Lots of bad press out there for Rich Rod. Calls for him to be fired, large factions of Michigan supporters who are negative about him, et al. There are even comparisons being drawn between RR and John L. Smith (!!!!).
The prevailing idea is that UM must be better in order for him to keep his job. My question is: how much better?
Given that the preseason predictions (before the 4-0 start blew all rational thought and expectations out of the water for many/most) for the 2009 squad were in the neighborhood of 5-7, 6-6 and 7-5 and the team basically met those (overall record-wise, anyway), where does the team need to finish, record-wise, for Rich Rod to come back another year?
Here's the scenario:
Date Opponent Location My Prediction
9/4 UCONN H L
9/11 Notre Dame A L
9/18 UMASS H W
9/25 Bowling Green H W
10/2 Indiana A W
10/9 MSU H W
10/16 Iowa H L
10/30 Penn State A L
11/6 Illinois H W
11/13 Purdue A W
11/20 Wisconsin H L
11/27 OSU A L
IMO, this isn't enough for the powers that be. I think, in order for RR to keep his job, Michigan has to beat MSU and get that 7th win somewhere. I feel like an upset over UCONN, Iowa or ND is the best chance for that. If they go 7-5 with a win over MSU he stays. If not, he goes. The x-factor situation is a 6-6 or 5-7 season with a win over OSU at the end. That would be a HUGE shock (especially in Columbus) and might be enough to get him through to one more year.
That said, I am a supporter of RR and he should stay until the end of his contract as I believe the team to be on the right track. All indications are that the defense will be troubling again next year, but, if they can get through 2010, the future will be bright. Unfortunately, I just don't see it playing out that way.
DISCLAIMER: These predictions do not factor in any attrition other than graduation from all teams. Clearly, this is not reality, but it's fun to speculate anyway. :)