...talks about how UConn hasn't been in contact and how they're out. (HT: UMHoops)
I know there are more pressing topics to consider (i.e., cc) after today, but the mysteries of the running back spot continue to swirl in my mind.
I am always confused by the lack of rb rotation used by UM - especially by the delayed use of Shaw today? Not discounting Smith's heart or desire, but would have liked to see someone else have a shot when the game remained in the balance ...
days until the Orange Bowl is over and Harbaugh comes home.
I spoke with a family member of commit DB Dallas Crawford after the game, and he told me Dallas is likely to stick with Michigan. Crawford still sees the opportunity to play early, and likes Michigan as a school. That's essentially what his coach told me a few weeks ago.
I was also told by Crawford's family member that WR Sammy Watkins step father thinks Sammy might back out on his Clemson commitment. I don't know if he would still consider Michigan if Rich Rodriguez is fired, so we'll have to wait and see. I don't believe that Sammy is qualified yet either, so he'll need to figure that out too.
That was fast.
The Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan ended today. The only remaining question is precisely which day next week we will learn officially that he has been fired.
What hurt was not merely the fact of the loss, but the way it happened. With five weeks to prepare, Rodgiuez did not roll out any offensive or defensive surprises. Everything Michigan did, Mississippi State was ready for.
Compare this to Lloyd Carr’s last game, in which Chad Henne ran an offense we had never seen before, and the Wolverines shocked the favored Florida Gators. When you’re the underdog, coaching your final (or likely final) game, and have a month to plan, what exactly are you waiting for? If you have any ideas, what do you have to lose by trying them?
I am not the first person to point out that Dave Brandon probably had his mind already made up. Rodriguez’s 37th game, win or lose, was never going to tell us a whole lot that the first 36 didn’t. One would have to be awfully naive, not to believe that the so-called “evaluation” was already 99 percent done. The argument that Rodriguez deserves a fourth season is at least tenable, although I think its adherents are in the minority right now. The argument that this game was going to decide his fate never held water.
But to the extent Brandon needed air cover to defend his decision, this game certainly provided plenty of it. Even with more preparation time than for any opponent except UConn, the game was practically an instant replay of most of the team’s other losses, minus the second-half comebacks that made a few of them look more respectable than they really were.
Michigan’s won–lost record may have improved marginally in each season of Rodriguez’s tenure. But during a given season, Michigan has tended to regress. Even the vaunted offense, clearly the team’s strength, was held scoreless for three out of four quarters by both Ohio State and Mississippi State. In its final eight outings, the offense played a “complete game” only once: the triple-overtime thriller vs. Illinois. The team was not merely beaten, but thrashed, in its final three games.
I was never one of the so-called “haters.” Three years ago, I thought that Rich Rodriguez was a premium hire. He was a winner wherever he went, and I believed he would win in Ann Arbor. I remain perplexed as to why he has not done better. But there is a reasonable body of evidence that when you are taking over a program that is already a national powerhouse, as Michigan was when Lloyd Carr retired, you shouldn’t be turning in three consecutive seasons that are worse than any of the prior twenty-three.