The eccentricity of Jim Harbaugh is well-documented, but Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has put an unforgettable stamp on the Harbaugh narrative. And in so doing, he exposed the Michigan coach for his need of a geography lesson, as well.
Behold perhaps the most Harbaughish story ever told, courtesy of Bleacher Report, as Beamer recalled a conversation he had with Harbaugh in 2010 when the two were in Miami for the Orange Bowl between Beamer's Hokies and Harbaugh's Stanford team:
"After we take some pictures, we start talking, just the two of us," Beamer said. "Jim says over and over how much respect he has for Georgia Tech. He must have said it five times. I'm just looking at him like, 'Are you serious?' Finally, I'm joking with him and I say I can't wait to tell my team that you called us Georgia Tech. Because, you know, we're Virginia Tech."
As described by sports writer Lars Anderson, Harbaugh's jaw dropped agape. Then he mustered a response that only Harbaugh could.
"Well," Harbaugh reportedly said. "I can't wait to tell my players that you said you were going to play Samford, not Stanford!"
With that, Harbaugh turned and walked away, per the report.
There's no telling if Harbaugh followed through, of course, but the scoreboard would indicate that the Cardinal was plenty motivated: Stanford 40, Virginia Tech 12.
The real head-scratcher here? That this happened within days of the game. With both teams already in Miami, having already watched miles of film on each other. It's not as though Harbaugh's gaffe came immediately after the matchup was announced weeks earlier, which would have been far less awkward, if still not understandable. The names and logos of both teams would have been plastered most everywhere either coach would have gone that week.
Heck, Virginia Tech even played Georgia Tech that year, a game film the Stanford staff presumably pored over.
It would all be impossible to believe, except for one factor. The Harbaugh factor.