Jim Harbaugh has been suspended by the Big Ten Conference. Michigan football is working to challenge the punishment in court and we’ll see if Harbaugh can coach tomorrow
I’m not a legal expert and I don’t have any inside information on what is going to happen off the field over the next 24 hours. I can tell you however that this is a very good Michigan football team. Regardless of what happens off the field, here is why they will come out with a win on Saturday.
1. This Team has All the Motivation in the World
Everyone everywhere seems to hate Michigan right now. It’s been impossible to watch anything to do with sports news and not see someone have an opinion on everything that’s going on. I think that for just about any team in the country that would be a major distraction. But for this team, with all their experience, leadership, and team chemistry, it’s just more fuel on the fire.
Let’s go back to last season for a moment. In a tough road game against Iowa in Kinnick Stadium, Michigan football came onto the field waving pink towels — a nod to the pink visitors locker room at the stadium. If there was a moment that defined this team over the past three seasons, it was this moment. Most teams hate that pink locker room. It’s a distraction from the game. Michigan embraced it. This team said we don’t care — it’s us against the world.
Following a crushing loss in the Fiesta Bowl last year, this team came back focused on one thing- winning it all. They know what it takes to win the Big Ten because they’ve done it before. They’ve won in Happy Valley before.
They may be the most hated team in America right now. That will change as it’s starting to look more like mutually assured destruction than many rival fans would like to admit with the latest allegations against other Big 10 schools. It doesn’t change the seriousness of what Michigan is being alleged to have done. But I think that the response by everyone in the national media is a perfect representation of this Ahmad Rashad quote from ESPN’s The Last Dance, “People build you up to tear you down… if you win too much they want you to lose.”
Michigan football has pissed off the rest of the Big 10 by winning the conference back-to-back years. People outside the fanbase now want to see them lose. I’ll put it this way, if Indiana were being accused of what Michigan is, no one would care if a decision by the Big 10 came out now or in 10 years from now.
The leaders on this team need to step up. As important as JJ is on the field, what he and the other leaders of this program do off the field is even more important right now. Whether it’s everyone hoping on the Ohio State bandwagon again, being punished for buying hamburgers, or other Big 10 schools who clearly have something to gain from Michigan being punished- this team should and will block out the noise and just play football in spite of what is going on.