Are we still an elite program? And...

Submitted by WindyCityBlue on January 13th, 2011 at 3:18 AM
...most importantly, if not, has the fan base accepted it?

Most positive comments about BH were in are in the area of:
"he's a fine coach"
"he'll do just fine"
"he get's it"
"he could be good"

As you can see, not bad, but definitely not the most confident endorsement.

What's more, the expectations thread below suggest that people think BH will do as good as an average LC year. Rarely did I see someone say that we would be a NC contender, much less beat OSU in the next three years. And all this seems OK to people.

All this makes me think that maybe we are not an elite school anymore. And let's be honest, BH us not an elite hire, which could be indicative of the fact that we simply could not attract one.

What's worse is that I think many of us have accepted this demotion. Because it seems our support of BH is more in the realm of "he's my coach, I have nothing to do but support him" as oppose to really thinking he is not just going to win, but beat OSU and win multiple NCs.




January 13th, 2011 at 3:24 AM ^

It would take 10-15 years of extreme mediocrity for us to no longer be an elite program. The only way we cease being elite is if the program no longer has the funding to compete with the big boys.


January 13th, 2011 at 4:50 AM ^

Exactly.  We're only 4 years removed from being one game away from playing for the NC and from top 10-15 recruiting classes.  We're in a heart breaking lull yes but its not a drop in stature, just look at the media frenzy over the coaching vacancy.  It was arguably a bigger story then the upcoming NC title game.  I view what we're going through as much more akin to USC in the late 90's and mabe not even that bad since USC was suffering from a drop in funding AND attendance, neither opf which is an issue here.  We're just in a limbo waiting for the right coaches to right the ship. 


I am for one GLAD it is Brady Hoke who is our coach.  He bleeds Michigan and it is his dream and seems like he wants to be here forever.  I prefer that over Harbaugh who even if he did take this job would have then jumped to the no fun league in a few years.  I want a coach who wants nothing more then to lead the WOlverines out of the tunnel on saturdays.


January 13th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

I didnt mean as in the fans themselves but as in the media coverage itself.  I highly doubt some Florida homer down in Gainseville gave two bleeps.  If you look at time alotment when people were talking college football in the media outlets it seems like it was being talked about neck in neck with the NC game and that wouldnt have happened if we weren't an "elite" program anymore.  They report what they think will get them ratings, and it got them ratings.


January 13th, 2011 at 9:12 AM ^

SE Michigan is known for its inbreeding and insularity.  We've seen several examples recently.  For an older one, go back a few years to the *legendary* (in the minds of Michiganders and Ohioans) Ten Year War between UMich and OSU.  Mentioned less frequently (again) is the Rose Bowl record of the Big Ten during that time: 1 and 9.

Hardware Sushi

January 13th, 2011 at 10:48 AM ^

While I don't totally disagree with your comment regarding detachment from reality, the record of the Pac-10 during a stretch of the nineties was 1-7 and 1-13 during the first 14 years of the Pac/Big Ten/Rose Bowl agreement.

The Rose Bowl has always been somewhat streaky. I don't think the record of the Big Ten during the Ten-Year War is indicative of it being any less intense than people think. It is regularly regarded outside of Michigan and Ohio as a top-5 rivalry in all of sports and often as THE premier rivalry outside of ESPNs love for the Red Sox-Yankees.

Plus, I'll never accuse any Michigan fan of being delusional for an overzealous hatred of OSU. Fuck the Buckeyes and Go Blue!


January 13th, 2011 at 10:29 AM ^

But, it was a huge story. In my opinoin, it became the second biggest story in college football based on the national coverage. Bigger than Florida's vacancy this year or USC's last year despite the fact that those schools have had more success recently. We are still the winningest program in college football history and considered "the most storied program" in history. That is still how we are described by every national media outlet.

I felt like the Rodriguez situation and coaching search has been front and center on ESPN everyday. Bigger than the Terrelle Pryor situation. Bigger than a lot of the other bowl games. That shows that we still are considered an elite institution, if in a down cycle.


January 13th, 2011 at 8:35 AM ^

Is the perfect example of a once elite team that has fallen dormant. Part of being elite is the chance to be elite any given year which is based on recruiting, brand name, funding, fan support, and locational advantages (I am sure there are others).

Detractors need to remember we have one of the largest fan bases in the country. Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania produce a lot of D1 football talent, we have deep pockets to pay our coaches if need be (although we usually choose not too), we have high profile NFL stars who played and still support our school, and we have history.


SC Wolverine

January 13th, 2011 at 9:36 AM ^

Exactly.  In the last decade or so, we have seen Texas, Alabama, Nebraska, Notre Dame*, and now Michigan take down-turns.  All are elite programs and have bounced back (or will) simply because they have the will that demands elite status.  They have the resources to bounce back and they will not accept anything else.  That makes them elite.  Anyone who doubts whether Michigan is elite or not just blows my mind.  You're damn right we're an elite program and I love Brady for knowing that.

*Okay, maybe ND won't bounce back -- they have lost a key resource in the single-minded dedication of Catholic boys throughout the country.  We are not ND folks, so stop with the silly video.


January 13th, 2011 at 3:26 AM ^

We need the relevant presser link to this discussion...

Anyway, why are we torturing ourselves with questions like this when we should be asking "can be be a force in the Big 10 again?"  The answer to the latter question is YES, and the answer to your quandary follows, logically, sequentially, from there.


January 13th, 2011 at 4:57 AM ^

And be damned competitive when you lose. For a variety of reasons, RR didn't do enough of the former, and didn't manage the latter. If he had done so, he'd still be the Michigan coach. It's not really any more complicated than that. We can complain all we want about RR not getting a "fair" shake, but truly outstanding head coaches don't go 0-11 against conference teams with winning records over three years. Truly outstanding head coaches don't hire Greg Robinson.

I have more than a few doubts about whether Hoke will prove to be an outstanding Michigan head coach, but the only sensible thing to do is to wait and see what transpires over the next couple of seasons. We should have a pretty good idea by the end of 2012 whether DB's decision was a good one or not.


January 13th, 2011 at 6:57 AM ^

except the 2012 thing.  I am tired of the short sighted hirings in football - college and pros.  I don't think you can judge if a coach is working out in less than four seasons especially when the CC forces large shifts in how a program operates. 


January 13th, 2011 at 10:05 AM ^

Michigan beat Wisconsin and Minnesota (7-5) during the Year That Never Happened, along with Illinois (7-6) in 2010.

Also, if several RR recruits transfer during this and next offseason (assuming 2011 underachieves), is Brady Hoke responsible for a less-than-stellar 2012 season? After all, the schedule gets more difficult that season as most teams will add experience and we play Alabama. My stance on evaluating a coach is not based on any fixed timeline, as Angry Michigan BLANK-hating God can alter that timeline due to variance (see Troy Woolfolk; with him, last year's team has a much better chance of knocking off Iowa and/or Penn State).


January 13th, 2011 at 4:49 AM ^

We will ALWAYS be elite.  We're the all-time FUCKIN' winningest program of ALL-TIME.  Unlike the other top 10 programs, we were lucky (and spoiled) to not suffer through an extended period of mediocrity over the previous 40 years before RR.  All of the other top 10 programs have had their down years and all have returned to prominence (UT, OU, AL, USC, NE...still waiting on you, ND).  And so will we.  Our tradition and passion of our fanbase are just too strong for this not to happen.

Maize and Blue…

January 13th, 2011 at 6:35 AM ^

We've won one NC the last 60 years even State has won more.  We went through a rough 20 year period in the 50s and 60s which you chose to forget.  We're not even the premier program in our league yet we're supposed to be among the elite.  A sniff of contention in 2006 and a NC in 97 is about all we have to show for not to mention a losing bowl record.

Besides the biggest stadium in the country, the best helmets, and a quality education why would a big time recruit want to come here?  The weather, beautiful women, a thriving state that they would like to move to when they graduate?  This state is downtrodden and the future for it doesn't look bright.


January 13th, 2011 at 7:46 AM ^

Easy there rock star. You think people are going to play Tresselball because the weather is great, the girls are great, and the state is great? I would argue that none of those make an elite program beyond making it a little easier to recruit. I'd posit that our standing as the all time winningest and close to if not the most storied program around, and with the exception of the RR years, still damn succssful lately (NC, nearly MNC berth, Heisman, several marquee bowl wins and 10 win seasons) does in fact make us elite.


January 13th, 2011 at 10:38 AM ^

for Michigan to get all the love from recruits. That's because the media and fans want Michigan to be great. Hell, deep down even our rivals want and need us to be great. The last two years, despite obvious problems with the defense and special teams, we were media darlings after the first four games and had a "heisman contender". That happened not just because of the performance on the field but because we are Michigan. If you go here and do well, you will win heismans, champoinships, be on national tv and the spotlight and then get drafted to the NFL. That is why recruits will come here.

MSU, despite their improved performance and dominance over us, still wasn't getting any respect even though they went 11-2. That is because we are Michigan and have built a reputation over three centuries. Deal with it.


January 13th, 2011 at 5:44 AM ^

I'll just add my voice to the choir here - it would take a long, extended period of near or total irrelevance insofar as our record and bowl history would be concerned.....someone already said it, but it was only a few seasons ago that we were part of a huge #1-#2 matchup with that school in Ohio, competing for a Conference Title and having top tier recruiting. It isn't too late to stop the tailspin yet.


January 13th, 2011 at 5:58 AM ^

Head Coach Brady Hoke already answered this for you yesterday:


"This is MICHIGAN for God's sake."


Now the real question is: Is MGOBLOG still an Elite Blog? I believe it is. I am looking forward to an "All In For Michigan" post from the creator.  If you are not ready to be "All In" for BH that is cool (amazing-but cool).  But, the program is moving forward with or without you.

Michigan has moved on.  Thanks Rich Rod, good luck in the future.



January 13th, 2011 at 5:55 AM ^

Yes because whenever something happens in our program its front page news. I don't see many schools getting whole segments on sportscenter dedicated to their coaching search.


January 13th, 2011 at 5:58 AM ^

but lets not take that for granted.

ND is a great example.

Though ONE game - a win against OSU puts us around the top. Remember Bo's 1st season.

THAT makes programs, not oversigning recruits and bribing parents.


January 13th, 2011 at 6:58 AM ^

I don't understand why everyone thinks that elite programs have to hire big name coaches. I just don't see it. The norm for top teams isn't to go out and snag a coach from other top teir programs. i don't know why everyone is so disappointed that we didn't steal Nick Saban or someone similar.

Miami just hired Al Golden; the Hoke hire reminds me a LOT of the Golden hire. OSU hired Tressel in their last hire; I don't think anyone would argue that he was a big name hire. Les Miles didn't have an impressive resume when he was hired by LSU. Florida just hired Muschamp which only has DC experience and has never run a program. Gene Chizick was obviously not a big name hire and outrage ensued when Auburn hired him. The list goes on and on. Top programs don't necessarily hire big name coaches.

The biggest name hire in recent history was probably USC stealing Lane Kiffin from TN. But even Lane Kiffin didn't have an impressive resume, he's just a name - the Paris Hilton of college coaches.

I think that the Harbaugh or bust crowd was being unrealistic and now they are bent out of shape for no reason.


January 13th, 2011 at 7:06 AM ^

spend the better part of two days discussing the Michigan coaching hire, you can be sure we are an elite program. Alabama, Oklahoma, Penn State and USC have had much longer periods of mediocrity during my lifetime than what we've just experienced. It's pretty simple, start winning a gain and you back to the head of the class. There are very few schools that get this fast pass.

We're one of them. Now let's hope that it only takes another couple years to get back to the front of the line.


January 13th, 2011 at 7:43 AM ^

I think of modern football starting around 30 years ago.  We are clearly a top 20 program over the last 30 years.  We are probably not a top 5 program.

Teams that have won multiple championships in that period, Miami (5), Florida (3), Nebraska (3), Alabama (2), LSU (2), Florida Stae (2), Oklahoma (2), etc. fill out the top slots.  We are in the next group down with Notre Dame, OSU, Georgia, Texas, etc.

I would guess if someone came up with some objective criteria, that we would be around #10 over the last 30 years. 

That sounds pretty elite.


January 13th, 2011 at 8:12 AM ^

We don't know all of the details, nor has our analysis on RR been accurate.

Also, unless physical infrastructure or the history has gone away, why wouldn't M be an elite program?


January 13th, 2011 at 8:22 AM ^

And I'm being honest.  I'm not trying to be snarky.  If you feel that ND is still an elite program despite their up and down record, then yes.  If you think they've fallen off the map, then so have we.


January 13th, 2011 at 8:56 AM ^

we have been down. nd has been down for what 20 years?  and how about the largest stadium in the country that sells out every week?  if i were you i would just be a fan of the bcs champ every year. then your team will always be "elite" 


January 13th, 2011 at 8:23 AM ^

with a little luck, we'll be able to consistently produce 9 - 3 teams.  Undefeated?  Doubt it.  But 9 -3 is achievable and 10 - 2 in a good year.  That's pretty good, right?  We still have a huge stadium and cool helmets, but it's gonna be a long time before anyone is afraid to walk into Michigan Stadium to play us.


January 13th, 2011 at 8:27 AM ^

If our last 3 - 5 years have removed us from the elite, how many "elite" programs are there?

The SEC has won the crystal ball 5 years running.  Does that mean Texas isn't elite?  Ohio State?  USC?  Oklahoma?  Nebraska? 

Nebraska is probably the best comparison.  Do people think that program is elite? 

'10 = 10-4 lost to Oklahoma in Conference title game, lost to Washington in bowl game

09=10-4 lost to Texas in conf title game/beat Arizona in bowl

08=9-4 didn't make title game, beat Clemson in bowl game

07=5-7 no conference title, no bowl.

06=9-5 lost to oklahoma in conf title game, lost to auburn in bowl game

05=8-4 no conf title game, beat Michigan in bowl game.

Has Nebraska returned to elite status by virtue of consecutive 10 win seasons despite not winning their conference or playing for the national title?

This whole elite status and whether or not we're a "regional vs. national program" is driven by people who just want to poke holes at UofM.  Just go out and compete and win.  They'll stfu.


January 13th, 2011 at 8:47 AM ^

They were once elite programs that had a "down" period.  Then came Pete Carroll, Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow, etc.  WE WILL BE BACK.   The more I hear BH speak the more I like the hire.  The other top candidates have EGOS as large as the BIG HOUSE.  Not to say that's bad but BH is humble, a damn hard worker, and is totally about these kids.  After time, word is going to get out about how much kids love playing for him and big names are going to be asking to come here.

if your blood is really blue, you'll keep the faith and be positive ambassadors for this program.  

We may not win the B10 this year or next year, but you're going to see how hard these kids love playing for BH right away.  


January 13th, 2011 at 10:10 AM ^

I actually think Michigan is more analagous to Oklahoma pre-stoops.  Oklahoma has recruiting hotbeds in neighboring states (specifically Dallas-Fort Worth) has an upstart BCS program in the same state and has to do a fair amount of national recruiting as well to be (stay) an elite program.  I just don't see how we couldn't do the same only time will tell, but Oklahoma was in pretty bad shape in the 90's and seem to be doing fine and have some of the same struggles as us.  Hoke is a very important person to the program though, failure by him could create a lost decade. 

King Douche Ornery

January 13th, 2011 at 8:56 AM ^

Have done to Michigan is kill Michigan. Fans have asked the old "Are we elite" and "What's a Michigan Man" question for (and I lost count) at least 400 million threads on every message board from here to "Big Ralph's Basement Beer Brewing Blog"

Michigan IS an elite school. The Rodriguez supporters over the last couple years spent SO MUCH time reminging the world of Appy State and Oregon and forgetting everything else--except of course, their rampant "Bo wanted to hire Rich Rodriguez!"  mantra that was disingenuous at best.

We've spent the last three years downplaying recruiting, transfers, tearing apart the character of players who transferred, decommitted, ripping the failed assistants Rodriguez brought in and didn't let coach, and players who were tossed out there and gave their guts during the first year or two almost at the expense of their own dignity, and in some cases, personal long term health.

Now because the bratty faction of the M fan base didn't get a coach four minutes after the OSU game ended, and because it wasn't a guy who WANTS nohting BUT the NFL, or a guy with a very, very checkered UM past AND who is 58 and doing very well (why WOULD Miles leave LSU? Maybe if he was five or ten years younger), and we don't rush out (again) and snag some hot Starbuck Flaovr of the Month, ALOT of folks are whining.

It's not ennui, it's not being gun shy, or riddled by the recent disaster that was Rodriguez. It's called GIVING UP HOPE and caving to the current of crap that has perversely pervaded the Michigan Blogoshpere for three years in an attempt to make Rodriguez out to be a victim and his woefully inept coaching more palpable.

I said before: UM needed Rodriguez GONE to spiritually and emotionally purge the evil he brought and his most ardent supporters stuffed down our throats for three years.

Brandon knows more about football, hiring and firing, wheeling and dealing, and MICHIGAN football in his pinky ring than any of us know--combined. He looked ecstatic in the presser, Hoke looked ecstatice, passionate, and happy to be home, said things with "that school in Ohio" are "personal"--and he has the support of seemingly eveeryone connected with the program.

It seems to me the fans need to MAN UP (or WOMAN UP)--admit the Horror that was Rodriguez, and get with the program right now.Quit wondering, emo-like worrying about Michigan's status.

Michigan IS MICHIGAN for "for gods sake" and it means a LOT.