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Sport Opinion: Michigan loss to Michigan State is worst and most surprising of Jim Harbaugh era

17:30  01 november  2020
17:30  01 november  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Jim Harbaugh and the uncomfortable truth of his Michigan football tenure

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Michigan State was better coached, more disciplined and kept pounding away at Michigan ’s obvious weaknesses, the sign of a well-coached team. They are cheering for an extension, and it would be on brand for Michigan to perpetuate Harbaugh ’s unfounded arrogance. They are the only ones who fail

No. 13 Michigan just suffered its worst loss of the Jim Harbaugh era – a 27-24 defeat at the hands of a Michigan State team that hired its coach just eight months ago. All of those obstacles were highlighted even more last week, as the Spartans turned the ball over seven times on their way to a

We’ve always sort of known how college football programs game the system to make things look better than they are. Between a couple non-conference patsies that get paid big appearance fees and expanded conferences that allow some of the better programs to avoid playing each other, you don’t necessarily have to beat a bunch of good teams to pull together a 9- or 10-win season and call it a big success.

At a program like Michigan, all you have to do is win all the games you’re supposed to win to have a good season. Jim Harbaugh has generally been pretty good that. Though notoriously bad as an underdog — Michigan’s win over Notre Dame last October was his first in five seasons — Harbaugh has only had two losses to a teams that didn’t finish in the top 25 (one was to 9-win South Carolina in a bowl game, the other on the road to 8-win Iowa by a point in  2016).

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Jim Harbaugh 's worst flop yet? Michigan 's ongoing OSU nightmare continues with historic faceplant. It’s the most points Michigan has yielded in regulation in program history, worse than the 58 In the lexicon of defining Harbaugh losses to Ohio State , this a different caliber of disaster than

Jim Harbaugh was anointed as the savior of Michigan football, but another loss to Michigan State took some shine of his Ann Arbor tenure. Michigan finished last season by losing three of its last four games, but more painful to Wolverines fans is that Harbaugh ’s success against the school's biggest

In other words, Harbaugh didn’t have any real head-scratchers on his résumé. Until Saturday.

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Despite entering the game as a three-touchdown favorite over rival Michigan State, Michigan got out-played at home in a 27-24 loss.

Though the result might not look as bad because it happened against a name-brand opponent in a rivalry game, it’s by far the worst and most surprising loss of the Harbaugh era based on the circumstances. This isn’t Mark Dantonio heyday Michigan State; it’s Mel Tucker scrapping and clawing to rebuild a roster that was left bereft of talent and lost to Rutgers a week earlier.

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Another loss to Michigan State has put Michigan and Jim Harbaugh at the top this week's Misery Index. Five most miserable. Michigan : There was always something about this Michigan team that Instead, a bad snap, bad hold and bad kick equaled a missed extra point, giving LSU the final

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And for Michigan, there’s no Middle Tennessee or Akron this year to inflate their record and give them a chance to figure things out. The Wolverines are jumping right back into the fray with Indiana, Wisconsin and Penn State all coming up this month.

“The team is going to own this,” Harbaugh said Saturday, promising that Michigan would look inward and find ways to improve.

It’s one thing to say that after losses to Penn State or Ohio State, teams that have equal or better talent. But when that’s the same old song and dance in Year 6 and you’ve just lost to a program in worse shape, it’s a breaking point for a lot of fans who were willing to excuse some of the failures up until now.

Given how poorly Michigan played on Saturday and how little opportunity the Wolverines have to paper over their holes with easy wins, this feels like a real turning point into how Harbaugh is perceived. That’s why Michigan is No. 1 in this week’s Misery Index, a weekly measurement of knee-jerk reactions based on what each fan base just watched.

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Worse loss of Harbaugh ’s collegiate career. I love how much Ohio State 's guys hate Michigan . You'd think after beating their brains in a million years Florida State is coming off a loss to Georgia Tech and they will be without their head coach, Mike Norvell, who contracted the coronavirus last week.

Following the Michigan Wolverines’ 56-27 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, Jim Harbaugh speaks with the media and takes exception (1:36) to a reporter asking

FOUR MORE IN MISERY

LSU: The great thing about winning national championships is that nobody can take that away. But they’re also remembered within the context of that championship. In LSU’s case there’s a building fear their 2019 title is going to be hit with the “f” word: Fluke. Not because LSU wasn’t a great team last year. It undeniably was. But never has a program won a national championship and then fallen off a cliff like this LSU team from one season to the next. The Tigers haven’t just receded from championship quality — they’re downright bad. Saturday’s 48-11 loss to Auburn wasn’t so much a wake-up call as it was all of LSU fans’ worst fears coming to fruition. After the most lopsided defeat in nearly a quarter-century, the questions become serious. How much grace does Ed Orgeron deserve after engineering a championship run? Can LSU afford to cut its losses on defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who has been a $2.3 million catastrophe? Is there a path back to relevance any time soon?

East Carolina: For the most part, complaints about officiating are for losers. But sometimes bitterness is totally warranted, and in ECU’s case it’s hard to argue. The Pirates should have beaten Tulsa on Friday night. In fact, if not for a botched review that overturned a fumble, a questionable pass interference call and a replay that somehow didn’t detect an incomplete pass on fourth down — all on the final drive — they would have won. Instead, a ball that clearly bounced off the turf was ruled complete and Tulsa scored with 29 seconds left for a 34-30 win. “I've coached almost 200 ball games as a head coach in my life, and 100-plus at the college level, and I've never seen anything like that in my entire life,” ECU coach Mike Houston said. The next morning, the AAC publicly acknowledged that replay should not have overturned the fumble but didn’t address the review of the catch. That won’t do much to satisfy Pirates fans, who have every right to be furious with the league.

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Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh spoke with the media the Monday after Michigan 's 35-14 loss at Wisconsin. He said Michigan wasn't physical enough

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh seemed to take offense to a question in his postgame news conference after his Wolverines lost to Ohio State on The reporter was quick to defend the question, citing that U-M has allowed 118 points to Ohio State the last two seasons. He again asked what is the

Iowa: Watching the Hawkeyes is like turning on your VCR player, listening to your Sony Walkman and making a call on your rotary dial phone. It’s outdated, unnecessary and inefficient given the more advanced options we have all around us. Of course, people will do it anyway because of emotional attachment to certain things, and Iowa football certainly has a lot of people who love it. But does it really have to be this difficult? Iowa is 0-2 and has scored 20 points in both of those games, which just doesn’t get the job done anymore. Both losses were close — a combined five points — but when you hold your opponent to 143 rushing yards and 130 passing yards as the Hawkeyes did Saturday, you have to win that game. Instead, Iowa lost 21-20 because its outdated, clunky offense did nothing in the second half, failing to put together any kind of scoring threat. That’s almost impossible to fathom in modern college football. Iowa now represents a piece of college football nostalgia, but if you want a retro experience, ordering a root beer float is a much more enjoyable way to spend your time.

Mississippi State: The way Mike Leach talks about the program he took over this year, you’d think it had never won a game before he showed up. He uses words like purges and malcontents and warns fans that more players are going to abandon ship after last week’s wave of departures, including a former four-star recruit in Tyrell Shavers and stud running back Kylin Hill, who is going to prepare for the NFL draft. But the funny thing is, Mississippi State has actually been a pretty good program for quite some time. Even last year, when things weren’t great under Joe Moorhead, the Bulldogs managed to make their 10th straight bowl game and generally not embarrass themselves. But through five games of the Leach experience, the yardage totals have declined steadily: 623 to 313 to 275 to 217 to 200, the last of which happened in a 41-0 loss to an Alabama team that hadn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire defensively. So far, Leach in the SEC has been a massive dud, and if it keeps going this way the malcontents won’t just be within his locker room.

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TRENDING TOWARD MISERY

Minnesota: The darlings of college football last season might have the worst defense in the Power Five. After giving up nearly 500 yards in Week 1 to Michigan, which subsequently flopped against the Spartans, Maryland went for 675 in a 45-44 nailbiter that leaves the Gophers 0-2. The game will be remembered because it ended on a missed extra point in overtime when the better decision would have been going for two, especially given how bad the defense was. But in the bigger picture, this has been quite a reality check for a program that was ranked 18th in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll.

Arkansas State: After pulling off one of the season’s truly surprising wins early on at Kansas State, the trends have gone in the wrong direction for one of the Sun Belt’s most consistent programs. Last month, head coach Blake Anderson fired two assistants, including the defensive coordinator, after a 59-52 win over Georgia State. But it’s not like the offense has been doing much lately, either. In the last two weeks Arkansas State has lost 45-17 to Appalachian State and 38-10 to Troy. If the Red Wolves can’t beat Louisiana next week, it’ll be their fourth conference loss, which hasn’t happened since 2010.

Baylor: You don’t get do-overs in college football, but the Bears would probably take one if they could. They’ve had three games postponed, COVID-19 outbreaks and contact tracing issues, players threatening to opt out before opting back in and have played generally mediocre football. Baylor made things somewhat interesting Saturday in a 33-23 loss to TCU but only after falling behind 30-0. And the worst could still be ahead, as the Bears still have to play Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. After getting to the Big 12 title game last year, a 2-7 or 1-8 season isn’t out of the question for Dave Aranda’s debut.

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Southern Miss: For a small school that takes football seriously and generally punches above its weight, the events of the last week are pretty dispiriting. It’s not every a day a college coach will just up and leave in the middle of a season for a new job, but that’s exactly what happened when 30-year old Scotty Walden left for FCS-level Austin Peay. In a sense, you can’t blame Walden. He was named the interim coach after Jay Hopson resigned on Sept. 7 and had no guarantee of getting the job on a permanent basis. In fact, with Southern Miss sitting at 1-5, he probably wouldn’t have. Still, the emotional toll of all this upheaval on a team has to be pretty hard. Losing 30-6 to Rice, as the Golden Eagles did Saturday, seems like Exhibit A.

TOTALLY REAL AND IRRATIONAL MESSAGE BOARD THREADS

“At least I don’t have to watch a horror movie” — geaux247.com (LSU)

“Seems obvious at this point the league won’t allow us to win a close game” — Boneyard Banter (ECU)

“Not only are we bad we are boring” — hawkeyereport.com (Iowa)

“Trusting Leach at this point takes religious style faith” — Gene’s Page (Mississippi State)

“Aranda looking like Clapping Jason Garrett on the sideline” — sicem365.com (Baylor)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Michigan loss to Michigan State is worst and most surprising of Jim Harbaugh era

Jim Harbaugh understands there is no quick fix for Michigan. Urban Meyer could have told him .
The Michigan Wolverines fell to 1-3 this season after a 49-11 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday in college football.On a TV set thousands of miles away from Ann Arbor, former Ohio State coach and current Fox college football analyst Urban Meyer advised that a coach of a struggling team should assume its problems are caused by one of three phenomena: Trust issues among players, selfishness that undermines a collective effort or a dysfunctional environment that spawns entitlement instead of hard work.

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