According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “overrated” means, “rated or valued too highly.” So that is the context for this week’s SB Nation Reacts survey question that, when given four options, a majority of college football fans around the country selected head Michigan Man Jim Harbaugh as the most overrated coach in college football.
Perhaps the votes were split a bit, as Harbs was up against three coaches with connections to schools deep in the heart of Texas — UT’s Tom Herman, A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, and former Tech (current Mississippi State) coach Mike Leach. However, the vote differential here is astounding.
So, I am going to give the voting public the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they were voting with clear eyes and full hearts and just legitimately believe that Harbaugh is the single most overrated individual in his chosen profession.
Now, we are no strangers to poking fun at the bizarre man-child running the program of Ohio State’s rival, but I have to say, I’m not sure that I agree with the belief that Harbaugh is at all overrated, let alone the most overrated; at least not in the year of our lord two thousand and twenty.
Sure, if we look at Harbaugh’s rated-ness in terms of what the University of Michigan is willing to pay him, then yes, he is vastly overrated. As the fourth highest paid college coach in the country, you’d expect more than to start a season — even one as weird as this one — with an embarrassing 1-and-2 record, especially when you still have Wisconsin, Penn State, and Ohio State yet to play.
But “overrated” isn’t the same thing as “overpaid.” As Merriam and/or Webster pointed out above, “overrated” means that you are rated more highly than you actually deserve to be; which leads to my question, “Who is rating Harbaugh above the current level of mediocrity that he is displaying?”
I will give you that I did not expect TTUN to lose to Michigan State in Week 2 of the Big Ten season, but I did expect them to lose to No. Ten-diana last weekend; in fact, I picked the Hoosiers to finish above the Weasels in the B1G East before the season started.
Let’s reassess Harby-Harb’s tenure at Michigan: he is 3-and-3 against Michigan State and 0-and-5 against Ohio State, including a combined 1-6 at home against UM’s two biggest rivals.
He’s finished better than third in the B1G East only once in his five seasons thus far (and year six ain’t looking so hot), he’s lost his last four bowl games, and he’s finished in the top-10 only once while coaching his alma mater — TTUN ended the 2016 season at No. 10.
So, again I ask, “Is there really anybody left that is still rating Jim Harbaugh as an elite coach?” Are they confusing him with John? After all, both John Harbaugh and his former quarterback Joe Flacco are, without argument, elite. Jimmy on the other hand? Not so much. But, if you want to continue to be shocked and dismayed by Michigan’s annual disappearing act, feel free, but that’s on you.
To paraphrase a late, great, under-rated coach, “Harbaugh is who we thought he was,” and that’s average and underwhelming (and I hope he never leaves Ann Arbor).
After some unexpected start and stops, I am back to posting a column every single day from preseason camp until whenever Ohio State’s football season ends. Some days they will be longer and in depth, some days they will be short and sweet. Let me know what you think of this one, and what you’d like to see me discuss in the comments or on Twitter. Go Bucks!