Life comes at you fast, and sometimes in the best way. Two years ago, head coach of the Michigan Wolverines Jim Harbaugh had a free one-way plane ticket out of Ann Arbor from just about every fan with an income and a pulse.
Now, after two Big Ten titles, two College Football Playoff appearances, two consecutive victories over Ohio State and a 25-3 record since the start of 2021, Harbaugh has quickly changed fans’ perception of him, and the national media is right on their heels.
247Sports released a ranking of the top 35 coaches in college football ahead of the 2023 season and Harbaugh came in at No. 3.
“Another win over Ohio State, the Big Ten championship and a playoff berth for Harbaugh’s Wolverines in 2022. Outside of Georgia’s Kirby Smart, no coach nationally has made more noise since the start of the 2021 campaign. He was able to dodge NFL murmurs with a new deal last spring, handled quarterback controversy to open the season and sprinted through the Big Ten’s gauntlet unscathed as the league’s top coach. Will Harbaugh and Michigan go for the trifecta in 2023? He needs a playoff win.”
Harbaugh is the highest-ranked coach in the Big Ten, the highest-ranked coach without a national championship, and only trails Alabama’s Nick Saban at No. 2 and Georgia’s Kirby Smart at No. 1.
However, the Harbaugh renaissance is a double-edged sword as NFL teams are also taking notice. Last offseason, Harbaugh famously interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings before coming back to Ann Arbor to lead Michigan’s 2022 season.
More recently, Harbaugh interviewed with the Denver Broncos, but that felt more like a contract negotiation tactic to secure a bigger commitment from Warde Manuel. Although Harbaugh is locked into the Wolverines for the upcoming season, Manuel’s “commitment” has yet to be disclosed.
Harbaugh has Michigan in one of the best positions in program history complete with a roster that can win a national championship in 2023. Perhaps fans can buy that plane ticket for Manuel instead.
What do you think about 247’s rankings?