Where Jim Harbaugh ranks in Sporting News’ 2023 college football coaches ranking

Oh, how quickly the narrative can change.

Two years ago, Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh was on the hot seat. For many, it was a surprise he still had a job in Ann Arbor.

He was winless against rival Ohio State, had a 3-3 record against Michigan State and hadn’t yet been to Indianapolis, let alone make the College Football Playoff.

However, the Wolverines’ headman turned things around in spectacular fashion, beating the Buckeyes two straight years, going one-and-one against MSU in that span, earning two Big Ten championships and making two College Football Playoff semifinal appearances.

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The perception of the khaki pant-wearing coach has drastically changed, more in line with who he was when he came to Ann Arbor.

The latest indication of this comes via friend of the site Bill Bender, who writes for Sporting News. He compiled his top coaches in college football, and a year after coming in ranked ninth in the country, Harbaugh ranks fourth, behind just Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and Dabo Swinney.

4. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

Last year: 9

Record: 103-46 (74-25 at Michigan)

Lowdown: Like Swinney, it took Harbaugh time to get Michigan on track in recruiting, the Big Ten and the rivalry with the Ohio State. It’s hard to argue with the results of the last two seasons. The Wolverines have won back-to-back Big Ten championships after consecutive wins against the Buckeyes, and Harbaugh has evolved in recruiting with the help of the transfer portal. Last year’s playoff flop against TCU also is on the record, and it remains on Harbaugh to break through for a national championship.

With the new ranking, Harbaugh is ahead of Ryan Day, who was ranked fourth a year ago. James Franklin is ranked 13th, Kirk Ferentz is 19th and P.J. Fleck is 21st.


The next step? To raise Michigan football’s profile even higher by making the College Football Playoff again and perhaps winning the entire championship — something seen as a possibility in 2023.

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Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire