The defending NCAA college football playoff champion Ohio State Buckeyes finished this season with an 11-1 record and placed 7th in the college football playoff rankings and the AP poll. However, they did receive more support from some quarters, most notably the coaches’ poll. Ohio State finished fifth there, and they got one top-four vote, which came from an extremely-surprising source: Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. Putting a rival into playoff position when only a few others think they should be there is one thing, but that’s not the only weirdness on Harbaugh’s ballot. Here are his top 10 teams:

Jim Harbaugh's Coaches' Poll ballot for December 6, 2015. (USA Today.)
Jim Harbaugh’s Coaches’ Poll ballot for December 6, 2015. (USA Today.)

It seems Harbaugh is very into the Big Ten. He also appears to be the only coach to have his Michigan team ranked in the top 10, and he has Big Ten teams at #3, #4, #6, #10 and #12. The inclusion of 9-3 Michigan at #10 may even be more out of the norm than the Ohio State vote, especially ahead of 10-2 Northwestern; the Wolverines were ranked #17 in both the AP and the coaches’ polls, and #14 in the CFP rankings, while the Wildcats were #12, #12 and #13 in those rankings respectively. Then again, many coaches put their own teams way higher than the consensus, and Michigan did beat Northwestern 38-0, so it depends on what you value in rankings. (Harbaugh, or whoever fills out his ballot, doesn’t follow the head-to-head rule religiously, though; while Ohio State and Michigan State beat the Wolverines and are ahead of them on Harbaugh’s ballot, 9-3 Utah did as well, but comes in at a lowly 20th in the world according to Harbaugh. He wouldn’t be the first to overlook the Utes for the Wolverines, though. )

Regardless, it’s clear that Harbaugh is very much embracing the Big Ten, and he’s not done making headlines. From awkward interviews to khaki buses to sideline tantrums to incredible ways to lose, Harbaugh’s first year back in college football has been one for the books, and this ballot only continues that. Perhaps he can explain it through Michigan athletics’ official partner, The Players Tribune? I hear they might be looking for an Ann Arbor bureau chief, or perhaps a chief khaki correspondent…

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.