Biggest impact of 2012 Alabama Game - RR is here through 2012

Submitted by 2014 on October 21st, 2010 at 12:33 PM

This was briefly touched on here:

But I think it's worthy of it's own topic given that it's Thursday of a bye week...

Scheduling the Alabama game is as clear a sign as Brandon can possibly give that he has every intention of sticking with RR through at least 2012.

It would be program suicide to walk into that game with a new regime in place given the youth and make up of our roster and that the most obvious succesors are likely to run a completely different offense that RR's.

I personally love it, as my handle indicates, I'm a firm believer that 2012 is the year we go "Medievil on their asses" for real. We're going to need to be legendary good given the schedule in '12...



October 21st, 2010 at 12:42 PM ^

I think that if Rich Rod is retained after this year, then he's here a minimum of 2 more seasons, as i don't see them bringing in a new coach for the '12 season.  however, if we tank the final 5 games, i don't think he'd hesitate to fire and hire a new coach for the 11 season.  Just IMO.

Mitch Cumstein

October 21st, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

With you and with the OP.  I think the premise that Brandon has the intention of sticking with RR through 2012 is true (as evidenced by statements and the scheduling of Bama).  However I agree with you that if things go south, he'll do his job and protect the brand.  Likewise, if we go 3-9 next year (not likely I know, but for argument's sake), then I don't think Brandon would be opposed to hiring a new coach for 2012.


October 21st, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

There are always things that could go wrong. If we continue improving, he'll be here until '12 for sure. Like you said, if we lose the final 5 games this season he'll almost certainly be gone. If somehow we have a 6 or 7 win season next year, that might be enough to get him fired too. I agree though that it wouldn't seem likely that we only win 6 or 7 next year if we win at least 7 this year. No way does this team get worse between now and then.


October 21st, 2010 at 12:55 PM ^

You raise a good point on the 6 or 7 win season.  We won our first 5 cupcake games.  A 6 or 7 win season would mean that we finished 1-6 or 2-5 - i.e. a second straight mid-season collapse once we got in to the B10.  Without expressing an opinion as to what should be done, I think that at 7 wins, unless one of them is OSU (or potentially a bowl win for an 8th win) it is likely that RR would be gone. 

Red is Blue

October 21st, 2010 at 1:11 PM ^

At 6 wins, I think it is likely he is gone.  At 8 wins (regular season) I think he stays.  At 7 wins, I think it likely he stays unless, there is significant in-fighting on the team or the team looks completely noncompetitive in the other three remaining games that would be losses or something unexpectedly ugly comes of the NCAA investigation.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

Because the offense will be that good. The D has only one direction to go and the schedule just doesn't get any better. If we went 11-1 or even 12-0 I wouldn't be in total shock or feel like I have a delusional outlook. I see a team right on the verge of being ridiculously good on offense and if it was followed by a middle of the pack defense I think the sky is the limit. 

My expectations for next year are 10-2 no matter what. Tell me how they don't get there with that schedule unless the defense doesn't improve and the offense doesn't hit the next gear? Unless armageddon happens that offense is going to just about score at will next year. I didn't feel that way last year. I thought they would improve as they have but this year you can see where its heading on offense unless you are just a delusional fan. (which some are)


October 21st, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

If the defensive improvement is minimal to small, I could easily see us losing 4 games. We haven't proven able to beat MSU and Iowa yet, plus the two contests against likely top-10 teams to finish off the season. It's definitely a favorable schedule, but the losses can and will still mount unless this team grows up this offseason. (Which I am counting on and think will happen.)


October 21st, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

Will take a step back next year. MSU's should be slight, But Iows will be very noticable. Then Having Nebraska and OSU(who should also take a slight step back next season based on attrition) at home really swings things in our favor if we do improve on D. I am saying that because I can almost guarantee the offense will do the damn thing next year. 

kind of a big deal

October 21st, 2010 at 12:48 PM ^

I would hope that RR is still here for that game, as that would mean we made it though this year and probably turned the corner so to speak in 2011.  However, from what I understand (mostly what's been discussed on this blog) of Dave Brandon, I don't believe for a second he'd hold back on an organizational change if he thought that the person in place wasn't getting it done, regardless of our schedule, or what a change would impact on a short term basis.  

Again - hopefully this is all a moot point once we have a great bowl win this year and move on to higher expectations and results in 2011 and beyond!


October 21st, 2010 at 12:50 PM ^

While you might be right, I don't think that the connection is quite that strong.

Simply put, Brandon was offered a boat load of $$ for Michigan to play in this game.  It allows us to play in Texas - one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country - on what will certainly be a nationally televised prime time game.  Those reasons, alone, would lead Brandon to accept the invite.

And yes, I am sure that Brandon wants to win the game.  To that end, he will have whatever coach he believes will give us the best odds of winning not just that game, but the 2011 and 2012 seasons.  If Brandon believes that RR is doing a good job and leading our program in the right direction, then yes, he will leave RR in place.

If, however, Brandon is of the view that RR is not taking the program in the right direction, and that continuing on with RR will make us less competitive, then he would not keep RR.

Also, do not assume that if RR goes, the next coach will result in such a dramatic shift in style or focus.  It is entirely possible that if RR is replaced, it is with another spread style coach, or, alternatively, with a defensive-minded coach who has a spread OC that runs the majority of the offense.  Not saying that any of these things will happen, but I just don't necessarily believe that a coaching change has to represent a "start over and rebuild" like it has for us.

Also also, while winning is obvious a huge factor in the RR decision, there is another relevant factor that Brandon, a businessman, will be forced to consider, and that is alumni donations.  Quite simply, if the alumni who give the big $$ start to tell Brandon that they will not be ponying up if RR stays (and much of the older, richer, alum are not supporters), this could factor in.  Again, not saying that this will or will not happen - just that realistically, it is a factor.

Please note that I am not arguing for or against keeping RR - that is entirely not the point of this comment.  I will not give my opinion on that during the season, as I think that it is way too premature for us to make that decision with 5 (6?) games remaining and a 5-2 record.  I am just pointing out that your analysis seems too simple.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

· Getting blow out by Alabama on national televeision is way worse than not playing Alabama. There is such a thing as bad press.

· $ is important, but the harm that could come from a demolition on National TV would far outway the pros of additional eyeballs. Additional eyeballs are good when you do good things. They are bad when you do bad things. Our brand can't take much more abuse.

· Same point as above when it comes to recruiting Texas. Top recruits in Texas won't be impressed by Michigan getting drubbed by Alabama. Getting drubbed does not = positive recruiting news. Just look at the last 2 years.

· I am 100% certain that if RR gets the door, they will not bring in a similar style coach. There will be no spread. We will see a reversion to the traditional norm. I'd bet a lot of $ on that. It may not be Harbaugh, but it would be someone with similar ideas. The anti-RR donors want Bo football. If RR fails with his style of play, they'll get their wish.

· I do agree that if the team tanks the rest of this season or blah next year, he'll drop RR faster than a Buckeye lining up for an all you can eat at Ponderosa. My point is that his INTENT is to keep RR. He believes RR is going to turn this ship completely by the time 2012 comes around.


October 21st, 2010 at 12:53 PM ^

I think Brandon made this decision because it will be good for the program.  Just he will make his decision about RRod based on what is best for the program over the long term and not how it might effect the outcome of one game.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

Agreed. I'd guess that decision was made with the assumption of RR being there, but I doubt, even if Brandon were truly on the fence about RR, he would've decided any differently. And wouldn't that be a fine vote of confidence in your staff; "Yeah, there's this thing; its kinda silly, really. This Jerry guy keeps talking about some game at his new stadium, uhhh, what's it called again? Well, unimportant. Anyhoo, I kinda told him no, cuz, let's be honest; nobody's real sure about wether or not you're gonna be around anyway(wink-wink, nudge-nudge), so, no big deal, ok? Go blue! Oh, and by the way, about that Pizza Hut box I saw in your garbage..."


October 21st, 2010 at 6:52 PM ^

If Brandon were on the fence about RR, my guess is he'd have rejected the game out of hand, with no discussion with the staff at all.  We're forgoing a home game to play there.  Maybe the money will work itself out, but we probably won't net that much more.  Playing that game is more about building national prestige than money.  And you don't agree to play a game like that if you don't think you're going to be good. 


October 21st, 2010 at 12:58 PM ^

There's a flip side to that coin too.

Let me play devil's advocate:

Brandon schedules that game because A) it's a win-win for the program (exposure, marketing, and money) regardless who our coach is.  And B)  if DB walked away from negotiations for that game, it raises even MORE questions about RR's future.

DB is a smart guy.  That game is a big deal.  I'm sure it doesn't matter to him if RR is the coach or someone else is, he was gonna make that deal to play Bama in Dallas.  He's the quintessentail Bo protege and he'll be GD'ed if he's gonna back down from anyone (or any challenge).


(As a side note, I applaud him for that and am damn glad he's our AD).


October 21st, 2010 at 6:55 PM ^

It's not win-win.  If we get blown out, it becomes a fiasco for the program.  We're not a no-name school looking to build brand consciousness.  We're a major program rebuilding our reputation.  There are major stakes involved in that game.  Penn State got exposed this year when Bama trashed them.  That's our worst nightmare.  We're scheduling that game to prove our competitiveness.  It could backfire.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:32 PM ^

Seriously, what Brandon says to the media about RR's security has nothing to do with reality. If he intended to ax him, he would not say that. He would not hint to that. There is no chance of that happening. He can only say what he has been saying.

It's his actions that speak to what his intentions are. I take this game as saying his intention is for RR to be here in '12 and to be fielding a team that's worth watching on national TV and that will be a boon to recruiting while making some serious $$'s.

His Dudeness

October 21st, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

I am not being sarcastic at all. We shouldn't have to be "reading into" what playing Bama in '12 means for the coaching situation. If Branden wants to solidify the program he should hold a national press conference and say "Rich Rodriguez will be the coach at Michigan for the length of his contract barring any unfortunate incidents." It would shut the media up for good, it would put an end to all negative recruiting re: the coach not being there in a year, it would simply be a great move at this juncture, IME.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:00 PM ^

Playing another high-profile game in a couple of years has little to do with keeping RR around.  As others have noted, this is a big-time game that will undoubtedly draw eyeballs and raise the exposure of the University, and that is why Brandon made the move.  Also, we are talking about millions of dollars, dollars he does not need to share with the rest of the B10.  Those reasons alone are enough to schedule the matchup, irrespective of who the coach is.

That said, it certainly would behoove the team to have some continuity when that game arrives, though a new coach would be in year 2 by that point and certainly would inherit a decent lineup.  Given all that, I definitely want RR as the coach come 2012.  Maybe a different DC, but RR has shown that his offense can dominate good teams if given some maturation.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

I've got no idea where Brandon is headed but I think he is looking at a lot more than just wins and losses.  He already has 2.5 seasons of RR's performance to look at.  It's not just coming down to these final five games.  I would not be suprised if Brandon is already 90% sure on his decision.

Regarding Alabama on the schedule.  Bo came in and turned an average program into champions almost immediately.  With the tradition and facilities at UofM, maybe Brandon thinks he can find a coach to do the same.  Either RR or a new coach would have a veteran team at that point.  Good coaches generally find a way to put respectable teams on the field, even with subpar talent.  IMO, the 2012 schedule has nothing to do RR's fate.


October 21st, 2010 at 9:18 PM ^

"No its a dumb one. I want an example of a coach that put together a good team with the hodge-podge type talent that has made up the majority of our last two years. To borrow from someone else on a previous thread yesterday, "It's not Xs and Os, its Jimmies and Joes"

Okay, if coaching has nothing to do it, then RR definitely needs to go because his recruiting hasn't been bringing in top 10 classes.  You present a very dumb argument for keeping RR around.


October 21st, 2010 at 9:41 PM ^

I don't even know how to respond to this. Listen, go check out Misopogon's Decimated Defense series and come back. Then try to tell me that there was talent on the defense. And maybe my phrasing was imprecise, the talent is there now(at least I'm fairly sure) it's just really young right now on defense.  If you don't see where this offense is going, then you're either intentionally not seeing or an idiot.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:02 PM ^

I think that if RR makes it through this year, he'll be here in 2012. Due to recruiting, you have to make a decision this year whether to give him 5 years or part ways(barring a 3-9 next year or something). I agree with the above posters that RR's job security wasn't really a factor in getting a lot of money to play a prime time game in a fertile recruiting ground.


October 21st, 2010 at 9:36 PM ^

Have you paid attention to recruiting at all? One of the biggest negative recruiting factors being used against Michigan(since you can't really knock the facilities or the tradition) is that the coach is on the hot seat and will be fired. Its why Zettel hasn't committed yet, it's why it took Dee Hart so long to commit.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

I'd love it if it were so, and all signs are Brandon does believe RichRod can succeed. But if the wheels fall off Brandon will play the cutthroat business man--Rich will be gone.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

There clearly are scenarios that get Rich Rodriguez fired before 2012. It’s not what I want, and I am sure it’s not what Brandon wants. But when he said before the season, “Rich Rodriguez is our coach in 2010,” he obviously meant that there was at least a chance that Rodriguez wouldn’t be in 2011 or 2012.

It is a monumental exaggeration to say that it would be “program suicide” to play Alabama with a new regime in place. All you can say is that Michigan would be the underdog in that game. Brandon agreed to the Alabama game because it made sense financially, and because it will be great exposure for the school, regardless of who is coaching at that time.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:27 PM ^

for the following reasons:

1.  We've shown major offensive improvement from year 1 till now despite having FR QB's for 2 of 3 years - with year 3 being a SO QB.  What's the potential for this offense with Denard as a Junior or Senior and do you really want to mess with that potential by changing HC's in the middle of his development?

2.  Defense will improve with time as experience and new recruiting classes replenish the D.  This takes time and I think our D will move from atrocious to simply awful next year with a big improvement in 2012 as we have more experience and depth.  Just going from atrocious to awful will be worth 2-3 wins, IMO.  Changing HC's now will not improve the timeline here so why make a change that would not improve your D but would definitely make your O regress?

3.  If recruiting continues to improve, there is no reason to switch and throw that into turmoil.  Especially considering we can't afford to have another bad class and that is what you risk when you change HC's - a big immediate hit in recruiting as the new guy gets up and running.

Barring major sanctions or other issues that would hurt short term recruiting, RRod will be here until Denard graduates is my guess.


October 21st, 2010 at 2:02 PM ^

You've outlined the most likely scenario.  But as we have seen this year the difference between winning and losing can come down to a few plays.  If we fall to Purdue and/ or Illinois RRod will legitimately be on the hot seat.  Right now I don't believe he is, regardless of what the media wants us to think.


October 21st, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

When I first heard about the Alabama game, the first thing I thought was that RR is here through 2012.  No way we're changing coaches.  And that means he's here to stay - which is fine with me.  By 2012, we'll be a match for Alabama.


October 21st, 2010 at 2:00 PM ^

There is zero connection between that game and RichRod's job security and it's certainly not a "sign" that Brandon is sticking with RR.  Michigan football (kinda legendary) existed before and will exist after RichRod...whether RR is here 30 years or just 3.  

We have 5 games left to play before worrying about 2011, and then we have another 12 (plus a couple of bowls hopefully) before worrying about 2012.


October 21st, 2010 at 2:45 PM ^

I find it really interesting that so many of you don't think this was a consideration of Brandon's when making this deal. Obviously your points are valid. But it would really surprise me if that was the case.

As a CEO, you can't afford to make any decision in isolation, especially one of this magnitude. I guess I feel like Brandon would be making an incredibly unwise decision to book this game if he didn't really believed we could win it. And if RR wasn't here, it means something went even more wrong and our program gets knocked back a couple more years (again)...


October 21st, 2010 at 4:04 PM ^

I think that's all fair, but I'd say that a good CEO looks well beyond that one game.  He may feel that we can win it with RR or someone else.

One notion that gets thrown around, and you briefly hit on it, is that thought that our program will get knocked back a couple more years if RR isn't here.  I don't find that necessarily accurate.  Even an accused RR-hater like me would much prefer winning now and not a day later, but a "pro style" coach will still have most of his parts already in place.  Let's use (because it makes people here salivate with rage...and because he's always the "pro style" comparison) Harbaugh as an example.  As a disclaimer, I don't promote a switch to Jim (nor have I ever).  So, disclaimer out of the way...

That pro-style coach has offered about 1/2 of our current commits.  He also offered Tate.  Gardner was offered by "pro style" teams like Wisconsin and MSU.  Basically, I'm saying that the notion that we'll have to start from scratch (which on its face falsely assumes that any successor to RR would be a pure pro-style guy) is false.

We will either succeed with RichRod or we will succeed with another coach.  Brandon is more concerned with the long future of our program (money, Texas recruiting, etc.) than a coach in a single game.

dr eng1ish

October 21st, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

You are assuming far too many things.  I want Rich Rod to be here for that game and well beyond as much as anyone, but as the poster above me said, there is simply no connection between his job status and this game.


October 21st, 2010 at 3:21 PM ^

i think there is something there...why would he consult with Rich Rod if he wasn't at least considering him for being there.  In talking with a few players, I get the feeling that Rich Rod is staying and the debate is more between blogs and media than internal.