Mailbag! Princeton!

Submitted by Brian on February 23rd, 2011 at 12:35 PM


You are one of the few people I know who defends RR. I do as well. Do you think RR should have been fired? Do you think, if he should have been fired, that it should have happened after OSU game? Do you agree with me that if he had a vote of confidence before the season that RR would have hauled in a top ten class? Do you think with a new DC they would have been better next year with RR then with BH? Do you think DB treated RR poorly as I do? Seems to me that DB wanted RR out even before the season. I am so tired of hearing about toughness, as if that is something that can be taught and as if RR wouldn't teach it if it could be.

Peter from Horsham, PA

There are half-dozen posts discussing this but to reiterate: I thought Rodriguez had done enough after the regular season to keep his job if he fired Greg Robinson, hired an actual defensive coordinator, and never ran the 3-3-5 again unless that DC was Jeff Casteel, then rumored to be open to a move. It was a close thing.

The bowl debacle moved the needle for me to "should fire," but this was under the assumption that Michigan would introduce Jim Harbaugh at a press conference held thirty seconds after the last shovelful of dirt hit Rodriguez's grave. If Harbaugh didn't exist I probably would have gritted my teeth and said we should give Rodriguez one last chance. As you say, even with everything Rodriguez had locked up two five-star guys and was probably going to bring in a recruiting class on the edge of the top ten. The offense was a yardage/advanced metric juggernaut that seemed likely to start turning that into more points as it aged, cut down on the turnovers, added a five-star at the glaring weak spot, and hopefully got some more help from defense and special teams. The other two units were bound to improve from amazing low points, etc.

All the bad stuff is still there but that setup seems more likely to produce wins in 2011 than having Denard Robinson take snaps from under center so he can hand off to someone not named Demetrius Hart.

Does it matter, though? There's a large section of Michigan fandom that would read the above sentence and screech like pterodactyl. The national perception of the program was sinking and while the team figured to get better I'm not sure it was going to get better enough—beat OSU—to make a dent in that. What happens if you go 8-4 next year and lose to OSU by ten? Rodriguez gets pilloried and fired. Hoke gets a bag of popcorn to watch Rodriguez get pilloried. At some point Rodriguez's baggage takes him to the bottom of the sea no matter who tied it to his legs.

[As to the dead man walking meme: I heard it plenty before the bowl game, including from people I know and would have a good read on it, but didn't believe it. Since Michigan got obliterated we don't know. If they'd lost by misfortune or won and Rodriguez still got fired it would be different. IME, Rodriguez was gone. This is just based off Brandon's performance in the press conference.]

I'll admit my knowledge of APR is not very good, but does oversigning not negatively affect a school's APR?  If kids are leaving the program/school does that not affect the APR?


So we've overloaded the language here and "oversigning" now stands for two different things:

  • signing more kids than you can enroll by going over the 25 cap, and
  • signing more kids than you can pay for by going over the 85 cap.

In the former case, signing a kid to a LOI and then shipping him off to JUCO when he doesn't qualify does not affect your APR. Not that it should since you haven't had the chance to educate the player.

In the latter case, the answer is yes… hypothetically. In practice the NCAA has provided boatloads of waivers [scroll down]. They're plentiful enough that Kentucky basketball maintained a 979(!) APR despite having a graduation success rate* of 31%. Hypothetically, a school on the 925 borderline is graduating 60% of its players.

What are these waivers? Well, medical hardships, for one.


Those don't count against you because the player is still in school. It makes sense that they wouldn't… until someone starts beating the rules into profane shapes. There are plenty others that are less obvious but no one really knows what they are.

This invites questions about how the hell Michigan failed to take advantage of any of these when players started leaving the program left and right and Michigan put up an ugly 870-something. I don't know but assume it's a combination of Rodriguez failing to understand the gap between WVU and Michigan academics—though he did seem to emphasize it—and the massive attrition that went so far beyond even Alabama's rampant axe that Michigan couldn't get close to the 85 number. I'm not entirely sure but I don't think walk-ons count, so when Michigan's running around with 70 scholarship players and one of them flunks out that hurts way more than Alabama sending a guy in good-for-Alabama standing to South Georgia.

*[as opposed to the federal rate, the GSR does not count transfers in good standing/early entries against you.]

File under Rich Rodriguez will have a job by then and will pursue this kid with a force unknown to mankind:

The AD at Southfield is one of my closest friends and assures me that he has a freshman football player with what is perhaps the greatest name ever.  I give you Lion King Conaway!

And file under testimonial:

I’m a junior in high school, and I recently got my first semester grades. A while back in my Government class, I got an extra point on a study guide because I wrote “which, duh.” In my notes (I was talking about how being liberal/conservative affects voting dem/rep, and I guess my teacher thought it was funny), which is something that I picked up from reading mgoblog. I finished that class with a 93%, which is just barely an A, and I finished the semester with a 4.0. So, reading mgoblog may have been what pushed me from an A- to an A, giving me a 4.0.

Know that if I get into Princeton, I’m giving at least some of the credit to you and mgoblog.

Just don't send a bill.



February 23rd, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

a didactic attitude seldom helps in any endeavor, whether it is in corporations, small business, behind the counter at Borders, or in a rock band. Good luck to you for sure, but the attitude you are describing can often be the mark of someone that is difficult to work in teams with. Forgive me if I'm presuming too much, and as I said best wishes to you, but I've seen a ton of smart, good people (and I assume you are both) undermined by personality traits that you describe.


February 23rd, 2011 at 1:38 PM ^

 "I always thought people that went to UofM were progressive thinkers who were open to different people and ideas "

That is the single biggest mistake anyone can make.  In fact, to use the term "liberal" about UofM is a joke, too.  The term should mean open to thought, but UofM has never been that.  It is not just a political thing, either, as I have seen meetings on affirmative action debate ruined by chanting demonstrators unwilling to have a discussion, and people on both sides of this coaching debate call each other close minded idiots because the other side didn't agree with them.  We are all so arrogantly confident in our own intelligence and opinions that we are incapable of believing for a second that the other side of the argument might have a few points.  I include myself in this statement, by the way.  The whole thing is a testament to hypocrisy and nobody seems to see that they are just as guilty as everyone else.


February 23rd, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

What does being a "progressive thinker" have to do with gushing over a coach that failed. And why this bizarre (yet common) fixation on one coach. Michigan is better w/out RR. He was in over his head. If you love RR so much, why don't you marry him (i.e., go ahead and root for whichever ACC/Big East team he ends up at)?


February 23rd, 2011 at 5:43 PM ^

Does the fact that you suffered through three of the worst Michigan teams in your lifetime have a little more to do with distancing yourself than the traumatic discovery that Michigan football fans weren't progressive thinkers? That's a little self serving, and hard to believe the blue haired "down in front" crowd struck you as intellectual trailblazers regarding football before all this. You went so far out on the Rodriguez limb that it got personal, and now you're taking your ball and going home. As a Packer fan, I had friends who did the same thing with their hatred of Ted Thompson, and they were enduring the Super Bowl with mixed feelings rather than drunken euphoria. Don't make the same mistake. Wins are what matters, not cutting edge schemes, not kids Michigan doesn't normally recruit, not bringing in new blood to dust the program's cobwebs. Wins.

OMG Shirtless

February 23rd, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

So because, in your opinion, the fanbase was "completely unfair and close minded" to RichRod, you're going to become the person you hate and be "completely unfair and close minded" to Hoke?  That only makes sense if you're a bitter high school girl, which you've told us countless times that are not.

Big Boutros

February 23rd, 2011 at 3:27 PM ^

I don't want to be associated with someone who slings gay slurs and calls people fucking retards and mouthbreathing inbreds and then whines that others aren't more tolerant of differing opinions.

I don't want to be associated with someone who thinks his community wasn't egalitarian enough in welcoming the proverbial outsider but cannot go five words without reminding us that he is a STUDENT at the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN where he ATTENDS because he GOES TO MICHIGAN.

I don't want to be associated with someone who cries that the world has let him down, that nobody makes enough concessions for him, while he makes none for others.

I don't want to be associated with someone who is too caught up in the smell of his own self-righteous farts to see his own blatant hypocrisy.

I don't want to be associated with a boorish asshole with a persecution complex.

I pray that you're serious about your impending Michigan Couch Protest. You say you're ashamed of us; you say we embarrass you. Frankly, Dude, you embarrass me. You traded in your opinions and civil discourse for a big LED billboard of ad hominem bullshit only because it made you the star of the show, provided the show is Psychopaths on Parade. You found a hot spring of e-attention and you're going to tap it until it runs dry. Well, congratulations, Dude, you're the belle of the ball.

His Dudeness

February 23rd, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

You are very wrong here: "I don't want to be associated with someone who slings gay slurs" and I will put that to the test. If you find anywhere in which I have done so I will retire from this board completely.

I didn't even read the rest of your post because you started off with a wild and very untrue accusation and you should really tread lightly with things like that in whatever you do in the future.


February 23rd, 2011 at 4:48 PM ^

But the easy answer would have been "Yeah, I let that one slip, it was inappropriate, I'm sorry to anyone I offended, I'm a jackass for saying it". Done. Not grand proclamations and indignant "I support gay rights". Humor sometimes goes over the line, and it's a fine line. I've posted stuff that wasn't funny, though it was meant to be. I've taken it down, and said "Deleted for stupidity. Sorry". It happens. But as I said, don't dig a deeper hole. Own it, and move on, sheepishly.

You can expect the target to be back on you when one is calling out whole fanbases, and being generally prickish to everyone.  You don't want to be hunted? Don't keep hanging a bullseye around your neck.


February 23rd, 2011 at 6:24 PM ^

But I don't really want Dudeness to stop posting. I want The Dudeness born on January 2 that's grown into a monster to die a fiery death, only to be reborn like the Phoenix into Dudeness 1.0, before the last 3 months. Don't get me wrong, I didn't agree with much of what he said even then. But it wasn't all this hostile rhetoric that at worst was some pure trolling, and at best, sadly, consists of "your facts aren't as true as my belief". It had more substance. Being a contrarian, I'm not looking to quash viewpoints. Maybe just a wake-up call. Many still feel strongly about Rich and get their viewpoints across here without turning into the other side of the coin of what they once hated.


February 23rd, 2011 at 4:15 PM ^

If you have some other explanation for how "you and your boyfriend" doesn't have negative connotations in that post, you can try it out. But you're probably digging your own hole deeper.

And don't tell us you won't  go quietly into retirement after making a proclamation that you would if he could produce evidence. No one likes a disingenuous mild homophobe.



February 23rd, 2011 at 1:13 PM ^

Just a thought experiment:

If 2010 SDSU, in Hoke's 2nd year at a moribund program, played 2010 UM last year, in RR's 3rd year after taking over a program that went 20-6 in it's last two seasons, who do you think would have won that game?

For real, I'm curious what you think.


February 23rd, 2011 at 1:55 PM ^

Um, we beat three teams with winning records.  One by 2 in triple overtime and one by 4 who's starting QB missed almost the entire first half and was half concussed for the second.  Let's not start patting ourselves on the back here. 

And do you honestly think that our defense would fair any better against SDSU's offense that featured a 3,500 yard passer, 1,500 yards rusher and two 1,000 yard receivers?  I'm not saying Michigan would definately lose, but it certainly wouldn't be the walk you seem to be suggesting.