Sit back Michigan fans, and relax. I'm about to take you on a wonderful journey. A journey through the mind of a Michigan blogger.
Just a quick disclaimer: This is not going to be pretty.
I'm pissed at Rich Rodriguez. I'm pissed at Lloyd Carr. I'm pissed at Greg Robinson. I'm pissed at Scott Shafer. I'm pissed at Ron English. I'm pissed at Bill Martin. I'm pissed at pretty much everyone who has taken the one thing I thought I could count on, and screwed it up so bad that I can barely tell what it is anymore.
It's not that each one of those people did anything individually. It's the collective disregard for the greater good and knowing what's best for the program and the young men that strap on the winged helmet each Saturday in the fall that depend on these people to know what they are doing.
I blame Carr for being responsible for leaving the cupboards bare when he left. I blame Carr and English for the loss to Appy State and squandering the total mass of talent we had in 07, which we only got to see in the bowl game against Florida. I blame Martin for elbowing Carr out of the program, and completely screwing up the coaching search that ensued.
I both blame and respect Rodriguez for being so devoted to his system. It was his blind devotion that chased many great players from the program in 2008. Most were apprehensive about the spread-option system. But Rodriguez didn't flinch. This may indeed pay off over time for Michigan, but the growing pains are extensive. And so far 2 years have been sacrificed in this experiment.
For as long as I care to remember, I have been a devoted fan of the Michigan Wolverines. Even when I was going to college at Bowling Green State University and our football team was kicking some MAC ass and Urban Meyer was still cool, all I cared about what John Navarre, Chris Perry and Braylon Edwards.
I can not express enough to you, dear reader and loyal Michigan follower, that if we don't restore the order in 2010, Michigan football...hell, Michigan sports, the University of Michigan...even the entire state of Michigan will suffer for least 10 more years of floundering ineptitude.
How can Michigan football's struggles effect other sports or even the state as a whole? Easy. Michigan football is the pulse of the entire population. Millions of Michiganders call themselves Michigan fans. And football is easily the biggest and most popular sport in America. When Michigan wins, people are happy. When they lose, the fans lose. Call it juvenile, call it whatever, sports transcend life. And it matters a lot, to a lot of people.
The Michigan football program is the face of the University. More people show up for football games in a season than ever step on campus or into a University of Michigan hospital. Now I'm not going to say that U of M or the U of M health system are not both worthy of high praise. We all know they are. But try as they might, Michigan football is the standard for how the University is viewed by the general public. For better or worse.
And for the past few years, it's been for the worse. Much worse. You think that it's just a coincidence that the state's economy has taken a severe beating just like the football team has? Maybe it's not completely coincidental, but I'd be willing to make a wager. Why does Mary Sue Coleman, the University's president come to a press conference thats regarding NCAA allegations about the football program? Because she knows the University's bread is buttered on Saturday afternoons in the fall.
I am telling you right here and now, if Michigan doesn't get it right in 2010 and secure it's place at the top of the Big Ten and national standings, it's going to be a very rough next 10 years. This moment, right now, is the biggest and most important time ever for the future of Michigan football.
If Michigan doesn't win at least 8 or 9 games, Rich Rodriguez will be fired. No doubt about it. He must beat Sparty, he must beat tOSU. There is no middle ground.
And as a Michigan blogger and die-hard supporter, I have my doubts that this is going to happen this year.
Over the last 3 seasons, I've been sitting in the stands, in the press box, and in my living room watching Michigan fumble away games to:
- Appalachian State
- Notre Dame
- Purdue (twice)
- Illinois (twice)
- Sparty (twice)
- Penn State (twice)
- Wisconsin (twice)
- tOSU (3 times)
20 losses in 3 years.
By comparison, tOSU has had only 7 losses in 3 years. And those were to Illinois, LSU, USC, Penn State, Texas, USC and Purdue. In his 9 seasons at tOSU, Jim Tressel has only lost 21 times. And 5 were in his first year.
In 2007, we were 0-2. In 2008 AND 2009, we lost 5 games in a row.
I mean, my God...what the hell has happened to Michigan football?
You can't just blame Rodriguez. He's screwed up a lot so far, but not all of the blame falls in him. Carr screwed up too. So did three defensive coordinators. And while Bill Martin has done a lot for this University from a budget and infrastructure standpoint, he's been at the helm during this whole debacle. But later this month, Martin gets to sail away into the sunset while new AD Dave Brandon and Michigan work to clean up the wreckage he's left behind.
And while we're talking about tOSU, lets not forget that it's been 2,293 days since we've beaten them. Or...6 years, 3 months and 9 days.
At this point, I don't even remember what its like to beat them. And I can pretty much guarantee that they can't remember either. I hate tOSU with the heat of a nova, and yet all I can do is be completely and utterly jealous of their program.
They have done just about everything I wanted Michigan to do over the last 6 years. They've beaten us every year, they've played a home-and-home series with Texas AND USC, they've played in 5 BCS bowl games (including 2 national championships), they've won 5 straight Big Ten championships, and have sat atop the Big Ten standings pretty much the whole time.
Soooooo...what's not to envy?
But for as much as I sit here and rant on and on about how bad we've been, there have been bright spots. And we've done our best to put a positive spin on three years of failing to live up to the high standard that Bo has established.
But when Bo died in 2006, the essence of Michigan football died with him.
2010 marks the either the bitter end for a struggling young coaching staff, or a vindication of 3 years of hardship for Michigan faithful. If we can somehow get 8 to 10 wins (against our rivals, please), then Rodriguez will be safe and all the controversy surrounding him will disappear. Michigan will stable itself and Rodriguez will have a 4th year to work his spread-option magic. But if we struggle to make a bowl and lose to Sparty or tOSU, then it will be open season on RichRod. And Michigan will be replacing it's entire coaching staff, again. We will flounder and wallow in the cellar of the Big Ten and major college football for many years to come as we search for a light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.
|Date||Opponent||Time - TV||Result|
|9/3||Hawaii||12:00 - ESPN||63-3|
|9/10||UCF||12:00 - ABC||51-14|
|9/17||Colorado||3:30 - BTN||45-28|
|9/24||PENN ST.||3:30 - ABC||49-10|
|10/1||#8 WISCONSIN||3:30 - ABC||14-7|
|10/8||@ RUTGERS||7:00 - ESPN2||78-0|
|10/22||ILLINOIS (HC)||3:30 - BTN||41-8|
|10/29||@ MICHIGAN ST.||12:00 - ESPN||32-23|
|11/5||MARYLAND||3:30 - ESPN
|11/12||@ IOWA||8:00 - ABC
|11/19||INDIANA||3:30 - ESPN
|11/26||@ #2 OHIO ST.||12:00 - ABC
|12/30||#11 Florida St||8:00 - ESPN||-|
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