It's only a rivalry if both teams win occasionally. And that in a nutshell is the problem for Jim Harbaugh as the head coach at Michigan. He enters todays game against Ohio State with a big fat oh fer still staring at him. As long as he's been the head coach at Michigan he and the Wolverines have never experienced a win over the Buckeyes. I'm 100% certain if any other Michigan Head Coach entered this rivalry game 0-5 in his career he'd never be afforded the opportunity to be around for a 6th one. I want to be clear about one thing: Harbaugh's had a very good run in Ann Arbor. Outside of the COVID disaster that was the 2020 season The Wolverines have always had a winning record, usually double digits wins. But when did that become ok for a team with the resume and tradition like Michigan? When did almost good enough become good enough?
It would be one thing if it were just Ohio State but Harbaugh has rivalry issues elsewhere. Michigan entered today's game with a 10-1 record. That one loss? You guessed it the other big rival for Michigan, Michigan State. He's just 3-4 against Sparty in his career and that 37-33 loss earlier this year was one of the wildest games of the entire college season. It was also classic Harbaugh's time at Michigan: almost good enough but not quite. There's an old saying about football that goes something like this: "It's not about the X's and O's it's about the Willies and Joes". In other words.. you can scheme up whatever you want, if you don't have the players it doesn't matter. That is especially true in college football. Everybody's good in the NFL and you better find ways to scheme up things that work. In the college game you have have the best talent and this is one area where Michigan has fallen short during Harbaugh's tenure. The NFL Draft is a very inexact science but it can be an indication of what people believe about your players at the next level. Since Harbaugh took over at Michigan a grand total of 7 Wolverines have been drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. Over that same time frame with two different Head Coaches 25 Ohio State players have gone in the 1st or 2nd round of the draft. Jim's got to find a way to get more Willies and Joes to want to come to Ann Arbor.
But getting better players on the Michigan campus is a problem for next year. Today's problem is the team on the other side of the game in the big house. Ohio State as usual is coming in hot. After a week 2 loss to Oregon the Buckeyes have allowed just over 15 points per over their last 8 games. Just last week Ohio State opened up a can on Michigan State, beating the Sparty out of them by a score of 56-7. It has been 3,654 days since The Wolverines took down their arch rivals: THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY FOUR STINKING DAYS. That's not a dry spell, that's a never ending vortex of pain in one the best rivalries in all of college football. And that is the real problem for Harbaugh right now, this game hasn't been a rivalry. It's been a one sided beat down, a never ending nightmare for Michigan. The Wolverines are at home today, they have a very good team. So again I ask one simple question: If not now for Harbaugh and Michigan, when?