Rittenberg: 7 wins or less and RR is gone

Submitted by WichitanWolverine on April 16th, 2010 at 7:30 PM


Some dumb Virginian broad, who is self-proclaimed hot shit, wrote in to Rittenberg claiming that RR needs 10 wins to keep his job this year. Rittenberg's rebuttal says that RR needs 8, maybe 9, wins to keep his job. This number seems to get larger and larger all the time...



April 16th, 2010 at 8:16 PM ^

I'll come out and agree with Rittenberg on this one, on the basis he is NOT talking about 8-4, but rather 8-5 (7-5 with a bowl win, obviously).

There are two things that are interesting though:

1) A booster and a former player are smoking crack together if they think that 9-3 or 9-4 gets Rod the boot.

2) If for some reason we don't break through this year, I could coach this team next year with the talent we will have. This of course, assumes that we don't see a lot of transfers.


April 16th, 2010 at 8:18 PM ^

who's inclined to let people outside the program dictate to him who he hires and fires, and when he does it. He also seems to be a pretty level-headed, non-impulsive manager, which probably means he understands the consequences of firing RR three years into his tenure here. To be sure, if we go 3-9 again, the pressure to dump RR will be enormous, but if we get to a bowl game, I would think that would be sufficient progress.

My bet is that we'll go 6-6 while struggling early but coming on late, and then beat the absolute living crap out of our bowl opponent in an epic 62-24 ass-pounding sort of thing. There will be plenty of people still unhappy, but I think that would get him another year at least.


April 17th, 2010 at 12:45 AM ^

Brandon personally has every incentive to roll the dice on RichRod in 2011, unless RichRod finds a way to mess up beyond comprehension. If I were a new AD, I'd much rather roll the dice on a returning coach with an experienced team, rather than going out and shaking things up again.

If Brandon fires RichRod and messes up the succession, he'd end his career as AD before he even really got started.


April 16th, 2010 at 8:21 PM ^

I think Brandon, being a football man, will know all he needs to know to make what he considers to be the right decision just by hanging around the program a lot this fall. I could see extenuating circumstances either way that could get RR more time after a bad year or fired after a good year.

Either way, I think "doing things the Michigan way" will factor into Brandon's decision almost as much as wins and losses. It does appear that he likes what he sees so far, FWIW.

That being said, I think this team will win eight or nine total this year and make it all a moot point.


April 16th, 2010 at 8:21 PM ^

1. 8 wins.

2. Bowl victory.

3. Beat MSU.

Two bonus items:

4. NCAA Spanish Inquisition ends up as fart in windstorm.

5. Knock Terrelle Pryor back into Stone Age and eek out an OSU victory, derailing the Buckeyes from NC consideration.

And any two of the first three, RR is back. With #5, they start the castings for the RR bronze statue outside Schembechler Hall.


April 16th, 2010 at 8:23 PM ^

I think that Rittengerg is off by 1. I think that RichRod needs 7 wins to keep his job. 7-6 gets him another year albeit on shaky ground. Michigan could go 7-5 and get a really tough bowl game, because they are a big draw. It's not unthinkable that we could go 7-5 and play in the Alamo Bowl against 9-3 Oklahoma. In that scenario, a loss is not just acceptable but expected. 7 wins to me represents significant improvement over last year's 5-7 (which was compiled with an easy schedule).


April 16th, 2010 at 8:33 PM ^

OK, so you're an optimist on his future. That's fine by me. But it'd have to look something like this:

Wins (4): UMass, Bowling Green, Indiana, Illinois
Losses (2): UConn, ND

Basically if we're going to go 7-6 with 7 wins in the regular season, we can't suck again in the B10 and we can't lose gimmie games (the four I listed above). We'd have to start slow (first two games as losses) and then come on with a possible four game win streak (if we beat MSU).

I'd also throw in there that out of the remaining three wins, two of them would have to come from MSU, PSU, OSU, and Wiscy.

Possible, but you won't catch me rooting for this scenario. 8-4 and then a bowl game and I'll be a very happy man.

willis j

April 16th, 2010 at 9:11 PM ^

going to be? Neither UConn nor ND are gimmie losses. They are toss ups I expect to go 1/1 against. ND wasn't good last year and won't be much better this year with the coaching change.

The four wins should be wins, but a shaky D or less than average output by the Offense puts the games closer. I think we go 5-1 vs those teams personally. We get to 7 wins and get in a bowl game vs whoever. But you never know in a bowl game how the other team will come out and play either. Michigan will be pumped to be in the first bowl after a 2 year drought. I think they play anyone tough.


April 17th, 2010 at 9:14 AM ^

but I think we are going to destroy UConn and even probably beat ND. You want reasons why? Because this team is better than the last year one. We are just afraid to recognize it. Somehow the last two years have lower our expectation and now we just sale ourselves short.


April 16th, 2010 at 8:45 PM ^

(Full disclosure - I think 8 wins for our team means RR is back no questions asked, but I have yet to think about what 7 wins means)

Well I'd like to look at Nebraska and ND as our best comps for this, given they are storied programs that have/had recently struggled.

Nebraska gave Callahan four years, but he had a winning record in his first three seasons (won every year) and had a losing record in his fourth season.

ND gave Weis and Bob Davie five years, but they had winning records as well. Willingham got only three years but did have a winning record.

Neither of these programs had a record as bad as ours over a three year span (unless we go undefeated this year), so to "assume" RR will get four years "just because" isn't exactly perfect math. If we do get 7 wins this year, that'd bring him to 15-21. If he was brought back after that it would be solely due to positive momentum with the fourth year likely being "9 wins or more".

But yeah... I'm not really hoping for a seven win season so I hope this is a moot point come October.


April 18th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

I don't think overall record ever matters much in these decisions. When you're casting judgment on a coach after 3-4 seasons, a single really good or bad year will inflate or deflate the record. What matters is whether or not you can determine, based on the available evidence, that the coach is the right guy to coach the team the next season.

Ty Willingham went 10-3 in his first year with Davie's players and then nosedived. There was reason to believe ND could do better in 2005. Weis went 19-6 his first two years with Davie's/Willingham's players and then nosedived. There was reason to believe ND could do better in 2010. RR went 3-9 his first year with players he didn't recruit. Last year represented a very modest improvement. The key will be to pull off more significant improvement this year. Can someone else do better in 2011 with these players than RR can? How we do this season can help us to answer that question.


April 16th, 2010 at 8:49 PM ^

8 wins, counting the bowl game, will be good enough. 7, counting the bowl game, could go either way. It depends on who we beat. If we lose to ND, MSU, and OSU, then it might not be good enough.

The Impaler

April 16th, 2010 at 8:49 PM ^

I think any of us would argue that we have underachieved the past three years (with maybe the exception that 2008 is N/A), but I feel this is the year we finally overachieve. I think anything over 8 total wins would be an overachievement.

steve sharik

April 16th, 2010 at 9:43 PM ^

People need to understand that Brandon will be evaluating Rodriguez by, after this season is over, determining if the program is moving in the right direction or the wrong one. Wins and losses are part of the equation, but not all of it. There will be a lot of behind-the-scenes instinctive analysis of if the program is being run the right way.

A program that is 7-5 and gets to a bowl game (even if it loses the bowl game) is going to survive if the AD agrees with the way things are being done.

A program that is 11-2 after a BCS bowl victory will not survive if the AD disagrees with the way things are being done. For example, I don't think John Calipari has a snowball's chance in hell of ever being our basketball coach while Brandon is the AD.

EDIT: In other words, I agree with Tater. (Sheesh, I fumbled there. Sorry, Tater.)


April 16th, 2010 at 9:08 PM ^

I see this upcoming season as presenting two good alternatives.

First, we win 8 games (or 9 including a bowl win). Who wouldn't be happy with that?
Second, should we fail to meet the above goal, RichRod will be fired. "Make a bowl game", "try hard" or "show progress" will not cut it. Maybe for Eastern, but not Michigan.

As a Michigan fan (the school, the program, the team), I don't place any player or coach above the good of the program. I don't love RichRod, but can learn to love him if he wins 8(+1) and keeps his nose clean. If he doesn't, Brandon can fire him for cause, lift the cloud, and take his time finding a replacement of his choosing (kinda like how RichRod just needed "his" players...Brandon might need "his" coach).

I'm fine with either outcome. We either win now, or cut ties and win soon. The future looks good.


April 16th, 2010 at 10:27 PM ^

Don't carousels go round and round?
I can see that argument if we fired RR after 1 or 2 seasons and then fired his replacement after 1 or 2 seasons.

Let's see what happens this year. Hopefully, it's a good year that makes us all forget the last two.


April 16th, 2010 at 11:57 PM ^

Considering that your definition of "a good year" is 9+ wins, it's probable that you will be calling for Rich Rod to be fired again after this season.

If the AD followed your advice: A Theoretical Timeline.
Coach is Fired.
1. Players leave. Extreme loss of depth.
2. Don't get first coaching choice, because he sees how poorly
the previous coach was treated after being placed into a bad situation initially.
3. Hire "up and coming" coach.
4. Lose more players to attrition.
5. New coach has a poor first season due to depth issues and personnel.
6. Angry alumni issue ultimatum after new coach goes 5-7 in his 1st season.
7. Recruiting Pipelines fizzle out due to perceived program instability(as we are currently dealing with because of the "Fire RR" crowd)

Eventually this guy gets fired, because he was never given the opportunity to succeed. The process repeats again, with program support waning at each coaching change. Recruiting base also wanes with each coaching change. Kids who would have grown up rooting for said team all decide to support other teams.

Also included somewhere in the process is where fans begin to become extremely delusional about who they can attract as Head Coach. Example: Notre Dame fans who honestly thought Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer were legitimate candidates for them in the recent search.

Bottom line, a coaching carousel is created by fanbases with perpetually unrealistic expectations. The whole "We are Michigan! We deserve this!" mentality is exactly what causes these situations. If you are interested in becoming Notre Dame, let's continue to demand that the coach be fired unless he wins 9 games.


April 17th, 2010 at 12:26 AM ^

I think RR needs to win 8 (plus 1 in the bowl) to keep his job. That's different than a "good" year for another coach in another situation.

Seems like you want to excuse RR from having any responsibility for anything the last two years - the losses, the NCAA violations, the injuries (kidding)...He wasn't treated "poorly" and didn't land in a bad situation. He just chose to come in and run the program his way, ignoring the reality on the ground. That was his choice. He is responsible for it. I don't think he would blame others for the position he is in. I don't think anyone else would have only won 8 games in 2 years.

You seem to think that the sky will fall without RR in A2. I disagree. I hope he gets it done this year, but am not like William Ford, willing to give someone endless chances to turn it around. I'm not concerned about kids worried about "program instability". I am worried about kids concerned with "losing".

los barcos

April 17th, 2010 at 3:41 AM ^

is so concerned about us becoming the next notre dame. ive heard that thrown around all over this message blog: "we lose rich we become notre dame"

to you, aaamich and anyone else i say: oklahoma, usc before carrol, nebraska, texas before mack brown, florida with ron zook, osu with cooper, alabama before saban.

godamnit, notre is NOT the rule, but the exception. michigan will be ABSOLUTELY FUCKING FINE NO MATTER WHO IS THE COACH.


April 18th, 2010 at 8:01 AM ^

The teams you listed all reside in fertile recruiting grounds. Getting talent won't be a problem even if there is a coaching change. We don't have that same luxury. As we've seen in the past two years, mass attrition is difficult for us to overcome.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:32 PM ^

Nebraska and Alabama? I didn't know the top kids were coming out of the cornfields of Nebraska these days. Now, before you start saying that "Alabama is near Florida"...don't forget that Michigan is near Ohio...and Nebraska isn't near anything.

The attrition felt with the switch to RR was partly due to normal turnover and partly due to RR's "my way or the highway" approach. Some things are actually his fault. The attrition has been "difficult to overcome" because we've been losing and were hit with NCAA violations. A coach who wins without NCAA sanctions has a much easier time recruiting - in any state.


April 18th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

There is no reason to believe the NCAA investigation has had any serious impact on our recruiting. We would not have signed a 27-man class otherwise.


April 18th, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

You say it had no serious impact on our recruiting, but the violations were announced AFTER signing day. You provide not a single fact to back up your assertion, but one of the more recent threads on Mgoblog is Hart's mother discussing concerns about NCAA violations. He even dropped us from his top three because of the violations (although we've been able to talk him back). If one of our "locks" is shaken, what do you think a kid who isn't sure about us anyway is thinking?

We could sign 10 kids or 30...the amount of kids signed has ZERO to do with quality nor does it say anything about what kids drop us over concerns about violations.


April 18th, 2010 at 3:15 PM ^

You implied that the investigation had affected our recruiting prior to this class. There is no evidence of that whatsoever. And I'd bet that when this class is signed, it will be very highly ranked as well (and Hart has a good chance of being in the fold).

The bottom line is that it seems a little silly for you to act like a coaching change is automatically a good thing when you're now arguing that the change to Rodriguez was a bad thing. There is no guarantee that the next hire would work out, either. If you consider the RR hire to have been unsuccessful, then we haven't made a successful outside hire in four decades. And if we do let RR go, we'll probably decide that the move to the spread was a mistake and try to hire someone who runs a different offense, leading to more transitional fun.


April 18th, 2010 at 5:28 PM ^

Many apologies if I wasn't clear. I didn't mean that the investigation hurt our recruiting prior to this class (although whispers may still have made a difference). I believe I was saying that the violations make it "difficult to overcome" attrition...that we may not fill spots with as talented players as some could be scared off by scandal (whether a big-deal scandal or otherwise).

As to a coaching change being a good thing...that's not silly. If RR doesn't get the job done this season (and use whatever measuring stick you feel is appropriate), then I don't feel he gets another shot. If you think 2 wins is enough...so be it. If that were your position, then he shouldn't merit another season if he only wins 1. Firing him would open the possibility of a better option.

Is a new coach an automatic winner? Of course not! I think your talking about 4 decades of bad outside hires is "silly" (actually, "retarded"). I have not said one word about inside/outside hires. I don't care if the coach is from Michigan or Montana. I don't care if it's spread or otherwise. The sky will not fall if RR fails at Michigan. It's not unheard of to fire a coach who finishes 1-7 in the Big Ten. Let's just wait to see what happens this season. I don't believe he's earned a free pass to season four. Some seem to think he has.


April 18th, 2010 at 6:51 PM ^

I believe that when you are a program as rich in tradition, intelligence, and success, as Michigan, then you understand certain things about football.

One of them is giving your coach a chance to succeed or fail.

Upon making a bold hire, as RR was, and especially one replacing a coaching legend, a program must give that coach a chance to establish himself.

I'm not going to rehash that fact that it was such a monumental change in coaching philosophy, but understand that when any new coach is brought in, the first year is hard, due to attrition, and it was particularly high for RR, seeing as he runs a different brand of both offensive and defensive football, from that which Michigan is accustomed too.

It is therefore widely accepted that a new coach's first recruiting class is not considered "full," because recruiting classes are typically two or three years in the making, with scouting, building relationships, let alone actually recruiting the players.

The first recruiting class of a new coach is typically made up of a few players who committed under the previous coach, as well as a few last minute editions by the new coach.

The second recruiting class is what is considered the first "full" recruiting class, because it gives the coach a full year and then some, to establish new connections, as well as reaffirming old ones. Therefore, it is not until a coach's fourth year that he has upperclassmen that are considered "his players".

This is why most successful programs give their coaches time to grow, while many unsuccessful programs are always rebuilding after three years.

Patience is indeed a virtue, but when it comes to athletics, it is often cast by the wayside, due to the "win now" and "win at all costs" mentalities that permeate college football today.

Michigan is better than that, and that is precisely why we give our football coaches more time to succeed than other programs, because we believe in much more than the bottom line. There is more to success than wins. Possible NCAA violations are a concern, but the GPA of the football team has increased under Rodriguez, and I view that as a success.

We are Michigan, which is why we don't believe in things like ultimatums for our football coaches, or a necessary number of wins in order for them to maintain their jobs.

Like it or not, but we made a commitment to RR when we hired him as a head football coach, which means we give him time to bring his players into the program, and we will only judge him as a coach when his players are upperclassmen. That means 4 years.

I am not one of those holier-than-thou Michigan fans but I believe that anything less than four years, and we become Michigan State and others of that ilk.


April 18th, 2010 at 5:32 PM ^

Pic? Link? Context?

If you're building a case, then you need more than one fact.


Google and Yahoo searches for:

Rich Rodriguez "detractors not welcome"

Rich Rodriguez detractors not welcome

Rich Rodriguez "detractors not welcome" sign


Rich Rodriguez detractors not welcome sign

all came up empty. As did the image searches.


April 18th, 2010 at 7:29 PM ^

It is "DETRACTORS NOT ALLOWED". That's even more assertive than "Detractors not welcome" maybe...I think that says "My way or the highway", no? He also put that up just after Brandon was hired and gave a "no more division" speech.


It was even a subject of discussion of this blog:


April 19th, 2010 at 5:20 AM ^

Oh, so it was recent then. Well, that makes sense after the 7654355 negative articles written about him the past 3 years, and the division in the athletic department over his hiring from the start.

You made it seem as though he came into the program with a "my way or the highway" approach from the start. I guess that's not true at all then.

That makes me feel much better. Thank you for the context.

steve sharik

April 16th, 2010 at 11:37 PM ^

Before I begin, let me first say my response was a play on your post, and the ridiculous nature of it.

In any event:

"Make a bowl game",

The comma goes inside the quotation marks.

Maybe for Eastern, but not Michigan.

This is a sentence fragment.

I don't love RichRod, but can learn to love him if he wins 8(+1) and keeps his nose clean.

There is no space between the "8" and the parentheses.

If he doesn't, Brandon can fire him for cause, lift the cloud, and take his time finding a replacement of his choosing (kinda like how RichRod just needed "his" players...Brandon might need "his" coach).

1. "kinda" isn't a word
2. The parenthetical is a sentence, so the period after the parenthetical should be before it, and
3. There should be a period inside the parethetical.

I'm fine with either outcome. We either win now, or cut ties and win soon. The future looks good.

steve sharik

April 17th, 2010 at 12:17 AM ^

I hassled you for "RichRod has to win 9+" ridiculous bullshit, but you failed to see that for what it was, and whined about not really making typos/grammar errors, so I pointed them out. No, real "hassling" would be for me to go back and neg every one of your posts, not just the one I had a problem with. Of course, that's what you did. Maybe we should both quit while we're behind.


April 17th, 2010 at 1:03 AM ^

Eaaaassssy, player...I negged your long, obnoxious post. I didn't neg all your posts. Would take too long and I really don't care. Seems there are more folk here than just the two of us.

p.s. I said 8 wins (excluding bowl). Given your penchant for precision, I'm surprised you missed that and even put the wrong number in quotes. Egad! However, should I ever say "ain't" or "I seen" - please feel free to tear me up for it.