My basis of this Diary is to access the potential and rumored coaches that Michigan considered last year. My thought is to play a hypothetical game, where Lloyd Carr stayed another year and then retired and assessing the potential coaches on this year of coaching with hindsight being 20/20. I have listed the coaches in the order of my wish list from last year, starting with the top.
1. John Gruden, Tampa Bay 9-3
This is maybe a pipe dream, but I believe Gruden would make a phenomenal college coach. The NFL pedigree, the Super Bowl rings, the ridiculous will to win, would make him a Pete Carroll like recruiter. He had a SI interview where he quoted he had a life goal to be the Head Coach of Michigan by 40. I would be scared as hell if ND gets Gruden next year. Anyway, he's 9-3, leading the NFC South, with a 40 year old QB cast off from the Lions. He's doing well.
2. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan 3-9
Yes, he was my first real choice. Everyone knows how's he's done, so I offer a quick couple comments of pure conjecture, I am not an insider or Rich's psychologist. In some circles, it was widely assumed that Rodriguez was ticketed for FSU, after Bowden finally retired. However, Fisher was named coach in waiting, and Rodriguez looked around, saw that not many big jobs were going to open up in the next 5 years. He didn't want to be possibly stuck at WVU, so jumped at the chance.
3. Les Miles, LSU 7-5
Wait so Les isn't a miracle worker? Led his damn strong football team to a pedestrian 7-5 with 4 straight losses in conference, and needed a minor miracle to avoid 5 straight with a huge comeback vs Troy at home. Even with his otherwise damn strong team, Miles learned like Rodriguez did that it's hard to win with your 3rd string qb. Failed to live up to the top 15 preseason ranking LSU is in good hands, but really he's not the second coming of BO.
4. Greg Schiano, Rutgers 7-5
When he turned us down, it seemed all is lost in the Michigan coaching search. I never thought that much of him, besides of him being a good solid coach. In this season, he proved me right. Finished 2nd in the conference, however failed to live up to the top 30 Preseason ranking. Started 0-3 with losses to UNC and Fresno State and Navy, so really took some hard hits this year. I still think he is waiting for the PSU job and with more seasons like this and with PSU going the coach by committee and possibly a coach in waiting, he will have to wait a lot longer.
5. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa 8-4
When Brian reported Ferentz was the new coach, I responded with a shrug. My feeling at the time was that it could be worse, but definitely I thought it was status quo move. Now, after his team outperformed all expectations. He pulled off the biggest upset in the Big Ten and without it the fun Texas-Oklahoma debate is moot. His losses with a first year starting sophomore qb were 1 point at Pittsburgh, 5 points vs. NW, 3 points at Little Brother, and 3 points at Illinois. He was a couple plays from getting 10 wins with this pedestrian team. No coach on the list did more with less, and I'm not looking forward to our trip to Iowa City next year.
THE REST (Cronies)
6. Brady Hoke, Ball State 12-1
With the season, Hoke is probably a better option than he was last year. However, Ball State was probably the worst undefeated team in recent memory. Congratulations to them on their season, but I don't think he ever will be a legitimate candidate for this job. He outperformed all expectations and led Ball State to a top 15 BCS ranking before tonight and is probably looking at a possible lower tier Big ten job in the next few years if he can stay some what consistent.
7. Ron English, Louisville, DC 5-7 (1-6)
His star isn't rising so highly now. I don't know why he chose Louisville. Only held two teams under 21 points, Middle Tennessee State, and South Florida. Allowed 63 points to Rutgers and it could have been worse. Didn't see much besides that, but definitely not ready for a big time position yet
8. Mike Deboard, Seattle Seahawks Asst. Line Coach
Perhaps the fact that NO college team he offered him a Offensive Coordinator job is the biggest indictment of them all.
What We Learned
That another year older, doesn't make us another year wiser. The options were mostly marginal, however I would guess some people would be more excited about a Ferentz. Some people would be less excited about Miles. I'm still more excited about Rodriguez bringing us into the 21st century.
I can't personally wait until Brian gets a New T-shirt provider. I have wanted to buy a "In Rod We Trust" shirt since September. I think Brian should have 2008, put on the shirt in a small manner, so that those of us on board now can wear it with a certain pride, when Coach Rodriguez is bashing OSU, and leading us to BCS games. This way we can distinguish the true believers from the bandwagon jumpers.