CFB: Michigan weathers controversy and remains favorite to win CFP

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
NCAA Football Sports News


  • The Big Ten suspended Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh while the investigation continues into the actions of former assistant coach Connor Stalions.
  • Michigan only threw eight passes in a 24-15 win over Penn State. It was the Wolverines 22nd straight win against Big 10 opponents.
  • Michigan closes the regular season at 6-4 Maryland Saturday on the road and then home against No. 1 Ohio State.

Michigan lost in court, continues to lose in the court of public opinion, but on the football field they remain flawless.

With Coach Jim Harbaugh banned from the ‘venue’ by the Big 10, Michigan got by Penn State 24-15 Saturday in Happy Valley, in their closest game of the season.

The Wolverines program remains the talk of the sports world as the investigation in to the actions of former assistant coach Connor Stalions are investigated.

None of the controversy has impacted the Wolverines on the field. They are 10-0 and American sportsbooks still have them as the favorite to win the College Football Playoff for the first time. PointsBet Michigan has the Wolverines +200, the Golden Nugget says +215 and BetMGM Sportsbook has Big Blue +225 to win the crystal football in January.

Michigan still has a long way to go and more strange details come out each day about the scouting controversy.

What’s The Big Deal?

Although its being called a “sign-stealing” controversy, that’s not really what the alleged broken rules are. It has to do with whether or not Stalions scouted Michigan’s opponents in person and tracked their signals. Whether he then relayed the signals to Michigan players and coaches during games is a nebulous question.

But there are weird concerns about Stalions. A recent video appeared to show him sneaking on to the Central Michigan sidelines in full CMU coaching gear, a blatant violation of the rules (if impressive feat). Stalions has reportedly refused to comply with any investigations.


Rumors swirled that Harbaugh would be suspended by first-year Big 10 commissioner Tony Petitti even though he made the trip to Happy Valley. Late Friday the word came down that the Big 10 was suspending Harbaugh from coaching the Wolverines final three regular season games. However, he can coach during the week.

Michigan sought a temporary restraining order to allow Harbaugh to coach against Penn State, but was unable to convene a court order in time.

Michigan fans and players, including quarterback J.J. McCarthy took to X (Twitter) with the simple message “Bet” apparently saying that the Wolverines would be just fine while this chaos plays out.

Meanwhile, Maryland

We’re now less than two weeks away from the college football showdown of the season between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan in Ann Arbor. But the Wolverines have another game before that Saturday at noon on Fox against Maryland.

The Terps are 6-4. They started the season 5-0, then lost four straight before beating Nebraska on a walk-off field goal by Jack Howes. They are bowl eligible now and have QB Taulia Tagovailoa who has thrown for 2,769 yards and 22 TD. DraftKings has already made Michigan an early 21-point favorite. There are no odds at a regulated sportsbook on when Harbaugh will return, but that question hangs over the Michigan season like a cloud.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.