I think this blog has really gotten bogged down into a defensive, conformist mindset. There's obviously tons of good data out there showing the talent deficiencies that exist on defense and other recruiting issues and all sorts of things that put the onus of this debacle away from Rodriguez and try to explain away what has happened in the last 22 games. Reading the board here is becoming an exercise in apologist tactics akin to listening to Ira on 1050 (if I had to guess, he reads this blog and gets most of his points from it).
That being said, I don't see how anyone can logically and rationally look at this whole situation and not question if this is going to work out. Some things to ponder...
The cupboard was bare. I don't dispute the numbers that we've seen in the diaries, they are pretty bad. But I think before resting your hat completely on this theory you have to ask yourself the following question. If Lloyd had stayed and coached last year and this year, would he be 8-14 in the last 22 games? If the answer is no, then a significant amount of the blame for that has to fall on Rodriguez. The obvious counter to this is that it's the system change. So if we accept that, then you have to look at where we were for the last five years, where we are now, and where we want to be. From '03 to '07, Michigan was 46-17 (.730) with a Big Ten title and three BCS bowl bids. In the last two years, Michigan is 8-14 (.363). Most likely they will end the two year stretch with 3 Big Ten wins and zero bowl games period, let alone BCS. Given the enormity of the philosophical, cultural, and strategic transition, we have to give a minimum of three (if not four) years to get this transition completed. The expectation has to be that the final product will be better than the previous product. Improvement would be a winning percentage higher than .730, more than one Big Ten title per five years, and BCS National Championship Game appearances. If that is not the goal, what was the point of going through this?
Another point rests with the entire assumption that a philosophical change was necessary. We all had our issues with Lloyd / Debord ball, but it's hard to argue those numbers above. UM wasn't top five elite, but it was pretty darn good. Two thoughts argue against the necessity of the shift (I certainly concede that there are plenty of thoughts that argue for it). 1, USC seems to do just fine running a pro-style offense. A more imaginative and daring OC would have been nice, but there is a glaring example out there that the pro-style is not dead in elite college football. 2, the mass movement toward the spread might actually help a few select pro-style teams. If in the world there is a set amount of elite statuesque big arm quarterbacks and space eating massive offensive linemen out there, wouldn't it be easier to get those guys on campus if there were only five top notch schools running that system as opposed to the 20-30 top notch schools running the spread? USC and Notre Dame are basically guaranteed of getting a top two or three pro-style quarterback every time they want one.
So basically in conclusion, I think you are doing yourself a disservice if you aren't even considering the fact that this all might have been a huge mistake. I think I agree with the masses that we are too far and too deep into it now to make another 180, but it's really hard not to look at the last 180 we did and wonder if it was a great idea (even Brian said on WTKA that if he had the opportunity to go back in time and the power to make the hire, he probably wouldn't have hired Rich Rod). I hope this all works out, but man, I kind of don't think it's going to.