Google Jim Harbaugh and "total crap," and his 0-4 record against Ohio State does not immediately pop up.
Nope, Harbaugh opted to go on the offensive after
FootballScoop.com said he's eyeing an "exit strategy" from Michigan to the NFL.
Harbaugh, apparently the only coach in America dealing with internet rumors, decided to write a letter to the parents of current players and recruits that said in part: "I am reaching out to let you know that the recent claims that I am 'pursuing an exit strategy' are total crap. It's an annual strategy driven by our enemies to cause disruption to our program and to negatively recruit."
Wouldn't it make more sense for Michigan's "enemies" to use Harbaugh's lack of Big Ten titles or his 0-8 record as an underdog to negatively recruit?
On to a new slate of games. The lines are below with our latest picks against the spread. Thursday morning odds courtesy of MyBookie.ag.
Wisconsin (plus 14) at Ohio State
11 a.m. Saturday, FOX-32
Shop around, and you can get the Badgers plus 14 1/2. Even with the hook, I'm not buying. Wisconsin would have to do a ton to pull off the upset and a lot just to keep this within two touchdowns. The talent gap is too great, with the Buckeyes having 60 four- and five-star recruits on their roster compared with nine for the Badgers.
Iowa (minus 10) at Northwestern
11 a.m., ESPN2
Pat Fitzgerald wants to hit control-alt-delete after starting 1-5 with America's lamest offense. (The Wildcats' eight touchdowns are one shy of Rutgers and 39 south of Oklahoma and Ohio State.) Iowa ranks 102nd in the FBS in scoring, so it's no surprise this game's over-under of 37 1/2 is tied with Cal-Utah for the puniest on the board. I'll take Iowa with the expectation Fitzgerald will want to take a hammer to his laptop after this one.
Illinois (plus 9 1/2) at Purdue
11 a.m., BTN
The public is not in Lovie with an Illinois team that shocked Wisconsin. The line opened at 7 1/2 and keeps rising. Super-stud receiver Rondale Moore is doubtful with a stubborn hamstring injury, but the Boilermakers have found magic in the Jack Plummer-David Bell combo.
Liberty (minus 7 1/2) at Rutgers
Man, it's tempting to close with "Give me Liberty or give me death." But I'm taking the humiliated Scarlet Knights. It's bad enough they have been outscored 207-14 in their five Big Ten losses. A bigger slap is being more than a touchdown underdog - at home - to a program that gained FBS status in 2017 and is being paid $1 million to play in front of about 1 million empty seats. C'mon, Rutgers, show some pride or risk relegation to the MAC.
Penn State (minus 6 1/2) at Michigan State
2:30 p.m., ABC-7
The public loves undefeated Penn State (71% of wagers). No surprise. But the sharps are all over Sparty. Mark Dantonio is 8-1-1 against the spread when coming off consecutive losses, according to Marc Lawrence's Playbook. And Michigan State has had two weeks to let the humiliation of Wisconsin's 38-0 thrashing simmer in its soul. Give me Sparty.
Maryland (plus 16 1/2) at Minnesota
2:30 p.m., ESPN
The Gophers have made their big-money backers very happy of late, covering the spread four straight times. Let's make it five. This is a beefy number considering Maryland's offense isn't bad, but P.J. Fleck's crew is highly motivated and the Terps are simply waddling before their next game with Rutgers.
Indiana (plus 2 1/2) at Nebraska
2:30 p.m., BTN
Wouldn't it be nice if Scott Frost would stop messing around and announce a starting quarterback? The little head games coaches play to try to keep opponents guessing on injuries do not work. (I'll give you a million examples the next time I'm at your tailgate.) Adrian Martinez practiced with a knee brace but is supposedly a game-time decision. I'll take the Hoosiers, who have two prolific quarterbacks in Peyton Ramsey and Michael Penix Jr.
Notre Dame (minus 1) at Michigan
6:30 p.m., ABC-7
Michigan opened as a 2 1/2-point favorite, but the line moved more than a field goal because of heavy cash on the Irish. The Wolverines did play a strong second half at Penn State and are 11-0 at home in the last two seasons, but I have got more faith in the Irish, who are better at quarterback and playing for their playoff lives.
Last week: 2-5.
Season total: 42-41-3.