Michigan Football: No Improvement For Rich Rodriguez, Wolverines

Keith SheltonAnalyst INovember 2, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 24:  Head Coach Rich Rodriguez of the Michigan Wolverines looks on while playing the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 24, 2009 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Penn State won the game 35-10.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Something is broken with the Michigan Wolverines. Something is seriously wrong.

The team is 5-4 but they haven't improved from last season's 3-9 debacle. Call me crazy if you will, but allow me to explain.

Five wins. This is likely all Michigan will get. Purdue remains their last credible shot at a victory. They aren't going to beat Wisconsin on the road, and they aren't beating Ohio State.

Games that once looked winnable, now look hopeless. Getting blown out and flat out embarrassed by the hapless Illini will do that to you.

There will be no bowl game for the second consecutive year. If Michigan should get to six wins, they should respectfully be denied a bowl game. Wins over FCS opponents shouldn't be included in their resume.

That would just be humiliating. That isn't Michigan.

Five wins. That is what we are evaluating. Now one win was over Delaware State. Not only are the Hornets an FCS team, they are a bad FCS team. I'm not even going to acknowledge that as a credible victory.

Two wins were over Western and Eastern Michigan. Both are bottom rung MAC teams. Again, nothing to be proud of. Nothing that helps the resume.

The other two wins are Notre Dame and Indiana. Of those, only Notre Dame offers a win to really be proud of, but Indiana is still a worthy victory as they are an in-conference opponent.

Again, no improvement from last year.

Last Saturday's game only puts a big exclamation point on that fact. This was perhaps the most embarrassing loss of Rodriguez's tenure as coach at Michigan.

Yes, potentially more embarrassing than the loss to Toledo.

Illinois came into the game with one victory over an FCS opponent, Illinois State. Every other game they played in, they lost by at least 10 points.

That this horrible team was able to drop 38 points on Michigan and win by 25 points? I don't know what to say, except it has come time to take a serious look at the coaching staff.

This is the worst team in the Big Ten. How can you say otherwise after getting destroyed by Illinois?

Can anyone really say, that through two years, we have seen improvement? Not just record-wise, I'm talking about individual player improvement.

How about the defense? Michigan allowed 341 points last year. A record worst for the team and an average of 28 points allowed per game.

So they fired the defensive coordinator and hired Greg Robinson, a proven defensive genius to turn things around.

So far this year, Michigan has allowed 226 points with three games to go. That's an average of 25 points allowed per game.

A whopping three-point improvement.

We again have one of the worst defenses ever seen at Michigan. Five of nine opponents have dropped over 30 points on the Wolverines defense. That 2-6 Illinois team racked up over 500 yards of offense against Michigan for crying out loud!

Has this team bailed on Rodriguez? The question needs to be asked.

Just a few weeks ago, things were looking good. Michigan was heading for seven or eight wins and marked improvement.

Year Three was looking promising.

Five wins, six wins—considering the schedule, that's not improvement. That's turning in back-to-back horrible seasons. Among the worst in Michigan history.

Year Three now becomes an ultimatum that should have been reserved for Year Four.

Am I being too critical?

Don't Wolverines fans have high expectations? They do and so do I.

The bottom line is those expectations are not being met.

Far from it.

It's as simple as that, except it's not simple when the school has invested so much into one coach, one who with each mounting loss is looking more and more like the wrong coach.


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