For those people that have watched Michigan Wolverines football from the sidelines over the past few weeks, the Gator Bowl result against Mississippi State was no real surprise. While AD Dave Brandon is trying to set a good example for all future coaching hires, he had the most glaring opportunity of making Rich Rodriguez a former head coach during the coach’s rendition of Josh Groban. The embarassing climax to an evening of honoring the season’s players, demonstrated Rodriguez’s Michigan career in a nutshell – it’s all about the coach, not the players or the program’s history.
When Rich Rodriguez ran away from his alma mater West Virginia after the 2007 season, he must not have realized the fire storm that he walked into in Ann Arbor. All he had to do was go through a series of press clippings from Lloyd Carr’s tenure to see what it means to Michigan fans to be less than extraordinary. All Carr did was win 8-plus games every year, including a decent record against Ohio State, and it was not good enough. Carr recruited players that looked like Big Ten athletes – take a look at Michigan’s players these days and they don’t have that same swagger or moxie about them. That is what an era of losing does for a program.
While the coaching search of the post-2007 season was Les Miles or nothing, the potential post-2010 season search will find a number of candidates that any Michigan supporter will find acceptable. Miles could potentially still be on the table, and he would be joined by former U-M QB Jim Harbaugh and former defensive line coach Brady Hoke. If Brandon receives a strong hint of a yes from either of those three gentlemen, all observers should expect a quick turnaround from the Rodriguez era to the (fill-in-the-blank) era.