I just put up my Michigan flag for the last time this season. Michigan is playing in a bowl game for the first time in the past three seasons. It may be Rich Rodriguez’s last game ever for the Wolverines, if the rumors are true. I hope he stays.
Give him his fourth season. Give him a chance to come back and coach perhaps the most exciting player in College Football. Let him at least tie his predecessor’s record of four straight losses against Ohio State. I look back at my expectations from the beginning of the year and they were met. They beat the teams they were supposed to beat and lost to the teams they were expected to lose to. The losses sting, but were not that suprising when you look at them.
You keep him because churn at the head coaching position should be avoided whenever possible. When you yank him out after three years you set a bad precedent: if the next guy doesn’t produce in three years you have to get rid of him, too. Rodriguez’s first year was a waste to begin with, not having time to get his players installed and the cupboards short stocked, if not bare. Also, now is not the time to abandon the spread, if you want to keep advancing to the highest levels. The majority of the conference champions are running some version of the spread. The two best teams in the country, Oregon and Auburn, are both shredding opponents with the spread. I fully support gutting the defensive staff and revamping that side of the ball. But you don’t need to fire the head coach to do that.
Plus, he is a good guy. He doesn’t put his star QB on the field in a must win game when he might have a concussion. He doesn’t let his kids go straight from prison back
onto the field. He doesn’t oversign recruits then kick scholarship players off the team without even talking to them face to face. When his only decent kicker or his essential backup QB breaks team rules, he sends them home, not let them play in the big bowl game and hold off their punishment until next year. Any rule or contract he’s broken has never hurt his kids.
Finally, the reasons you DO get rid of Rich Rod: although he increased the win count, he never pulled the big upset. The offense sputtered down the stretch. He gets too emotional and plays sappy Josh Groban songs for the team.
One last game this year. I want to see more.
ADDENDUM: it’s nearing the end of the Gator Bowl, and this performance makes it hard to see him staying around for another year. Get ready for the turmoil.