The start of the college football weekend was beyond bizarre.
As the Michigan Wolverines traveled to Happy Valley in preparation for their first-ranked opponent of the season Saturday, the Big Ten conference decided the time was right to punish the university.
The Big Ten suspended head coach Jim Harbaugh from coaching the remaining games of the 2023 college football regular season amid the NCAA’s investigation into whether Michigan conducted off-campus scouting and sign stealing.
The news was delivered to Michigan late on Friday afternoon, leaving the program scrambling as it prepared for No. 10 Penn State.
Harbaugh filed an emergency motion against the Big Ten Conference and Commissioner Tony Petitti shortly after the punishment came down, and there will be an in-person hearing Nov. 17 at 9 a.m., according to ESPN. The motion seeks an emergency temporary restraining order along with a preliminary injunction, according to OutKick.
Everything that happened Friday ultimately left Michigan without its head coach for the Week 11 matchup against the Nittany Lions, and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore filled in for Harbaugh.
The timing by the Big Ten seemed questionable at best and kicked off the college football Saturday in a strange way.
Let’s take a look at what was learned from Week 11 of the college football season.
After Michigan was done imposing its will on Penn State — the Wolverines ran the ball 32 straight times to end the game – it was time for Michigan to play the “us against the world” card.
Moore cried during the postgame interview on the field and had an emotional message for his head coach after a 24-15 win.
“I want to thank the Lord. I want to thank coach Harbaugh,” Moore said. “I love you man. I love the s— out of you man. Did this for you. For this university, the president, our AD. We got the best players, the best university, the best alumni in the country. Love you guys.”
On Monday, Harbaugh praised his team for battling through adversity, calling it “America’s team” amid the sign-stealing allegations.
“It’s gotta be America’s team. It’s gotta be America’s team,” Harbaugh said Monday. “America loves a team that beats the odds, beats the adversity, overcomes what the naysayers and critics, so-called experts think. That’s my favorite kind of team.”
Michigan will likely use this line of thinking as it attempts to win a national championship, but it’s a little absurd.
The allegations of an impermissible in-person advance scouting scheme are real, and the Big Ten says Michigan didn’t deny in its correspondence with the conference. So, to act like the victim is in this situation is not all that understandable.
Then again, if it means a little extra motivation for Michigan to win its third straight Big Ten title, have at it.
The Nittany Lions thought this was the year to end their big-game woes.
With Drew Allar under center and a defense that ranked near the top of the country, Penn State believed it finally had the team to take down Michigan and Ohio State.
It does not.
James Franklin’s team was unable to get anything going against the Michigan defense, dropping its second game of the season Saturday, and the Big Ten title will once again land somewhere other than Happy Valley.
“We’ve lost to the No. 1 and the No. 3 team in the country, that’s not good enough,” Franklin said. “We have to find ways to win those games.”
In its two games against Ohio State and Michigan, Penn State scored a combined 27 points after averaging over 40 points in its eight wins.
The two losses cost offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich his job. Franklin fired Yurcich Sunday.
Franklin is now 3-7 against Michigan and 1-9 against Ohio State.
It’s time to end the talk that Georgia is more vulnerable in 2023 than it has been the past two years.
For the first two months of the season, the narrative was that the Bulldogs were not as good as the two championship teams that preceded them and that they hadn’t actually beaten a good team as their winning streak continued.
It was understandable because Georgia played just one team ranked in the top 25 during the first eight weeks.
But after defeating No. 12 Missouri and putting the smackdown on No. 9 Ole Miss, it’s obvious this Georgia team is just as much of a force as the teams that won back-to-back championships.
Georgia clobbered Ole Miss Saturday night in Athens, securing yet another SEC East title while dropping 51 points on the Rebels.
“I think that (Georgia) offense is overlooked,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “It’s a defensive-made team, people think. But that’s a really good offense.”
The 2023 Georgia team is going about it slightly differently this year, depending more on the passing game than it has in previous seasons.
“I just think, from the mental to the physical part of it, this team is hitting their stride at the right moment and playing, I think, some of the best football that they’ve played all year,” former Georgia quarterback DJ Shockley told Fox News Digital before the Ole Miss game. “And they’re doing it at the right time, when you’re facing all these top-ranked opponents, and you’re playing in the time of the year when you have to play your best football. And, I think, down the stretch, they’ve been doing that.”
It’s time to recognize Georgia as the best team in the country until someone knocks them off the throne.
Getting $76 million to not coach the Aggies? Not a problem!
Texas A&M parted ways with head coach Jimbo Fisher Sunday in just his sixth season in College Station. The expectations are massive at A&M, and Fisher’s inability to get the Aggies anywhere near national championship contention spelled the end of his tenure.
Normally, a firing at this point of the season would create the usual headlines about failing to meet expectations, along with a list of candidates to replace the fired coach.
But when a school relieves a coach of his duties fully knowing that it has to pay him nearly $80 million to potentially coach somewhere else, it has to be discussed.
Texas A&M owes Fisher $19.2 million within 60 days and will then pay him $7.2 million every year through 2031.
The school will still have to pay Fisher even if he lands a new job.
“We will use unrestricted contributions within the 12th Man Foundation for the first one-time payment, and the athletic department will fund the annual payments for the remaining portion by growing our revenues and adjusting our annual operating budget accordingly,” Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said Sunday, according to ESPN.
“Although this is a major, major financial decision that comes with many consequences, we have a plan, and we will not let this impact the performance or the culture of our entire athletics program.”
A tip of the cap to Fisher and his agent, but maybe schools should learn a lesson from the situation in Aggie Land.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report