If a Panther were to fight a Wolverine, who would win? Only Jim Harbaugh would be able to tell you this answer. Before we have this cat fight, let’s start over.
Fans, alumni and boosters from the University of Michigan believe that it is a foregone conclusion that Stanford Cardinal Head Coach Jim Harbaugh will once again become the favorite son of Michigan and return to Ann Arbor and coach their beloved Wolverines. While this does appear to be a marriage made in heaven, money, prestige and a little bit of “Luck” may stand in the way of these fans having their dream coach come back home.
The Carolina Panthers:
With a record of 2-12 and a passing offense that is last in the NFL that is garnering less than 150 yards a game through the air, the Panthers currently hold the first pick in the 2012 NFL. The Panthers finish up their season at Pittsburgh on Thursday night football and then next Sunday at Atlanta. On its face, this appears like 2 losses for the beleaguered team but we’ll have to wait and see if Atlanta has any reason to play next Sunday. If things go according to plan, the Panthers would hold the number one pick and with that pick…
The 2012 NFL Draft:
All of the experts in the field seem to have a consensus here. Whether you go to www.espn.com and www.nfldraftcountdown.com, all of the talking heads believe that Stanford Cardinal Quarterback Andrew Luck will declare for the NFL Draft and be selected by the Carolina Panthers. While there is a little debate over this pick because the Panthers did select former Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen in the second round in the 2011 NFL Draft and while Clausen has gotten slightly better as the year has progressed, Luck seems to be the pick. Along with Luck, a change in the coaching staff may be in order as if appears that Panthers Head Coach John Fox is a lame duck coach. With rumors floating around about Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden, there is one coach that nobody is considering to take the head spot in Carolina and that man is Jim Harbaugh.
A month ago, everyone believed that Jim Harbaugh was destined for his Alma Mater the University of Michigan. Still, there has been no decision made by either MU or Harbaugh, at least not one that we know of. At this point, Jim Harbaugh is coaching his “Andrew Luck” led Stanford Cardinal into a January 3rd Orange Bowl battle against Virginia Tech. Here’s a newsflash Michigan fans, recruiting is under way and Rich Rodriguez has come out and asked Athletic Director Dave Brandon what his future is to which Brandon has not responded. Brandon has not been forth coming. In fact, Brandon has told various media outlets in Michigan that recruits will not change their minds or commitments about the University of Michigan regardless of who is the coach because they come for the tradition and atmosphere. (Think about that statement as you try not to choke on your coffee). There was some breaking news this morning from Dave Brandon that made us all wake up early.
Now you have to admit, if you are one of us in the media that is always desperate for a story, we all jumped up when our cell phones went off at 6 am and our alerts said Dave Brandon made a major announcement. We thought Rich Rod was gone, maybe Harbaugh in? Instead, we awoke to a story from www.chicagotribune.com that stated Dave Brandon is now going to allow people to get married on the 50-yard line. Hmm, not quite the story we were looking for but we suppose it’s better than a law school investing $11.5 million into a minor league baseball stadium.
Ducking the issues?
Dave Brandon has not been forthcoming. Is it that Harbaugh is not going to come to Michigan? Is it that Rich Rod is staying? Is it that Brandon simply has no clue? Or maybe, it is simply that the Panthers are on the prowl?
Let’s face the facts. The Panthers provide Jim Harbaugh with his dream job. Harbaugh can coach in the NFL AND draft Andrew Luck with the first pick. It would be the easiest transition a college quarterback would have ever made. Harbaugh and Luck together again. The only question now is the money.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Michigan Economy is not doing great. With unemployment hovering around 14% and maybe higher depending upon what statistics you use, can the University of Michigan afford to pay around $5 million to have a coach leave (that is the rumored estimated buyout for Rich Rodriguez) and then pay at least $4 million to have Jim Harbaugh leave Stanford? If they can’t, the Carolina Panthers certainly can afford to pay any price. The tobacco industry in the Carolina’s is doing far better than the auto industry in Michigan. This is simply a reality.
At the end of the day???
When the BCS Bowls are over, when Mel Kiper and Todd McShay come up for air and when the sun rises in Michigan, Jim Harbaugh may be the coach in Ann Arbor if he is willing to take less money and return home or, in a bizarre twist of fate, he may take more money to coach in the NFL and stay with Andrew Luck has his QB. Maybe none of these things will happen? At the end of the day, Jim Harbaugh is holding all of the cards and that could mean just about anything.
Seeya in Carolina next year coach.