Less than one year after proclaiming that he was a Mountaineer for life, Rich Rodriguez is now a Wolverine. Since the wolverine is a member of the weasel family, it seems rather appropriate. Now that I have gotten the obligatory cheap shots out of the way, I am stuck wondering ... is Rich Rodriguez the right guy for the job?
Michigan originally had its sights set on Les Miles, but after failing to pry him from Baton Rouge, they were forced to go hunting for a new head coach in the nation's coaching farm system, the Big East.
After lowering their standards and going to the Big East, the Wolverines were unable to pry Greg Schiano out of New Jersey. I thought they put a fence up around New Jersey to keep people in, and I assumed any reasonable person would go over the wall like an East German fleeing communism at their first opportunity. I guess either Greg Schiano is not reasonable or Michigan's program is in worse condition than I thought because Schiano could not be lured away from perennial powerhouse Rutgers.
The Wolverines reached out to Rodriguez and hired him in spite of his hefty buy out. In an effort to put the pressure on West Virginia to eat the buy out payment, Rodriguez offered his resignation effective the 3rd of January, one day after the Fiesta Bowl. This means that West Virginia must either let Rodriguez coach their team, while obviously recruiting for Michigan, or fire him and eat the four million dollar buyout. West Virginia is not exactly swimming in the bucks, so it is pretty much a given that Rodriguez will be calling the shots for the team he spurned. Boy, I can already hear the excuses coming after West Virginia's inevitable forty-point shellacking at the hands of the Sooners.
So is Rodriguez the right guy? To hear the national pundits speak, you would think that he invented the spread formation and the forward pass. It appears as though Rodriguez will be ushering in the spread offense to the Paleolithic Big Ten, never mind the fact that Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio State have all run various forms of spread offenses over the last couple of years.
Rodriguez reeks of Midwestern sensibility and has shown an ability to recruit so he seems like a good fit for the job. He has an impressive record, 60-26, but it was not until the ACC exodus that he took West Virginia to the promised-land. Prior to the 2004 exodus West Virginia's best record was 9-4 (resulting a prized berth in the Continental Tire Bowl). Now after all the good teams left his conference, well Rodriguez really tore it up winning 11, 11, and 10 games in 2005, 2006, 2007 respectively. It is true that Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, U Conn, and Syracuse might beat themselves, but someone has to get credit for the win.
He is 4-3 in rivalry games against inferior teams and has one major win in seven years in West Virginia against a Georgia team that did not really seem interested in playing. To sum it up, few significant wins, poor performance in rivalry games and bowls, teams that are prone to let downs.Sounds like Michigan replaced Lloyd Carr with Lloyd Carr. The time is now 7:37PM and Michigan still sucks.