Best of 2007: Rich Rodriguez Heads for Michigan

John BaucumCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2007

Icon2007 was a year of firsts in college football—the first time a sophomore won the Heisman Trophy, the first time a freshman won the Biletnikoff Award, and the first time in 10 years a player won the Doak Walker Award in consecutive seasons.

Congratulations to Florida’s Tim Tebow, Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree, and Arkansas’ Darren McFadden on those accolades.

But, without a doubt, the most intriguing story of 2007 was the Michigan coaching search.

The Wolverines were spurned by LSU’s Les Miles and rejected by Rutgers coach Greg Schiano...before again contacting Miles for “assistance” in their search.

Michigan is a premier job, but these coaches' giving the Maize and Blue the cold shoulder underscores the new parity in college football. Coaches across the country are building programs, getting facilities upgrades, and securing raises for their assistants—all of which makes it hard for head men to jump ship, even for a plum like the Michigan gig.

The other story in the Michigan saga is the enormity of change embodied in the hiring of West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez.

Lloyd Carr and the iconic Michigan coaches before him all had traditional offensive roots. Rodriguez's revolutionary system might shake the foundation of Michigan’s rich history.

With super-smooth athletes running Rodriguez's spread offense in Ann Arbor, the rest of the Big 10 had better beware...

The new coach may just awaken the sleeping giant that is Michigan football.