Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, the kitchen in Ann Arbor is starting to get a bit warm for Michigan Jim Harbaugh.
Now in his fourth season as Wolverines’ head coach, Harbaugh has not yet lived up to what many hoped he would. After all, Michigan fans are obsessed with beating Ohio State and at a lower level, obsessed with beating the Michigan State Spartans. Unfortunately, at least for Wolverines’ Nation, Harbaugh has yet to get the job done in rivalry games as he is 0-3 against the Buckeyes and 1-2 vs. the Spartans.
To make matters worse, since returning home to Michigan, Harbaugh is 0-17 on the road against ranked teams and many of the Wolverines’ faithful have begun to question if he is the right man for the job.
This Saturday, Harbaugh will be able to take a step in the right direction when the No. 6 Wolverines invade East Lansing to take on No. 24 Michigan State. With a win, Michigan will not only earn a win over a rival (and a ranked opponent on the road) but they move to 7-1 with the hopes of a College Football Playoff berth still being attainable.
There will be no excuses this year for the Wolverines and though he won’t say much about it, Harbaugh has to know it. After all, Michigan has the better offense, the better defense, and better special teams. In addition, they have the added incentive of remaining undefeated in the Big Ten and they would likely control their own destiny when it comes to the College Football Playoff.
One thing that is for certain is Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio and his players live and die for this game. Despite their injuries, they will come out fired up and motivated to defeat the Wolverines for the ninth time in the past 11 years.
The question is, will the Wolverines match the Spartans’ intensity? Will Harbaugh be able to convince his players that this game is the most important game they will play all season long?
The answer to that is, yes.
When Harbaugh leads the Wolverines out on to the field on Saturday, you can bet he will have his players ready to do whatever it takes to win and win handily.
PREDICTION: Michigan 27 Michigan State 13