Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has a history of facing Jim Harbaugh coached teams, dating back to 2012. At Big Ten Media Days, Lovie commented on what it was like facing Harbaugh in the NFL, as well as last season at Michigan.
“Jim’s a good football coach. He had a good football team that beat a great Chicago Bears football team. I know we played them way back, and I guess they had a coming out party for their quarterback (Colin Kaepernick).
“At Michigan last year they had a better football team than ours. In general, Michigan is one of the better programs in college football, they’ve been great for a long period of time and Jim’s a good football coach.”
The 49ers beat the Bears 32-7 in their first matchup against one another, while the 49ers were a dropped end zone pass from winning matchup two, ultimately losing to Chicago 28-20. Last season Michigan beat Illinois 41-8. Lovie expects his Illinois team to be vastly improved in 2017, which will be his second year as their head coach. Illinois was 3-9 in 2016.