Memo to the SEC: Do not challenge Jim Harbaugh on Twitter

There are all sorts of spring training. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

There are all sorts of spring training. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The amusing part of this — well, one of the amusing parts — is that Butch Jones isn’t what you’d call an amusing guy. He’s RoboCoach. He’s so determined to stay on message that we in the media wish he’d get a new message, just for variety’s sake. But I digress.

The Tennessee coach just touched the third rail of college football: He took on Jim Harbaugh. This never ends well. The Michigan man has become to Twitter what an exasperated Pep Guardiola, then of Barcelona, called Jose Mourinho, then of Real Madrid, before a Champions League semifinal in 2011: “In this (press) room, Mourinho is the (censored) boss, the (censored) champ.”

(For the non-soccer set: Guardiola and Mourinho are the two best managers in the world, and next year they could be sharing a neighborhood. Guardiola is leaving Bayern Munich for Manchester City; Mourinho, who recently stepped down at Chelsea, could wind up at Manchester United. Oh, what fun.)

Harbaugh has reveled in his spring-practice fling, not least because it has given him opportunity to tweak the SEC, which was surely one the reasons he brought his Wolverines to Florida in the first place. On Twitter, he accused Greg Sankey of whining, which the SEC commissioner was, and Georgia’s Kirby Smart, whom Harbaugh referred to as “the Bulldogs coach,” of “barking up the wrong tree.”

Not willing to leave bad enough alone, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema suggested via Twitter that he might show up at IMG Academy in Bradenton to watch the Wolverines work. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, who’s closer geographically to the Harbaugh Phenomenon than any major-college coach, asked if he could meet Bielema for lunch. (Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss looked into auditing the sessions, too.)

As it turned out, none of the above was allowed to attend a Michigan practice. It’s a dead period for recruiting, and IMG has more than a dozen big-name recruits. Which is why Harbaugh’s decision to hold practices on the IMG campus — which IS allowed — was a genius move.

A day after Bielema and Dantonio had their little dialogue on social media, unfunny Butch sought to have a little fun, tweeting: “Mind if I join you two for lunch?”

Which prompted this from Harbaugh: “Suggestion to my Rocky Top colleague, rather than lunch in Florida you might spend your time and focus attending to your present team.”

Granted, this was a cheap shot, and it’s worth noting that Harbaugh didn’t fire back at either Bielema or Dantonio: He picked the most vulnerable target. But that’s Harbaugh: Open the door and he’ll walk through it and kick you in the gut with — Tennessee reference here — a hobnail boot.

In fewer than 140 characters, the Michigan man not-so-subtly reminded us that the head Vol has more important issues at home, which he absolutely does. Tennessee is involved in a Title IX lawsuit that involves allegations of sexual abuse, and Jones himself was accused by a former player of calling him “a traitor” for offering assistance to a woman who claimed she was raped by two of his teammates.

Let’s be clear: There’s nothing funny about sexual abuse or rape or a Title IX lawsuit. But it has become a source of ongoing entertainment how fixated those from the almighty SEC have become regarding Harbaugh — and how he has taken whatever they’ve tossed his way and thrown it back twice as hard. The lesson (which should have been learned a while ago) is this:

You cannot beat Jim Harbaugh on Twitter. In that realm, he is the boss, the champ.

Reader Comments 0

13 comments
Concerned7
Concerned7

As long as you anoint him King of Twitter then he will be.... He is just a loud mouth coach pretending to be great.... There has been many who came before him and if everyone ignores him he will just blow away.... A lot of Michigan greatness has always been hot air. I remember when Georgia went to Michigan and was suppose to be beaten into the ground... Sorry "Harballs" but seems we won...

JasonLago
JasonLago

So the Michigan students (football players) are going to be flown down to Florida to practice a game???  Are they going to bring the debate team too, and the Spanish Club???  Who is paying for this?

TOJacket
TOJacket

Y'all ain't skeered of him is y'all?

TOJacket
TOJacket

Can't the SEC, SEC and the B1G get along?

Kenneth Harmon
Kenneth Harmon

It's all about recruiting.

As long as we are talking about Harbaugh, He wins!!

goblue86
goblue86

If you have to explain your simile/analogy, you're doing it wrong!

Gritzblitz
Gritzblitz

Not unexpected from Mr. Bradley. He'll be kissing Hairball's behind until the NCAA slaps him down, and Bradley will go back to whining about how awful the Braves will be this year. Hey, whatever sells newspapers, right?


ClintThomason
ClintThomason

@MarkBradleyAJC Boy you are right Mark, Harbaugh really told Jones off. I'm sure Jones is in pain from such a vicious burn. Or not

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@FauxPelini could give Harbaugh a run for his money while trading insults on Twitter.