Should the Michigan Wolverines Fire Coach Rich Rodriquez?

Kevin LindseyAnalyst INovember 28, 2010

Hated rival Ohio State blew out Michigan 37-7 in a game that could have been far worse except for some dubious unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and holding penalties called against the Buckeyes.

Michigan’s sensational quarterback Denard Robinson had his worst game of the season.   In fairness to Robinson, Roy Roundtree didn’t help Denard as he dropped several passes from his quarterback.

Michigan was simply outplayed in every phase of the game by Ohio State.

Throughout the game, the announcers panned to Michigan’s Athletic Director David Brandon on several occasions while contemplating whether Head Coach Rich Rodriquez would be back on the sidelines for Michigan last year.

The evidence against Coach Rodriquez cited by his critics is compelling.

In the past three years, Michigan has failed to secure a victory over a team that will finish its season with more than seven wins.   

Michigan has suffered 21 losses in three years, the most losses in a three-year period in school history.

Michigan State and Iowa have both beaten Michigan the last three consecutive seasons.

Wisconsin gave Michigan a taste of Bo Schembechler football by running the ball down the throat of the Wolverines by throwing only one pass in the second half on their way to a 48-28 victory.

Most damning, Rodriquez is 0-3 against Ohio State and has been outscored 100-24 in the three games.

Had former Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr simply done better against Ohio State, Rodriquez would never have been given an opportunity to come to Michigan.

Many Michigan fans are calling for the head of Coach Rodriquez.

The University of Michigan fan base is not used to losing.  The Wolverines have won more Big Ten football titles than any other school in the conference.

Of course, what is hastening the chorus calling for the departure of Rodriquez is a siren song from the west of having favorite son Jim Harbaugh return home to his alma mater.

Harbaugh is everything Rodriquez has not been the past three years.

Stanford runs a sophisticated pro-style system that emphasizes the ability to run the ball to set up the passing game.  The Cardinal is 18th in the country in running the ball and 32nd in the country in passing.

As Stanford’s coach, Harbaugh has turned around a moribund program as the Cardinal have won 10 games for the first time since 1993.

Stanford is ranked sixth in the BCS rankings heading into the Thanksgiving weekend and with Boise State’s loss to Nevada, the Cardinal have an outside shot at playing for the BCS Championship.

Harbaugh knows how to beat a hated rival as Stanford has beaten USC the last three years.

Most importantly, Harbaugh is a Michigan man.

Yes, Harbaugh has been everything that Rodriquez has not been the past three years.

Money shouldn’t be a problem for the Michigan football boosters as Harbaugh is only scheduled to be paid $1.25 million through 2014.

If Michigan wants Harbaugh, they will need to act quickly as he is likely to be a hot commodity this offseason.

Of course, maybe Michigan fans are simply being impatient and need to give Rodriquez more time.

Michigan had more freshmen starting the game against the Buckeyes than seniors.

Rodriquez was brought in to rejuvenate Michigan’s offense and he has been wildly successful as the Wolverines are averaging 36 points a game on the season.

Finally, Michigan won all of the games that they were favored to win this year.

No one, with the exception of maybe a die-hard Wolverine fan, believed that Michigan would win more than seven games during the regular season.

Why is there is such vitriol over retaining Rodriquez when he met expectations for the year?

Is simply meeting expectations not enough at Michigan?

Michigan is at the crossroads.

Do they embrace Rodriquez and his system, find a new defensive coordinator and continue on the path that they are on?

Or does Michigan say Rodriquez is not what Michigan football should be about and admit that they made a mistake.

Some Michigan fans point to Nebraska to support getting back to basics by bringing in Harbaugh. 

Nebraska realized its mistake in flirting with the spread offense and fired Coach Bill Callahan to bring in Bo Pelini. 

Big Red has returned to its roots of running the ball and playing hard-nosed defense.  Nebraska’s football program is now among the top 10 teams in the country.

Michigan fans want to return to prominence.  Michigan fans aren’t willing to wait long.

Should Rodriguez be fired and Harbaugh hired?

Athletic Director Brandon reiterated today that he has not made up his mind and that he will evaluate the program at the end of the season.

“I’m going to work tomorrow as always,” Rodriguez said.  “I worry about my future every day.  Before I took the job, after I took the job.”

Something tells me however that Coach Rodriquez might be worrying a little bit more tomorrow.


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