Michigan football fans learned two things about their storied program on Saturday.
First, their team can’t beat ranked opponents. And more importantly, their head coach’s real name is Jim Fraudbaugh, not Harbaugh.
It’s time they must face it. Harbaugh is a fraud.
The signs have been there for some time. Still, many ignored them and made so many excuses why Michigan couldn’t win any big games and worse, can’t compete for the College Football Playoff.
That was the whole goal when they brought Fraudbaugh back to his alma mater.
He was going to turn the program around, bring it back to the prominence most believed it was due.
Michigan paid Fraudbaugh like he was one of the best college coaches in the land. At one point, he was among the top four highest-paid coaches in the sport.
There was just one problem. The other three had one thing in common: They had all won a national title.
After last year’s disastrous season, Michigan had to make a decision on Fraudbaugh. It had to either give him an extension or fire him. They kept him with a pay-cut.
On Saturday, they got what they paid for: a cut-rate coach who can’t win a big game to save his life.
All Fraudbaugh had to do was beat Michigan State, Michigan’s in-state rival. By football accomplishments, MSU is clearly the little brother.
But, somehow, Fraudbaugh’s Michigan blew a 16-point, second-half lead in East Lansing. The loss probably ended the school’s chance to win the Big Ten East.
But more importantly, it all but ended the Wolverines’ chances to make the CFP for the first time.
MSU’s 37-33 loss hammered home the resume that Fraudbaugh can’t hide from. He can’t beat good teams. Under his watch, Fraudbaugh has now lost 13 of 15 games against top-10 opponents.
And, somehow, Michigan fans used to call former coach Brady Hoke, Brady Joke.
Fraudbaugh’s tenure at Michigan has truly been a bad joke, a nightmare, if you will.
It could have actually all changed had Fraudbaugh won the game on Saturday.
This game was historic. It was the first meeting between Michigan and MSU in which both ranked in the Top 10 since 1964.
The worst part about the loss is that Fraufbaugh made some questionable coaching decisions, including changing quarterbacks at a critical point in the game. Fraudbaugh put in freshman QB J.J. McCarthy over starter Cade McNamara in the fourth quarter with the lead. McCarthy fumbled the football, giving it to MSU in Wolverine territory. Ballgame.
This heartbreak isn’t new for Wolverine fans. Fraudbaugh hasn’t been able to beat his rivals – Ohio State, MSU, and Penn State. Michigan is 6-12 vs. those schools.
Under Fraudbaugh, Michigan has NEVER beaten the Buckeyes. It’s 0-6 and counting.
Against Michigan State, there are a few losses that sting. In 2015, Michigan botched a punt and it led to a game-winning touchdown on the final play.
Last season, in MSU’s new coach Mel Tucker’s first trip to the Big House, he beat Fraudbaugh. Saturday was Tucker’s second big win in two tries against Michigan. He’s in line for a lifetime contract at the school.
On the other side, Fraudbaugh should be fired at season’s end.
But it won’t happen. Michigan is too afraid to admit it made a mistake hiring him.
They will talk about the seven straight wins to open the season — all wins against nobodies — and they will talk about their 6th ranking in the college poll at the time of the MSU matchup. The Spartans were ranked eighth.
They will convince themselves that progress has been made and Michigan is on its way.
None of it is true. There are those who are still living in the past. They will point to what he did at other colleges. Or they bring him what he did with the San Francisco 49ers. They went to three NFC title games in his first three seasons there and made it to one Super Bowl.
Still, none of those teams won anything big.
Fraudbaugh was supposed to win his school the big prize, win a championship.
He has failed over and over.
Had any other coach been in his seat for seven seasons and had Fraudbaugh’s dismal results, they would have been run out of Ann Arbor years ago.
Fraudbaugh’s return sounded like the perfect Hollywood script. The team’s former star quarterback who played for the school’s legendary coach Bo Schembechler comes home and wins it all.
In reality, in the end, it was all fraudulent.