The Wolverine

August 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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18 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2019 BY CHRIS BALAS I t's now been 15 years since Michigan last won a Big Ten title in football, and seven of 14 conference teams have played in the championship game since divi- sions were formed in 2011. U-M is one of the seven that haven't made it to Indianapolis, something Ohio State media was all too anxious to harp on when report- ers picked the Wolverines to win the Big Ten this year — especially when head coach Jim Harbaugh agreed with them by saying: "I think that's where I'd pick us." Several of them lined up at Big Ten Media Days July 18-19 in Chicago to question how Harbaugh could have the gall to suggest his team could beat OSU and win the Big Ten East. "It really starts with our goals. You named half of them anyway," he said. "And also to win the Big Ten championship, qualify for the play- off, win the national championship. Those are our goals, and then you put those to the back of the mind and focus on how you can achieve those. "That's what we're trying to do better, trying to do more, focus on that day-to-day. I think it's good right now; I think it's tight. But like an anaconda, you want to just keep squeezing it tighter and making it better, and that's where our football team is." A different OSU writer asked nearly the same question a few minutes later, perhaps stunned that Harbaugh did not answer how he expected. "How can this year's team be dif- ferent from years past and live up to those high expectations?" the scribe asked. "That's the goal," Harbaugh said again. "That's what drives you. That's what starts you off. That's what gets you moving … focusing on tasks day by day. That's how we're going about it." Harbaugh's comments were only boilerplate media day material deliv- ered with enough confidence to trig- ger rival fans, especially after he'd called out former OSU head coach Urban Meyer as a great coach who "was followed by controversy wher- ever he's been." He wasn't alone in his conviction. Michigan senior guard and return- ing captain Ben Bredeson, appearing CONFIDENT , NOT COCKY Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh And His Players Are Ready For A Big 2019 Season When asked about the preseason poll that dubbed the Wolverines the league favorite, Harbaugh said: "I think that's where I'd pick us." PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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