Add to coach Jim Harbaugh’s whack-pack arsenal of thoughts, epiphanies, feelings, eccentricities and go-to axioms: you are what you eat.
Among this off-season’s most intriguing insights was ex-Michigan player Wilton Speight revealing to my super-sleuth bud Matt Hayes that Harbaugh didn’t want his quarterbacks to eat chicken because it was a “nervous bird.”
Using this logic, Joe Montana must have eaten only cool cucumbers.
Speight has since transferred to UCLA, where he is now in the hands of head coach\nutritionist Chip Kelly, who once trained Oregon players on pseudo-science, failed Tesla experiments, infomercial diets, genetically-engineered crickets and also moved practiced in the morning to awaken their symbiotic alarm clocks.
While waiting for further study on Harbaugh’s “nervous bird” theory from the University of Foghorn Leghorn, we’ll simply offer this regarding the general gastronomy condition of Michigan players, fans and administration:
They’re starving.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Michigan hasn’t won a Big Ten title since 2004, has yet to advance to a title game since the conference became a league divided in 2011 and—worst of all--has yet to defeat Ohio State.
Harbaugh’s quirkiness, entering year four, needs to be replaced by something more quantitative. Thankfully, he has just the team to do it in a Big East Division facing with more scandals than a banana republic.
Michigan football’s major crime in the last few years was allowing a concussed quarterback to re-enter a game and that, while serious, is nothing compared to the back lash at Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana and now Maryland.
Two Big Ten East coaches, Urban Meyer and DJ Durkin, are currently on paid administrative leave. Kevin Wilson, fired at Indiana for reported player abuse, is now on staff at Ohio State as we wonder: Gee, how did Maryland let him get away?
Don't worry, though, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and his Sherpa are considering all disciplinary options as they trek up a mountain side in the Andes.
The off-shoot is this could be Michigan’s time to recapture some glory. If you can’t beat Urban Meyer and Ohio State, or so the saying goes, hope someone forms a blue-ribbon, investigatory committee that you can recruit against.
Michigan has also, seemingly, aligned some vaunted recruiting classes with the addition of SEC transfer Shea Patterson, the kind of quarterback who can get you real places.
Harbaugh hasn’t had this kind of multi-tool difference maker since Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco, NFL) and Andrew Luck (Stanford, Pac 12).
The combination of Patterson and what could be coordinator Don Brown’s best defense, anchored by DE Rashan Gary, give the Wolverines the chance to be playoff contenders.
The big problem for Harbaugh to date has been trying to build and plow through the deepest (and dirtiest) division outside the SEC West. And it has been proven, so far, that only Alabama can win the national title without winning its own division (2011, 2017).
Nothing about this is going to be easy, starting with the Sept. 1 opener at Notre Dame. Michigan also has to play at Northwestern, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Michigan also doesn’t miss Wisconsin OR Nebraska from the West, but at least those games are in Ann Arbor.
Harbaugh, thus far, hasn’t had the kind of team to master that kind of schedule.
This year he does.
And here’s another thing we’ve always known about Jim: he isn’t chicken.[/membership]