Coming into this game almost every single analysis nationally and on the board suggested it would be critical for us to slow down Wisconsin's potent running attack to have a chance to win. Wisconsin has been a heavy package running team for as long as I can remember and this year is no different so this was no surprise.
Wisconsin then proceeded to run the ball 32 out of 33 times in the second half of today's game. As I sat in the stadium it occurred to me that if a running play was "heads" and a passing play was "tails" then the Badger's play calling went something like this: heads, heads, tails, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads and then heads.
And yet it seemed to me (and admittedly I haven't watched the game on DVR yet) that our D wasn't selling out to stop the run. How is this humanly possible given that every man, woman and child watching the game could see the pattern developing and know what was coming next?
Can somebody help me here? Were we in fact surprised by the repeated "heads" call by Wisconsin or were we just powerless to stop them?
I see a lot of RichRod's detractors saying that we should fire him and hire Harbaugh, but are there strong reasons to believe that he would come here?
Not sure how many people have been to Palo Alto, but a friend of mine taught there for a while and I can tell you. . . it is one beautiful, warm place. They probably have the money to match us, and the pressure on Harbaugh is relatively light there. (Coming from a small private school he only has to be good, not win regular championships.) I'm not saying that he wouldn't be interested, but I don't see it as a gimme.
It may well be, for that matter, that Brandon has some real knowledge about Harbaugh's interest. . . I'm not opposed to his coming, btw, should RichRod be dismissed, though I don't think a Michigan pedigree should be the deciding factor. Maybe having one of Bo's boys makes some alumni feel warm and fuzzy, but it doesn't necessarily win football games.
So much for that guy you knew of for one day and will promptly forget about entirely, he's committed to SMU. He hadn't yet been offered, but was visiting for the Big Chill weekend. The article doesn't mention whether or not that visit is still on. I don't think anyone will take this particularly hard, Blake Countess come on down!
I could be wrong, but the message I'm getting from several recent Dave Brandon interviews is that RichRod has done enough to merit another year. Is anyone getting the same idea, reading between the lines?
My hunch is that this has been communicated to the players, too, because I don't see how we get the likes of Dee Hart if it's not pretty clear that RichRod is staying. Mind you, I'm the guy who said we would go 6-6 and RichRod would be retained, anyway--for many of the reasons I think that now: too much invested in putting together a RichRod-style offense, too much evidence next year will be lots better. So maybe I'm looking at this with Rose Bowl-colored glasses? Anyway, the Brandon interviews are here, in Wojo's latest in the DetNews and a very good interview on the Huge Show:
I believe it was Lloyd Carr who said recently that he never coached a game at Michigan in which he felt we were the underdog - and I think we've now all had to cross that threshold as fans. Even worse, I was reflecting today on what the "signature win" of this program under Rodriguez has been, what game we won that showed that we can be a great team when all the pieces line up. As WoJo said a bit ago, at some point you have to show you can actually do it once before we can believe you can do it consistently. With this in mind, I compiled the following list of Rich Rodriguez's wins at Michigan and the final season record of those teams we beat (or current record for this seasons' opponents):
2010 UConn: 5-4
2010 Illinois: 6-5
2010 UMass: 6-5
2008 Wisconsin: 7-6
2008 Minnesota: 7-6
2010 Notre Dame: 5-5
2009 Notre Dame: 6-6
2009 Western Michigan: 5-7
2009 Delaware State: 4-7
2010 Purdue: 4-7
2010 Indiana: 4-7
2009 Indiana: 4-8
2010 Bowling Green: 2-9
2008 Miami (OH): 2-10
2009 Eastern Michigan: 0-12
While this could be slightly modified after the end of the season, through 2.85 seasons at Michigan, Rich Rodriguez has not beaten a single team that's finished more than a game above .500. I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have been acceptable to his fan base at West Virginia - it's closer to the historical standard at MSU than it is to anything, in my mind. It's sure not Michigan football. It's not the resume of a coach who is going to be great at Michigan. None of these teams has, or will, finish the season ranked, or anywhere close to ranked.
Against the three ranked teams we've played this year, we have been down 31-10, 28-7 and 24-0, and have lost each by double-digits (although RichRod teams seem to excel at scoring just enough late in games to make it feel "interesting" while being out of reach). For kickers, our fourth loss was by double-digits as well. As a point of comparison, in our "year of infinite pain" in 2005, we lost by 7, 3, 3, 4 and 4 - 21 points COMBINED.
I think we need a change - the only signature wins RichRod has are against paper tigers, and that doesn't cut it at Michigan. Unfortunately, you can probably say that RichRod's signature "win" was the 25-23 loss to eventual #2 Utah in his debut in 2008, much like Charlie Weis. I have hung in there until today as my friends fell left and right, but today was it for me.
Sorry MGoBoard - may the negbanging begin, as it does any time one of us points out the drastic cliff we've fallen off and how far we truly are from re-climbing it.