentative and strange. The only real takeaway available from a game played between a team riddled with recovering players that hadn’t played since mid-October and a shellshocked husk of a Michigan team is that this season is a weird and off-putting sham more than anything.