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We rank all 14 teams of the Big Ten Conference, including Michigan and Michigan State, entering the 2017 college football season. By Brian Manzullo, DFP.
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It’s well documented that Jim Harbaugh has ruffled the feathers of many college football coaches in his two-plus years at Michigan.

With that in mind, it may not be a total shock to find that a few of those coaches find Harbaugh to be the most overrated coach in the game.

As part of its “Candid Coaches” series, CBS Sports asked one-fifth of the 130 active head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision this question: Who’s the most overrated – and the most underrated – coach in college football?

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Though 48% of respondents chose not to answer – despite being granted anonymity – 13% said Harbaugh, the highest percentage of the group. Alabama’s Nick Saban (!), Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin and Illinois’ Lovie Smith tied for second place at 9%.

Keep in mind, however, that CBS Sports only asked 26 coaches this question, which means just 3 or 4 of them answered Harbaugh (if we’re doing the math correctly). But this wouldn’t be the first time Harbaugh’s peers expressed mixed and/or negative emotions about him, especially given Harbaugh’s penchant for making headlines and drawing attention with his recruiting tactics.

Multiple SEC coaches, including Saban and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, have expressed concern over Michigan’s off-season satellite camps – many of which have taken place in the South – the past two years, including suggestions that U-M may be breaking or bending NCAA rules. The NCAA has since modified its satellite camp rules.

Other figures, such as Georgia coach Kirby Smart and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, have fired barbs toward Harbaugh over the past two years as well (though Smith later apologized).

Harbaugh has led the Wolverines to 10-3 records his first two seasons in Ann Arbor. Though he has U-M on the upswing with its improved performance on the field since the Brady Hoke era – along with high-level recruiting, high-profile off-season trips like last spring’s journey to Rome and the university’s record-setting Jumpman apparel deal – the team has yet to finish higher than third place in the Big Ten East and is 0-2 against arch-rival Ohio State.

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Michigan started last season 9-0, but lost three of its final four games to Iowa, OSU and Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

The Wolverines enter this season ranked No. 9 in the Amway Coaches’ Poll – and No. 11 in the Freep preseason Top 25 – but are projected by many to miss the Big Ten Championship again due to roster turnover (18 new starters, including 11 on defense) and a difficult schedule featuring trips to Penn State and Wisconsin, plus games against Florida and Ohio State.

Contact Brian Manzullo: bmanzullo@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrianManzullo.

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