The Fiesta Bowl went about as poorly for Jim Harbaugh as it could have possibly gone.
Not only did his Michigan squad fall to TCU in embarrassing fashion despite entering the outing as the favorites, but they suffered multiple humiliations on and off the field.
On the heels of all that, it doesn’t appear as though the Wolverines’ fortunes are going to change any time soon.
Over the past two days, rumors have circulated that Harbaugh may leave Ann Arbor for the bright lights of the NFL. Three teams, specifically, have been linked to him.
The first is the Carolina Panthers.
“Panthers owner Dave Tepper and Jim Harbaugh have had a conversation about Carolina’s head coaching vacancy,” Will Kunkel of FOX Charlotte reported.
“The talk was not a job interview, only a conversation. The Panthers will not formally begin their coaching search until after the season.”
The next team with very serious interest in Harbaugh? The much-maligned Denver Broncos.
“Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Denver Broncos have reached out to Harbaugh to inform him that they have interest in talking to him about the vacancy that emerged six days ago, with the firing of first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett,” Mike Florio if Pro Football Talk reported.
Finally, don’t sleep on the Indianapolis Colts. According to NFL insider Benjamin Albright, they are in the running as well:
CAR and Indy https://t.co/3QUBx2Wwqs
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) January 4, 2023
Harbaugh, for his part, hasn’t done much to quell the chatter of him leaving Michigan.
This is how he responded when asked about his future this week:
In a conversation with Jim Harbaugh, the Michigan Head Coach tells @Queen_City_News “although no one knows the future I think I will be coaching Michigan next year.“
— Will Kunkel (@WillKunkelFOX) January 4, 2023
Not exactly a confidence-evoking pledge to remain with the Wolverines.
It will be interesting to see how all parties proceed from here. Harbaugh has gone 74-25 as Michigan’s head coach, but he has only won one of the six bowl games he participated in. Many have argued that his style is better-suited to the pro game than the collegiate game.
The Ohio State fan who went viral during the Georgia game has been identified. https://t.co/muz1AmiH6A
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 3, 2023
It is an open secret that Harbaugh would have left last year for the Minnesota Vikings’ head coaching job had it been offered, so him exiting stage left this summer wouldn’t be particularly shocking.
Time will tell if any NFL teams actually offer Harbaugh a job this time around, but if they do, he is likely as good as gone.