the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
An Open Letter to the Michigan Faithful (and Unfaithful): The Psyche of a Fanbase
I also think that my post is complimentary to Jamiemac's incredible post (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/harsh-message), but I had already finished my post, so I figured I'd throw it up anyways.
Looking back on the preseasons expectations thread (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/season-predictions-poll-projections-fan-expec...), the consensus was that most would be happy with Rich Rodriguez and the shape of our program if we were bowl eligible at the end of the season. This would have shown significant improvement over last year's debacle and it seemed as though this would enough to keep the masses happy.
Early Season Elation
After our first 4 games starting at a surprising 4-0 many adjusted their expectations skyward even though 2 of the games were close against mediocre competition (ND who barely wins every game and Indiana who is 4-5 (1-4 Big Ten play) and with Tate playing with fire-but somehow not getting burned-on many plays. His "guts" and "moxie" proved to be too much for every team and he seemed to have that "it" factor that many of us thought that we lacked. I think that the extremely lofty expectations especially by the ESPN hype machine only helped inflate our egos even more that "Michigan was back!"
Teams had more data points against our team and could key in on our weaknesses. They knew what to expect from our freshmen as they weren't unproven commodities anymore. I think that it is always easier for first year players to play well in the beginning of the year for two key reasons. Not only do expectations start to get the better of them after the early season honeymoon, but opposing coordinators can now plan against these youngsters and their lack of versatility and game experience. Note that it seems as though the season has taken its toll on Tate as he appears banged up.
Some have said that our offensive line has lost a lot since Molk has been sidelined with the injury. I would have to agree with them-his injury has really set back our offense and our team as a whole. I think that it is no surprise that our team has slid in his absence.
As far as the Illinois game goes...yes, Illinois is not a very good team this yea. But who thought that their team would be this bad? No one. This was a sleeping team that needed one play to really get its confidence. The goal-line stand was that one play.
It's not like Juice Williams is a bad player, or that Illinois has no weapons. Some at the beginning of the season were saying that Benn and Williams were the best tag team in the league and that Illinois would have one of the best offenses in the Big Ten. How they fell this far... well, I really have no idea. I haven't paid enough attention to their team. Illinois blogs lack the flair of our humble home. And if these past few weeks in the conference have taught us anything, it's that anyone can beat anyone in the Big Ten. Think Purdue beating OSU and then a few weeks later Purdue getting curb stomped by Wisconsin. The game would not have gone nearly as poorly (and, dare I say, we would have won easily) if we had scored on that goal-line series, or if Roy Roundtree were a few steps faster.
But as they say shoulda, coulda woulda. Someone even said that this was one of the worst losses by a Michigan team ever-and all that I can say to that is you must have a very short memory. Off the top of my head Oregon I, Iowa (same year as Oregon I), Oregon II, App State.
We are a young team that is prone to wild swings in play. To give up on coach Rod, our team, his system at this juncture is, in my opinion, ridiculous and short-sighted. I'm not saying that you cannot question the man and his play calling, because I would have liked to have seen a QB sneak on that goal-line series but anyone saying that I-Form was not the correct formation to run there is treading on shaky logical ground.
Signs of Progress
This team has made great strides in tackling, the offense has looked infinitely better than last year, the defense is showing signs of life, and when we can hang onto the ball in special teams, it's one of the most exciting units we've had in a long time. When was the last time we blocked a punt, or returned a TD on special teams?
Some people were even saying that our team cannot make half-time adjustments and again how quickly they must forget the beginning of the year where we made great adjustments at half time (particularly on the defensive side of the ball).
There were several generic comments that I wanted to call out-but here are 2 of many after the game that I wanted to call out that should NEVER be uttered by a supposed Michigan fan:
1. "Dick Rod" - This is your coach, this is what buckeyes, WV fans who are butt hurt, people who hate him call him. This should not even be in your vocabulary.
2. "He'll probably cry in the press conference because he knows he f'ed up the best job that he'll ever have"-no comment needed
These comments are getting out of control. Question the man's play calling, his coaching, or his decision making but it is NEVER acceptable to personally attack coaches or players. Grow up.
Finally, Rich Rodriguez is a good coach. Anyone saying "this isn't the Big Least this pussy type of offense will never work here he is in over his head" has apparently never seen the progression of coaches throughout college football. Urban Meyer was from Utah (not even a BCS conference... and I wouldn't say that he is over his head) Jim Tressel was from Youngstown State (Not even a FCS school). So to say that "this isn't the Big Least" is the most ridiculous thing to say and makes you look like an idiot (especially when the Big East looks like a better conference this year than the Big Ten). He has a great pedigree, great resume and there is absolutely no one that we could get that would be a better coach for any team. If we fired him he would be snatched up before we could even find another coach.
There is nothing that this team and program needs more than continuity. We need to recruit our asses off (especially on defense). If you think that we will be able to recruit at all if RR would be fired, think how much negativity would surround our program. Opposing teams wouldn't even have to negatively recruit against us. With 70% of the team as underclassmen it is unfair to not give him time until they mature.
In summary, let's keep in mind the big picture. RR isn't the anti-Christ, this program needs continuity or else we will suffer the fates of other teams that changed coaches frequently and never really found their footing for years (see ND). He didn't forget how to coach, turnovers were never an incredible problem under RR at WV, so what is the problem here?
I don't really know but I have the confidence in RR to know that he will sort it out.
I personally think that it speaks to the depths of the decline that our program had fallen to in the past few years. If or when a normal amount of players on the team are upperclassmen and we have these types of seasons, by all means I'll think that enough is enough. But right now, I think that the team needs and deserves our support now more than ever.
Go Blue, Always!