Michigan Football: It’s time to fire head coach Jim Harbaugh

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh entered the regular season without a contract extension, leaving us to ponder his future with the school.  Now it’s time to part ways with the head coach after his most recent loss.

The Michigan football team entered Saturday’s matchup with their rival Michigan State Spartans as huge 21.5 favorites only to lose 27-24.  Harbaugh’s Wolverines appeared unprepared and indeed riding high after their colossal Week One victory over Minnesota just a week ago on the road.

The Wolverines were playing host to the Spartans and certainly overlooked their rival after seeing them lose to Rutgers in their first game of the season.  Jim Harbaugh clearly did not have his group prepared or focus, and that is not taking anything away from the Spartans.

We need to give credit where credit is due; Spartans head coach Mel Tucker had his group ready for the challenge.  Tucker often animated on the Spartans’ sideline encouraging his team, willing them with energy.  Harbaugh, on the other hand, often appeared disheveled and discouraged didn’t have an answer as his Wolverines often failed to counter-punch the Spartans’ haymakers.

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It was not just the lack of on-field performance that led to this loss; it was also atrocious clock management down the stretch for the Wolverines.  That lands on Harbaugh and only Harbaugh.  Michigan, down by ten, with about six minutes remaining in the football game, needed 4:34 on 18 plays to convert on a 93-yard touchdown drive topped off by a Hassan Haskins’ 2-yard run.  Sure, a perfect drive down by seven or less but less than ideal down by ten.

Harbaugh did preserve all three of the teams’ timeouts but failed to recover the ensuing on-side kick.  Here’s the thing, down by ten, why wouldn’t Harbaugh elect to kick a field goal once the team got down inside the 20-yard line?  Recovering an onside kick is challenging and a low percentage play.  With the Wolverines having all three timeouts, the team had an opportunity to kick a field goal, preserve the clock, kick the football deep and use their timeouts on defense trying to get a three and out.

If they were successful in doing so, the Wolverines would have had an opportunity to get the football at mid-field and, at the very least, use Joe Milton’s strong arm to their advantage with a couple of hail mary attempts at the end-zone trying to force overtime.

When you consider everything, it was merely horrible clock management from Harbaugh. This 27-24 loss to a rebuilding Spartans team with Rocky Lombardi at quarterback is the worst loss in Harbaugh’s coaching career.  It’s time for the Michigan football team to say goodbye to Harbaugh and get a head start on their coaching search.

After failing to develop Shea Patterson, Harbaugh has a dual-threat talented Joe Milton at his disposal, widely regarded as the top quarterback prospect he’s had in five seasons but failed to find any additional offense.  Milton tossed for 300 yards without a touchdown; he also led the team in rushing with 59 yards on a team-high 12 attempts.

Don Bown’s defense couldn’t stop a candy wrapper blowing in the wind Saturday.  In the past, I’ve advocated for Harbaugh to move on from Brown, but he’s loyal to a fault.  Brown’s defense usually plays well until the Ohio State and Bowl Game; this year, the wheels fell off early, just two weeks into the season.

Next. Wolverines will go as far as Joe Milton takes them. dark

Michigan football allowed 449 yards to the Spartans offense in Saturday’s loss, that after yielding just 326 yards to a ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers team just a week prior.  It’s one thing to lose to a superior Ohio State team regularly, but losing to a rebuilding rival should make everyone nauseous, even the school’s president, Mark Schlissel.