I spent most of the bowl game thinking about the state of Michigan football and what it could have been. I’m not going to point fingers and say it is all Rich Rodriguez’s fault. I was certainly disappointed watching the bowl game and for that matter, the entire second half of the season. I wish this Rich Rodriguez experiment could have ended differently. It likely would have had he been given a fair shot and gotten support from the alumni and the faithful. He inherited one of the crappiest teams in Michigan history and had to completely rebuild the roster. The guy worked his tail off and found something spectacular in Denard Robinson, who completely shattered the school’s offensive and quarterback records. I want D-Rob back and I want Rodriguez for that matter, but it’s too late and we’re stuck in another coaching mess. This time will be messier then the first.
Here is a list of possible coaching candidates, many of which are long shots.
- Chris Peterson, Boise State: Boise State has become a national power with Peterson and he would be an obvious choice if he is available. He would likely be a pleasing signing, but I don’t see it happening. Peterson has no Michigan connections, and although he would be a great offensive fit with the current group of players, staying at Boise State seems more ideal than the pressure packed Michigan job.
- Gary Paterson, TCU: I, like many other viewers of the Rose Bowl, was amazed with the TCU team. Paterson runs a spread offense which translates, and may actually have a way to play defense! They held a dangerous Wisconsin offense to 19 points (48 for Michigan). TCU will go to the Big East next season and Paterson will more than likely follow. I don’t see him leaving the TCU program he built up to become the next UM coach.
- Jim Harbaugh, Standford: The hottest coach in America and ideal choice. Raised in Ann Arbor and a graduate of U of M. Runs a pro-style offense with a drop back quarterback and brings back the traditional I-formation. I’m not sure how well Denard fits into his system but I think all Michigan fans are willing to see how that plays out. I’m not sure what the reasons are, but there is something going on internally that likely keeps him away. Michigan fans all want Harbaugh back and it will be a tough blow when he signs with an NFL team.
- Les Miles, LSU: Was once a Michigan assistant under Bo. This was the guy that everyone wanted three years ago when Rodriguez was hired. Miles could have become the Michigan coach, but he shunned them. At some level, the last couple of disappointing seasons are because of Miles. For this, I would be pretty shocked if he is hired and I would lose a lot of faith in Michigan football. I also think Miles is vastly overrated and his offense system doesn’t translate well. I would take his recruiting but that’s about all. He had his chance three years ago.
- Brady Hoke, San Diego State University. Once a assistant under Lloyd Carr, Hoke seems to be the front runner because of his “Michigan Man” status. He has a pretty leading state line leading Ball State to 12-1 and his current job San Diego State, to 9-4 record and conference coach of the year honors. His overall coaching record is 47-50 which is a little frightening, but not as much as his traditional offense which may be unable to keep Denard around. I expect many Michigan fans to be fairly unhappy when he is named coach as many prefer a much bigger name like Les Miles.
Other Possibilities: Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern-Jon Gruden, former coach-Dan Mullen, Mississippi State- Charlie Strong, Lousiville- Kyle Wittingham, Utah.
Whoever Dave Brandon’s choice is, they will need to win and quickly. My personal opinion is that it’s going to be Brady Hoke who will start off with a lot unhappy fans.