Jim Harbaugh really thinks Michigan has come close to a national title

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Jim Harbaugh really thinks Michigan football is almost there, doesn’t he?

The former Michigan Wolverines quarterback returned to his alma mater to lead the football program in 2015. Jim Harbaugh had been a Heisman Trophy finalist in Ann Arbor in the mid-1980s before embarking on a decade-plus NFL career as a player.

Since retiring in the early 2000s, Harbaugh has become one of the most high-profile football coaches on any level.

Prior to arriving in Ann Arbor five years ago, Harbaugh led the Stanford Cardinal back to national relevancy and took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. Though he never won a league championship at either stop, Harbaugh was always the guy to get you where you wanted to go.

However, he seems to have hit a massive road block at Michigan called the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Thus far in his Michigan coaching career, Harbaugh has yet to beat the Wolverines’ arch rival. Despite regularly winning nine or 10 games in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines have yet to win their division. Getting to Indianapolis is a challenge, but it’s not stopping Harbaugh from thinking his football team is so close to winning a national title. Is he delusional or onto something?

Does Jim Harbaugh think Michigan football is about to win a national title?

Harbaugh appeared on 247Sports “Social Distance” series on Wednesday to talk all things Michigan football. The most revealing excerpt from the interview was how close Harbaugh believes his team is to winning it all.

“I mean, just look back over the last the last years that we’ve been here last five years,” said Harbaugh to 247 Sports. “About as close as you can possibly be. But you got to put it over the top. That’s what drives us.”

While it’s great for the face of a college football team to be this optimistic about his program, you have to have reasonable expectations to be taken seriously. Until Michigan can beat Ohio State a single time under Harbaugh, nobody is going to take what he says seriously about contending for a national title.

It’s pretty simple really. If you can’t beat your biggest division rival, how do you go about winning your division? And if you can’t win your division, how can you be expected to win your conference? You can’t! It’s impossible!

And unless you’re national powerhouse like Ohio State, the Alabama Crimson Tide or the Clemson Tigers, you’re never reaching the College Football Playoff as an at-large team with only one loss on your resume. While Harbaugh has helped return Michigan football to respectability, it’s not a top-10 program in the country at this time. Get on that level and then we can talk.

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From never beating the Buckeyes to not being all that interested in recruiting in talent-rich Ohio, Harbaugh’s Michigan tenure is starting to smell an awful lot like what Butch Jones used to cook up on Rocky Top. Though the cliches aren’t running as rampant as they used to out of the former Tennessee Volunteers coach’s mouth, Harbaugh’s undying optimism is falling on deaf ears.

Outside of Columbus, we would love nothing more than to see Harbaugh beat the Buckeyes in the Big House, in the Horseshoe or on the freaking moon! Rivalries are at their best when both teams can win. It’s become a hammer vs. nail rivalry and Harbaugh has been hit too many times on the noggin by Urban Meyer’s mallet, a tool he just handed off to Ryan Day to keep beating Michigan.

Michigan can win a national title under Harbaugh, but let’s figure out how to beat Ohio State first.

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