The 2021 Big Ten football season unofficially kicked off on Thursday with the beginning of Big Ten Football Media Days in Indianapolis. Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh — whose name is in the Colts’ Ring of Honor at Lucas Oil Stadium — closed out the formal press conferences with his media availability where an all-too-familiar question was raised to him.
You’ve won a lot of games but you haven’t beaten Ohio State and you haven’t won the Big Ten championship. Where do you think the program stands right now, what steps need to be taken to take that next step and do you feel rejuvenated by the coaching changes?
Harbaugh, who enters his seventh season at the helm of the football program, had about as direct an answer to the question as he ever has.
“I’m here before you as enthusiastic and excited as I ever am, always am — even more — to have it, to win the championship,” Harbaugh said. “To beat Ohio, our rivals Michigan State, everybody. That’s what we want to do. And we’re gonna do it or die trying.”
“I saw my daughter this summer,” Harbaugh said. “We were going up this mountain. It was a mountain climb. I don’t know how high it was. It was probably — we probably did 15,000 steps to get up there. She was counting it on her phone.”
“And, we were getting up close to the top and she said, ‘We’ve gotta apex, dad. We’ve gotta get to the top!’ ‘Darn right we do! We gotta get there. We gotta apex this and try to get to the top!’ She’s got that gene in her, and I was darn glad to see it. I’ll tell you, I’ve got that gene in me. And some of the guys we’ve got here already (like) Aidan Hutchinson, Hassan (Haskins) and Josh Ross and a lot of others. We’ve got that gene in us. We’ve gotta get to the top.”
Harbaugh and the Wolverines are 3-3 against Michigan State and 0-5 against Ohio State since arriving in Ann Arbor ahead of the 2015 season. The Wolverines lost 27-24 to Michigan State last season but avoided a sixth-consecutive loss to Ohio State due to The Game’s cancelation. Vegas has the over/under for Michigan’s projected wins in 2021 set at 7.5 games.