Ok, that season sucked.
Bill Martin hit the reboot button and RichRod performed like Windows ME.
How do we define success going forward?
Martin's goal (as I divine the tea leaves) was to reinvigorate Michigan football and set it on track for another period of extended success. In other words, he needs better results than he would have gotten by staying within the tree and hiring Ron English or (the much-maligned at this time last year) Brady Hoke.
So far, his plan has gone in the wrong direction.
Rodriguez's goals (again, as I divine the tea leaves) were 1) to get out of the loonie bin that is WVU football politics and then 2) be a winning football coach at Michigan. Mission accomplished on item #1. With regard to #2, I give him credit for being what he says he is, a guy who's a football coach, without the megalomania that seems to be an occupational hazard.
Now, we have to add a third goal for RichRod, which is to restore his reputation. (Unless he gets it together, Mike Brown is not going to be putting together any shakedown packages.)
So getting down to brass tacks: given this definition of Martin's and Rodriguez's goals, what constitutes success and what constitutes failure? We talked about this in another thread. Some candidate reference points:
Average 9 wins per game over 6 year contract period = 54 wins, 51 to go, that's 10.2/year for the next 5
Average 8 wins per game over 6 year contract period = 48 wins, 45 to go, that's 9/year for the next 5
Hit the 10 wins/year mark and stay there with either no or very few deviations.
Win a national championship. Does we forgive all if he is @ .500 for years 2-5 and then wins a NC in year 6? If he averages 8 wins/year and gets one NC, is that any better than Lloyd Carr?
Added: Beat OSU at least twice in the contract term (that's improvement).
Added: Beat MSU 4 times out of 6.
Added: Beat Notre Dame 3 out of 6. (I personally don't really care that much about the ND rivalry.)
One of my fears is that Rodriguez failing because the Big Ten is a lot tougher than the Big East and the ACC. Under this theory, the Big Ten is a lot closer to the SEC than people credit us for, and the Big East is a lot farther away.
I have never been all that impressed by Rodriguez's record at WVU because I don't believe the Big East is anywhere near as tough as the Big Ten. (Same argument applies to his experience at Tulane and Clemson/ACC).
I am wondering if the problem is that he hasn't coached enough against talent at the Big Ten level, both on the field and off.
He and his coordinators have frequently appeared out-coached. His key hire, Scott Shafer, has not impressed many people. Giving up a fake punt with 5 minutes left in the game is being out-coached.
The quick skill players he loves have done a lot of good things, but they have also looked overmatched at times against Big Ten size. Their running game has been best with big, strong Brandon Minor, a prototype Big Ten back, not a speedy WVU back.
Did we just give too much credit to the Big East?
*Note: this theory has the advantage of auto-disrespecting all West Virginia loons.