A losing season? ESPN's FPI updates odds Michigan finishes below .500 in 2020
Jim Harbaugh has never had a losing season at the University of Michigan, and the program’s last losing season—an extreme rarity in the 141-year history of the program—was back in 2014 under soon-to-be fired head coach Brady Hoke.
But as the wrong kind of records continue to fall in Ann Arbor, including the worst home loss since 1934 Saturday night as the Wolverines were battered 49-11 by the Wisconsin Badgers, the odds of another losing campaign continue to rise.
According to ESPN’s FPI ratings, the 1-3 Wolverines are likely to finish somewhere between 3.7 and 5.3 wins in a nine-game league schedule, assuming none of the future dates are canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Wolverines have a .1-percent chance of winning their remaining five games and will be percentage favorites to win only two—over an improved Rutgers team (63.3 percent), and an up-and-down Maryland team (75.5 percent). The remaining two regular-season games against Penn State and Ohio State have the Wolverines as underdogs, while the final game of the year will be determined by conference rankings.
Should Michigan win the games in which they’re favorites, they would finish 3-5 with the ninth game not making any difference because it would be impossible to break even at that point.
Back in 2015 when Harbaugh was brought back to Michigan, the consensus belief was that the Wolverines would make a swift return to glory under their former star quarterback. The first four campaigns saw good but not great returns, while the fifth season has gone wildly off the rails, leaving Michigan in a position no one had envisioned—fighting with everything they had just to avoid a losing season.
Moving forward, the hot seat will only get even hotter as some analysts are already debating which coach will be a good replacement for Harbaugh in Ann Arbor.