May 30, 2024

The nation’s most battle-tested team is the Michigan Wolverines.

While most Michigan supporters would concede that the team’s current record of 10-0 at this point in the season was expected, no one could have predicted the hardships the Wolverines would face along the way.

While most Michigan supporters would concede that the team’s current record of 10-0 at this point in the season was expected, no one could have predicted the hardships the Wolverines would face along the way.

It all began before the season began when Michigan revealed head coach Jim Harbaugh would open the season with a three-game self-imposed ban. The suspension was the result of an NCAA investigation into recruiting infractions that occurred back in 2020, and Harbaugh may still be subject to extra sanctions on top of the self-imposed suspension the following season. Although the team was aware of Harbaugh’s absence on Saturday, the outcomes on the field were predicted.

 

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Harbaugh returned to the sidelines for Michigan’s Week 4 game against Rutgers after serving his three-game ban. The Wolverines looked impressive in their conference opener, just like they had the previous three weeks, and that performance would carry over into the following several weeks.

The Wolverines were once again favored to win the rivalry game against Michigan State in Week 8, but a scandal surrounding the team over an additional NCAA investigation into an alleged unlawful scouting system started to surface.

The Michigan Football program was thrust into the national limelight—for all the wrong reasons—by the subsequent media frenzy. In the end, Harbaugh led the Wolverines to a commanding win in East Lansing over Michigan State and another victory in Ann Arbor the following week over Purdue, bringing Michigan’s record to a perfect 9-0.

Less than twenty-four hours before Michigan’s game against Penn State, Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti did the unthinkable: he suspended Harbaugh for three games without waiting for the results of an NCAA investigation or for any proof that connected him to the sign-stealing scheme.

This came ahead of the team’s biggest game of the season against Penn State, which is ranked 10th. Harbaugh said on Monday during his news conference that he learned of the ban from social media while traveling to Happy Valley on the team jet.

Once more, the Michigan Wolverines would need to win their most important game of the year to overcome Harbaugh’s absence owing to an NCAA investigation. Under the direction of offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore, the Michigan Wolverines trounced Penn State on both sides of the ball as they hit the field in Happy Valley. Moore and a few other players on the football squad were overtaken with emotion after the huge road victory.

These players and coaches have undoubtedly made an effort to ignore the negative publicity around their program, but it’s evident from the emotion generated by Saturday’s pivotal victory that the ongoing problems with the Big Ten and the NCAA are having an effect. This veteran-led group of Wolverines responds each week, and the outside clamor has only strengthened their commitment, in a situation where other teams could become sidetracked and give up under such pressure.

With a record of 10-0, the Wolverines will go to collegiate Park this weekend to take on Maryland and try to become the first collegiate football program to 1,000 victories. It’s unclear right now if Harbaugh will join his players on the sidelines to commemorate this amazing accomplishment. In addition to getting his team ready for the game this coming weekend, Harbaugh is getting ready for a crucial court hearing on Friday in order to file a lawsuit challenging the recent Big Ten decision.

There’s no doubt that the Wolverines are prepared to do their business this weekend on the road, even if Harbaugh decides not to travel. Normally, this Maryland game would be seen as a “trap” game because it is positioned between two important games: one against Penn State and the other against Ohio State.

But if there’s one thing this season has shown us, it’s that “normal” conditions are a long way off. It has also shown us that, in the most crucial situation, on the field, the Wolverines are always ready to respond forcefully.

 

 

 

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