Urban Meyer is 71-8 in six seasons at Ohio State. He has a national championship in his back pocket and is going for his second Big Ten title in four seasons this Saturday against No. 4 Wisconsin (12-0).
That’s pretty darn good.
Jim Harbaugh, meanwhile, is a noticeably less impressive 28-10 in three seasons at Michigan. Even worse, he’s 1-5 against Ohio State and Michigan State, including 0-3 against the Buckeyes.
This is a problem, no?
“Look, I’m not happy with how the season turned out,” former Wolverine and NFL linebacker Dhani Jones said in studio on Tiki and Tierney. “I don’t think anybody’s happy with how the season turned out. I for sure was not happy at the game this past weekend as I sat there and was so excited as so many people were about the fact that we were leading. We’re all thinking that we’re going to have a chance.”
Michigan led 14-0 in the second quarter but was outscored 31-6 thereafter. Ohio State won 31-20, despite playing most of the second half with backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Michigan had a chance to take the lead in the final minutes, but quarterback John O’Korn threw an interception to end the game.
“I don’t know who he was throwing the ball to,” Jones said, as no Wolverine was within several yards of the throw. “I don’t know who it was.”
Thus, after back-to-back 10-3 seasons, Michigan is 8-4 and still has not played for a Big Ten title.
Jones, however, is not worried.
“When you think about football, people don’t give people enough time,” he said. “You’re not going to be national champions the next year. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have a quarterback, but has he been on the road recruiting for quarterbacks in order to come in and step in after (Wilton) Speight, after O’Korn? He is. It’s unfortunate that (Brandon) Peters went down. So you’re looking for a quarterback that we don’t have at the moment, but he’s on his way. I’m always going to be supportive of Michigan. I’m never not going to be supportive. But you got to give the man time.”
But will Michigan fans be patient? This is a program that has one national title since 1948.
“I don’t have impatience,” Jones said. “I don’t. How long has it been? If you say that Harbaugh has not won against that other team (Ohio State), you have to also think about the other coaches (who haven’t won against Ohio State either). So you got to give him time to build his program, to build his mentality, in order to build the program as it should be.”
In hindsight, Harbaugh’s first-year success – no one expected 10 wins – may have hurt him.
“Then people were like, ‘Oh, wow, this is going to be amazing,’” Jones said. “So he’s a had a couple of years back-to-back that have not been where people wanted him to be. We have high expectations for ourself. . . . Nobody has a timeline for tolerance. Everybody wants things now. That’s just now how it happens.”
But what if it’s year five or six and Harbaugh still hasn’t beaten Ohio State or won a Big Ten title?
“I’m not worried about that,” Jones said, confident that Harbaugh will accomplish both in the near future. “I’m not even worried about it. It’s not going to happen.”
Brandon Tierney, taken aback, told Jones he would keep tape of this interview to see if Jones is right.
“You want me to say it again?” Jones said, laughing. “It’s not going to happen.”