All sarcasm aside, Harbaugh coached a great game, at least for 129 of the 130 plays. His team didn't lose because of him, in fact, they only reason they were able to hang with MSU was largely due to his coaching. Okay, there, I choked out my compliment to the Attention Diva. He doesn't scare me, but I know he is a very good game-coach.
Outside of the lines, though, Harbaugh remains a bit of a mystery. He clearly loves being the center of attention and he doesn't like to speak to reporters, that much we already knew. And I respect that he went to the 50-yard-line to shake Dantonio's hand, even waiting momentarily before moving on.
But his post-game remarks were a bit eyebrow-raising. It seemed like he was blaming the officials for his team losing, and I wasn't the only one who thought so. There were certainly bad calls, but they obviously went both ways, or at least there were many big bad calls that favored UM. The Wolverines were given a touchdown that they didn't score, and the Spartans were denied a touchdown that they did score, so those two calls alone - - - both after official reviews - - - represent a 14-point swing in favor of the home team.
The call that seems to have drawn the most attention however, was a fairly routine call - - - by current standards - - - for "targeting", against the spike-wielding Joe Bolden. Like all "targeting" calls nowadays, it was marginal, not brutal. The "targeting rule" has eliminated the nasty missile-launching head-hits of yesteryear, and players called for "targeting" these days usually have little more than incidental contact with their "target". That's the way it was for Riley Bullough earlier this season; he barely touched a ball-carrier and was chucked for it.
So there's no question that the Bolden Hit was minimal, with incidental helmet-contact on Connor Cook. Still, the officials are required by rule to enforce the penalty.
But what about Harbaugh's description of that play? Who could possibly agree with the way he said that play happened:
"Bolden was pushed in the back," Harbaugh said. "It really should have been a push in the back penalty. (The referee's) explanation was…well, you people saw it the same way. Hard to fathom. And the quarterback wasn't even down on the ground. He was straight up and had to drop like a sack of potatoes. That was just one of many (bad calls)."