Jim Harbaugh: Michigan Has 'Got to Beat Ohio State' to Win a National Title

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2020

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 30: Michigan Wolverines Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh reacts to a call during the second quarter of the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ohio State defeated Michigan 56-27. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

For the Michigan Wolverines, all roads lead to Columbus. 

The Ohio State Buckeyes have won eight straight times in the classic Big Ten rivalry, including all five games during the Jim Harbaugh era. And Harbaugh knows the Wolverines won't be able to accomplish any of their goals if they can't get a win against the Buckeyes. 

"We got to beat Ohio State," he told Mike Tirico on NBCSN's Lunch Talk Live (h/t Angelique S. Chengelis of the Detroit News. "Nothing makes us angrier than that, or me, but that's what we're working toward every day. We've beaten everybody else, but we haven't beat them. That's what we have to do, beat them, win a championship, get ourselves in the playoff, win a national championship."

Ohio State alum and Detroit Lions rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah expects Michigan's frustrations to only grow, however:

Jeff Okudah @jeffokudah

There will be MORE anger coming in 2020 😭 https://t.co/VtOF2EyWjs

While Ohio State has bragging rights at the moment, Harbaugh added that he's greatly enjoyed his time at Michigan.

"It's been a joy to coach our guys. We're a high-drive team. We're driving toward success, we want to put it over the top," he told Tirico. "We've just been kinda on that outside of the playoffs, haven't gotten in and want to push that over the top. That's our mission."

Michigan leads the all-time series 58–51–6, but since 2001 the Buckeyes hold a stunning 17-2 advantage (including their vacated 2010 win). In that time, Ohio State has also won two national championships. A once-competitive rivalry has become extraordinarily one-sided.  

Meanwhile, Harbaugh's time with the Wolverines has been a mixed bag. He's gone 47-18 at the school and just 1-4 in bowl games, never leading the team to the College Football Playoff. Michigan has three 10-win seasons with him at the helm but no appearances in the Big Ten title game. 

He brought major expectations after successful stints as the head coach for Stanford and the San Francisco 49ers. To this point, however, he hasn't lived up to the hype.

And perhaps more importantly, he hasn't beaten Ohio State.