Coach Harbaugh removes countdown clocks ahead of rivalry game

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts after a play in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged, albeit reluctantly, that the countdown clocks for Michigan State and Ohio State games have been removed from Schembechler Hall.

“Winning the next game is the goal,” Harbaugh explained. “That’s the most important thing. There’s nothing more important than that.”

Michigan State’s football program, meanwhile, posted a picture on Twitter of its countdown clock Monday afternoon to help kick off a week of hype for a game that people beyond the state will probably pay attention to on Saturday.

The seventh-ranked Spartans (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) are coming to the Big House to play the surging, 12th-ranked Wolverines (5-1, 2-0) and the showdown holds more than provincial interest because both teams are ranked and potentially have a lot at stake this season.

Harbaugh has led a dramatic turnaround in his first year, matching last season’s total number of wins under Brady Hoke with a five-game winning streak since opening with a setback at Utah. Mark Dantonio is 6-2 against Michigan, doing and saying all the right things to help Michigan State have its best stretch in the series in more than a half-century.

Michigan has historically dominated the series that dates to 1898, winning nearly two-thirds of the matchups.

The Spartans have flipped the script lately with their best stretch in the series in more than a half-century.

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