It's been a tumultuous ride for Michigan's undefeated football program, but its players continue to limit their verbal reactions. The third-ranked Wolverines are set to face No. 10 Penn State on the road Saturday, a high-stakes game they'll play without Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on the sideline.
The Big Ten announced it was suspending Harbaugh for the remainder of the regular season on Friday, hours after he and the team arrived in Pennsylvania for the matchup. The conference levied the punishment due to an in-person sign-stealing investigation surrounding former Michigan recruiting analyst Connor Stalions, who was fired last week.
Michigan is being penalized for "conducting an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage that compromised the integrity of competition," the conference said in a statement.
No stranger to sanctions against their program this season, many of Michigan's players responded with just one word:
— Kris Jenkins (@KrisJenkinsJr1) November 10, 2023
— J.J. McCarthy (@jjmccarthy09) November 10, 2023
— Zak Zinter (@zak_zinter) November 10, 2023
— FR0Z0NE🥶 (@MikeSainristil) November 10, 2023
— Josh Wallace🏝 (@Joshwallace_12) November 10, 2023
— LaDarius Henderson (@ladarius77) November 10, 2023
— Trevor Keegan (@bigtrevk) November 10, 2023
For those who can't keep up with the youth, "Bet" is often used colloquially to express agreement or confirmation. If someone were to offer you a ride home from school, you could say "Bet" to take them up on their offer. At the same time, in response to someone questioning your ability to dunk a basketball, you could say "Bet" on your way to proving them wrong. In this case, the slang conveys that the players intend to achieve their goal despite the conference's decision.
Based on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, senior defensive lineman Kris Jenkins may have been the first Wolverine to share the concise message on Friday. But quarterback J.J McCarthy — among many other Michigan players, didn't take long to follow suit.
Nor did a former Michigan quarterback by the name of Tom Brady.
It's almost full circle, as McCarthy offered a similar response when Harbaugh was suspended three games by the university to start the season, which came from an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During warmups for the season opener against East Carolina, McCarthy wore a shirt referencing the No. 4 jersey Harbaugh wore during his own tenure as a Michigan quarterback. McCarthy taped the word "Free" above his coach's name.
Months later, Michigan's vibe has developed into "us against the world." Players wore shirts and winter hats with "Michigan vs. Everybody" written on them for their flight to Penn State on Friday.
Michigan head basketball coach Juwan Howard, who is familiar with being suspended by the Big Ten himself, leaned into the football team's mentality with a social media post of his own:
— Juwan Howard (@JuwanHoward) November 10, 2023
If history is any indicator of future events, the Wolverines will have more displays of support for Harbaugh when they take on Penn State at noon ET (FOX) on Saturday.