With Michigan football expected to be rocked with sanctions when the NCAA officially concludes its investigation into an alleged cheating scandal, it feels like it is a question of not if head coach Jim Harbaugh will be leaving, but rather where he will end up going. ESPN host Mike Greenberg might have indirectly provided an answer.
While appearing on Tuesday's edition of The Pat McAfee Show, he revealed part of a conversation that took place with Harbaugh roughly a year-and-a-half ago, centering around the great crop of young NFL quarterbacks. And in it, the former Coach of the Year made his feelings about Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert crystal clear.
“He spent five minutes telling me that he thinks that Justin Herbert is the best of all of them,” Greenberg recounted, via Pat McAfee's X/Twitter account. “He loves Herbert, take that for what you will. I do not think that Harbaugh will be back at Michigan next year.”
"When I talked to Jim Harbaugh he talked about Justin Herbert for five minutes and he loves him..
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 4, 2023
Can Jim Harbaugh help Justin Herbert, Chargers reach full potential?
Mike Greenberg was sure to mention that the exchange did not concern Harbaugh's potential departure from Michigan whatsoever. But a lot has changed since that conversation, for coach and quarterback.
Herbert's talent remains undeniable (has 20 touchdowns and six interceptions in what is widely considered a down year), but he and the Chargers cannot get over the hump. This season has been a big step in the wrong direction (5-7 record), with some fans doubting if No. 10 can ever reach the success of his contemporaries.
The consensus is that such strides cannot be made under the cloud of this cursed organization. Though, a head coach who has a well-documented track record of propelling stagnant teams into championship contention could be just the antidote he and LA need.
But Jim Harbaugh has other pressing matters to contend with first. He will lead his Wolverines into their third consecutive College Football Playoff appearance, starting with a colossal clash with Alabama on New Year's Day. Then, a decision will eventually be made regarding the program's purported sign-stealing scheme.
One has to wonder however, if Harbaugh will still be in Ann Arbor by the time a ruling is handed down.