In Columbus, Ohio, any disruption to the successful machine that Michigan built in recent years is viewed as positive news for Ohio State football.

Reports indicate that Jim Harbaugh declined a lucrative contract offer to return to the NFL with the Los Angeles Chargers. As the key figure behind Michigan’s resurgence to Big Ten prominence, Harbaugh leaves behind a national championship trophy and two ongoing NCAA investigations. Just a few months ago, Buckeye fans hoped Harbaugh would stay indefinitely, despite his struggles in big games, including The Game.

However, with three consecutive victories in The Game and a transformed status from whipping boy to a true Michigan villain, Harbaugh’s departure is met with mixed feelings in Ohio State. While there is ambivalence about Michigan’s ability to replicate recent success without him, his exit deprives Buckeyes of the satisfaction of seeing him walk across the field to shake an OSU coach’s hand in defeat.

Harbaugh’s impact on the rivalry, his success with quarterback J.J. McCarthy, and his departure to the NFL leave Ohio State unable to capitalize on potential consequences, such as the 30-day transfer window for Michigan players. Ohio State had already positioned itself well in terms of player retention and acquisition, setting the stage to end the rivalry losing streak. However, the absence of Harbaugh on the opposing side raises questions about whether the victory will be as satisfying without him.

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