The days of Notre Dame football playing the Michigan Wolverines every year might be long over, but that doesn't mean that Jim Harbaugh isn't a deeply unpopular figure in South Bend. After all, the rivalry with Harbaugh goes back before the days before he was coaching his alma mater to when he was leading Stanford.
That's why I feel as though I'm one of those who is uniquely suited to say this. Good riddance to bad rubbish. The Michigan coach might be going out on top, but he's also going out as a cheater and a coward.
There are almost certainly going to be glowingly positive "think" pieces written by college football journalists in the next few days. Allow me to offset those preemptively with the truth. Jim Harbaugh is no doubt a very good coach. But his legacy at Michigan is tainted.
It's tainted of course because in his final season at Michigan, it was discovered that the Wolverines were running a rather elaborate scheme to record, spy on and steal signs from their opponents. And they did it for multiple years.
It's important to remember that they did it for multiple years especially because there are already some who claim that Michigan winning the National Title this past season proved that the cheating wasn't that big a deal.
But the cheating going on for quite a few years shows that Michigan got better at illegally scouting their opponents. They polished and perfected the practice of breaking the rules. They got a little better on the field every year. And they won it all this year, while Jim Harbaugh sat out multiple games for breaking numerous NCAA rules.
Jim Harbaugh is a coward and should be called as much
So the Michigan head coach, the man who went 1-1 against Notre Dame football at Michigan and 2-2 against the Irish with Stanford, is both a champ and a cheater. He was that before he took the San Diego Chargers job. After making the jump to the NFL, he's officially a coward.
The same writers who are going to write glowing reports over the next few days are likely going to claim that he's going to San Diego because he's done everything he could at Michigan. The "he needs another challenge" talk has already started.
It's just as likely he's running to the NFL because he doesn't want to face the music from the NCAA. One report after another that talked about Jim Harbaugh getting an extension in Ann Arbor mentioned that the new contract would have to include a clause where he couldn't get fired for the latest Spygate.
Innocent until proven guilty and all that, but someone who is protecting themselves from punishment before there's punishment to be had doesn't appear to be all that innocent.
Jim Harbaugh knows his program did the rest of college football dirty. And now he's running away after winning a title, before he has to face any consequences.