ANN ARBOR – Despite not having Big Ten title to his name, Jim Harbaugh is still considered one of the top three coaches in all of college football.
This past week Athlon Sports released its top coaches rankings with all 130 FBS head coaches being included on the list, and Harbaugh comes in at No. 3. He is behind only Nick Saban of Alabama and Urban Meyer of Ohio State.
“With Harbaugh at the helm, it’s only a matter of time before Michigan is in the CFB Playoff and among the nation’s best every year,” Athlon Sports’ Steven Lassan writes. “The Wolverines are 20-6 overall and 13-4 in Big Ten play under Harbaugh’s direction. One reason Michigan is poised for a return to the top of college football? Recruiting. The Wolverines have inked back-to-back top-five classes and another standout haul is on the way for 2018.”
Lassan also pointed out Harbaugh has a great track record for success at each of his former jobs.
With Harbaugh so high on this list that means he beat out a number of other celebrated head coaches in college football. That lists includes Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Washington’s Chris Petersen, who have all led their teams to College Football Playoff berths in the past few seasons.
Speaking of the College Football Playoff, where did Mark Dantonio fall on Athlon Sports’ rankings?
Despite an abysmal 3-9 record in 2016, the Spartans’ head coach ranks 13th on this list. Lassan pointed out Dantonio’s past success at Michigan State as reasoning for his high ranking, and believes the Spartans won’t be down for too long.
“While the Big Ten East is getting tougher with Penn State’s rise under James Franklin, and Jim Harbaugh’s arrival at Michigan, it’s hard to envision Michigan State staying down for too long under Dantonio,” Lassan writes. “After all, he’s 90-42 since 2007 in East Lansing and has guided the program to nine bowl trips.”
Both Michigan and Michigan State will kickoff the 2017 season on Sept. 2 with the Spartans hosting Bowling Green and the Wolverines heading to Arlington, Texas for a neutral site matchup against Florida.