Most on this blog seem insistent that there are two camps. Those Michigan fans and followers that are "Rich Rod supporters" and those that are "Rich Rod detractors." Certain threads yesterday regarding Rodriguez's future at Michigan and the difficult road ahead of him alerted me that even within those two camps, there are various different schools of thought as to what it means to "support" Rodriguez and what he has accomplished thus far and what he must to remain the head coach. Within each school of thought, there are inherent conflicts with regard to how long Rodriguez should be afforded, why he should be afforded that time, and what he must do for the time spent to be a success.
If you consider yourself a Rich Rod supporter, but also follow any statements of support with "he has until next year to seriously compete for the BCS etc. or he is gone," ask yourself, is such a stance really the equivalent of "support." Is it at all coherent to believe that firing him this year is this proposterous idea for only the lunatic fringe, but firing him at the end of that pivotal third year is completely reasonable and level headed.
Next years team is essentially going to be this years team without B. Graham, B. Minor and possibly D. Warren. Sure some of Michigan's young talent will mature a little and some of last years Red Shirts will come off. There may even be some contributions from talented true freshman to supplement things.
However, any fantasies of next year being THE year that Michigan bursts on the national scene and competes for a national championship should by now be displaced with an understanding of the place this team is coming from, this teams limitations and what true progress for this team next year will be, and it is not a national championship. Hell, a state championship would be nice.
I, personally, was a firm RR detractor for much of the last two seasons. Throughout this season, however, I have had certain realizations and observations, and these have resulted in what is now unadulterated support of Rodriguez. Support in the sense that I won't mention firing him again. I don't want him fired and will oppose any suggestions that he should be. I support Rodriguez, not Rodriguez if Michigan miraculously wins eleven games next year and is the feel good story of the year, but Rodriguez himself. I will see a sub-par 2010 as another opportunity for him, my team's coach, to prove everybody wrong in 2011. Rich Rod is now part of the Michigan team that I support and losing him would be like one of my favorite players transfering, it would be a hurdle in my fandum, not an "oh well, lets just go get Harbaugh." It would hurt.
If you support "keeping Rich Rod" through the end of next year and believe that is support, ask yourself, what can next season bring that will convince you that he is your coach, that you support him. 6 wins and a bowl win? 7 wins and a bowl loss? eleven wins and a BCS game? With a reasonable expectation of what is possible next year, if you advocate dismissing Rodriguez based on performance or lack thereof NEXT year, are you not essentially guaranteed to have that position strenthened next year?
If so, why support "keeping" him for one more year. Will the chaos that will ensue upon his firing be any less after next year? Will the "program be set back" any less if he gets one year deeper and then Michigan cuts ties? If you want Rodriguez back for next year, but only for next year "if, unless, and until," for what purpose do you advocate for his return at all?
Do you support Rich Rodriguez, or do you think Rodriguez "should get one more year," with the understanding that the two positions are not one in the same.