Jim Harbaugh

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No. 7 Michigan avoids major upset in double overtime vs Army

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No. 7 Michigan (2-0) saw the defense come up huge in a double overtime victory over Army (1-1). After taking a 24-21 lead to begin the second overtime, the Wolverines celebrated a gritty victory over the Black Knights when they recovered a fumble on Army’s last effort.

On 3rd and 11 form the Michigan 26-yard line, Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins dropped back to pass and was sacked by Carlo Kemp and Aidan Hutchinson for a loss of 10 yards. To make matters worse, Hopkins had the ball knocked out of his hands, and Josh Uche came up with the loose ball for the victory.

Jake Moody gave Michigan a 24-21 lead to start the second overtime on a 43-yard field goal after the offense sputtered on three consecutive pass attempts by Shea Patterson. Patterson had a rough afternoon with a pair of lost fumbles and completing 19-of-29 passes for 207 yards. But the missed passes, at times, were infuriating for the Wolverines as he missed some wide open receivers for what could have been big plays. Michigan’s new-look offense showed it still has some work to do to become the improved unit that had been hyped going into the season.

Michigan had a chance to take a lead on Army in the first half thanks to the defense pouncing on a fumble, but a return by Josh Metellus was ruled down on the field on the recover. Video replay confirmed Metellus was not down when he recovered the football, shortly before he returned the loose ball for what should have been a touchdown. The play was not reviewable by officials, so the play stood.

Jim Harbaugh will certainly face the music for a pair of fourth-down decisions in the second half that backfired. The first was inside the red zone, with the game tied at 14-14 in the fourth quarter. the second came later around midfield with under three minutes to play. The later led to what was nearly a last-second field goal victory for Army, but the 50-yard attempt by freshman Cole Talley (his first field goal attempt of his collegiate career) didn’t quite have the leg or the angle to sail through posts.

Army came agonizingly close to scoring its first win against a top 10 opponent since 1963, when Army knocked off No. 9 Penn State. A year after losing to Kyler Murray and Oklahoma in overtime, Army knows it can give some of the best programs a good battle, but that won’t make anyone at Army feel any better after a tough loss at Michigan. Army will look to some of their own miscues that haunted them in this one. Midway through the third quarter, with a 14-7 lead in their favor, Army stalled on the door step of a possible touchdown with a false start penalty on 2nd & Goal form the one-yard line and Hopkins throwing an interception two plays later on 3rd & Goal form the five by Lavert Hill. Michigan seized the opportunity off the Army turnover by marching right down the field to tie the game at 14-14 on a Zach Charbonnet run form the Army one-yard line. Patterson did have a big third down pass for an 18-yard gain when he needed nine on third down, and a 25-yard pass to Ronnie Bell on 3rd & 7 moved Michigan to the two-yard line.

Michigan will now get a week off before taking the field again. The Wolverines hit the road in two weeks for their Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. That will give Michigan some time to refine the offense after having plenty of issues pop up against Army (and last week against Middle Tennessee). Wisconsin will also get the bye week to prepare for Michigan.

Army is back in action next week in San Antonio when they face UTSA.

Who will be the next first-time college football national championship coach?

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On Monday night, Virginia and Texas Tech will battle for the men’s basketball national championship. A victory will clinch the first national championship as a head coach for either Virginia head coach Tony Bennett or Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard. But if you want college basketball coverage, our friends over at College Basketball Talk have you taken care of. Here, we’ll take the football angle and try to determine what college football coach will be the next to win his first national championship.

First, a refresher of the recent history of championship head coaches. Unless you’ve been sleeping under Howard’s Rock, you know the last four national titles have been split evenly by Nick Saban of Alabama and Dabo Swinney of Clemson. Swinney is the most recent coach to win his first national championship, having done so three seasons ago with a victory over Saban’s Crimson Tide in the 2016 season. Before Swinney, the most recent coach to win his first national title was Jimbo Fisher, then at Florida State, in the 2013 season in the final BCS Championship Game before the College Football Playoff took over. Since the 2010 season, the only other coach to win his first national title was Gene Chizik at Auburn, doing so in the 2010 season with Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton topping the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship Game.

There are certainly some obvious candidates to be the next coach to win his first national title. The conversation likely has to begin with Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma. In his first two seasons as head coach of the Sooners, Riley has taken two Big 12 championship teams into the College Football Playoff with a Heisman Trophy quarterback, although the Sooners have yet to win a playoff game. Each time, Oklahoma was eliminated by the national title runner-up. It doesn’t look as though Oklahoma is going to be slowing down any time soon, although the competition just in the conference may improve and make a playoff run a tad more difficult. Tom Herman at Texas could be the most likely coach out of the Big 12 not named Riley to win his first national title.

There are still some coaches to watch in the SEC as well. Kirby Smart has already taken Georgia to the national title game, where they lost in overtime against Alabama two seasons ago. He will certainly be in the mix to win his first national title. He’s even taken out Riley and Oklahoma! Dan Mullen at Florida could be a coach in the running as well, although there may still be some work to do in Gainesville before Florida can crack the four-team playoff field. Or will the football gods align the fates just right for Ed Orgeron to take LSU the distance?

The ACC is tough to find a coach you can feel has a great shot to be the next coach to win his first national title, especially with Clemson continuing to roll for the foreseeable future. The Pac-12 looks like a difficult spot too considering the quality of play in the conference recently. The thought of Mike Leach being the next to win his first national title is fun to dream about though.

But what about the Big Ten? Ryan Day is taking over as head coach of a playoff-worthy candidate at Ohio State this season. Jim Harbaugh should have another strong Big Ten contender to work with this upcoming season. James Franklin and Penn State have a couple hurdles they need to prove they can clear again before making their case, but all three coaches would certainly be on the radar.

Or, if you dare to do so, do you think there is a Group of Five coach out there ready to make the jump to a power conference program and guide them to a national title in the next few years while Saban and Swinney go another couple of championship rounds? Call your shot in the comment section or on Twitter.

Jim Harbaugh continues to want to see transfer rules reviewed

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An increasing number of players are taking advantage of their opportunity to explore their transfer options this offseason, and it has become a growing concern for the sport as a whole. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who has seen players come and leave via the transfer process during his time in Ann Arbor, remains one of the voices of college football who feels the transfer process does need to be reviewed.

“It needs to be decided, too, amongst everybody across the college football landscape how it’s going to be treated,” Harbaugh said in his podcast recently, as quoted by USA Today. “It was a case where, if you decided to transfer, you had to sit out a year from playing a sport – you’re ineligible. Or is that that anybody has a one-time transfer that they can make? A one-time transfer rule. Right now, I don’t know where we’re at. Somewhere in the abyss?”

The NCAA has adjusted the transfer process to make the system more accommodating for players. The introduction of the transfer portal allows a player to enter their name in a list to become eligible to have contact with other schools without withdrawing entirely from their current program. The NCAA has also relaxed the strictness of the one-year waiting period when it comes to waivers. The rule still stands that a player must sit out a year before being eligible to play at their new school (if transferring from an FBS program to another FBS program), but waivers continue to be approved at a higher number this offseason to allow a player to be eligible immediately.

Harbaugh recently saw the transfer process leave one of his players in jeopardy last offseason when Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson transferred to the Wolverines. Although that was more of a sticky situation given the Ole Miss sanctions looming over the program and former head coach Hugh Freeze. Just this offseason, Ohio State welcomed quarterback Justin Fields from Georgia, and Fields has been granted immediate eligibility for the 2019 season.

“It is different,” Harbaugh said. “It is different that more guys are transferring. We’ve experienced it this year. Talking to guys, as a parent, there’s not even a good reason. Were you shaving this morning and you woke up and decided I want to transfer?”

The NCAA will be reviewing the waiver transfer process amid growing concerns around the sport. And if Harbaugh is asked to share his thoughts, he has a few ideas ready to throw out there.

Jim Harbaugh says Michigan should build a statue of Tom Brady

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You may have heard this one before, but New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is pretty darn good. After winning yet another Super Bowl this past week with the Patriots topping the Los Angeles Rams, Brady won his sixth Super Bowl championship. Now, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh thinks the Wolverines should pay tribute to one of the NFL’s all-time greats who just so happens to be a former Michigan quarterback.

“I think it’s time, don’t you, for a Tom Brady statue to built right here,” the head coach of the Wolverines said in a recent episode of his podcast, according to Detroit Free Press (in case you forgot Harbaugh had a podcast). “Right in front of Schembechler Hall, or do you put it in the stadium? Where do you put the Tom Brady statue?”

That’s a good question, and perhaps it will one day be one that administrators attempt to answer in Ann Arbor. There is no formal discussion on the table about such a tribute to the former Michigan quarterback. But once Brady eventually steps aside from football, perhaps that conversation will kick up some dust. Brady may not have been a Heisman Trophy candidate or anything while playing his college football in maize and blue, but his success at the NFL level is certainly worth honoring at Michigan in some way. If not with a statue, perhaps by naming a part of the football facilities in his name? A plaque?

“You’re synonymous now with Babe Ruth, with Michael Jordan. The university he attended should build a statue,” Harbaugh added.

NFL coaching carousel begins, so get ready for the rumor mill to spill over to college football

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Today is Bloody Monday around the NFL as the regular season has come to a close. Head coaching vacancies have been made with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and more. And with the NFL coaching carousel now in full swing, do not be surprised to hear some conversation pick up about potential candidates coming from the world of college football.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has been one of the trendy names to follow in the NFL rumor mill, although the head coach of the Wolverines appears to be keeping his distance whenever asked about the possibility of pursuing a job in the NFL. Harbaugh has stated he does not really have representatives, and the Jets have turned aside the rumors suggesting the franchise was looking to make a push for Harbaugh.

For years, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has been seen as a likely candidate to make the jump to the NFL at some point in time. Coming off an undefeated regular season only to be shown the exit from the College Football Playoff in dominant fashion against Clemson will certainly have some suggesting Kelly may have tapped out at Notre Dame and could be willing to look for a new challenge. Confirming his allegiance to Notre Dame is nothing new for Kelly, as he’s been doing it multiple times during his time in South Bend. We’ll see if anyone kicks up some dust on his name for a potential job opening.

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has had his name thrown around by some NFL folks, and with the success of Baker Mayield in his rookie year with the Cleveland Browns, it’s not difficult to understand why. Former Texas Tech head coach and current USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury has also had his name tossed around at times, more likely as a coordinator however. There are also reports that Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald could get a look from the Green Bay Packers. Former Washington and USC head coach and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian could be out of a job as Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, so it would not be out of the question Sarkisian makes his way back to college football in some capacity either. This thing works both ways, right?

Then there are the college coaches who have some previous NFL head coaching experience. Good luck prying Nick Saban back to the NFL when he is the God of Alabama football at the height of his career, but might an NFL franchise be willing to give a guy like Herm Edwards another shot after proving some doubters wrong in his first season at Arizona State? Given how coaching hires are made, recycling a veteran coach like Edwards would hardly be a surprising move by some NFL franchise.

This time of the year, nothing should be considered completely off the table, so brace yourselves, college football fans. This coaching carousel isn’t quite done just yet (and it was already potentially in motion with some recent vacancies already opened up at Houston and Temple).