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Michigan Needs To Fire Rich Rodriguez and Hire Jim Harbaugh To Restore Glory

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Head Coach Jim Harbaugh of Stanford smiles before the game against UCLA at the Rose Bowl on September 11, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Adam WaldmanContributor IJanuary 2, 2011

In the three years since Rich Rodriguez took over the reins at Michigan, the Wolverines have won 15 games and lost 22.  The shellacking that the Wolverines suffered at the hands of Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl has to mark the end of Rodriguez’s disappointing tenure as Michigan’s coach.

The Wolverines, once perennial bowl participants, have only appeared in one bowl game during the three seasons of the Rodriguez regime.  And though star QB Denard Robinson claims that he does not want to play for any other coach, the reality is that the rest of the team must not feel the same way as evidenced by their total lackluster performance in the Gator Bowl. 

Mississippi State is a good team on the rise, but they are not good enough to be handing Michigan a 52-14 thrashing in bowl game.  This is the same Bulldogs team that squeaked by UAB by 5 points and Kentucky by 7 points in consecutive home games in October.

During Rodriguez’s three seasons, the Wolverines have lost every year to bitter rival Ohio State by a combined score of 100 – 24.  They have also lost every year to intrastate rival Michigan State by a combined score of 95 – 58.

There is no measuring stick that shows that Rodriguez’s stay in Ann Arbor has been anything more than complete and utter failure.  The Gator Bowl is merely a microcosm of how inept the Wolverines have become under Rodriguez’s tutelage.  His firing would be actually considered an act of mercy.

The first person to call and congratulate Jim Harbaugh after the Orange Bowl tomorrow should be Michigan Athletic Director, Dave Brandon.  Once the niceties are done, Brandon should set up a time and place for the two to meet to discuss Harbaugh’s return to Big Blue.

With all of the firings in the NFL, Jim Harbaugh is certainly going to have an opportunity to jump back to the NFL if he so chooses.  Harbaugh has given the expected politically correct answers when questioned about his future in Stanford, but it’s hard to imagine that he isn’t going to jump at the chance to return to his alma mater and restore it to its previous glory if he doesn’t go to the NFL.

Harbaugh has openly bemoaned the poor attendance at Stanford’s home games, which is especially surprising given the meteoric rise of the team. 

While Stanford doesn’t even come close to filling its 50,000 seat stadium, Michigan continues to fill the Big House which has more than twice the capacity of Stanford, even though they have become a mediocre team at best.

Realistically, the only thing that can stop Harbaugh from returning to his alma mater is the opportunity to coach in the NFL.  If Harbaugh does decide to go to the NFL, then Dave Brandon should start working on Les Miles.  If Miles isn’t interested, then he should go down the list until he finds a replacement suitable to walk the Michigan sidelines.  Rich Rodriguez has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not that person.

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