The Wolverine

December 2015 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 11 of 162

M ichigan entered its final two football games of the 2015 season with a fighting chance at a Big Ten title. A friendly wager to that effect in August could have secured a year's worth of weekly din- ners from casual observers, who'd have laughed off the mere suggestion. Michigan, in the thick of the Big Ten hunt, 10 weeks in? Right, and the Detroit Lions will be steaming toward the Super Bowl. Normally, comparing the Wolverines and Lions would be like comparing bull el- ephants and bull droppings. But com- ing off a 5-7 season, with a program seemingly adrift for way too long, confidence wasn't exactly high. Sure, Jim Harbaugh and his coaches were going to get this turned around, eventually. But they're not miracle workers, and they've got to worry about getting above .500 before com- peting for titles. So went the preseason narrative. Harbaugh's an impatient man. He's competitive to the core and won't tolerate questions about being satis- fied with this or comfortable that. Those words have no place in any football discussion with him. Everyone around him finds that out pretty quickly. While Michigan haters were mock- ing its recent fortunes like the Clanton gang tweaking the Earp brothers in "Tombstone," Harbaugh was prep- ping an assault. While some dimin- ished his arrival as U-M football "selling hope," Har- baugh quietly busied himself training deputies. He never bellowed out a speech like Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp character — So run you cur. And tell the other curs the law is coming. You tell 'em I'm coming! And hell's coming with me, you hear! Hell's coming with me! No, Harbaugh just prepared to bring the heat, without a word. Ten games into the season, the Wolverines stood 8-2, two plays away from a perfect 10-0. Michigan State ex- tended its smirk for one more season, but only on a million-to-one fluke at the end of the game. The Wolverines survived at Indiana, just like they survived at Minnesota, to reach three Big Ten road wins in a season. That hasn't happened since 2007, Lloyd Carr's last year at the helm. In other words, the ship is getting righted, and faster than anyone could have imagined. WOLVERINE WATCH   JOHN BORTON A Final Fortnight With A Shot JIM HARBAUGH

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