Before Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach three seasons ago, Stanford University had arguably the worst football team in a major conference in the entire country. The Cardinal lost 11 of 12 games in the season before he took over and did so by an average of three touchdowns.
Now, as 17th-ranked Stanford steams toward Saturday’s annual rivalry game with No. 25 California, the team is 7-3 and in the hunt for the Pac-10 Conference title. All of sudden, Mr. Harbaugh is the talk of college football—not just for the lengths he has taken the program but for how he has done it.