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Jim Harbaugh or not, U-M can't afford to miss this next hire

Michigan is in the midst of their third coaching search in the last seven years. The program cannot get this one wrong.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This article is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Maize n Brew as a whole.

We are well into week three of Michigan football's latest coaching search, leading many to grab their torches and pitchforks and demand answers as to why the Wolverines still have not hired Brady Hoke's replacement.

Well, anyone who has followed this from the start is able to put two and two together realizes that the timeline of this search goes hand in hand with the schedule of the big fish that Jim Hackett is trying to reel in, which is San Francisco 49ers head coach and former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh is far and away U-M's top choice to be their next coach, which given his track record, he absolutely should be. His relationship with 49ers' management is tumultuous to put it nicely and it appears he will not be returning as their coach next year. Hackett knows that if Harbaugh is ever going to come to Ann Arbor, now is the time, and it's looking more and more each day like he is making a huge push for that to happen.

Now, if it is indeed Harbaugh that the Wolverines are gunning for, this is a search that is going to drag itself out for the next few weeks as the NFL season wraps up. San Francisco will not benefit from firing Harbaugh at this point and it would not look good on him just walking out.

National media would lead us all to believe that Harbaugh-to-Michigan is a huge pipe dream. Tune them out. NFL writers have a hard time fathoming a world where the NFL is not king.

We live in a world today where there are several sources out there willing to talk and lots of people willing to report, whether reputable or not. Remember the LeBron James saga this past summer? The national talking heads wrote off the possibility of him returning to Cleveland, but Chris Sheridan, an independent blog owner, put his reputation on the line reporting the return was inevitable and he was ultimately correct.

There are many inside Michigan's circle who believe Harbaugh will end up in Ann Arbor before too long. It's just a matter of time and patience from everyone.

So if Harbaugh comes, he'll turn things around, right?

It's hard to imagine a scenario where he couldn't. His track record speaks for itself. He has won at every level of football and brings a certain attitude to the field of play that trickles down throughout the locker room. Part of Michigan's problem the last few years is not having a staff in place that pushes their roster to be better. That would not be an issue here.

Harbaugh has rubbed people the wrong way, yes. He may have a bit of an "ego," yes. But his is the type of personality Michigan has been without since the days of Bo Schembechler. He is a fierce competitor that seems like would be a perfect fit here.

Regardless of if Harbaugh comes or not, it is so incredibly important that Michigan gets this hire right. Ideally, they'd like to have their coach for the next 10-15 years, and he is young enough to imagine a scenario where that could happen.

Don't think that Hackett is sitting on his thumbs waiting for a Harbaugh decision, either. One of the positives to having to wait this search is out having time to vet other candidates in case Plan A does not materialize. We aren't quite sure who the Plan B names are, sans a few rumors here and there, but we should trust him and the search committee to get this right.

If you're asking me to make a prediction on what happens, go ahead and throw me in the ring as a Harbaugh believer. I feel comfortable with the information that is out there and I think Hackett's big play will work out. We'll see what happens though.

Whoever the coach is, it's paramount that we aren't sitting here four years from know wondering who the next hire will be.