Michigan Football’s Jim Harbaugh deserves National Coach of the Year

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Syndication: Detroit Free Press /

What. A. Game. For the first time in 17 years, Michigan football has finally won a Big Ten title. For the first time in 10 years, Michigan football beat Ohio State. For the first time in 24 years, Michigan has 12 wins.

Look at those statistics. A number 12, a number 17, and a number 24. Those are some really long droughts. Jim Harbaugh and the players accomplished all of that this season. Nobody thought that Harbaugh all the players could do it. Most pundits had Michigan with a ceiling of 7-5, and the most optimistic fans and media members said nine wins was the absolute ceiling.

All of that has been blown out of the water this season. Michigan went 2-4 last season, had to fire their defensive coordinator because they could not stop anybody. Michigan had to completely revamp their defense and change their entire scheme in one offseason.

I really don’t think people understand how hard it is to learn a completely new scheme, do it well enough to be a top-20 defense, and execute with players that aren’t necessarily a fit for the said scheme. The players did it though. Jim Harbaugh bet on himself, took a significant pay cut (really incentive-laden), and went out to get younger with his staff, and it worked.

All of the crap that Jim Harbaugh has had to take since he started his losing streak to Ohio State and his “inability” to win big games has been kind of validated, but also kind of not. Harbaugh has four 10+ wins seasons at Michigan out of seven seasons. I think near 90% of Division I FBS schools would take that win efficiency in a heartbeat.

Jim Harbaugh deserves National Coach of the Year for the job he has done this season. He, unfortunately, didn’t win Big Ten Coach of the Year, but that’s ok because National Coach of the Year is even better.

I can’t think of even three coaches that have taken the level of criticism and negativity that Harbaugh has, bet on themselves, came back again, and led their team to the College Football Playoff the following season.

Jim Harbaugh’s resume speaks for itself

Beating Ohio State, winning the Big Ten championship, and making the college football playoff for the first time deserves some major recognition, especially considering where Michigan was projected to wind up.

Luke Fickell is a great coach, but Cincinnati was expected to be really good. Lane Kiffin was expected to have a better season this year. Mel Tucker, while having a good season with MSU, didn’t even make the Big Ten title game. Kirby Smart always has top-3 recruiting classes so him doing really good this season wasn’t surprising.

Nobody deserves this award more than Jim Harbaugh. Even known-Harbaugh hater Paul Finebaum said that Harbaugh deserves the award, and if he’s changing his hating tune, then you know Harbaugh must’ve done something well.

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Harbaugh has already accomplished way more than most fans and media members thought was possible, so he deserves to be recognized accordingly.