Why Joel Klatt Says the Michigan 1-5 Against Rivals Narrative Needs to Die

Why Joel Klatt Says the Michigan 1-5 Against Rivals Narrative Needs to Die

Football

Why Joel Klatt Says the Michigan 1-5 Against Rivals Narrative Needs to Die

CHICAGO — It never stops, the rivalry banter back and forth between Michigan and its numerous rivals.

Unlike other college football programs, the Wolverines must deflect from multiple sides, sharing mutual hatred from an in-state program in MSU and with its arch rival, Ohio State.

The echo reverberating from East Lansing and Columbus — and maybe even a little bit in Ann Arbor at this point — is that since arriving at Michigan in 2015, head coach Jim Harbaugh has a 1-5 record against the two rival schools. Considering the expectations that immediately existed when he arrived, that’s not exactly ideal.

On December 30, 2014, when Harbaugh was introduced as head coach at the Junge Family Center attached to the Crisler Center and Michigan Stadium, fans of the maize and blue immediately spelled doom for their detractors, relegating Sparty back to its former perennial ne’er-do-well status, and the Buckeyes to their John Cooper years. But, since Harbaugh’s prodigal return to Ann Arbor, he’s only beaten either of the two teams once collectively, taking down Michigan State in East Lansing in 2016.

So the narrative grows louder and louder, that a Harbaugh-coached Michigan team can’t beat its rivals. But one prominent voice says that’s grossly unfair.

Fox Sports color analyst Joel Klatt spoke exclusively with WolverinesWire during Big Ten Media Days, and while he said he’s incredibly bullish on Michigan going forward, it’s important to remember how far the program had fallen before Harbaugh had taken over the program.

Remember, he notes: this was a 5-win team that couldn’t beat anyone. But, after Harbaugh took the reins, Michigan was just inches shy from that narrative not even existing.

“He’s a bad spot away from being two-and-four with a win over Ohio State and a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game, potentially the playoff – and it’s a moot point,” Klatt told WolverinesWire. “A bad spot – that’s changing nothing else other than a poor spot from the official.

“So, to me, it’s a narrative that doesn’t need to be there. Would he like to win those games? Sure! Was he right there in three or four of them? Absolutely. Would you take that rather than being five-win Michigan? Yes!

“It’s important to know where you came from before you know where you’re going. And with where Michigan was at and where they’re at now, and how they’re competing on those stages, you would absolutely take it.

“One-and-five is not great. Jim’s going to hear that. They’ll have a great chance to change that this season. Although, I will tell you, Michigan State and Ohio State are very good football teams. So, they better buckle up their chin-straps and come to play on those weeks.”

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