Michigan Football: Jim Harbaugh’s QB decision will be critical

Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh gets paid lots of money to make big decisions like the one he will face in naming a starting QB for 2020.

Everyone knows that Michigan football is about to embark on another quarterback competition, which will easily be the most important of Jim Harbaugh‘s career as head coach.

He’s entering year six, still hasn’t beaten Ohio State and is one year away from being a lame-duck. He also doesn’t know who his starting quarterback is going to be yet. But unlike everyone else, his thoughts on the matter aren’t just speculation, he’s the one who will make the call.

That’s why Harbaugh was paid big money to come coach Michigan football. He was supposed to beat the Buckeyes and find the guys that could help him do it. So far, he hasn’t lived up to that billing and a big reason for that has been the average play at quarterback.

There have been good stretches of football. Jake Rudock was solid, so was Wilton Speight for a time and Shea Patterson was for the past two years too.

But you know what solid gets you? It gets you 9-10 wins but never anything more of substance. Not unless you get lucky and so far, on top of having average quarterbacks, the Wolverines have had below-average luck.

The miracle in Michigan and the 2016 game against Ohio State were both games Michigan should have won had a bounce gone their way. Each time it didn’t, which makes getting it right in 2020 all the more important.

That’s why picking the right quarterback is essential. In fact, it’s going to be the most important decision Jim Harbaugh will face at Michigan, because if he gets it wrong, he might not be around much longer.

The old adage is that if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any and that’s something Michigan could face this season. There is the potential for a musical chairs approach that feels like a disaster or at least, no way to get past that 9-10 win mark.

To do that, Michigan needs Dylan McCaffrey or Joe Milton to become elite. Not just another guy, but a guy that can just about single-handedly win a ballgame. That’s what the Wolverines have been missing. That’s the one thing Jim Harbaugh hasn’t had.

Is McCaffrey going to be that guy? Some thought he could be out of high school and no one will forget Adam Schefter saying Milton could someday be the No. 1 pick.

Both guys have potential, but only one can be the next starter for Michigan football and when it comes to that decision, Jim Harbaugh just has to get it right.

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If he does, maybe Michigan will actually have a chance to do something significant in 2020 and maybe can even beat Ohio State. If he doesn’t, the Wolverines will continue to be stuck in purgatory, still searching for the quarterback that can beat the scarlet and gray.

 

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