Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh has finally announced a starting quarterback — or, more accurately, two starting quarterbacks.
The QB battle between Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy began last year, but McNamara had the starting job as the senior player for No. 8 Michigan’s path to the college football playoff that included a huge win over Big Ten rival Ohio State.
But instead of sticking with what he knows or taking a risk on a talented young QB, Harbaugh has split it down the middle. Michigan starts their season with two relatively easy tests against Colorado State and Hawai’i at home, and each QB will be game-tested in the Big House before a decision gets made.
This wouldn’t be the first time in CFB history that a coach attempted to do a two-quarterback scheme, but it’s not exactly a proven path to a national championship repeat (unless it’s a Tua Tagovailoa/Jalen Hurts sideline audible situation). And it’s not even like the Florida Gators Steve Spurrier rotating Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise every other snap to beat rival Florida State in 1997 in one of the most famous games of that rivalry. As it stands now, Harbaugh does plan on naming a starter and a backup several weeks into September, but it’s unclear what he has yet to see from the senior and sophomore that he hasn’t already been able to check out in preseason practice.
It may not strike the public as the most prudent way to make the decision, particularly after Harbaugh has been able to watch them both in practice and game situations for the year, but perhaps he thinks he’ll be able to see something on the field in 2022 that he hasn’t before. Or maybe he’s just procrastinating his decision because he has the leeway to do so with Michigan’s two openers.
Harbaugh said in his statement that he feels confident Michigan could “win a championship with either of these two behind center,” but won’t make the decision until Week 3, in which they will face the UConn Huskies. The Wolverines’ first true conference tests won’t come until October.
McNamara passed for over 2,500 yards last season as the starter, and McCarthy added 516 yards in his playing time, making appearances in 11 games for the Wolverines as a true freshman.