Even though those are important hurdles to overcome at Michigan, Harbaugh still believes his teams have been very, very close to competing for and possibly winning national championships.
“I mean, just look back over the last years that we’ve been here, last five years,” Harbaugh said in 247Sports’ Social Distance series. “About as close as you can possibly be.”
As one of the only people left on Jim Harbaugh Island, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Let's take a look at the last 5 years.
2015: 10-3 finish. If his punter had not fumbled the ball against Michigan State, his matchup with Ohio State would've been a play-in to the Big Ten Championship. They lost 42-13.
2016: 10-3 finish. If JT was short then you could consider that they were one step away from the Big Ten Championship and then the CFP. Both of his first two games against Ohio State were essentially Sweet 16 games (if they won, the B10 title game would've been the Elite 8 and then the CFP the Final Four). He lost them. Would you consider a coach that has made the Sweet 16 two years in a row "as close as you can possibly be" to the national championship? No.
2017: 8-5 finish. Nowhere close.
2018: 10-3 finish. Again, the Ohio State game was essentially a Sweet 16 game. Michigan was blown out.
2019: 9-4 finish. Not close.
Sorry, Jim. I still support ya as a head ball coach, but this statement was just not true. Is Michigan that far off from a national championship? No. It's just that Ohio State is standing right in front of them and Harbaugh has not been able to beat them since his arrival.