I GIVE UP ON HATING WISCONSIN
Per Bruce Feldman on twitter. I know he wasn't really a candidate for the Michigan job, but it will be interesting to see how he does.
This time of the year, many fans ask: Will my team make the NFL playoffs? For some UM fans, however, the interest lies in whether SF will MISS the playoffs. One theory is that this would put UM in better shape with Harbaugh. Possibly, UM may get an earlier “yes”—or at least an earlier answer. Either could give UM more time to get the best coach and hire assistants prior to the recruiting deadline.
If you subscribe to this theory—or if you just want to know the playoff chances for any other team you follow—check out a website-- Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight. It tells us not only a team’s chances of making the playoffs but also of a division title, a first round bye, or a #1 seed. It even tells us what games to watch and who we should root for--that is, it shows which other teams’ games affect our team's playoff future. For example,
1. SF’s playoff chances declined to one in five (20%) after Dallas beat Chi on Thursday.
2. SF’s chances would fall to 16% if Az>KC and Det>TB (or rise to 28% in the opposite case).
3. In the unlikely event also that Oak>SF, SF’s chances would fall to 7% (or rise to as high as 31% if all 3 games favor SF).
Of course, regarding Harbaugh, SF’s playoff chances may not matter. Some say, if Harbaugh does not give a definite “yes” next week, the job will be offered to the UCLA coach –Jim Mora, Jr. Jim Jr would take a dim view of waiting to see if SF makes the playoffs…In fact, his dad still bristles at the mere words "SF" and "playoffs" used together. Jim Mora Sr is famous for his now viral press conference, when he bristled at the word “Playoffs” after his team was clocked by SF.
(PS I tried unsuccessfully to embed this video below. Could someone do this for me? Thanks)
Presuming Harbaughs not happening.
Les Miles is a legit contender this time, if offered. I was in Louisiana during the 2010 campaign - a large number of LSU fans were talking seriously about firing Les Miles when he was 6-0... due to "not winning the right way" aka winning close games instead of blowing out all-comers. I'm pretty sure the LSU administration is getting an earful of noise right now regarding the Tigers' 8-4 season with a shut-out at the hands of a bad Arkansas team. They are much less likely to increase Miles' pay/extend his contract right now than they were during the last two M coaching searches.
But, the point of this post is: why not Narduzzi? I have seen his name floated on this board for the HC position at other big time programs (i.e. Texas A&M), often with the meme of "wouldn't it be great if MSU loses their defensive genius?" If strategy matters at all in our own search: why not take a presumably solid pick while simultaneously weakening one of our two rivals? Seems to have worked out well in the 60's...
Many of you who follow CFB closely, espicially on Twitter, will be familiar with FootballScoop. The guys who run the website and Twitter feed are coaching insiders who are on close terms with a majority of the D1 football coaching community, as well as much of the lower levels. I believe they were the ones that broke the Nussmeier news last January as well. All this to establish who they are for those that don't know, and their level of credibility... Because what I just heard their editor-in-chief say on ESPN radio was fairly shocking. Here's the relevant tweet:
Fast forward to about 10 minutes in to hear about the Florida job, and 13 minutes in to hear about Michigan. The money quote: "I talked to three guys [presumably connected to the Michigan program] and there is complete belief... not just some question, but complete belief that Dave Brandon does not survive this." Great news, right? But not exactly earth-shattering. That part comes next: "I heard a very interesting name for the next AD... Joe Castiglione, the AD at Oklahoma."
Again, this is not some ESPN radio guy just spouting off whatever names that come to mind, this is an actual insider who has heard enough scuttlebutt to think Castiglione may be a guy Michigan looks at. Also, nice to hear further confirmation from an outside source that it appears Brandon is going to be out the door.
Thoughts? Also interesting to note that Rich Rod seems to be the leading candidate for Florida with Spurrier (!?!) as the dark horse.
Over three years ago, immediately after Dave Brandon announced the hiring of Brady Hoke as the new University of Michigan football coach, MVictors came out with what I consider to be the definitive summary of the Michigan fan culture. We were divided then, some of us acrimoniously, and with Michigan poised to begin another coaching search, the factions have begun to show their ugly faces again. There is less division now over whether the coach should go or stay, but who should take over, who is worthy to lead us out of the desert into the Promised Land, that is still very much a point of contention with many in the Michigan family.
For those of you who have been around here for awhile, this will look familiar. Brian featured it on UV after it came out. MGoShoe started a thread where you were able to share which faction you best fit into. If you’re new around here, I encourage you to click over to MVictors and check it out, because it’s really outstanding.
I didn’t bother to reassess the breakdown of each group, but certainly some clans have grown and some have shrunk. In 2011, here’s how the folks at MVictors saw things:
With Michigan poised on the cusp of what appears to be another change in leadership of the football program and perhaps the Athletic Department as a whole, it seems relevant to have a look another look at our collective culture and what value unite us and what ones separate us and remember that ultimately, we all want the same thing; for Michigan to win and be Michigan again.
They weren’t really in Hoke’s corner when he was hired, but liked his rhetoric and were impressed with his recruiting. Things looked encouraging when he went 11-2, but the gradual decline over the next 2.5 years is undeniable. These are the guys who bristle the most at all the Hoke hand-clapping and talk of toughness that never seems to make it to the field. They are aghast that Hoke allows David Brandon to micromanage the football program they way he does. They want Brandon gone yesterday and Hoke let go after this season is over and give Jim Harbaugh whatever he wants to come back to Ann Arbor.
Still pissed and their ranks are swelling. Feeling a bit vindicated that Hoke’s version of Manball has fallen flat. Chafed over watching Denard line up under center as Borges tried to hammer that square peg into that round hole. Apoplectic that a player of Devin Gardner’s caliber is being wasted doing the same thing. These guys want Hoke gone NOW! Want Brandon gone NOW! You saw a lot of them on the news last week marching around The Diag and the President’s Residence. These folks are the most annoyed with the Michigan Man meme and while they would accept Jim Harbaugh, believe he’s not coming and think somebody like Dan Mullen is a perfect guy to come in and finally move this program forward.
Corduroy Jacket w/Patch Clan
Feeling uneasy and a little put-out that Hoke hasn’t been successful and that Brandon continues to commit PR gaffe after PR gaffe. Michigan being dragged through the mud in virtually every national media outlet over Concussiongate is the worst thing ever. They just want this shit to go away and for everyone to get along again. Still, our future falls disproportionately in their hands right now, as we’re unsure if the head of this clan, President Schlissel, is up to the task of righting the ship.
In Rod We Trusted
As always, closely allied with The Rebellion, but their ranks have thinned with time. Also feeling vindicated watching Hoke fall flat while Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats sit atop the Pac-12 undefeated and sporting a sexy upset over Oregon. Annoyed with being right back we were in 2011 facing another coaching search and talking about viable candidates when they still believe that we could’ve avoided a lot of this if we had just given the man a fair chance to succeed. The next coach should be the best candidate for the job and anyone talking about Michigan Men should be taken out back and shot. Oh yeah, and fire Dave Brandon. Giving the collective finger to….
These are the only guys still firmly in Hoke’s corner, stubbornly insisting that he’s a good coach and will succeed at Michigan if just given time. They’re not happy with Dave Brandon and want to see him gone, but Hoke is their guy. Their ranks have been dwindling for years now, but unfortunately, since they mostly consist of Lloyd’s ex-players at this point, they have a lot of inside access to the program and are a serious challenge to any kind of wholesale culture change.
Cotton Pickin’ Blues
The biggest group and the biggest reason why Michigan Stadium looks so empty this year and the resale market for tickets is so poor. These fans have simply checked out. Dave Brandon has disenfranchised these folks with neutral site body bag games against Alabama, noodles, RAWK music and the general NFLization of the Michigan football experience. Done with Hoke as well, as this is not Michigan. Don’t really have a favorite replacement in mind, because, frankly, at this point, they just don’t care anymore. These are the folks that successors to Brandon and Hoke will have the work the hardest to get back.
They were 100% behind Hoke coming into this season and thought any talk of Hoke’s seat being warm or setting a win threshold on retaining him for his 5thseason was ludicrous. Have come to the sad conclusion in the past few weeks that things around Hoke have gotten just too toxic and his job is not salvageable. These guys don’t really have a preferred replacement in mind, they will back him no matter what, but they hope for an inspiring choice.
The Second Estate
These are the guys that are still firmly in Brandon’s corner. See Stephen Ross. Keep Hoke, fire Hoke. Whatever; Brandon knows best. Just as long as their access to the program is not affected, they will ultimately be satisfied. These folks would probably be the most wary of a strong coaching hire, like Jim Harbaugh, that might put their access in jeopardy.
The Decatur Clan
These folks are still somewhat in Hoke’s corner if only because what about the kids? These are the guys who came back to watch the finish of the Utah game who weren’t Utah fans (so yeah, not Ace). They bristle at pyrrhic talk of boycotts and public protests and want to believe beyond all hope that Hoke is going to right the ship, the light is finally going to come on for this team, and we will have our revenge against MSU and OSU. They haven’t considered a good replacement for Hoke, because a real Michigan fan wouldn’t have turned their back on this team while there is still season left. Will get behind whoever is hired once that decision / announcement is made.
To my mind, the most successful head coaches in the college ranks (in every sport) share some common traits that underpin their success. Using an analogy to baseball's Five-Tool player, I think the following list captures what a Five-Tool HC ® has at his/her disposal. Spoiler alert: Depending on your disposition, our current Football HC has between one and three of these attributes and is, therefore, not referenced below.
1. Recruiter - This one is obvious. It's hard to win without horses.
2. Game Coach - Again, this is pretty basic. Xs and Os, play calling (or confidence in good play callers), RPS win ratio, game/clock management, schemes (1-3-1), formations (e.g.,punting), situational awareness etc. are all critical components apparently lacking inour program at the moment. I would put game preparation in this category.
3. Face of the University - The HC needs to positively represent the institution to the fan base, the press, and recruits. In addition, the HC should garner the respect of opponents and opposing fans alike (even if only begrudgingly or expressed as hatred). This is primarily for marketing purposes, but a coach behind whom the university/fan community can rally instills a culture of winning.
4. Fundraiser - This one is often overlooked, but if you can't pull in mega-dollars for the program, you're whiffing on a big part of your job. It's also a way to justify your bloated salary.
5. Educator - These are 18 -22 year old kids. They may not have come to college to play school, but intellectual and social development is essential in order to ensure any signinficant team development.
So who in the past 25 years or so has been a Five Tool HC?
I'm happy to put Bo and Beilein up here, but several other candidates form a veritable who's who of Wolverine Killers:
Tressel (even in the educator category for the majority of his players)
Pitino (wins with freshmen, but grows them in the short time he has them under his tutlage)
JoPa (before the fall)
There are plenty of others...
Are these the right five tools? Who would you put in this class of coach?
Perhaps more importantly, are there any who might be available at the end of this FB season?