The Jim Harbaugh era of Michigan football has not yet officially started, but the hire is already being widely regarded a huge success for the Wolverines program.
Dan Patrick, on his radio show, suggested Harbaugh to Michigan will be a move that saves the Big Ten. Given the current state of the Big Ten, at least in the national picture, suggests the Big Ten is in need of help, but saying Harbaugh will rescue the entire conference may be a slight exaggeration. After all, didn’t some people suggest the same thing about Urban Meyer at Ohio State? If Harbaugh is going to turn in the kind of success Meyer has seen in Columbus right off the bat, we will talk.
Remember that there was a time when the thought was Rich Rodriguez was going to revolutionize the way the Big Ten played football. Brady Hoke was also thought to be the guy that could put Michigan back atop the Big Ten after guiding the Wolverines to the Sugar Bowl in his first season in Ann Arbor. Harbaugh is neither of those coaches, but the lesson is sometimes it is best to wait and see before rushing to wild ambitions.
Perhaps we should slow down just a little bit before making room in the Michigan trophy room for four College Football Playoff national title trophies, but there is plenty of room for optimism about the future of Michigan football with Harbaugh leading the program. Recruiting has never been the issue at Michigan. It is the player development and tapping that maximum potential and putting the right players in the best position on the field that has been the issue for both Rodriguez and Hoke. These are areas that Harbaugh is expected to do well with, which should lead to a relatively quick turnaround for Michigan football.
Saving the Big Ten might be a bit of a reach, but giving Ohio State another national power to do battle with certainly helps to raise the bar within the conference, and that has a trickle-down effect that could lead to better play throughout the conference, but nobody should be overlooking the work done by Michigan State. The Spartans have more than pulled their own weight the last few seasons as well.