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HomeFootballNCAA FootballHarbaugh suspension doesn't signal the end for Michigan football

Harbaugh suspension doesn’t signal the end for Michigan football

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One of the top contenders for the College Football Playoff national championship will be without its sideline leader for the remainder of the regular season.

The Big Ten Conference Friday afternoon announced University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh would be suspended for the team’s final three regular season games. The 9-0 Wolverines play at Penn State tomorrow and at Maryland on Nov. 18 before ending the regular season against Ohio State on Nov. 25 in Ann Arbor. Harbaugh is allowed to coach during the week.

The suspension is for a violation of the conference sportsmanship policy and is related to alleged electronic sign stealing over multiple years, according to a press release from the Big Ten. The University on Friday filed a motion to block the suspension that may allow Harbaugh to coach tomorrow at Penn State.

Michigan is currently ranked No. 3 in the CFP rankings. The top four teams after Dec. 2 conference title games advance to the CFP playoff. The Wolverines have played in the last two playoffs.

The suspension is the second of the season for Harbaugh, who missed Michigan’s first three games of the season for a rules violation related to recruiting.

The move puts Michigan in an interesting spot. The Wolverines in my opinion should be the runaway favorites to win the College Football Playoff. Michigan is the only team among the contenders that hasn’t been tested. The easy answer to that is the schedule, but other highly-ranked teams have struggled against lesser opponents.

So what’s going to change for Michigan the next few weeks?

Not much.

Michigan will be fine

Is it really a suspension if Harbaugh is still permitted to game plan and scheme with coaches and players? Sure, game day is obviously a big deal. Being in that environment is what makes that job worth it. But the games are won Sunday-Friday. That’s when the scheming and game planning is done. Saturday is all about executing a week’s worth of work.

The jokes write themselves

Over the last few weeks Michigan supporters have told on themselves. First it was “everybody’s doing it.” Next it was “Stalions did all that recon by himself.” Then it was “since Stalions was let go we’ve been even better.” Today Michigan regents reportedly discussed the idea of leaving the Big Ten. For what? To go 8-4 every year in the SEC? Michigan for as long as I can remember carried itself like a program that did everything above board, a program above reproach. They always have been, but the last few weeks showed the rest of the college football world the Michigan is just like every other program and fanbase. Because nothing like these allegations or this suspension would ever happen in the SEC, right?

Harbaugh has options

This has been a rough season for Harbaugh. By the end of the regular season he’ll have missed half the Wolverines games due to two separate suspensions. I don’t think Harbaugh sticking around is a lock. I’ve said since the start of the season that Michigan should be the favorite to win the national title. All the other teams in the picture made huge changes at quarterback. Michigan has smoked every team its played to this point. If I’m Harbaugh and the Wolverines win the title, I’m finding the best available NFL job and I’m taking it. Harbaugh wants to win a Super Bowl. He came close in 2012. He lost in the Super Bowl to his brother Jon. I’d bet anything that eats at Jim. Yea, it’s a grind to coach at any level, but all the extra stuff – recruiting, dealing with the NCAA – isn’t an issue in the NFL. He loves that program, but Harbaugh isn’t obligated to stick around if he brings Michigan a title.

This is all pretty unprecedented. College coaches have missed games in the past, but not in the heart of the schedule. Do I think Michigan went too far with its sign stealing? Probably. Do I think Harbaugh deserved to be suspended? No. 

It’s over now. In-helmet technology is coming that will level the playing field. Any “unfair” advantage Michigan may have had is gone.

I don’t think it’s going to matter. Michigan has been the best team in the country this season, and is still my pick to win the national championship.

Now it’s only a question of whether they’ll have to give it back or not.

But that would never happen at a place like Michigan, right?



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