Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Michigan man will coach Michigan

Now I will freely admit that I can't be the first person to think of this. Truth be told, though, I haven't yet seen it in print. Either way, let me state that Jim Harbaugh should be the next coach of the Michigan Wolverines.

Following last night's come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame, not long on the heels of Stanford's upset of mighty USC, Harbaugh's status as the next up-and-coming "Big Time Coach" is cemented. The cat, as they say, is out of the bag.

Now imagine, if you will, what Harbaugh might be able to accomplish in Ann Arbor. I'll wait. No longer having to pick through the leftovers in the PAC-10, once the USC's and Oregon's have signed their share of blue-chippers, Harbaugh would be recruiting for one of the nation's most storied programs. Well, at least historically. (More on that in a bit.)

Besides, while the West Coast offense is the NCAA's prevailing flavor, who wouldn't mind a Toby Gerhart smashing through the line for the Maize and Blue? And lest anyone worry whether this might be Bo II, a halfback pass, anyone? Or that nifty Flea Flicker? The mind wanders.

So what about the current Michigan head man? It's no secret that the Rich Rodriguez Era has not gotten off to a great start. Year One we all let slide. Given Rodriguez's history, the first year is the throwaway; the second year, though, is supposed to be the turnaround. And it sure looked like things were turning around in Year Two as Michigan jumped out to a 4-0 start. Then the Big Ten schedule kicked in.

Not everything about Michigan under Rodriguez is bad, mind you. They did score a lot of points. Tate Forcier, at times, looks like a big time QB. But unfortunately, the bad has far outweighed the good of late. The 3-13 Big Ten record. The practice scandal. The no-shows at the Big House. Some questionable hiring decisions. Somehow, it just doesn't add up.

That said, I fully believe Rodriguez will return to coach the Wolverines in 2010. It's too soon to pull the plug on a coach who had been very successful elsewhere. However, provided Harbaugh, in turn, returns to Stanford to coach another season, the Rodriguez Watch is officially ON. What will it take for Rodriguez to stay? I'll know it when I see it. But if Jim Harbaugh's Stanford Cardinal enjoys another year of success and Michigan can't turn it around, then the phone lines between Ann Arbor and Stanford had better be burning.

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