How Michigan Hiring Rich Rodriguez Has Backfired After 3 Years

Billy George@@billzonwheelzCorrespondent IINovember 28, 2010

Tressel and Rodriguez in The Shoe where Michigan was held to a season low 7 points.
Tressel and Rodriguez in The Shoe where Michigan was held to a season low 7 points.Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

It's official. Terrelle Pryor tied Troy Smith in wins against Michigan as the Ohio State starting QB with his third straight win vs. the Wolverines.

The winningest school in college football history (Michigan) has had its fair share of struggles and disappointments in recent years. Traditionally known as a powerhouse football team with great success, NFL-ready players and post season victories, the last three years haven't reflected this greatness at all.

Over the three-year span, the Wolverines boast a losing (15-21) record and are 0-3 against arch rival Ohio State. They will be making their first bowl appearance since the Carr-coached Wolverines went to the Capital One Bowl.  Looking ahead, has Rich Rodriguez's inability to live up to Michigan football standards been enough for fans to want to keep him around?

Michigan has a very impressive overall record of 884–307–36 (.735), along with 11 claimed national titles and 42 conference titles. Along with great teams are great players, and Michigan doesn't take a back seat when you look at their 77 Consensus All-Americans and three Heisman trophy winners.

Not only do great teams have great players, but in most cases they have successful head coaches. They had that with Lloyd Carr as head coach, who was 121-40-0 (.752) and 19-8 (.704) record against top 10-ranked opponents. Sure Carr had a losing record (6-7) against Ohio State, but he had a winning record vs. Michigan's other main rivals, going going 5–4 against Notre Dame and 10–3 against Michigan State.

Carr had the Michigan program going in the right direction and capped his career off with a win against Florida and Heisman trophy winning Tim Tebow in the 2007 Capital One Bowl. Under Carr, Michigan was ranked in the AP Top 25 for all but nine of its games.
So the 2007 season came to a close (as well as Lloyd Carr's career) and Michigan brought in former West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez's first season as the head coach at Michigan was brutal as the Wolverines went 3-9 (worst record in school history) and lost against Ohio State 42-7.

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Sure, he's taking his team to a bowl game finally but his win percentage (0.417) is 31.8 percent below the franchise's overall (0.735). All three of Rodriguez's teams have gotten worse as the season progressed and he got into Big 10 play. Under Rodriguez Michigan is 6-18 in conference play.
When will athletic director Dave Brandon cut Rich Rodriguez loose? What will be the last straw? Will it take a loss in a bowl game AND a disappointing 2011-2012 season? Brandon must decide Rodriguez's fate soon, these next two months are crucial recruiting periods. If he wants to fire Rich Rod shouldn't he make this decision quickly, considering a new coach would have that extra two months to recruit?

It turns out, Brandon will make his decision to either keep or let go of Rodriguez quickly, and will announce his decision within the next two weeks or so. Rodriguez was asked whether he was worried about his job and he answered, "I worry about my future every day before I took the job, after I took the job. But nothing is gonna change how we work." 

Does it need to change, though? Is the Michigan football program running on a treadmill under coach Rodriguez? What should Dave Brandon do with Rodriguez and how soon should he make this decision?
In conclusion, Carr fit the Michigan system a lot better, he recruited better and he had a great winning percentage. He should have never been replaced by Rodriguez, and had someone like him followed in his footsteps, Michigan wouldn't have suffered the worst three-year span in the history of its program.