Harbaugh has to produce in 2018

For a football coach who was literally given the keys to the palace, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh will be under the gun to produce big this fall.

Signed to a lucrative contract four years ago, the U of M alumnus has come up short in a couple of departments.

One, he has yet to win a Big 10 title. That’s not that vital since the league always seems to have quality contenders.

Two, and probably most important in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh has not defeated hated rival Ohio State.

He’s only beaten state rival Michigan State once in his tenure, despite having an edge in overall talent.

The latter two goals are very important to Wolverine backers, who fervently support their team. If you can’t beat the Buckeyes and Spartans, or at least one of them in a season, the season is a Maize and Blue disappointment.

Now, that’s not to say that Harbaugh isn’t a capable coach. He’s won in college at California and he had success in the NFL with the 49ers.

But he has shown a penchant for success …. and then slowly fading.

It’s true the Wolverines have a very talented team this season. Their defense is rated as one of the best in the league, if not the country.

The addition of transfer quarterback Shay Patterson would appear to be a large coup.

Michigan hasn’t had a good quarterback in some time and that has often been their downfall in recent seasons.

If the talented Patterson can stay healthy (always a must) the Wolverines can be very good. They will find out much about themselves on the season opener this weekend at Notre Dame.

As for the league, there will be many obstacles to clear.

Wisconsin is perhaps the best overall team in the conference with a solid all-around squad.

And defeating MSU and Ohio State on the road is a daunting task.

The Spartans have one of the best QBs in the nation in Brian Lewerke. Ohio State will have recovered from its off-field coaching problems by the season finale.

Can Michigan make it to the so-called Final Four? They have as good a chance as any team, but failure to win the big games could spell trouble for the Harbaugh era.