Paul Finebaum has been one of the most adamant haters of Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines for a long time. Back in 2017, Finebaum called Harbaugh an “evil genius” and the “Donald Trump of college football.” Harbaugh’s tweet shortly thereafter went viral when he called “Pete” Finebaum an “SEC water carrier” and to get his facts straight.
There have been a few other jarring matches over the internet/television, but now, Finebaum has done the unthinkable — he admitted he was wrong about Harbaugh and was actually rooting for him against Washington in Monday night’s National Championship.
“I say, ‘congratulations,’ and (Mike Greenberg), I was cheering for (Harbaugh) last night,” Finebaum said on ESPN’s “Get Up” morning show. “I can’t explain it — I’m sure it’s some weird thing from back when I was a baby or something, but I don’t know if I’ve ever been more wrong about anything in my entire life. I didn’t think the guy would ever beat Ohio State — I said it on your show a couple of years ago, if I live to be 150, and I’m getting close. But the point being, this is truly remarkable. And I don’t want to be wrong about something, Greeny, you never want to be wrong. But if you’re going to be epically wrong, out of this constellation, out of this universe wrong, I’ll take it.
“And I think Jim Harbaugh has silenced all those who doubted him in the early days. I’m not talking about what happened this year, that’s a whole different story, but in the end, he has proven everyone wrong.”
Now, take this with a grain of sal. Before the College Football Playoff began, Finebaum said if Michigan won it all, the championship would be tainted due to the Connor Stalions sign-stealing fiasco. He later walked back those comments after the Wolverines took down Alabama in the Rose Bowl.
Finebaum has been a bit of a flip-flopper over recent weeks — and throughout the course of his broadcasting career — when it comes to anything other than Nick Saban and the SEC, but this opinion is set in stone for him. College football is over until September and there is nothing more to discuss pertaining to the 2023 season. Michigan’s 15-0 season, capped off with a win in the natty, is as legitimate as they come.
“I think some of us looked at him and said he’s ‘old-fashioned,’” Finebaum added. “He’s a creation of Bo Schembechler, his mentor. His practices are antediluvian, and in today’s current college football world, it wouldn’t work. But we forgot one thing – not all of us, but I did – I forgot what a great coach he was.
“And after a couple of years getting his head bashed in, in Ann Arbor, I think some of us simply said, ‘What’s wrong with this guy? He can’t adapt, and he’ll never be able to.’ But he did, and when he was at the precipice three years ago and about to get fired, he was building. And fortunately for Michigan, (athletic director) Warde Manuel and the university stuck with him, because what he’s done the last three years have been truly remarkable to watch.”
Whether or not he flips to a different opinion before the day is done, and whether or not these comments are pandering to the Michigan fan base, Finebaum can’t erase what he said on live national television.
Another day, another victory for Michigan.