Michigan Fires Rich Rodriguez: Is Jim Harbaugh the Next Head Coach?

Dave WalkerCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Stanford Cardinal looks on after Stanford won 40-12 against the Virginai Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

There will be a lot of things the Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan will be remembered for. Unfortunately, not many of them are things fans and the university would like to remember at all.

Rodriguez was fired just three days after Michigan suffered their worst bowl loss in school history to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. Rich-Rod finished the 2010 campaign at 7-6, his only winning year during his three-year tenure, which saw him pile up a 15-22 overall record, and just 6-18 in Big Ten play.

Perhaps his first year in 2008 will be the most memorable of his tenure. That year, Michigan won just three games—their worst season in school history.

So now that the man who completely changed the entire culture of Michigan football is gone, is Jim Harbaugh the next logical solution?

The obvious answer is yes.

Is it a coincidence that Michigan waited to fire Rodriguez less than 24 hours after Harbaugh and Stanford blew out Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl? Nope, they were just waiting to talk to the man that calls the shots for the Cardinals after the season.

Harbaugh is no stranger to Michigan football. He played for the Wolverines from '83-'86 and led them to the 1987 Rose Bowl. It would make sense to hire a Michigan guy to save a program that has fallen from the ranks of college football's elite.

As a coach, Harbaugh also has a solid background. He started as the head man for the San Diego Toreros, and in three seasons led them to a 29-6 mark. In 2007, he took over at Stanford.

His first season was just a 4-8 campaign, but included an amazing upset over USC in the coliseum.

Overall at Stanford, Harbaugh is 29-21 with a 21-15 mark in Pac 10 play.

So is this a done deal?

Well for many Michigan fans, yes it is, and it should be.

But as Lee Corso would say, not so fast, my friend!

Harbaugh does have the top pro prospect of the NFL draft in Andrew Luck, and it isn't for certain that he is entering the NFL draft as of now. Maybe he stays to try and win a national title...

Another factor is the roots that Harbaugh has in Palo Alto. He did play his high school ball there, and another question is to what his family wants to do. Do they leave sunny California for a cold and often times brutal winter of Michigan?

It would almost seem logical that Michigan and Harbaugh come to terms in this situation. There really is nobody out there that appears ready for the job that is at hand.

Michigan may have one of the best dual threat QB's in the game, but they also have one of the worst defenses that has ever worn maze and blue.

If Harbaugh isn't the guy, look for them to go with a defensive minded coach, one that will go back to a pro-style, run oriented game and will have a focus on bringing the defense back to life.