Four Takeaways from Jim Harbaugh’s Second Season at Michigan

Posted on Posted in Devine Intervention, Michigan Football, Wolverine Sounds

Year two is in the books for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. What’s his next step as the head honcho for the Wolverines?

10 wins, 3 losses. In back-to-back seasons, the Michigan Wolverines finished the season 10-3.

In year one, the record was celebrated. Michigan lost early to Utah on the road, watched Michigan State do the improbable and got beat down by Ohio State in the second half of a game they were predicted to lose. The Wolverines returned to pummel the Florida Gators in the Citrus Bowl to start the New Year, and all was well in the world.

In year two, expectations skyrocketed to heights unimaginable from day one of training camp. Michigan lived up to them for the most part, dominating early, and often. The Wolverines looked like one of the better – if not the best – team in the nation for most of the season.

But when the squad traveled to Iowa for its first true road test, it all seemed to fall apart. Two weeks later Michigan dropped in heart-breaking fashion to Ohio State on the road. College Football Playoff hopes were crushed, and fans were left disappointed in Michigan’s New Year’s Six bid to play Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Then it got worse; Michigan came out looking like the most unprepared team in the country and got dominated in the first half. Somehow, the Wolverines rallied to take a late lead, only to watch it fade on the Seminoles’ final drive.

Game over, season over, on to year three.

 

Here are four takeaways from Michigan’s second season under Jim Harbaugh:

Derek Devine
Institutional voice of Alma College during the day, Michigan fanatic at night. Taking TBHR to the next level one post at a time.

One thought on “Four Takeaways from Jim Harbaugh’s Second Season at Michigan

  1. In regards to the ‘not being able to win the late games’, you touched on how this was a team just two years removed from a 5-7 season, and I think that’s what a lot of people are forgetting. I’m not excusing them for losing those games because of it, but winning isn’t something that just comes out of nowhere. No one on this team experienced winning at a high level while at Michigan. There’s a great quote in Rags to Roses, the rise of Stanford under Harbaugh, by Tavita Pritchard after they lost their final three games in the 2008 season, right after a 58-0 win. To paraphrase he said; winning is learned, Stanford came a long way from their 1-11 year prior to Harbaugh but championship teams aren’t built overnight. You have to learn how to win.
    I think that fits here for Michigan too. They exceeded expectations in year 1 and we naturally, as Michigan fans are wont to do, expected more this year. I think we discounted how hard it would be to get Michigan back to Michigan. A lot needed to change and while Harbaugh injected toughness immediately, it takes time to build a championship OL or teach kids who’ve known nothing but mediocrity and losing (at Michigan) and have them perform at elite levels. What he got Hoke’s kids to do was remarkable, but I think we got a little ahead of ourselves as fans in expecting them to go from 5-7 to a playoff team two years later. If year 1 hadn’t been so successful we may not be sitting here talking about a disappointing 10-3 season.
    The future is bright but I think this season showed us that to really rebuild Michigan it was going to take some time. Harbaugh got the double-digit win seasons back but they’re still not a championship caliber program just yet.

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