Paul Finebaum became Pete Finebaum for a few hours Friday on his radio show carried by ESPN’s SEC Network.
That was in response to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s Thursday night tweet: “Pete Finebaum the unabashed SEC water carrier, really needs to get his facts straight. #AlternativeFacts”
Finebaum had appeared on ESPN’s Outside the Lines where he called Harbaugh “an evil genius” — last year he called Harbaugh “the Donald Trump of college football” — but then said Harbaugh’s reported hiring of Michael Johnson, whose son is the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2019 class — is “cheating.”
The hiring did not go through and Friday it was reported he will join Oregon’s staff.
“This is wrong,” Finebaum said on OTL. “It may not be illegal by NCAA standards and bylaws, but to me it’s cheating. Its blatantly disregarding the spirt of the NCAA rule. We all know why he’s doing it. I know he won’t be penalized for it, but he’s cheating. There’s no other reason he would hired this man. It’s been done in the past, but it’s still wrong.”
During his show Friday, Finebaum said Harbaugh is “not that interesting” and that he’s more entertained by the UM fans. They are “a bunch of zealots. They’re like a cult and they follow their leader,” he said of Michigan fans.
John Hayes, a guest booker on the Finebaum show, chimed in that “Jim Harbaugh has to be one of the most overrated coaches in college football.”
The majority of the show was Harbaugh-focused with a number of callers weighing in on the subject. In response to Harbaugh’s hashtag “AlternativeFacts,” the Finebaum Show featured a graphic, the “Finebaum Fact Check” of coaches to beat Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Mark Dantonio, Dabo Swinney, Frank Beamer and James Franklin were on the list. Harbaugh is 0-2 against the Buckeyes.
“Short list really,” Finebaum said. “I see someone missing there.”
Many on Twitter pointed out that the list also was missing Alabama coach Nick Saban, whose team lost to Ohio State in the 2015 national semifinal.
Finebaum has praised Harbaugh at times since he was hired by Michigan at the end of 2014.
“I’ve never shied away from saying he’s one of the best coaches in college football,” Finebaum said Friday. “I don’t dislike Jim Harbaugh. He’s a polarizing figure. A tweet is not going to hurt me.”
Finebaum did take Harbaugh to task for not finishing better than third place in the Big Ten East the last two seasons and the fact he hasn’t beaten Ohio State. He mentioned Harbaugh’s Super Bowl appearance coaching against his brother, John. John Harbaugh and the Ravens beat the 49ers.
“You could argue he’s not even the best coach in his own family,” Finebaum said.