Good ideas there.
"(I) think about 'The Lion King,' Simba gets hit over the head and (he's told) 'the past can hurt,' " Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. "'You can either run from it or embrace it and learn from it.'
Let me start out by saying that teams do not compete for National Championships, plural. They compete to win every game on their schedule every individual year and the chips fall where they may. A team (and coach) must win ONE championship before they win another, this is highly important as one undoubtedly makes the other possible. Look at the champions from the past decade (I also included Michigan's 1997 team for comparison purposes), their coach, and the number of years their coach was in place at the school when they won it all
1997 - Michigan - Lloyd Carr (3rd season)
2000 - Oklahoma - Bob Stoops (2nd season)
2001 - Miami - Larry Coker (1st season)
2002 - Ohio State - Jim Tressel (2nd season)
2003 - LSU/USC - Nick Saban (4th season)/ Pete Carroll (3rd season)
2004 - USC - Pete Carroll (4th season)
2005 - Texas - Mack Brown (8th season)
2006 - Florida - Urban Meyer (2nd season)
2007 - LSU - Les Miles (3rd season)
2008 - Florida - Urban Meyer (4th season)
2009 - Alabama - Nick Saban (3rd season)
2010 - Auburn - Gene Chizik (2nd season)
Who the hell were all these guys before they won? Sure Meyer had a good run at Utah and BGSU but so what? Yes Carroll was in the NFL, where he was average (Wannstadt anyone?). Sure Saban did some nice things at MSU...and? These guys were all on their way up the ladder, not already at the top. All of these coaches except Mack Brown was at their respective school four years or less when they won their National Championship. These numbers suggest that most of these teams were not very good (as they were hiring new coaches to replace their ineffective ones) just a few short years before winning it all (this is not true for Texas, Miami, Michigan, or LSU with Miles) which should give any fanbase hope. This also suggests either that these coaches were/are geniuses or that their hires invigorated recruiting and player development. I for one do not believe that Mack Brown, Les Miles, Larry Coker, or Gene Chizik are anything more than good coaches. I would agree that Tressel, Saban, and Meyer might be very good coaches but none of them are unblemished or in the same category as a Bill Belichick.
Why is this important? Because college football is fickle, much more fickle than the NFL where everyone for the most part operates on an even playing field with the best athletes in the sport. One of the columnists on ESPN was saying that if the NFL was like college football, the Patriots would just play the Falcons to determine the championship this year. I am sure there are some people who think the Falcons would deserve that but I don't think it is the majority. This is the lot we are stuck with as college football fans.
This also means that winning the NC is more than having the best players or best coach. Schedules are hugely important. Look at MSU this year. They did not have to play OSU and could have snuck into the NC game if they did not lay an egg at Iowa. Wisconsin might have been able to beat Auburn in the NC game behind their brusing line but they did not get the chance because they lost to MSU on the road (inexplicably). I don't think anyone here would argue that if we played OSU at home in 2006 the result would have come out in our favor.
Winning a national championship is also not about being undefeated, or even the best team necessarily. Auburn won all of its games in 2004 yet was left out of the discussion. LSU (under Miles) got into the NC game via the backdoor when RR's powerhouse WVU team lost to a terrible Pitt team. The Hokester is getting a lot of heat for his stance on winning B1G titles and not focusing on NC's. Well you can't have one without the other.
NC seasons are about getting lucky not just being good. Oklahoma was 7-5 the year before they won, how many people picked them to win it all? OSU was 7-5 the year before they won. LSU, 8-5. Florida, 9-3 (first title). Auburn, 8-5. Michigan, 8-4. These trends suggest more than just the x's and o's of coaching. Teams do not go from 7-5 or 8-4 to National Champions with out a little luck, especially if they have a target on their back in every game. It is tough to win when everyone is giving you their best shot. Ask Alabama this year, or the Miami Heat. Being able to play without the expectation to win every game is huge especially when you are talking about 18-22 year old kids.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football and hiring new coaches has a major effect on that. Maybe newer coaches recruit harder or bring a more committed attitude but winning NC's, plural, is about putting together ONE magical season then reaping the benefits years later. Does anyone think OSU's 2002 NC team was better than the Miami team they beat, or even better than their 2006 NC losing team? Their win is what has kept them at the top of the heap in the B1G. They get who they want because they are now the badass on the block (perception is a bitch). LSU, same thing. Florida, who was the 3rd best program in their state for a long time is now cleaning up on the strength of their recent history while Miami and FSU have been trying to rebuild. All we have to do is capture a little magic and we will be right back where we belong.
In summary, Hoke does not need to come in here with some guarantee about NC's. He needs to invigorate recruiting to bring in some difference makers while putting the guys we already have in a better position to win. Unfortunately for us, 2011 was setting up nicely. We have 8 home games including all of our rivals except MSU at home. In theory we should be a stronger team in 2012 then we are in 2011 except our schedule is much tougher. That means we could look to 2013 as a golden season where again the schedule goes in our favor. As much as I am one to look ahead, we do not know what kinds of bounces will go our way any given year. The SEC, which everyone agrees is the best conference, could cannabalize itself this year allowing a team like Stanford to put together a NC team where they end up playing a hot FSU team. Would anyone see that coming? Stanford and FSU are not setting out to win the NC this year, they want to win all of their games and then the rest is out of their hands.
We do not need to heap expectations on ourselves. We need to go into the season focused and prepared. If we show holes or flaws, we need to fix them via recruiting or scheme changes and we need to play who is in front of us every saturday and only who is in front of us. Let the pollsters worry about who should be on top every year. How many teams come out wire to wire national champs anyway? If we win B1G championships we will get our shot. I think we will have a very good season in 2011 and I think it will enable us to pick up some key recruits who will help us in our quest.
The last thing to consider is that in 1997, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, and 2010, the team with the best player in college football won it all. We have a guy now who could carry that title in the years to come, although do not sleep on Devin Gardner.
Sorry, it just kept going and going...
Good ideas there.
I may be oversimplifying things but I am pretty sure that it is every team's goal to win every game they play.
I can +1, but if I could, I would for this post.
Yes, but our recruiting is going to have some decisive holes in it that Hoke will not able to easily fill the way that Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma were able to do with their incoming coaches due to:
Admissions standards (JC transfers and partal qualifiers)
Recruiting base (Michigan lacks the prep talent those other states have.)
However, Alabama is not the hotbed that Florida, Georgia and Louisiana are and they have to support two teams. Also if we had been able to keep some of the recent in state guys from leaving we would not have as many holes. Ronald Johnson, Nick Perry, Joe Barksdale, Dior Mathis, Dionte Allen, and Chris Colasanti come to mind although I am sure their are many more. Our recruiting began slipping under Lloyd, RR could attest to that. If we are able to shore that up and get back into Ohio with a vengeance we can still hang with the SEC. We will always recruit nationally we just need to be better regionally. Remember, some of our best players are from right here. Braylon, David Harris, Jake Long, Woodley, Graham, Foote, Henson, and Mike Martin all come to mind. Not to mention all the Ohio and Pennsylvania guys.
This is exactly why Hoke's fisking of Sharp was so pointed. You strive to win the conference every year, and if you're lucky that includes all of the games won. which might give you a shot at it all.
Winning it all requires the stars to align.
Unless you're cheating. The "dynasties" of the last twenty years who won multipley: USC, Miami, Nebraska. Two of those are the dirtiest programs in NCAA history, the other...had more whispered roid-rumors than the Mr. Universe pageant and stooped to bringing in Lawrence Phillips. Just worrying about winning the damn B1G Ten for now, please.
There are approximately 15 or so elite programs (in no particualr order) Michigan, OSU, Penn State, Nebraska (look at you B1G), Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee, maybe LSU, maybe Georgia, maybe Auburn. With that much talent spread around, multipley NC's are not the norm Drew!
Notre Dame and Miami make the cut but Oregon, VT, Alabama (!) do not? Um.
I was rattling them off from my head...I almost wrote I knew I forgot one. And no VT and Oregon do not count, not even close. Every school I named has won mulitple NC's (except Georgia if I said them). Oregon and VT have been good for a few years here and there but do not qualify as elite.
I would not include them in such a hypothetical list, but Miami? Really? I mean, really?
5 titles makes them elite? They have won more championships than Texas, LSU, Florida, Florida State, and Penn State.
My Golden Gophers have six national championships. Not at my drunkest would I proclaim my program 'elite'.
Miami struggles to fill a NFL venue thirty miles from campus. Whatever cachet that program once had is gone.
However they have not won anything since 1960. I still don't by the Miami argument. No offense but Minnesota and Miami are not even in the same category in the last 30 or so years.
Of course they are. They are both in the category of "****ing irrelevant".
Miami's last NC was four years later than Michigan's last NC. By your logic, Michigan is irrelevant too, correct?
I noticed you left off 1998 and 1999 wher the coaches had been at their jobs a lot longer.
I liked the bulk of your post as it made a lot of sense. We are not done playing for NC's because it is impossible to draw the line.
I agree with Brian's stance about 98%. The 1 point where he is way off is saying we will compete for Big Ten Championships but not NC. That position in the football world is so small that a good break or good match up can push you over the edge. Just because OSU got blown out against Florida it did not mean we would have gotten blown out. We had much better match ups against Florida than did OSU.
In fact I did not even look at them. I was just trying to include the 2000's or recent history and Michigan because, well, it's Michigan. I agree 100% about us giving Florida a run for their money. OSU shit themselves when they found out they were playing an SEC team, we do not shit ourselves.
One caveat that I think is relevant is that when Lloyd won in 1997 there wasn't a national championship game. Would we have beat Nebraska on the field, maybe, maybe not ( I think so) but we can never know because they didn't faceoff.
It's easier to win votes (especially with a national brand name) than it is to win the actual game on the field (and yes I recognize voting still drives who gets a shot but they still have to execute on gameday).
Of course Michigan will try to compete for the national championship, the question is can they compete for the national championship this season.
But we are going to be better than people think.
they can compete for the NC. Will we be in the NC game next year? No.
That's the point, though. Focus on B10 championship #43. That's a are more attainable goal for the short term.
Who the hell were all these guys before they won? Sure Meyer had a good run at Utah and BGSU but so what?
Sure Saban did some nice things at MSU...and? These guys were all on their way up the ladder, not already at the top.
I think that is the gripe. These coaches were on the top of the step ladder and given a fire truck ladder. Hoke seemed to be stuck in the middle of the step ladder. Now Brandon has given him a fire truck ladder and told him to get to the top. I am not saying he can't do it, but he has never proven that he could reach the top of his step ladder.
What about Ball State? Did Hoke not lead them to a 12-1 season? Now, Ball State - SDSU is not an MSU - LSU move (Saban), but in both situations he took teams that were perennial under achievers and turned them into teams that won.
And in anticipation of people saying that CBH was a one and done at Ball State, remember that his move to SDSU was predicated more on the school's administration than anything else.
12-1 at Ball State? yes.
I would argue that he has never even won a conference championship anywhere in his tenure.
Also, he has a career losing record, which is not "winning."
I think that is the gripe though. That Urban won championships and had winning career record when he was a HC before Florida, same with Saban at Bama, etc. etc. etc. Hoke was given the fire ladder before his time, IME.
I would argue that he has never even won a conference championship anywhere in his tenure.
Given that his 2008 team was 12-0 going into the conference title game, this is nitpicking.
So, instead of Hoke, who should we have gotten that would have come to Michigan that would have fit the characteristics you are talking about?
I understand that Hoke does not have a record that measures up to Urban or Saban, so do you think we should have gone the promote a BCS coordinator route like Florida did with Muschamp or found a more successful coach at a non-BCS school?
There doesn't appear to be much optimism to glean from his Ball State tenure. San Diego State is where the argument for his coaching talent is more tenable.
He was hired away from Michigan by Ball State after eight years as our DL coach. He had never been a coordinator before, let alone a head coach, but Ball State gave him the keys. That inexperience combined with the historical failures of the Ball State program yielded a rough start. Hoke was coaching a bottom dwelling MAC snack.
He finally had a breakthrough in Year Six (!) when they won 12 games and got as high as 12th in the BCS standings. But when he bounced for SDSU, the team he left behind turned to sausage.
But let's be positive and all that shit and ignore the Ball State record. Historically, San Diego State is actually a worse program than Ball State. Hoke inherited a roster that went 2-10 the year before his arrival. In only his second year he won 9 games, including a bowl. His 2.5 recruiting classes at SDSU had 30 3 stars and a 4 star, DE Perry Jackson.
So the best case scenario for us is that the leap from DL coach to head coach carried with it a steep learning curve, one that he has now mastered. He tripled his turnaround abilities from six years to two between BSU and SDSU. Now he's all seasoned and stuff and Michigan's tremendous resources combined with Hoke's Supreme Michman Motivation will only yield further dividends and blah blah blah you know this part.
Because this was all the talk back in Bo's final years as coach.
"Sure Meyer had a good run at Utah and BGSU but so what?"
I think that's an understatement. Here's how he did:
BGSU: 8-3, 9-3 (17-6)
Utah: 10-2, 12-0 (22-2)
So, 39-8 in his first four seasons as a head coach. I think that's more than a "good run."
Were not coming in with NC resumes or credentials. Almost all of their success was at smaller programs (Meyer) or lower status AQ schools (Brown, Saban, Miles).
Was he already cheating at BGSU and Utah or did that start at Florida? Probably skews the numbers a bit.
I think the point of setting goals is making sure you have control. There are outside variables that affect who wins the NC. TCU this year, and years when 3 BCS conference teams go undefeated means that someone is going to be left out. If you go undefeated, but don't win the NC you didn't meet your goal. Just win the conference, anything more is a bonus.
You can control winning your conference. You cannot control an algorithm or voting of the masses.
You also cannot explain this to a reporter who is a knucklehead. It's just easier to say that we play for the B10 championship.
Beat that school in ohio first and foremost.
I like the argument, but my biggest concern with Hoke is that he is quite a bit older than most of the coaches you listed when they first had long-term success, and his contemporaries in age had been with big-time programs and/or in the NFL before they became HCs. Saban won his MNC around Hoke's current age, and that was after helping to turn around MSU (as much as was possible). Stoops won his MNC in his early 40s, as did Meyers. Carroll had been a pro coach and Les Miles had been a long-time assistant (and he might be a bit of an abberation). I agree that winners aren't always the prettiest on paper, so I'm not going to sell the Hoke era short. But if speculation was the word thrown around the RR tenure, I think it is perfectly appropriate to wonder about whether or not Hoke will experience similar success as the men listed above.
The conservatives won Decision 2011. Deal with it.
not to ruin your shining moment or anything but not all of those coaches were labeled great coaches...
I liked the post, but I definitively do not like the origin of the question. I showed my 13-year old daughter the presser, and it didn't take her 10 seconds to identify Sharp as an a-hole.
The question of whether the goal of winning the Big 10 is shortsighted is stupid. When could it be relevant? Suppose Michigan has clinched the Legends division at 11-0 before the Ohio State game. Do you really think Hoke is going to start the back up to save the starter for the championship game? Do you think that there's any way you aim only at 10-2 b/c that's sufficient to win the Big 10? Dumb. Now, there are legitimate questions about what's the best strategy to ensure winning multiple, consecutive championships. But, those are different.
and the example coaches you've listed is recruiting.
It's going to take time for Hoke to re-establish the in-state dominance at key football factories in Detroit, Muskegon, etc. that Michigan previously enjoyed.
My belief is that Michigan football will revert back to much more physical, defensive play and much more explosive offensive play compared to the Mike DeBord/Terry Malone variety.
Still, until the UM recruiting gets humming at some decent RPMs (it will now that uncertainty and negative recruiting probably subsides), Michigan will perform better (8-5,9-4) but even 10+ win seasons are a ways off (3 years) in my estimation because, well, just look at the depth chart dude.
Is anyone really giving Hoke heat for his answer to Drew's BS question? Carr and Rodriguez also said things to the same effect.
As a side note, I LOVED the way BH subtly bitchslapped Sharp without coming off as a dick himself. Perfect way to deal with that kind of nonsense. The more I hear out of this coach, the more I like him.