Six years have come and gone without the Michigan Wolverines achieving the heights that were expected under Jim Harbaugh. As a result, his standing in the pecking order of the college football head coaches has taken a hit going into a critical season for his program.
CBS Sports recently ranked every Power Five head coach, where Harbaugh was ranked as the 23rd-best coach in the country.
Here is the explanation for the drop from Tom Fornelli after a collection of ballots from across CBS Sports and 247Sports:
Jim Harbaugh: Like nearly everybody else, my opinion of Harbaugh has dropped in recent years when it comes to these rankings. I think this might be a little too low, but when it comes to Harbaugh, everything seems embellished one way or the other. I had him at No. 17 on my ballot. I mean, he went 2-4 last season, but Michigan has still been a solid top-20 program during his tenure. The inability to beat Ohio State looms large for obvious reasons, but we don’t seem to hold that against other Big Ten coaches like we do Harbaugh. 2020 rank: 12 (-11)
Harbaugh was among the most highly-paid coaches in college football over his first six seasons in Ann Arbor, but the program has come up short of the bar that was set for him. As a result, he agreed to a contract extension earlier this offseason that cut his base salary in half to $4 million. He has a chance to double his money and earn some of it back with an incentive-based contract.
Harbaugh and Michigan turned over almost half the coaching staff this past winter and have made a number of hires in the recruiting department to improve their efforts there. We will have to wait and see if it can materialize into throwing his name into the mix with some of the elite coaches again.