It is very difficult to win a national title in the world of college football. That might seem obvious but most people have no clue that only four active coaches have claimed titles and that underscores the topsy-turvy nature of pursuing the highest prize in the sport.
With that in mind, Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports took the task of trying to unearth the next coach that will claim the ultimate glory and his No. 1 choice was none other than Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh is considered a great coach by many. In fact, I would bet that if you told most college football fans that he’s never even won a division title, let alone a conference title on the FBS level, they’d be caught by surprise. It’s true, though. Still, even if it is, that doesn’t mean he’s not fully capable of doing so. While David Shaw has maintained it at Stanford, we must remember what that program was before Harbaugh built it up. Now he’s rehabbing the Michigan program, and Michigan is one of the premier jobs in the country, and it’s one of the few programs in the country that’s capable of winning a national title. I don’t know that Harbaugh will ever win one with the Wolverines, but if I had to bet on any of these coaches to do it, I can’t help but consider him the favorite.
This isn’t a crazy thought by any means, with Harbaugh being (easily) the most famous coach that hasn’t won a national title. Throw in the fact that he coaches at a blue blood program and is killing it on the recruiting trail and, well, the notion comes into view pretty easily.
With that said, the Wolverines lose a ton from their 2016 team, to the point where many are forecasting significant regression in Harbaugh’s third season. It would probably be unwise to doubt him given his pedigree but 2017 will be a tall task for Michigan if things don’t go perfectly with some unproven talent.
Are there other coaches (like Tom Herman, for instance) that have a legitimate claim on the top spot here? Probably. Still, Harbaugh is probably the right answer for “next coach to win one” even if the big four of Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher are more likely to claim the 2017 championship.