Jim Harbaugh: Michigan ‘gotta be America’s Team’ overcoming naysayers

Field Level Media

November 13, 2023 at 8:32 pm.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watched the Wolverines defeat Penn State on television as the team took on what he considers a new identity.

“The perseverance, just the stalwartness of these guys. Watching it, I would say, ‘This has gotta be America’s Team,'” Harbaugh said Monday.

“America loves a team that beats the odds, beats the adversity, overcomes what the naysayers and critics, so-called experts think. That’s my favorite kind of team. Watching from that view on the television it was, ‘Finally. People get to see what I see every day.'”

Harbaugh wasn’t on the sideline for the Wolverines’ 10th win of the season on Saturday and said he found out he was suspended while aboard the team plane to Pennsylvania. His availability for the postseason — the Big Ten conference championship next month and the College Football Playoff — is up in the air.

“Someone showed me their phone,” Harbaugh said, saying he found out “via social media. (Michigan athletic director) Warde (Manuel) was pretty upset. He was on the plane, too. Pretty upset he heard it through social media, not the Big Ten office.”

Michigan is ranked No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings with the latest version due to be released Tuesday night.

The suspension also carries game-day bans for Harbaugh for the final two games of the regular season — including a showdown with current CFP No. 1 Ohio State — for actions the conference said violated the Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy, including conducting in-person scouting that led to stealing signs.

Harbaugh’s bid for an emergency restraining order on Friday was denied. Though the Wolverines played Saturday without Harbaugh on the sideline for the fourth time this season, Michigan left with a 24-15 victory. But Harbaugh said he plans to attend a court hearing on Friday to hear arguments for granting a restraining order that would nullify the Big Ten punishment.

“I’m going to talk on Friday,” Harbaugh said. “I’m just looking forward to that opportunity — due process. I’m not looking for special treatment, not looking for a popularity contest, just looking for the merit of what the case is.”

Harbaugh served a three-game suspension from the Michigan sideline to start the 2023 season for recruiting violations and NCAA allegations he lied to investigators about the matter.

Harbaugh is permitted to serve as head coach during the week, including at practices. He arrived at his news conference on Monday with a raspy, gravelly voice but said he’s not sick.

“I’m the iron wall that viruses bash against and shatter,” Harbaugh said, noting his elixir will be “more pushups and eat an apple.”

– Field Level Media

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