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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Articles tagged: Jim Harbaugh

Report: Jim Harbaugh is not Panthers’ top target for head coach

Jim Harbaugh

The Carolina Panthers are looking for a new head coach after firing Ron Rivera this week, but don’t expect them to turn to Jim Harbaugh.

Peter Schrager appeared on FOX’s NFL pregame show prior to Thursday night’s Bears-Cowboys game and said Harbaugh is not the team’s top target.

There really never was any rumor suggesting the Panthers had interest in Harbaugh. The only place the two were linked was through a betting website that sent press releases to many sports writers about the odds on the next Panthers coach, which isn’t a report or even a rumor.

Schrager says Panthers owner David Tepper will be open to a potential college coach to fill the position.

Tepper has already stated what he is looking for in a coach.

“What I want for the organization in general is a mesh of old and new,” Tepper said. “Old football discipline, modern processes, modern analytics. But I respect old school discipline, too.”

Wow, that sounds like the perfect coach! Does this person actually exist in the NFL, outside of maybe New England? Best of luck in finding him, David.

Jim Harbaugh bristles at question about talent or coaching gap with Ohio State

Jim Harbaugh

Saturday’s 56-27 loss to Ohio State forced the Michigan Wolverines to answer more difficult questions. One of them, though, was not to coach Jim Harbaugh’s liking.

Harbaugh told off a questioner who suggested that there is a talent or coaching gap between the Wolverines and Buckeyes. Harbaugh called the question an insult and acknowledging that the Buckeyes outplayed Michigan.

The question is leading and a shot at Harbaugh by saying there’s a coaching gap.

Harbaugh will point to the fact that Michigan could have played a more competitive game if not for some silly individual mistakes, and he’d be correct. He has a talented team, but there’s a reason Michigan wasn’t expected to win. The Wolverines do not have a Chase Young on defense or a J.K. Dobbins on offense, and Justin Fields is a better quarterback than Shea Patterson. Michigan is talented. Ohio State is exceptionally talented. You can understand why Harbaugh won’t want to acknowledge that, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

Jim Harbaugh has a plan for expanding College Football Playoff to 11 teams

Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh is one of several college football coaches who believe the College Football Playoff needs to be expanded to include more teams, but it sounds like he has given the idea a lot more thought than some of his counterparts. While Harbaugh said previously that he wants the playoff to expand to 16 teams, he has since come up with a more complicated idea.

ESPN’s Heather Dinich polled 62 college head coaches and asked whether or not they believe the CFB Playoff should expand, and 30 are in favor of it. A lot of them think eight teams would be sufficient, but Harbaugh would like to see 11. He explained how he came up with that number.

With Harbaugh’s plan, each Power 5 conference champion would automatically get one of the top five spots. He would eliminate conference title games, however, and determine the champion through regular-season record and tiebreakers, essentially treating them like the NFL treats divisions. Harbaugh then wants to use the BCS system to rank the top six teams in the playoff, which would consist of the Power 5 champions and leave room for one non-Power 5 team. Of those six, five would get a first-round bye. In other words, every Power 5 champion would not be guaranteed a bye and one non-Power 5 team would still have a chance at the bye if its BCS ranking was higher than one of the Power 5 champions. The Power 5 champions are all guaranteed a playoff spot, but they would all need to be ranked 1-5 in the BCS system to get a bye. If a non-Power 5 team ends up ranked higher than one of the Power 5 conference champions, that team would get one of the five first-round byes.

From there, the BCS system would determine the remainder of the field.

Harbaugh believes his plan would be a way to expand the playoff without having certain teams play too many games. His suggestion is to have the playoff begin on the first Saturday of December, which is when conference title games are currently held. The six playoff teams that did not get a bye would play that weekend, leaving eight with the three winners and the five teams that had a bye. The losing teams would still be able to play in bowl games.

“You’d still have the same bowl structure that you have now, and teams that lost on Dec. 1, it’s like they would’ve been in a championship game and then they play in a bowl game,” Harbaugh explained. “Nobody would play 16 games.”

It may not work out exactly how Harbaugh envisions, however. As Aaron McMann of MLive.com noted, if a team played a 12-game regular season, did not get a bye in Harbaugh’s playoff system, and went on to reach the championship game, that team would have played in 16 games.

While complicated, Harbaugh’s system does not sound all that bad. Fans would probably be skeptical of eliminating conference championship games, but no one seems to think they are needed to determine postseason berths in other sports. While an expanded system might strip Dabo Swinney of some of the motivational tactics he will have the pleasure of using down the stretch, there are plenty of people in favor of it.

Jim Harbaugh calls rumors of NFL return ‘total crap’

Jim Harbaugh

Is Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh exploring an “exit strategy” so that he can find his way back to an NFL sideline?

That was the word on the street on Monday evening following a report from Zach Barnett of Football Scoop, who suggested that Harbaugh’s representatives were working to find him another opportunity at the professional level.

Lead FOX college football analyst Joel Klatt speculated last month Harbaugh could retire, but sources say the Harbaugh camp has its eye on a different departure.

Sources tell FootballScoop that Harbaugh’s representatives have their eye on getting their client back in the NFL.

On Wednesday morning, Harbaugh dismissed the report, calling it “total crap” and claiming he doesn’t even have a representative in a personal letter sent to the parents of his Michigan players.

Dear parents,

I am reaching out to let you know that recent claims that I am pursuing an “exit strategy” are total crap. It’s an annual strategy driven by our enemies to cause disruption to our program and to negatively recruit. By the way, I don’t even have an “agent or representative.”

I am committed to your sons, their education and to their development as football players and people.

Please excuse the informality of this letter but I felt that it was important to get this out to you as quickly as possible.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Happy to discuss.

Go Blue!

Jim Harbaugh

That’s a strong and blunt denial from Harbaugh, who is 43-16 at Michigan but has yet to defeat Ohio State or win the Big Ten East.

Report: Jim Harbaugh exploring potential NFL return

Jim Harbaugh

Year five of the Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan is set to see them once again miss the College Football Playoff and fail to even make the Big Ten Championship, and according to one report, the coach is exploring ways out.

According to Zach Barnett of Football Scoop, Harbaugh’s representatives are reaching out to NFL teams to gauge interest in a return to the pros. It is expected he would find significant interest, given his 44-19 record with the San Francisco 49ers.

Harbaugh has turned Michigan into a highly-ranked program again, but has been unable to find the breakthrough into the conference title game and beyond. It’s put both him and the school in a situation where he has been too successful to get rid of, especially coupled with his status as a favorite son, but still hasn’t done what he was brought to Ann Arbor to do. A departure for the NFL would free both sides up to move on amicably.

Harbaugh’s contract runs through the end of the 2021 season. He’s 43-16 as Michigan’s head coach, a significant improvement on predecessors Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke but still in the wake of Ohio State. He also has a mediocre record against other top programs, as he’s failed to beat the Buckeyes during his tenure and will not be favored to this year, either.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen Harbaugh lose another big game on the road and make some strange decisions in the process. That is illustrative of why everyone may be fine with it if his tenure ends after 2019 by mutual agreement.

Related: Why Michigan firing Jim Harbaugh would be idiotic

Jim Harbaugh gets crushed for baffling 58-yard field goal attempt

Jim Harbaugh

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is 0-7 as an underdog as the head coach of the Wolverines. Saturday’s game at Penn State was following the trend, and he did himself no favors with a key decision late in the first half.

Stalled at the Penn State 41 and facing a 4th and 6 with 51 seconds left, Harbaugh inexplicably sent out his field goal team to try a 58-yarder. Michigan was already down two touchdowns at this point. Though kicker Jake Moody had missed only one attempt on the season, his longest make was from 43 yards.

Predictably, Moody missed, giving Penn State the ball at their own 41 with 51 seconds left and all three timeouts. Twitter immediately went in on Harbaugh for his bizarre decision.

College kickers aren’t going to be trusted to make 58-yard field goals. If Harbaugh didn’t care about field position, he should have gone for it. Better yet, he probably should’ve punted, gone into the half down 21-7, and tried to pull it together at the break. Fortunately for him, Penn State didn’t score on the ensuing drive, so it didn’t actually cost him.

Harbaugh will need a big second half rally to avoid dropping to 0-8 as an underdog with the Wolverines. It’s pretty clear that his job is safe, but decisions like this aren’t going to help his standing among fans.

Why Michigan firing Jim Harbaugh would be idiotic

Jim Harbaugh

The Michigan Wolverines were flattened by the Wisconsin Badgers 35-14 on Saturday in Madison, and they were dominated so thoroughly that the biggest talking point in college football since then has been about Jim Harbaugh’s latest flop and whether he should be fired.

While Harbaugh has disappointed relative to the hype and expectations, firing him would be idiotic. I will explain why.

Harbaugh has underperformed so far

First, let’s get this out of the way: Harbaugh has underperformed at Michigan based on expectations and hype he helped generate. He is paid to win big games, to get Michigan into conference championship games, and to fight for College Football Playoff spots and national championships. He hasn’t achieved any of that yet. The Wolverines got smoked by Ohio State last year, rolled in their bowl game by Florida, squeaked past Army, and thrashed by Wisconsin. None of that looks good, and it has left Michigan fans feeling like the program is regressing, that Harbaugh has lost his touch, and like he should be fired. But that is all incorrect and the product of the cancel coaches culture we live in.

Harbaugh is an easy target and undeserved victim of the cancel coaches culture