I figured that I would post something excellent for people to watch rather than talking about you-know-what. After watching it, I can sympathize with the Lions for deciding that "hand it to Barry" would be their Super Bowl-winning strategy for ten seasons.
The latest from Henning. He argues that it would be in everyone's best interest if DB made the decision sooner rather than later. While he makes a fair point that it would be fairer to RR, the asst coaches and staff and the players / recruits to make the decision asap, I think that all of his arguments make sense only if you assume that RR is going to be fired. (Which Henning does).
He even goes so far as to say that it is unfair to Stanford to keep make them start their new coaching search in January, as opposed to December. Again, this 100% assumes that (1) DB has decided to fire RR, and (2) that Harbaugh would take the job and quit on his team on the even of a BCS Bowl or even Nat'l Championship game.
Before anyone says "not another should we shouldn't we fire or keep RR and when post" that is not the purpose of my post. I am simply passing along the latest article from a member of the Michigan MSM. I am not trying to reiterate to death what has been repeated on this board a bazillion times today. Even Henning in this article does not get into the "should we shouldn't we" issue. And I am fairly certain that this has not yet been posted.
There has been a lot of talk surrounding the job security of Rich Rodriguez, and I have stumbled upon something that may shed some light on the outcome. This thing goes way deeper than sabotage efforts by Herbie, or Tweet wars, or anything spoken by David Brandon in the wake of our 30 point trouncing at the hands of OSU. This thing is deep, and it spreads into realms nobody here realizes. I present my case.
Domino's Pizza Commercial, circa 2009
A year after the disasterous 3-9 season that lit a fire under Rodriguez' chair, David Brandon, who at that time was CEO of Domino's Pizza, comes up with a new advertising campaign. "Giving a bailout to main street, not Wall Street," became the ode du jour. The symbolism is outwardly obvious. Brandon is fed up with the hierarchy at the Michigan Athletic Department, namely Rodriguez and his crew. Note that Brandon grabs a pizza box from the 'old' man, and places it into the hands of a younger passerby. A proverbial passing of the torch, or pepperoni, in this instance. Also note that all the cars in that commercial are Ford's, an obvious nod to a 'Michigan Man." Message sent.
Enter the Free Press. A bastion of morality in the decaying sector of popular culture know as news print. When the old guard says jump, they ask, "Onto what phallic device?" A sweeping attack on all that is Rodriguez decended upon the land. A strike that was military in its precision blindsided the administration, and left them exposed on all sides, sitting targets for the mouth breathers at ESPN to fire shots of lead towards. And fire they did, lamenting Rich to all who would listen.
Yound Man Told by Drew Sharp That Rich Hates Redheads
Coalescence of the Old Guard
Still waters run deep. So it should be of no surprise that none other than Les Miles has become the lynchpin that has held together the Old Guard. As acting Don, Miles was responsible for issuing the kiss of death, which came in a very peculiar way:
What better moment than a decisive touchdown against a former National Champion and hated Spartan in Nick Saban's Crimson Tide to derail the outsider? Rotary phones in stodgy offices all across the midwest began to ring off the hook, as members confirmed that the sign had been cast. When grass touches the tongue, the end shall begin. The transition was to commence. Columns of white smoke would not be seen rising until the Prodigal Son returned to Ann Arbor.
A house once divided was now as focused as a Michigan receiver after a trip to the optometrist.
The Mysterious Death of a Funny Man
At first glance, the passing of one Leslie Nielsen seems to be a tragic and unavoidable course of events. He was, after all, 84 years old. A closer look reveals a sordid turn of events that left this Hollywood legend dead in Florida. It also reveals the rapid escalation and the mounting tension between the two sides.
Leslie enters the scene in 2002, when he is named an honorary citizen of West Virginia, the same year Rodriguez has his big turnaround at WVU. The two become fast friends, living as kings of West Virginia. Nielsen takes the WVU divorce especially hard, as do most denizens of that fine state, and their relationship quickly soured.
Leslie spends the remainder of his life just miles away from Harbaugh and his staff. Having a penchant for college football coaches, he makes fast friends with the former Michigan QB, and becomes outwardly critical of the Rodriguez regime. When asked about the coaching tenure of Rich Rod, Nielsen responds:
I'm sorry I can't be more optimistic, Doctor, but we've got a long road ahead of us. It's like having sex. It's a painstaking and arduous task that seems to go on and on forever, and just when you think things are going your way, nothing happens.
Speculation arises that Nielsen had joined the Old Guard.
Feeling betrayed, Rodriguez becomes spiteful. The spite gives way to unbridled anger when Rich gets word that Nielsen plans to meet with Brandon to reveal undisclosed indiscretions from his past. Last week Calvin McGee, a henchman in Rodriguez' platoon, travels down to Florida. Some are convinced it's a recruiting trip, others a job interview. But the truth is much more sinister. Nielsen got on Rod's bad side.
Alarm rings out through the Old Guard, as they become fully aware of just what they have awakened.
The Culmination of Events
Michigan fans with their ears to the ground have started to stir, as they can now confirm what the seismometers have been predicting for the last few years. Something is a brewin'. In fact, many seemingly random events can be attributed to the Cold War that will soon come to fruition.
The stitches Obama received during a 'friendly' game of basketball? That was Beilein sending a message that the President needs to back his horse. A similar message was sent by the Old Guard to Rue McLanahan after she openly supported the proliferation of the spread offense in college football. Rue was an avid college football fan.
Both sides have become brazen with their displays of power and authority. There is no telling how fast, or how far, this will go. One thing is for sure, there will be no winners. Brian, as a figure head in this debate, I'd lay low for a while. Find a nice hamlet somewhere down south and let this thing play out. I just hope it's not too late.
So when I was talking to one of the coaches at Notre Dame - Ohio, he mentioned the gripe that OSU fans have about Tressel. From their perspective, Tressel basically won with players who were already there when he came. Now, success begets success in recruiting, and Ohio State continue to cruise with one or two losses a year. The problem is, many OSU fans don't really think Tressel is ever going to win a national championship. But you don't cut loose a coach who is only losing a game a year. I think many of us would be thrilled to have Ohio State's problems. Whatever.
But our conversation got me to thinking about next year's Michigan schedule. As has been mentioned already, almost regardless of who coaches, Michigan could win its first 10 games next year. I wonder if some of the RR haters really are campaigning to get rid of Rodriguez now, knowing that it will be a lot harder with to fire him with a 10 - 2 record. It would be cruel and unfair not to let the coaches and team the chance to prove themselves next year.
Personally, I desperately hope that RR stays at Michigan. Yes, our defense needs serious work. But I truly believe that with the added experience, and the return of Woolfolk, and the incoming class, our defense will see massive improvement. While the defense won't be awesome, they will be more than good enough for us to compete in all our games. This would happen even if Gerg were to stay and wasn't the fall guy.
I badly want RR to be given the chance to run the table next year. Why? Not just because I think it would be fair. But I also think his players love him, and that with just a little luck, and getting through one more year, we will be competing at the highest level for years to come.
in contrast to Tressel, I believe that RR will truly be competitive in big bowl games. We just have to be patient. Now isn't the time to panic. RR came into a crummy situation, and should not be a sacrifice to the blood lust of the mindless hoards.
There are two analogies that come to mind. I'm thinking first, of Return of the Jedi, where Lando Calrissian says, "Don't worry, my friend's down there. He'll have that shield down in time." That's exactly what happens. If we're patient with RR, I fully believe we'll topple the empire in Columbus, and bring jubilation to Michigan fans for many years.
The bad analogy is to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, when Robert Brewster activates Skynet, plunging the world into a nuclear wasteland. Pulling the plug on RR would do the same thing to Michigan. It has taken years to get to where we are now. To change course would cause havoc that could last for many, many years. I am trusting in DB to stay the course.
A popular post on Michigan Rivals message board has been circulating via email and was reposted by genuinely sarcastic and discussed on mgoblog. The author made the case that RR should be fired and did it in a way that came off as thoughtful and balanced. It was the best case I've heard and it was an entertaining read albeit extremely long-winded and tangential. What I've tried to do is condense it into the author's core reasons for firing RR. I have many qualms with the post, but thought I'd open it up for MGoBloggers to discuss. Are these valid reasons to fire RR?
Here's the core of the Fire RR Rationale:
1. Vanity. RR took “special joy” in dismantling the program [tradition] in order to fully rebuild it in his own image. Contrast with Bo, who had his own way of doing things, but understood doing it within the context the Michigan tradition. Rich doesn't seem to understand that Michigan is bigger than him.
2. Lack of Diplomacy. RR criticized Lloyd's program, antagonizing Carr-era holdovers. RR established a tone from the start that opened himself up to being undermined. RR did little to earn respect and support from Lloyd Carr.
3. Recruiting Decline. Average rank of player has declined.
4. Diminished Academic Culture. RR recruits too many academically borderline players. “While Lloyd used to get his one or two exceptions a year for borderline kids, we take more of them under Rodriguez”. RR does not take “academics seriously beyond lip service”, and runs UofM no different than he would an SEC school.
5. Defensive Approach. “Rodriguez views the defense as a sparring partner for the offense [and primarily] there to get our offense ready. Stopping other teams is the secondary objective.”
6. Inability to Manage. It is “beyond [RR’s] management and leadership abilities” to run a program like Michigan. “Michigan is simply a bigger, tougher job than West Virginia” due to Detroit market size and conference strength of the Big10 (i.e. need for excellence on both sides of the ball, not just one). RR is “not a strong enough manager and leader to cope with the events of the day and halt a critical downward spiral.”
7. Lack of “attention to detail”. RR has failed to create a winning culture that exhibits attention to detail. As a result, breakdowns in execution, fundamentals, concentration, and ball security occur. (7a) Exhibit A: Fumbling “On 7 of Rich's last 10 teams fumbling has been a major problem” across different programs and players. (7b) Exhibit B: The defense is awful. Casteel, Shafer, Robinson have all been successful without RR, so RR is responsible.” An overhaul of the defensive staff will not fix the problem, since two competent coordinators have already failed. (7c) Exhibit C: Special teams. “Special teams is ALL about coaching and attention to detail.” Ohio State and Va Tech special teams are always better than us because of “attention to detail”.
Note: To people griping about all the redundant threads - save it. I clearly labeled the thread and anyone who doesn't want to discuss this topic is free to ignore it. I starting a new thread because I think its an interesting topic to discuss, I think I added something worthwhile to the conversation, and its entirely seperate discussion from the other thread which seemed to focus on genuinly sarcastic's personaility or the validity of the "what if Mike Debord was coach" conjecture.
2011 is my senior year at U-M and I am pondering the idea of attempting to attend every game next season. I figure this will be my one real shot to try and pull this off and the schedule sets up very nicely: 8 homes games, a game at MSU, a game at Northwestern (which I've been to before) and then games at Iowa and Illinois and a bowl (hopefully in California... wink wink).
Have any of you pulled this off before? Any stories or advice on traveling to Iowa or Illinois (I've been to MSU and NW before)?
I know a lot has been made of losing Wolfork..er..woolful...um...T-Wolf from the secondary this year, and how he could have really helped this defense. I also have heard a lot about Turner, and Dorsey, and hence why our defense was so thin and weak. I disagree that this is why we only were able to meet our 7-5 expectations rather than win a national championship.
I think our greatest loss was a transfer on the offensive side.
Wait what? what you talkin' about Hail storm?
I'm talkin about the transfer earlier this year of Tacopants. I know he transfered because he thought he couldn't work in this spread system, and although it was a slim chance to keep him, I think RR should have done anything try to get him to stick around. I think RR's failure to keep him around is the best reason to get rid of him.
You could see where he could fit in on many accounts when Denard (obviously used to training with Tacopants, and not used to the short and slow (in comparison) recievers he had to work with) over threw wide open recievers on multiple occasions.
Just wondering what other's thoughts were.
Sorry in advance to those wishing this was another thread about RR staying or going.
The season is starting to wind down, so rather than trying to pick some bad games out of the dwindling pool of options, I will instead take a look at the Big East playoff picture, which is Ugly unto itself. When there is a four-way possibility that the winner will have four losses, that deserves a look. But first:
Akron wins a game! Akron wins a game! Oh my God, Akron wins a game! The Zips beat Buffalo 22-17 to get their first win for the season. Akron's QB, P. Nicely, was 13/24 for 193 and 3 TDs. I really only mention it to say that his name is P. Nicely. Buffalo was making a game of it, until a late fumble gave the ball back to Akron to run out the clock.
North Carolina almost blew a 24-10 lead to Duke in the 4th quarter, but Duke ran out of time on their last drive. Not sure why Duke threw a 6 yard pass to the 41 as the last play, but they are Duke. Laettner must not have been open at the free-throw line. They did manage to score 19 points with 275 total yards and a 0.8 YPC rushing average. I'm sure they're happy it's basketball season.
Last, Vanderbilt dutifully lost to a 3-9 Wake Forest team 34-13. Vanderbilt's AD issued a statement saying he and Caldwell reached a "mutual agreement that the university and the football program needed to go in a new direction." Well, from where they are, there's only one way to go: up. Vandy actually had more offense than Wake, but missed two field goals (I know how that feels) and turned over on down five times to give Wake short fields.
We do have the Washington/Washington State mess, but nothing holds a candle to the impending Big East Trainwreck, so without further ado I present:
aka the "Big" East preview. There is no scenario in which the Big East winner will have fewer than three losses. First off, UConn controls their own destiny. Win and they are in the BCS. At 8-4. And probably unranked. They are 4-2 in conference, with key wins over the other contenders West Virginia, Syracuse and Pitt. They play one of the other possible title contenders, South Florida this weekend. I'm assuming here that the first tie-breaker is head-to-head, then overall record, which gets them in a head of 8-3 West Virginia, because West Virginia is also 4-2 in conference.
That's the easy part: if UConn wins, they get it. But if they lose, here come the scenarios. If UConn loses, they are 4-3 in conference. West Virginia is the next most likely winner, as they are also 4-2. They play Rutgers this weekend, who is 1-5. West Virginia has beaten USF and Pitt, so that gives them the edge in the head-to-head. So if West Virginia wins and UConn loses, they're in. Notice: after this point it starts to get meteor-hitting-a-lottery-winner level of likelihood, but I'm going to do it anyway.
If WVU loses, unlikely, though it may be, next in line is Pitt. Pitt plays on the road at Cincinnati, and is coming off a stretch versus UConn (loss), USF (win), and WVU (loss). A win would put Pitt at 7-5 overall and 5-2 in conference. And in a BCS bowl. A Pitt loss really throw a wrench in the works by making 5 teams 4-3 in conference: West Virginia, UConn, Pitt, Syracuse and USF.
I think maybe Syracuse gets the title since they beat USF, who will have beaten UConn, so by transitivity they win? Does UConn win by virtue of beating WVU, Pitt and Syracuse? I hope the Big East has enough tie-breakers to handle this, and I really hope one of them involves a 100 yard dash between the mascots to decide it. I don't know what else to do in this scenario, other than declare TCU the winner a year in advance.