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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Jim Harbaugh should be fired for turning Michigan into a national disgrace, not a national champion

Jim Harbaugh was supposed to turn Michigan into a national champion. not a national laughingstock.
Jim Harbaugh was supposed to turn Michigan into a national champion. not a national laughingstock.
Image: (Getty Images)

Jim Harbaugh should be done at Michigan.

Not at the end of this miserable season, but like yesterday.

And his justified exit shouldn’t be polite or friendly, either. With the piss-poor job he’s turned in, Harbaugh’s feelings shouldn’t be spared.

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The Harbaugh press release should read that he was fired. Period. No sugar on top.

Nobody wants one of those mutual-parting-of-the-ways spin jobs that so many failures get these days so that the fired party can save face. Let’s be honest, Harbaugh can’t hide from the fact that he has been a disaster.

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Talk about a fairytale turning into a nightmare. That’s exactly the story for Harbaugh, the former Michigan quarterback who came back to Ann Arbor to right the ship, make his alma mater a big-time winner. He was supposed to deliver his school to a national championship.

Instead, Michigan has become a national disgrace.

And Saturday’s 49-11 loss to Wisconsin at the Big House, with the nation watching on TV, was absolute rock bottom for the Wolverines.

Under Harbaugh, the loss ranked as the worst scoring margin (lost by 38 points).

It was the worst yardage margin (outgained by 249 yards).

It was the worst first-down differential (allowed 16 more first downs).

Get this, Michigan became the first Big Ten team in 15 years to not record a sack or a takeaway in five consecutive halves.

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Yes, it was a primetime beatdown of epic proportions.

“Not a good place as a football team right now, and that falls on me,” Harbaugh said to the media after the latest debacle. “Got to get after really going back to basics in everything that we’re doing.

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“Everybody’s got to do better. I’m at the front of the line in accountability.”

And just when you thought the season couldn’t get worse, it did.

Already this season, the Wolverines lost to in-state rivals Michigan State at home. The loss really stung because the Spartans came to town with their new first-year coach after losing to lowly Rutgers at home.

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Yet, MSU coach Mel Tucker got a signature win on his first trip to Ann Arbor. Worse, it was like taking candy from a baby.

Michigan followed that up with another loss for the ages — a 38-21 road loss to Indiana.

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It marked the first time that Michigan had lost to Indiana since 1987, ending a 24-game win streak. Again, this mess happened under Harbaugh’s watch.

The numbers aren’t ugly. They are fugly.

Under Harbaugh vs. their rivals, the Wolverines are now 1-6 at home against Ohio State and Michigan State. Harbaugh is 0-5 against Ohio State. Against Top 10 teams, Harbaugh’s Michigan squad is 2-12.

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No one could have imagined that things would be this bad.

There was so much hope when he was hired six years ago. Harbaugh came home with a story suitable for framing. He played quarterback for Michigan under its legendary coach Bo Schembechler from 1983-1986. And Harbaugh played 14 seasons in the NFL.

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He did a bang-up job with Stanford in college coaching. He also took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl as an NFL coach.

Without question, Harbaugh came back to Ann Arbor as the savior.

He was going to make everything right. Michigan wasn’t just going to be known as a fabled franchise, but a real contender in modern college football.

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Michigan showered Harbaugh with loot galore. Despite not ever having won the big game on any level as a coach, Harbaugh was paid like he had championship rings falling out of his pockets.

Harbaugh is the fourth-highest-paid college football coach, making $8.1 million dollars a season. The three coaches who make more (Nick Saban, Ed Orgeron, and Dabo Swinney) all have won a national championship. Harbaugh shouldn’t be on that pay scale.

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Harbaugh’s contract runs out in 2021.

It would be crazy for the school to give him an extension coming off this season, which is already in a downward spiral. That means Harbaugh would be a lame-duck coach and have to win — and win big — to get another contract.

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Michigan should just own up to the realization that it made the wrong hire, and that hiring the native son doesn’t always work. It’s time to accept that Harbaugh failed at Michigan and move on.

Harbaugh should be fired.

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