It’s been a long time since there was this much uncertainty surrounding a week 4 matchup for Michigan Football. The start of Big Ten play has typically been largely overlooked by Michigan fans as group of five blowouts transition into large power five-point spreads (let’s just forget that Michigan has gotten into dogfights the last two years in their Big Ten openers).
This year has an increased level of unease as Michigan football hasn’t done what many felt they were supposed to do through the non-conference schedule.
Many have referred to the Michigan non-conference schedule as a preseason. To be fair, with their head coach finally returning to the sidelines this weekend, it does feel as if this is the true opening weekend for Michigan football. But even if this is where the real test begins for this team, here’s what we can take away from the first three games.
1. Harbaugh Means a Lot to this Team
The players on this team made it abundantly clear to everyone who would listen- they love Jim Harbaugh. Whether it was the ‘train formation’, J.J.’s Free Harbaugh shirt, or the myriad of post-game press conference comments from players and coaches, this team loves their head coach.
Yes, the man who loves his khakis so much he once said in an interview “I can workout in my khakis. And do. They’re similar to sweatpants” seems to be what this team desperately needs right now. The assistant coaches have drawn a lot of praise from fans and media, and deservedly so, but I think it’s safe to say that we’ve taken Harbaugh for granted. The head coach who is quick to deflect praise and absorb criticism has a presence and knowledge of the game that this team has needed through the first few weeks.
If Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel isn’t already, he better be doing whatever it takes to keep Harbaugh around after this season. Jim may be untraditional, but he’s effective and one of the best at what he does. It took him a few years to get going in Ann Arbor but he seems to be just what this team needs right now.