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How Jim Harbaugh Controlled Headlines the Week of the National Championship Game

The college football world still has Harbaugh on the brain despite the season's biggest game being on display.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

For the past week, Clemson and Alabama have been preparing for Monday night, when the two teams will meet in Glendale, Arizona for the College Football Playoff Championship game.

And while both the Tigers and Crimson Tide have rightfully been commanding attention across the college football landscape, it’s likely you’ve been hearing plenty about Michigan football, too -- even if you’re not a Wolverines fan, and even if you’re not all that interested in college football.

Indeed, Google Trends indicates "Harbaugh" has been as popular a search term as "Dabo" over the past week. And if it seems like Michigan’s coach is always in the news, well, you’re right.

Harbaugh vs. other Big Ten coaches. Harbaugh in blue, of course. (Google Trends)

Here’s how it happened this week:

Sunday, Jan. 3: Harbaugh announces presidential campaign, subtweets the 49ers

Early Sunday afternoon, Harbaugh makes a splash by announcing his intentions to run for president alongside rapper Wale, who had previously tweeted the coach "just wins things ... with whatever he has." Harbaugh’s reply to Wale is retweeted nearly 6,000 times and is featured in stories by online magazine HipHopDX, Bleacher Report and SB Nation, among other news outlets.

Of course, the bigger story comes later that night, after the 49ers announced they had fired Jim Tomsula, Harbaugh’s replacement in San Francisco. The not-too-subtle subtweet explodes across both the college football and NFL worlds and results in stories by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, Fox News,, and so on. In addition, the tweet leads to Harbaugh becoming a trending topic in San Jose, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and even in Canada, according to Trendsmap.

The possible jab at the 49ers is sent at 10:58 p.m. EST, meaning it remains a popular story on the East Coast into Monday morning.

Wednesday, Jan. 6: Guest speaker announced, Harbaugh’s anniversary

Michigan football’s coaching staff announces Wednesday that Mike Martz, "the man who brought you the Greatest Show on Turf," will be a guest speaker at Harbaugh’s annual spring coaching clinic. The update makes local news in MLive and the Detroit Free Press.

Wednesday was also Jim and Sarah Harbaugh’s anniversary, and the coach tweets out a congratulations message "to myself" and calls her (in broken Spanish) the most beautiful wife in the world.

Thursday, Jan. 7: Harbaugh meets the NHL

Just a week after making national news for suggesting Michigan should host WrestleMania in the Big House, Harbaugh inadvertently makes news at another non-football sporting event.

This time, he’s caught on camera eating a hot dog during the Red Wings game in San Jose. In typical Harbaugh fashion, his eating style is a little bizarre, and a video of the moment appears in stories on SB Nation and Eleven Warriors. It’s also mentioned by the Associated Press, so stories on Yahoo Sports and USA Today, among others, feature the Michigan coach.

Harbaugh uses his time at the SAP Center to meet with former Wolverines Dylan Larkin and Luke Glendening, and he commissions them both to be part of a recruiting video for Michigan football. A story about Harbaugh’s attendance at the game then appears on the Red Wings’ official website.

Friday, Jan. 8: Harbaugh meets the President

The Detroit Free Press reports Harbaugh will be among guests at President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union Address, which will be held Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. The Free Press story is shared more than 4,500 times, and it is subsequently picked up by MLive and the Detroit News before going national via The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Saturday, Jan. 9: U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Michigan football adds a 24th member to its 2016 recruiting class when Dylan Crawford commits during the first quarter of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

"I feel like I can get good networking there; they’ve got a good networking base," Crawford says after picking the Wolverines on national T.V. "Coach Harbaugh, you know he’s going to get you right."

Crawford briefly becomes a trending topic in the United States.

Sunday, Jan. 10: Michigan looks south

Finally, on Sunday, Rivals reports Harbaugh plans to take the Wolverines to Florida for part of their spring practice. In the evening, both MLive and the Free Press also report the news, which is then picked up by SB Nation, Bleacher Report and, among others.