Today’s post will look at some very recent Michigan Football History – the first three years of the Coach Jim Harbaugh Era. I have no doubt that James Joseph Harbaugh was born to be the head football coach at The University of Michigan. I also know that he is working under tremendous pressure to get Michigan back among the nation’s best college football programs. No coach ever arrived in Ann Arbor with higher expectations than Coach Harbaugh, that’s for sure!
Now, if you look at social media, you will find that many people are underwhelmed by what has happened to Michigan Football since Coach Harbaugh arrived. I, for one, don’t think things are as bad as most “sports mouths” and impatient fans make them sound. However, before I take a closer look at the Jim Harbaugh Era so far, I will take care of the “trivial” matters that must be addressed, first.
Who was the first Michigan Man to earn back-to-back honors as the team’s Most Valuable Player?
Ralph Heikkinen lettered at Michigan in 1937 and 1938. He was one of the toughest guards ever to play at Michigan. He was a super hard-worker and a fierce competitor who played almost every down in his last two seasons at Michigan. Ralph earned the respect of his coaches and peers which is why he was named Most Valuable Player of the 1937 and 1938 Michigan Football teams.
Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – January 13, 2018:
Who was Michigan’s first All-American running back?
The book just closed on the first three years of the Jim Harbaugh Era on January 1, 2018. For some it has been disappointing and for others it was about what they expected. One thing we can all agree on is that Jim Harbaugh is not a miracle worker after all. He brought a lot of attention to Michigan, but not enough winning. He is an easy target in the media because he coaches at the winningest program in college football history and because he makes some very, very BIG bucks doing it! Many “fans” think he has “underperformed.”
The purpose of today’s blog is simple. I just wanted to take a moment to look at how Jim Harbaugh’s first three years compare to some of Michigan’s recent head coaches. So, let’s take a closer look at the Coach Jim Harbaugh Era. I will keep this focused on the “BIG” picture, which will be wins, losses, winning percentage, and Big Ten Championships, or shares.
|Year||Won-Lost||Win %||Big Ten Title/Share?|
The numbers displayed above reflect the “balance sheet” for the first three years of the Jim Harbaugh Era. To put things in perspective, here are the “three-year” numbers of the six men who came before Coach Harbaugh.
|Coach||Years||Won-Lost-Tied||Win %||Big Ten Title/Share|
|Carr||1995-1997||29-8-0||.784||Yes (1) + 1 N/C|
|Totals||1959-2013||141-65-3||.681||6 BIG + 1 N/C|
If you look at the charts above, you see a lot of good news and, of course, some bad news. It was no big surprise to learn that Bo Schembechler’s first three years set the “modern standard” for everyone who followed him. Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr were certainly impressive in their first three years, but Carr was spectacular with that 1997 season. Yes, things were not as good for Michigan Nation during the Rodriguez and Hoke Eras.
Coach Jim Harbaugh has not started as well as Bo, or Mo, or Lloyd Carr, but he did do better than Bump Elliott, Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke. If you look at the win percentages, Harbaugh has exceeded the “totals” average (.718 to .681). However, there are no Big Ten Championships, or National Championships to celebrate, yet!
Yes, the biggest room in Schembechler Hall is still the “room for improvement.” There is plenty of work to do in the Jim Harbaugh Era, starting in 2018. I know that Coach Harbaugh is up to the challenge and I believe that the best is yet to come. Of course, it can’t come too soon for Michigan Nation!
I am also optimistic about the 2018 season because we have so many returning starters. However, I am also realistic. We have a brutal road schedule and we still don’t have a proven quarterback and a “nasty” offensive line that knows how to win in places like South Bend, East Lansing, or Columbus. I believe that 2018 will be a “trying” year because James Joseph Harbaugh will keep trying to live up to the enormous expectations that come with being the head coach at Michigan. Good luck to Coach “Jackhammer” and the Michigan team in 2018! Go Blue!