Murray: Stars Have To Align To Win Title

Jim Harbaugh hasn't returned Michigan to national prominence as quickly as some fans expected, but that doesn't mean he should be on the hot seat

Tiki and Tierney
August 09, 2018 - 5:29 pm

USA Today Images


Jim Harbaugh is one of the most accomplished coaches in football. He went 12-1 at Stanford, he’s coached in a Super Bowl, and he went 20-6 in his first two seasons at Michigan (Brady Hoke, by comparison, went 12-13 in his final two seasons in Ann Arbor).

So yeah, Harbaugh is a darn good coach.

But after finishing 8-5 last season, Harbaugh, it seems, has lost a step, and his 1-5 record against Ohio State and Michigan State isn’t doing him any favors. So, the question must be asked: Why hasn’t he turned the Wolverines into a winner yet? Why hasn’t he won a national title? Or even a Big Ten championship?

Short answer: Life doesn’t work that way.

Long answer: Let’s let Aaron Murray explain.

“There’s so many factors that go into winning a championship,” the CBS Sports Network college football analyst said on Tiki and Tierney. “I don’t care what level you’re in, whether it’s high school, college, professional – sometimes you just need everything to align, whether it’s a ton of great talent or a great coach or not catching the injury bug later in the season. In college, I think home and away plays such a pivotal issue. When you play on the road, especially in these bigger conferences, that is a 7-to-10-point difference right there, just dealing with it.”

Many current and former players would agree. 

“I’ve talked to guys in the NFL, former teammates, who are like, ‘Man, the NFL is great. It’s fun. But the atmosphere is nothing like it is in college football,’” Murray said. “Especially when you’re playing at Michigan and you have to go play at Ohio State and all these other tough schools. There’s a lot of things that need to go right to win a championship.”

Take Georgia, for example. Last year, the Bulldogs won the SEC, reached the College Football Playoff, and came within a play of winning the national championship.

“A lot of things went right for them,” Murray said of his former school. “One, the SEC-East is down. Two, you have an incredible defense. And three, you had a bunch of seniors that could have gone to the NFL Draft that decided to come back for their senior season. So everything just aligned. And they really didn’t catch the injury bug at all besides (Jacob) Eason going down to start the season off. Obviously Jake Fromm came in and just balled out, but they weren’t really hindered by injuries. 

“Like I said, the stars have to align,” Murray continued. “Unless you’re Nick Saban where somehow they’re just always aligned for you.”

Michigan, ranked 14th in the preseason poll, opens at No. 11 Notre Dame on Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET. No. 4 Georgia, meanwhile, opens against Austin Peay before a Week 2 showdown at South Carolina on Sept. 8. Kickoff for both games is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET.