On the Hot Seat With Rich Rodriguez

The Program
The Michigan Wolverines are arguably the greatest college football program of all time. The numbers they have amassed over the years speak for themselves. They have the highest win percentage in FBS history (.736) and the most wins in FBS history (882). The Wolverines’ department of athletics claims 11 national championships with the most recent one coming in 1997. Michigan’s home stadium is unlike any other. Michigan Stadium is the largest football stadium in the country and the third-largest sports stadium in the world. When you see the winged helmet, the first team to come to mind is the Wolverines. The Wolverines are well represented in the NFL. Charles Woodson is the reigning defensive player of the year. Tom Brady has won three Super Bowls and a MVP award. Chad Henne is the starting quarterback for my Miami Dolphins.


Will Michigan go get a man who coaches on a blue field?

The seat he is on is a tad bit too hot for what he's wearing.

The Coach
Had Rich Rodriguez been hired 20 or 25 years ago, he would have a comfortable cushion to install his spread offense in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately for him, he was hired to replace Lloyd Carr in late 2007. With college football being the revenue generator it is, a coach has to win and win early. Lloyd Carr led Michigan to a bowl game in each of his 13 seasons at Michigan. Rich Rod is currently 0-for-2. Me personally, I do not blame Rodriguez for Michigan’s struggles. It takes time to convert from a pro-style offense to a spread offense. If he had gone to bowl games, the hot seat would not be as hot as it is right now. However, he went 3-9 his first season in Ann Arbor and only managed two more wins in 2009. He has the players offensively to win, but the defense is suffering in a major way. This season, the Michigan defense has allowed four of seven opponents to score over 30 points, giving up 38 to Iowa and 37 to FCS Massachusetts. Under Rich Rod’s watch, Michigan is on NCAA probation for the first time in the program’s history after spending too much time practicing. The alleged overages did not show on the field at all.

The Short List
I believe Rich Rod survives another year, but with a new athletic director in place Rodriguez’s tenure will more than likely be cut short.

Lloyd Carr – Kansas State blew the dust off a 70-year-old Bill Snyder to lead the Wildcats in 2009. How difficult can it be to get a 65-year-old man to walk the sidelines of the Big House once again?

Dan Mullen – Why am I offering OUR coach to go elsewhere? As much as I want to think Mullen will never leave Starkville until he wins a SEC West championship, there are greener pastures in the land of college football. Michigan just so happens to be one of the greenest pastures in the land. Mullen runs a variation of the spread offense, so the transition between regimes will not be as tumultuous as it was between Carr and Rodriguez.

Jim Herrmann – Herrmann currently serves as linebacker coach for the New York Giants after holding the same position for the New York Jets. Before making his way to the pros, he served as Michigan’s defensive coordinator. He won the second annual Frank Broyles award for assistant coach of the year in 1997. Although he is not a Michigan alumnus, he has deep roots in the program, and his defensive background would serve the Wolverine program very well.

Les Miles – As long as Miles is having an ounce of success as a head coach, his name will always be mentioned as a candidate for any Michigan coaching vacancy. His name surfaced as the front-runner before Rodriguez eventually landed the job. Miles has a national championship on his resume. His unconventional play-calling may rub some conventional football fans the wrong way and his clock management may be a bit suspect, but once he beats Ohio State, all will be forgotten.

Chris Petersen – As with any position opening within the BCS conferences, this man’s name will be thrown in the hat. What he has been able to accomplish has been nothing short of remarkable.  If Boise State somehow sneaks into the BCS title game and Rodriguez gets canned, consider Petersen to be THE guy. He will have no reason to stay at Boise State.  He will have to prove he can play the big boys regularly and beat them regularly.