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SportJim Harbaugh, Michigan must make Big Ten breakthrough with top-ranked class

19:21  10 february  2019
19:21  10 february  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

Brady’s the king of clutch and luck. His alma mater’s the opposite

Brady’s the king of clutch and luck. His alma mater’s the opposite In crucial moments, the Michigan Wolverines have been everything Brady isn’t. The Patriots have become the Patriots by winning in a ton of big moments with a mix of skill and luck. Michigan is arguably college football’s most notorious disappointment. The Wolverines went 0-5 in this top 25 of the millennium’s most beloved games. They’ve constantly blown it in close and high-stakes games, often due to bizarre bounces of the ball. What do those have to do with each other? The QB who’s won all of these huge Patriots games used to play for Michigan.

Michigan 's 2019 recruiting class is tops in the Big Ten , the first time that's happened since 2007. It needs to be a first step toward Jim Harbaugh 's next breakthrough .

Michigan 's 2019 recruiting class is tops in the Big Ten , the first time that's happened since 2007. This is the breakthrough Harbaugh must make with the help of this class . Michigan is 38-14 under Harbaugh , which is the eighth-best record among Power 5 schools, behind only Alabama (55-4)

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan must make Big Ten breakthrough with top-ranked class© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

Michigan has the nation's No. 8 recruiting class. More importantly, it has the top class in the Big Ten for the first time since 2007.

Now, it's on fifth-year coach Jim Harbaugh to use this class to get the Wolverines back to the top of the conference for the first time since 2004. As far as a timetable to deliver those expectations, you can start that four-year clock now.

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Is that fair? Shouldn't Harbaugh be on the hot seat now? After all, the Wolverines are 0-4 against rival Ohio State under his tenure, the last loss an embarrassing 62-39 blowout at Ohio Stadium that preceded another flop in the Peach Bowl against Florida. Harbaugh is 1-9 against top-10 teams. You will hear that all day, every day until the opener against Middle Tennessee State on Aug. 31 — and probably after that, too.

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Harbaugh saw more playing time in 1989 after Jim McMahon left the team and started five games for Chicago while Mike Tomczak started 11 in a 6–10 season for This was Michigan 's first win over a top ten ranked team since 2008. " Harbaugh 's The Best: Michigan QB Takes Big 10 MVP Award".

Michigan 's 2019 recruiting class is tops in the Big Ten , the first time that's happened since 2007. It needs to be a first step toward Jim Harbaugh 's next breakthrough .

What do the last four years mean for Harbaugh's job security and the direction of the program? Not much.

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel continues to support Harbaugh at every opportunity. Harbaugh has not interviewed for NFL jobs since coming to Michigan, despite constant speculation he might head in that direction. Those four years were spent trying to bridge the gap with Ohio State, which had the top recruiting class in the Big Ten every under Urban Meyer from 2012-18.

There is still a talent gap between the Buckeyes and Wolverines, and that was the reason for the freakout after Michigan hauled in the nation's No. 22 class — according to 247Sports’ Composite rankings — in 2018.

Harbaugh has elevated Michigan's talent with the last four cycles, which have produced an average national ranking of 10.8 and Big Ten ranking of 2.0. That's better than the four cycles under Brady Hoke from 2012-15, which produced average ranks of 16.8 nationally and 2.8 in the Big Ten. From 2009-11, Rich Rodriguez's classes had average ranks of 19 nationally and 3.0 in the Big Ten.

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• STAPLES: Jim Harbaugh makes Big Ten much more exciting in 2015. SI: It seems like the Harbaugh hire has already paid dividends, with While the staff has put most of its focus on piecing together the 2015 class in about a month, a lot of offers have been sent to top -tier '16 recruits, and

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh discusses the "Signing of the Stars" event and Michigan 's 2016 recruiting class . Like this video? Sign in to make your opinion count.

Video by MaxPreps

Harbaugh has brought the recruiting back to where Lloyd Carr had it. Michigan had the No. 1 class in the Big Ten in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

The 2001 class — led by Braylon Edwards — were were part of a run that included back-to-back Big Ten championships in 2003-04.

The 2003 class featured five-stars LaMarr Woodley and Prescott Burgess. The 2004 class featured five-star quarterback Chad Henne. They were part of teams that were Big Ten contenders, but couldn't beat Ohio State on the field. Carr's last No. 1 class featured five-star quarterback Ryan Mallett, who transferred to Arkansas when Rodriguez took over.

The recruiting wasn't the same again until Harbaugh arrived. Harbaugh has brought that kind of talent back to Michigan. Devin Bush, Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich will be part of a strong 2019 NFL Draft class. This year's recruiting class features defensive end Chris Hinton and safety Daxton Hill.

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Michigan is the class of the Big Ten — right now. It’s a stunning statement, considering how woeful the 5-1 Wolverines were last season, winning just five But 12th- ranked Michigan , behind the brilliant coaching of Jim Harbaugh , has outperformed No. 1 Ohio State and No. 7 Michigan State up to this

The Big Ten fined Michigan $ 10 ,000 on Monday because Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh ripped into the officiating that contributed to Michigan ’s 30-27 loss. “I remember him as being not a bad official, not a top -rated official,’’ Tiller said. Another valid question: Why was Kevin Schwarzel, the back judge

There’s less fanfare, too. The days of the Signing of the Stars are over. Other than a social media video that played off the old sitcom "Family Matters," there wasn't much promotion for this class — Harbaugh's most important class to date.

MORE: Michigan 'has to win' for next chapter of OSU rivalry to start

What do the next four years mean for Harbaugh's job security and the direction of the program? Everything.

Meyer retired and was replaced by first-year coach Ryan Day. The Wolverines have lost seven in a row and 14 of the last 15 meetings to the Buckeyes. Michigan last beat a ranked Ohio State team 35-21 in Ann Arbor on Nov. 22, 2003. It's not a coincidence that came after two No. 1 Big Ten recruiting classes in three years.

This is the breakthrough Harbaugh must make with the help of this class. Michigan is 38-14 under Harbaugh, which is the eighth-best record among Power 5 schools, behind only Alabama (55-4), Clemson (55-4), Ohio State (48-6), Oklahoma (46-8), Wisconsin (42-12), Georgia (42-13) and Stanford (40-14).

Michigan is still looking for a breakthrough that would change its big-game reputation. It's the same breakthrough Clemson made under Dabo Swinney, who was 47-20 from 2009-13 and had to break a five-game losing streak to South Carolina. The Tigers are 65-7 with two national championships in the last five years — and have a five-game win streak over the rival Gamecocks.

Jim Harbaugh Wants a Tom Brady Statue on Michigan's Campus

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Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh . Harbaugh admittedly has made himself an easy target for ridicule, and every micro-failure in his tenure is In Harbaugh ’s three recruiting classes , he’s signed a mere 13 players from the state of Michigan , only eight of which were considered elite recruits.

Michigan hired Jim Harbaugh to recruit top talent and win championships. This is about expectation and preparation and clinging to football’s ideal instead of its evolution. On Saturday afternoon, with a Big Ten title and potential College Football Playoff spot on the line, one team looked like the future of

The Wolverines can’t be expected to do all that in the next five years, but a Big Ten championship and CFP appearance aren't out of the question for a program with expectations of getting back to the top. That starts with closing that gap with Ohio State, and landing the top class in the Big Ten is a start.

When will you know if Harbaugh has done that?

Check back here in four years.

Related slideshow: Top 25 recruiting classes (Provided by Sports Media Group)

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan must make Big Ten breakthrough with top-ranked class

No. 10 Michigan State expects to be without Ward for weeks.
Michigan State forward Nick Ward had surgery on his broken left hand and is expected to be out of for at least a few weeks. Izzo says Ward was injured when his hand was hit or it made contact with the rim in a 62-44 win over Ohio State on Sunday. Ward is the team's second-leading scorer at 15.1 points a game and third-leading rebounder at 6.7. The 6-foot-9 junior returned to school after putting his name in the NBA draft last year. Shooting guard Joshua Langford , the team's third-leading scorer, had season-ending surgery on his left foot this month. The 10th-ranked Spartans host Rutgers on Wednesday and play at No.

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