Halfway through the 3rd quarter in the Outback that featured the Michigan Wolverines and South Carolina Gamecocks, the Wolverines were up 19-3, and well in control of the game. The Wolverines were knocking on the door of the end zone, running back Karan Higdon fumbled, and possession went to the Gamecocks. This started a comedy of four more uncharacteristic turnovers for the Wolverines and 23 unanswered points by the Gamecocks. The Jim Harbaugh-led Wolverines collapsed, and lost by a score of 26-19, and finished with a record of 8-5.

If you told any Michigan fan, that was elated about the Jim Harbaugh hiring back in 2015, that there would be an eight-win season down the road, they would think you are insane.

Well, that is exactly the case. With that said, it is time we really start questioning Harbaugh. Former Michigan great wide receiver Amani Toomer has never been shy about hiding his opinions, and he was brutally honest in his assessment of the Michigan head coach. Spoiler: he's on the money.

The problem and the contrary

When Jim Harbaugh was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, we saw him revive the career of Alex Smith, and turned Colin Kaepernick into a more-than-capable NFL quarterback. With Michigan, we have not seen those same results. Harbaugh was given a gift in the form of Iowa transfer Jake Rudock in his first season, and you saw Harbaugh's magic with Rudock as the season progressed.

Outside of Rudock, Wilton Speight flopped after his solid 2017 season, John O'Korn will be widely considered Michigan's worst quarterback, ever, due to how ineffective he was, and Brandon Peters has talent but showed in the bowl game that there are many holes in his game. Yes, I know the offensive line is below average, but even with clean pockets, there have been a lot of misfires between Speight, O'Korn, and Peters this season.

Due to this fact, Michigan struggled badly on offense throughout the season.

All that aside — Fox Sports analyst and Ohio State alum Cris Carter took to Twitter on New Years Day to call Jim Harbaugh the most overrated coach in football.

Let's look at some things that have hindered the Wolverines during Harbaugh's tenure:

  • Blake O'Neil's botches punt leads to Michigan State win in last seconds in 2015.
  • Wilton Speight breaking collarbone leads to a loss at Iowa in 2016.
  • Questionable officiating against Ohio State, including J.T. Barrett's fourth-down run in overtime, leads to a loss.
  • Two quarterbacks injured in 2017.

Without those happenings, Harbaugh could possibly have at least one Big Ten title and an appearance in the College Football Playoffs.

The verdict

It is not crazy at all to call the 2018 season a make or break season for Jim Harbaugh as Michigan's head coach. Although he is still waiting for his eligibility to be approved, the electric Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson could very well be Michigan's quarterback in Week 1 against the Norte Dame Fighting Irish. If Harbaugh can not take Patterson to the next level, then the rumblings will become louder and louder. The dominating defense is there, but if the offense gets going, Michigan is undoubtedly a contender to win the Big Ten East.