College Football News May 21: Jim Harbaugh vs. Hype

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Jim Harbaugh has yet to coach a Michigan Wolverines game, but he’s already one of the most talked-about coaches in college football.

Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Rosenberg chronicles how Jim Harbaugh is measuring hype with reality in Ann Arbor, where college football’s winningest program hasn’t won a Big Ten championship in 11 years and it’s been in a stay of chaos for almost as long.

Jim Harbaugh has a proven knack for turning teams around, both at the collegiate and professional levels. He took Stanford to an Orange Bowl just a few years removed from a last-place Pac-10 finish, then reached the Super Bowl in just his second year with the San Francisco 49ers.

But turning around Michigan, which has deeply rooted systemic issues, takes particular dedication. To that end, Jim Harbaugh is punching the clock at 6 a.m. and checking out after 11 p.m.

Rosenberg’s piece expertly examines Harbaugh’s drive and the quirks that have made him one of football’s most compelling figures.

Wisconsin Run Game in Good Hands with Corey Clement

Today’s U.

Wisconsin boasts a longstanding tradition of greatness at running back, and no one in Badgers history ever shined quite as bright as 2014 Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon.

Following in Gordon’s historic footprints, Corey Clement will look to blaze his own trail in 2015. Playing behind a typically stout Wisconsin offensive line, and with new head coach Paul Chryst bringing his proven run-first philosophy, Clement should have no trouble developing into Wisconsin’s next great ball-carrier.

Barry Alvarez Wants to Abolish 20-Hour Rule

Andrew Seligman, Associated Press

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez blasted the NCAA’s “20-Hour Rule” on Wednesday, which is the stipulation teams cannot hold more than 20 hours of athletic activity per week.

Alvarez’s position isn’t an endorsement of putting more on already overworked student-athletes’ plates. Rather, the longtime Badger laments the rigidity of such a difficultly monitored rule, as explained to the Associated Press:

“How do you keep track of it?” he said Wednesday. “C’mon. Don’t have rules that you can’t enforce. Like when we took the ban off the food regulations, hallelujah. If you want to feed the kids, feed ’em. Let’s not make ridiculous rules that you can’t follow.”

Referring to the above mentioned systemic issues at Michigan, one of the more noteworthy enforcements of the 20-Hour Rule was in 2009, when an anonymous informant went to the Detroit Free-Press with allegations of Rich Rodriguez violating the rule.

Alvarez has some notable supporters, detailed in Seligman’s report.

Winning Programs Vital to College Football’s Have-Nots

Irv Moss, The Denver Post

The Group of Five needs forerunners who can win, and win regularly, to secure more matchups with college football’s power brokers.

When former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain took over at Colorado State, he said a nonconference trip to face the Crimson Tide could help give the program and its fan base a taste of the big time.

A year later, the Rams cracked the Top 25 and won 10 games. Another former SEC assistant is now at Colorado State, former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Bobo told The Denver Post it sees it similarly.

“Students, alumni, fans in general want a program that makes them proud to follow and be a part of,” Bobo said. “I think a team that they can be proud of is more important to them than a title or designation.”