THIS BLOG WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PUBLISHED BACK IN JANUARY BUT I GUESS I GOT SIDE TRACKED AND FORGOT ABOUT… FAIL!!! ANYWAY ENJOY IT NOW ONLY TEN MONTHS TOO LATE…
Of course Stanford people all feel that Jim Harbaugh should come back to Palo Alto. How would you feel about a guy that took over a 1-11 program at the bottom of the PAC-10 and took them to 12-1, an Orange Bowl win and a dark-horse national title contender in 2011?
With Andrew Luck returning for his junior year (redshift) earlier today all Harbaugh needs to do is sign a new deal and Stanford has it’s two main ingredients to make a charge to New Orleans in 2012.
The problem is that Harbaugh, unlike most sought after coaches who ditch their programs for greener pastures (Randy Edsall) is not under contract. Harbaugh can technically do what he wants to do. There are no obligations, no buyouts and no ditching bailing out on the responsibilities of the program he signed on with.
He’s a free agent, if you noticed he hasn’t asked to go anywhere because everyone is coming to him. The Miami Dolphins flew in to see him, Oakland and San Fran drove to his house to speak to him, he’s having his own LeBron James moment right now.
So the question in that sense truly is “What should he do?” Should he be like Gary Patterson and be loyal to the program he built up to it’s current glorious position and continue to build? As great as that sounds shouldn’t he also factor in the Greg Schiano factor?
Schiano is the Rutgers head coach who could’ve left while the iron was hot and taken the Miami or Michigan jobs when they were available. What he did instead was stay in Piscataway to try an build on the success that he had recently acquired from a 10-2 campaign in 2006. The result? Rutgers has returned to it’s mediocre ways and finished 4-8 this year and Schiano is stuck there.
Should he go back to his alma mater in Ann Arbor and resurrect Michigan?
He played quarterback there and seems like the perfect guy to lead the maize and blue with his pro-style offense and tough demeanor. The problem is that the players currently in place are meant for a spread offense and his defense is… well… non existent. He has one big rebuilding job to in Ann Arbor that will be tougher to do than at Palo Alto due to the legacy and tradition at Michigan. He’ll have more room to breathe than Rich Rodriguez ever had but the pressure will be fierce no less.
What about the NFL? The 49ers and Raiders are a stones throw from his house and he’ll have to very young and talented teams at his disposal.
He has the backs (Frank Gore and Darren McFadden), the receivers (Vernon Davis and Jacoby Ford) and two pretty strong defenses, all each team needs is a QB and he should be set.
Except would you want to work for Al Davis in Oakland or the York family in San Francisco? The York clan has all but destroyed a once great franchise with their cheapness and ineffective way ls of running a franchise. As far as Davis goes… ask Art Shell, Lane Kiffin and Tom Cable how trying to work with the walking corpse turns out.
Miami? Eh. You’re QB is a Michigan man in Chad Henne, but he’s a bum. Then there’s the lack of a running game and questions in the middle of that defense.
What about Carolina? You get Jimmy Clausen… ok scratch that.
You see the myriad of decisions facing Harbaugh. He could stay at Stanford and contend for a title in the immediate future, resurrect one of the greatest college programs ever, return two legendary NFL teams to glory and duplicate the success of his brother John in Baltimore or who knows what.
Whatever his decision is it ain’t going to be an easy one. It’s a gift and a curse to be this wanted. Everyone adores you, but the wrong decision could set you back for a long time (Schiano, Rich Rod and Dan Hawkins). Harbaugh’s decision is way bigger than LeBron’s because it could affect two separate divisions of football at once. Heisman and a title, hail to the victors, or commitment to excellence… what should he do?