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Monday, June 22, 2015


(originally published on 5-14-15)

It finally had to come down to something like this, offering an eighth-grader a scholarship to play at Michigan. Jim Harbaugh has done just about everything else in the last four months, so why not get down and dirty and desperate?

Surprising? Not if you've been paying attention. After all, Harbaugh has already secured his title as "Coach Clown" of the off-season, by doing things like:

What's next, SKY-WRITING?

Seems like just about the only things that Harbaugh has NOT done since being hired by Michigan is to coach his team in a winning game or bring in a big recruiting class, the two things he was actually hired to do. Is it possible that all of his shenanigans are meant to cover-up for the fact that he really hasn't done much of anything at UM yet?

It's almost like Harbaugh was issued a "free pass"
immediately upon being hired.

That "free pass" has been renewed several times already.

Others in the sports media have noticed this and reported on it, but the overall effect has been to maintain all of the luster amidst all of the bluster of the Emperor who is wearing no clothes. The Detroit News wrote about it, and so did NBC Sports, but their story-lines came out BEFORE SIGNING DAY, almost as if the "free pass" they were reporting on was actually given to Harbaugh as part of their report.

This is the same guy who produced a four-year record of 29-21 at Stanford, a program that was struggling before his arrival. Not bad, nothing to be ashamed of there. But in the first four years of the Mark Dantonio Era, Michigan State put up a 33-19 record after years of program-wide frustration. Those are very similar performance records, but the disparate treatment of the two coaches by the UM-loving sports media has been hard to stomach for many of us.

It must be that Harbaugh has been out-performing his predecessors, right? He must have turned the corner after Hoke and Rodriguez, and the media has responded with the frenzy of Kardashian-style adulation. Right?

Here's a comparison of the first recruiting classes of each of those UM coaches, all of which were "partial years" as they were all hired between the end of a season and National Signing Day:

  • Rich Rodriguez was hired on 12-17-07. His first class of 24 recruits was ranked #10 by Rivals (2008) 
  • Brady Hoke was hired on 1-11-11. His first class of 20 recruits was ranked #21 by Rivals (2011)
  • Jim Harbaugh was hired on 12-30-14. His first class of 14 recruits was ranked #49 by Rivals (2015)

All three coaches took over within a 25-day time-frame of each other in different seasons. Compared to Hoke and Rodriguez, Harbaugh signed fewer recruits and scored a lower class-ranking.

So why all the fuss about this guy?

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