So reading some of the message board responses today, I came across this comment and felt I had to respond:
....but the people on this board who are defending RR more so than their University and its fans aren't real fans in my book. "He won't have the arrogance and constant bashing by fans" etc.; this is bullshit. Why don't you guys go follow RR over to whatever school he ends up at if he is fired! (I am in no way a Rich Rod hater. I believe whatever coach is here next year needs to compete for the Big Ten Title next year considering that we have so many returning contributors.
So assuming Harbaugh is hired... he must compete for a Big 10 championship against established teams in our division such as MSU and Nebraska? This is also under the assumption that he gets ALL of his starters back (no transfers?) and no losses in the recruiting market?
You are also assuming the offense makes it back to a top 20 outfit (I'm giving you a little wiggle room) and he's as much a defensive genius as RR is on offense and he turns our D into something respectable at say around top 1/2 in the country?
Oh yeah... and assuming Denard wants to stick around to keep making plays for us (or if Harbaugh will even let him stay at QB) - let's remember that Denard is not a clean passer and a switch to an OSU-type pro offense has not done wonders for the likes of Pryor (who most have said is not meeting expectations), who has more of a pro-style frame/arm than Denard.
If Denard does stay, do we give Harbaugh flack if he DOESN'T implement a spread O? I mean, what fraction of this website's contingent constantly rides RR for not "conforming to his players' skills" in 2008? Your #1 and #3 running back recruits are also in danger because they do not fit the bill of Harbaugh's style of O. Are we willing to lose them and not suffer a drop-off in talent?
If he DOESN'T compete for a Big10 championship next year, is he then on the hot seat for not meeting this expectation? By firing RR, you then set a bar of expectation that by all accounts you MUST apply to the next person in line.
In addition, do we just ignore all of Harbaugh's past indiscretions (DUIs, comments in the media, comments about UM academics) or do we constantly give him a hard time like some have done to RR?
While I don't endorse a preference of whether to keep RR or hire Harbaugh (a case can be made for both and I don't know if I really mind either decision), comments like this are setting a major precedent for the successor. Two sets of rules cannot be applied just because you think Harbaugh is a "Michigan Man".
Reminder - Stanford has played ONE currently ranked team this year and lost handily by 21 (another spread O team similar to M's). He also wasn't a success overnight over there, going 4-8, 5-7, and finally 8-5 in year 3. This is eerily similar to what is going on now here at UM.
So I think we should be cautious at anointing Jim Harbaugh as our Savior because it becomes dangerous when you stand back and look at where our program officially stands at this point. Every transition has its speed bumps.