An era is over, and the Illinois football team can finally move on from getting dominated by the Michigan Wolverines.
On Wednesday night, news officially broke that Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is on the move. No, he isn’t heading to another college program. Harbaugh is heading back to the NFL and will be the new head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.
This is big news for the Illini, as Harbaugh had great success against the Orange and Blue during his time in Ann Arbor.
When Harbaugh was at the helm, he led his Wolverines into battle against Illinois three times. In 2016, Michigan throttled the Illini, 41-8. In 2019, the game was a little closer, as Illinois only fell to the Wolverines, 42-25.
Illinois’ closest matchup against Michigan in the Harbaugh era was in 2022. The Wolverines were one of the best teams in the nation, and Illinois had them on the ropes. Michigan ended up kicking a game-winning field goal with nine seconds left in the contest.
Illinois football woes against Michigan started before Jim Harbaugh was the head coach
It is so nice that Harbaugh is out of Ann Arbor. In 2024, The Illini have Michigan on the schedule, as the Wolverines come to Champaign on October 19 for the Memorial Stadium Rededication Game. Maybe, just maybe, Michigan won’t be having a great year when this game rolls around.
The struggles against the Wolverines started before Harbaugh, though. Illinois has dropped six straight to Michigan, and the last win came in 2009 in Champaign, 38-13.
We have beaten Michigan 23 times in the history of the matchup. Sadly, 72 wins have been tallied by the Wolverines. The Illini managed to have two ties against Michigan as well.
I haven't even mentioned the relief of Harbaugh leaving when it comes to recruiting. He has come into the state of Illinois and snagged some incredible talent.
Michigan secured three out of the top 10 recruits in the state of Illinois for 2023. They snagged two of the top 10 in 2022. And in 2021, starting quarterback J.J. McCarthy signed on with Michigan. He is from the state of Illinois but played down at IMG Academy for his final season. Harbaugh's dominance in the state of Illinois when it comes to recruiting is over.
Harbaugh leaving is the donning of a new era of Michigan football. Maybe, just maybe, it is the donning of a new era of the Illinois matchup against the Wolverines as well. Au revoir, Jim Harbaugh.