chance of bowl: 13.6%
A couple weeks ago, I put together a google map with all of the Michigan bars I'm aware of (and also everything from the spreadsheet that bouje has been maintaining.) The map is here.
Hopefully this will prevent the "where's the Michigan bar in Pittsburgh/Fresno/Topeka/wherever" threads that pop up every week, but if your favorite gameday hangout isn't on here, put it in the thread and let me know. I'll do my best to keep the map up to date.
It looks like something I used on one of my beach tents once.
Despite the sad entity that is UM football, there is a lot of fun football being played out there. The SEC at this moment is engaged in some interesting games
- Auburn 35, SC 35
- Ole Miss 7, LSU 3
- Alabama 27, Tenn 17
OSU is up 17-0 on hapless offense for PSU early in the 3rd. Which is a big improvement on last year's decimation.
For us fanatics the Pac 12 has 2 good games kicking fof soon with USC v Utah, and the fighting Todd Graham's traveling to visit Chris Peterson. That is 3 teams in the top 20 in those 2 games.
We are deep enough into the night to get a good idea of how our potential coaching candidates are doing. Rather than ordering them I will do a tier system of sorts.
My personal tiers would be
- Unicorn: Jim Harbaugh
- Michigan Man: Les Miles
- America's #1 Candidate: Dan Mullen
- Just Win Baby: Gary Patterson, Todd Graham
- The Next Hot One?: Mark Stoops
- Poor Man's Brian Kelly: Butch Jones
Everyone has difference preferences but I'd basically tier Harbaugh alone, then tier Mullen, Patterson, and Graham together. Miles would be in his own tier - if you'd place him above or below the trio of Mullen/Patterson/Graham - that is up to personal preference - an argument can be made either way. Once you get past that group of 5 you move to Tier B guys and the top name there might be Mark Stoops who has a small HC resume so we are getting real time data by the week. He also seems to me to be the 1 candidate if offered we'd have a >50% chance of landing. Everyone else I'd put anywhere from 2% (Patterson) to 30% (Miles?). Stoops lack of HC resume and current location - while potential issues - are exactly why he would be the most likely to come if offered.
Yes there are other candidates but I'd put these in the world of reality with track records as HCs we can realistically evaluate vs a non Big 5 conference HC, or any coordinator or any NFL guy.
Updates on all below....
I won't speak much to Harbaugh or Miles for obvious reasons - everyone knows their stories. Harbaugh is the #1 candidate - the unicorn. There is no question about his coaching, the only questions have to do with availability and interest. I won't put a probability of him coming to Michigan out there because only he knows but let's say its smallish. And if he did come his name would be in the NFL rumor mill to leave every winter.
Miles is in a good situation for him. He'd only leave if his heart wins over his mind IMO. While in a tough division there is a lot more that you can get away with in his part of the country in terms of JUCO transfers, academic qualifications, and "oversigning". Age is an issue for some but not to me - get 5-6 years out of him and rebuild a tree. The only question is how effective he'd be here vs the SEC with how they recruit. He also had some alleged Oklahoma State "issues" that some "Michigan Men" would have an issue with. You'd at least be guaranteed a very good defense which he has had almost every year; offensive results are middling but he has a very young team that should be far better next year than this.
I've seen enough of Todd Graham to be sold - guy just wins. The Pac 12 South is the 2nd toughest conference in America at this time and he has the scalps of Stanford and USC (albeit with a Hail Mary) in the past 2 weeks - with a brand new defense and a backup QB at the helm. Winning that USC game is not that important - the fact he took a team with 9 new defensive starters, including 3 true freshman starters (Not Jabrill Peppers level but Lawrence Marshall, Brandon Watson level freshman) and molded a team that can at least hang around on the road vs a top 20 opponent is impressive. But they indeed even found a way to win. That is a very brutal conference for defenses makes me bow down in awe when I see what product we are putting out - we have 3rd year players looking lost; I can't imagine multiple true freshmen being asked to do so much. His starting QB is a 2 star who he has molded into top 3 in the conference - and he has been hurt v UCLA, USC, Stanford. Yes they had a blowout v UCLA but that stuff happens every so often and it came righ after Kelly was hurt. dFEI has been 20s to 30s in his 3 years at ASU; combine with a top 10 oFEI last year and this year. The 2 deep is also stacked with youth - only 7 seniors; team will be loaded for bear next year. Guy just wins - I dont care if they go 8-4 or 10-2 this year; on paper that team should have taken a big step back this year with the personnel losses. It didn't. That's a winner. Lack of Midwest exposure is his main drawback other than "he is a meanie pants".
The criticism of Dan Mullen coming into this year was no major wins over quality opponents in 5 years. I am still not 100% sold on him - is he having a great year or has he built a great program? Is he the man that will beat MSU 2/3rds of the time and OSU 1/2? I don't know. Obviously a major upgrade over current guy but that is a low bar - I find other candidates more proven. But he is currently the most popular name among the masses and today won a tricky game vs Kentucky on the road. A rapidly improving Kentucky. Last we saw of Mullen he had put victories over LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn back to back. LSU is young but still a tough venue, A&M was overrated but still a solid win, and Auburn is still a bit of a mystery (currently tied with South Carolina 21-21 at half as I type) - still a good gauntlet. While from PA his coaching background has been mostly in FL and MS - not the Midwest.
Speaking of Kentucky that brings us to Mark Stoops. Who had taken 2-10 Kentucky from a year ago to a team that was down 38-31 to Miss State with minutes to go in the game. I cannot even fathom UM hosting the #1 team in the country in year 3-4 of a program that was in far worse shape than UM ever was and living to tell the tale. Kentucky went on the road and was destroyed last week v LSU - again, that happens. What I want to see in years 2-3 of a coach is a trend. Is there a significant win that is an outlier (Harbaugh pulled off upsets of #7 Oregon and USC back to back in year 3, in an otherwise average 8-5 year). This was an impressive loss - and yes moral victories in year 2 of your program, a year removed from back to back 2-10 years do count. When last we looked at Stoops we said he needed either a big victory or a very competitive loss to be taken seriously - he just got that. One could argue he is doing more in year 2 with a tire fire that is Kentucky than Harbaugh did in year 2 at Stanford. Stoops has a challenging finish to the year with Georgia, @Louisville, @Missouri, and @Tennessee. Three road games... go 2-2, and make the Georgia loss (if its a loss) competitive like you did tonight v Miss State and I am willing to believe. Especially the way he is recruiting and the fact that outside of Harbaugh he best fits the profile of a Midwest coach... and has proven elite success on 1 side of the ball. He "feels" more like older brother Bob than Mike. Out of the "tier B" choices, he seems like he should be the top of the list if the next month goes well. If UK does well next year i.e. 9-3ish, he would be next year's Dan Mullen - but he would have done it in half the time it took Mullen. Big if, eh?
Next, Mr Patterson whose team put up 82 on Texas Tech today. Damn. Patterson has had elite defenses for years and the offense is hit or miss. Years he has had good offenses the team is top 10-15ish. This is one of those years.... and now he is doing it in a Big 5 conference. Even more impressive, Patterson had a run based offense that worked fine in the Mountain West but failed for 2 years in the Big 12. Was he stubborn and "stuck to it"? No - he demoted his OC and got 2 new Air Raid OCs. He changed systems on the fly - and put a bunch of players that were not recruited for that system out there - and is flourshing. I am told that is impossible - how can you recruit players for system A and just put them out there in system B. Well he did it. I think of all the candidates he is the least likely to come to UM - first due to his affinity for TCU, second for his tenure, and third - there really is no reason to come to UM. He has TCU at the top of a Power 5 conference challenging for a playoff spot at a school he can continue to do that for a long time, and not in a conference that is like the SEC West. But he would be an ideal candidate other than lack of Midwest background. But I think him coming to UM is probably below Harbaugh's chances at this point.
Butch Jones has sort of flat lined - tonight they are hosting Alabama without their starting QB (I believe?) and losing 27-0 in the 2nd as I type. 0-3 in the SEC in year 3 ...that said a BRUTAL schedule but 2 of those losses were absolute blowouts and tonight will be blowout #3. If you are going to lose - lose some of them close and not just vs a bad Florida team. Mark Stoops "feels" like he has more upside to me already. If Jones was born in Virginia and coached at Marshall ....rather than born in Michigan and coached at Central I don't think people would be as high on him. He has sort of followed Brian Kelly around everywhere and done a step below. I want the next guy to have a chance to be Brian Kelly or better; not 1 step below. Stock is down.
Embracing Mark Dantonio for an extended congratulatory message, I have little doubt that Coach Hoke whispered something graceful, complimentary, and kind. I also think he said something else.
Few things make Mark Dantonio smile. He is the grumpy cat. But beating Michigan has always been one of them. That's why it was surprising to see Dantonio look so distraught after today's win. The interviewer had to ask him if he was happy, and, finally, Dantonio smiled. He was so aware of his unusually grumpy (even for him) face that he said, "It may not look it, but I'm happy."
I believe Coach Dantonio--who has proven himself to be one of the nation's best college football coaches--was actually sad. Not about beating Michigan (he'll always relish that) but about the final postgame handshake with a man he wants to hate but simply can not.
"Real recognize Real"
I believe Brady Hoke is a great man. Despite not being able to produce a coherent offense in four seasons at Michigan--even with an MNC-winning OC--he has still continued to reel-in top talent on both sides of the ball. This, in my opinion, is almost wholly attributable to his genuine love for the young men he coaches. He cares about them as people, not just as football players. He is concerned about their character, not just their statistics. When Jabrill Peppers committed to U-M, he said, "Real recognize real," referring to the sincerity of the coaching staff. I unreservedly agree completely with John Beilein: Brady Hoke is the type of man I would want to coach my son.
The Shane Morris concussion issue did not make me doubt Brady's concern for his players' well-being. It wasn't a coach who didn't care about a player's health; it was just another symptom of a coach who couldn't manage the myriad details involved with running the winningest program in college football. If Brady knew there was any real possibility of Shane being seriously injured by playing, he would not have played him. That wasn't the problem. The problem was he didn't know; he wasn't aware, and that problem has extended to field on too many occasions.
Brady's last UTL was a win
It's a small miracle that this team continues to play as hard as it does. The defense, once again, played with heart and character against an extremely efficient MSU offense. Their never-say-die attitude lasted well into the fourth quarter. The whole team fought tooth-and-nail to squeak out a win against a below-average Penn State team. I believe this Michigan team, like all teams, reflects the attitude of their leader: high-character, high-motor, high-intensity...and imprecise. Over and over today small things made big differences: passes just a bit off, receivers dropping the on-target efforts, runs just a bit too impatient, a quarterback feeling pressure when there was none, a tackle just missed. These are not new problems. It's not youth, it's imprecision, and it has plagued our team (and especially our offense) since Hoke's arrival. And these small things have added-up to big numbers in the loss column. And so Hoke must go, and I am calling for his replacement as loudly as anyone.
But let's never forget that this man's character was enough to inspire Greg Mattison to come back to Michigan from the Ravens. This man was charismatic enough to lure Doug Nussmeier to Michigan. This man is genuine enough to pull-in the highest average recruiting class in the country, even though he can't win at Michigan. Let's always remember that while Coach Hoke did not cut it on the scoreboard, that his integrity is an example of what a Michigan Man should be.
Denard Robinson's mythical talent, combined with freakish turnover luck, was enough to propel MIchigan to an 11-2 season and a Sugar Bowl victory. And let's give credit where credit is due: Hoke and Mattison field competent defenses, and, with more time and a developing team, I think Brady could probably keep Michigan in bowl games for the foreseeable future (after this year). But that's not good enough. That's NOT Michigan.
Chris Spielman--somewhat surprisingly--said it well: "I believe Brady Hoke is a good man and a good football coach...but the results aren't good enough." And I believe that part of Brady's message to Mark Dantonio tonight wasn't just congratulating him; it wasn't just genuine admiration of how well Dantonio runs a team (in almost the exact way Hoke would like to run his team); it wasn't just well-wishes for the rest of the season. It was good-bye.
I think Brady Hoke knows his time is up. I think he told Dantonio as much tonight after the game. And I believe that Brady Hoke is such a good man that even Mark Dantonio, who hates all things Michigan with an immeasurable, dyed-in-the-wool passion, was nearly brought to tears by a Michigan Man's farewell.
I'm excited about the possibility of a Harbaugh, or even someone not quite as perfect. I'm eager for a coach that is demanding, detail-oriented, and relentless in his pursuit of victory. And while I'm quite certain we can and must find a more capable coach to lead our program, I'm just as sure we won't find a better man than Brady Hoke.
I wish him and Laura all the best.
Apparently, per all the Twitters, some Michigan player(s) planted a spear on the block S during the pregame.
Does Hoke have any control over his team?
This is apparently why Dantonio went for the last touchdown (way to take the high road, Mark). But still, if there was ever a time to not disrespect your rival, it was before this game.
EDIT: Some Tweets:
"Them putting a spear in a field before the game is not a product of their team but their program." - Dantonio on the UofM Pregame spear.— Rico Beard (@RicoBeard) October 25, 2014
Connor Cook was clear, last TD was because MSU felt disrespected before game. Said a UM player stuck a spear in field before game— Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) October 25, 2014
Buddy just asked me if Dantonio ran it up because of Nussmeier's reaction but just heard UM players speared the S. That would explain it— Jeff Riger (@riger1984) October 25, 2014
And worst of all:
Perhaps, not worst of all. This seems dubious, so please be untrue:
Hoke said he was somewhat aware that one his players put a spear in the ground before the game but "not fully aware"— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) October 25, 2014