2012 Home Opener: Air Force

The 2012 schedule just keeps getting tougher. Aside from the fact that we open the year against Alabama at Texas Stadium...play Notre Dame, Nebraska and tOSU all on the road...

...now we open the home schedule with the Air Force Academy. Believe it or not, I'm actually pretty hyped about this. Always a special event when you host a service academy at your house. Should be a great day.

UM press release/

Football to Face Air Force in 2012 Home Opener
ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (Friday, Jan. 28) that Air Force will be the Wolverines’ opponent for its 2012 home opener on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Michigan Stadium. The one-game agreement with the Falcons comes after facing the season-opener against Alabama at Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 1.

“We are excited to host Air Force in the 2012 home opener,” said Athletic Director Dave Brandon. “Alabama, Air Force and Notre Dame make our non-conference schedule among the toughest in college football.”

The only previous game played between the two schools came in the 1964 season opener. The Wolverines defeated the Falcons by a 24-7 score on Sept. 26 at Michigan Stadium. U-M went on to post a 9-1 overall record, claimed the Big Ten Championship with a 6-1 mark and capped the season with a 34-7 victory over Oregon State in the Rose Bowl.

With the addition of Air Force, Michigan is looking to fill one open slot on its 2012 schedule. The open date is scheduled to be played at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 15 or Sept. 29.

Following is Michigan’s current 2012 schedule:
Sept. 1          vs. Alabama (Arlington, Texas)
Sept. 8          Air Force
Sept. 22        at Notre Dame
Oct. 6            at Purdue
Oct. 13          Illinois
Oct. 20          Michigan State
Oct. 27          at Nebraska
Nov. 3           at Minnesota
Nov. 10         Northwestern
Nov. 17         Iowa
Nov. 24         at Ohio State
Off Schedule: Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin

Michigan Basketball Beats Sparty...In East Lansing

This about sums it up.
Photo: UMHoops.com

Its been 1,181 days since Michigan has beaten Michigan State in football or basketball. Michigan just beat little brother 61-57 at the Breslin Center. The streak Izzover! No couch is safe in East Lansing tonight.

Aaaaaaand, the Michigan women's team beat Ohio State in Columbus 69-66 after being down by 14 in the first half.

Go Frickin' Blue! What a night.

That is all.

Brady Hoke: Mad Recruiter

Brady Hoke wants YOU to play for Michigan.
We really don't cover recruiting here outside of our recruiting board that tracks verbal commitments. I've always thought of recruiting as a very fluid process, and treated it as such on this blog. It's not that I don't respect that impact that recruiting has, it is the lifeblood of a program. But the unexpected nature of what is being said versus what is actually going on has always frustrated me.

I heard this on WDFN in the car this morning, and I was sort of not paying attention, so bear with me. But a caller said that in this year's Super Bowl, only one 5-star recruit is on either team's roster. Who is this one and only high school 5-star to make it to the big game? Well of course, Michigan's own Lamar Woodley.

So take recruiting rankings with a grain of salt. They're usually pretty accurate, but sometimes shouldn't be taken too seriously. I've always thought that it's not the rankings that matter, it's the development of the players once they enroll. Rankings can mean something when you have to start half your class as freshman like Michigan has had to do recently. But really, you want to red-shirt as many as you can, and bring them along slowly so they can contribute better as juniors and seniors.

However, all that being said, you can't deny the immediate impact that Brady Hoke and his assistants have had on Michigan's recruiting success in just the few short days that Hoke has been on the job. In just the last 6 days, Michigan has received 6 new verbals. DB's Tamani Carter, DE Keith Heitzman, ATH Raymon Taylor, K Matt Wile, QB Russell Bellomy and LB Antonio Poole have been added to the class since the hiring of Hoke.

But what has also become obvious, is the even more immediate recruiting impact of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Mattison brings not only an impressive resume with him to Ann Arbor, but a sense of toughness and eagerness that I think translates so well to the college game. I think recruits are responding very favorably to Mattison. Proof is in Michigan's most recent commit, four-star LB Antonio Poole, who had this to say about his reason to play for Michigan...
"It just felt like the right choice, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I really would like to play for coach Mattison."
I can safely assume that he's not the only verbal commit out there saying that right now.

I think Michigan's 2011 class can be somewhere around 25 recruits when it's all said and done (again, I'm no expert). But the way things are going, we should have no problem hitting that mark. Signing Day is February 2nd. According to Rivals.com, Michigan's class stands at #30 nationally, and #4 in the Big Ten.

And for those wondering what Rich Rod will be doing that day, he'll be co-hosting CBS College Sports Network's live 7-hour coverage of signing day alongside former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer and recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.

New Scoreboards a Welcome Addition to the Big House

Michigan AD David Brandon and head football coach Brady Hoke.
Michigan's athletic director David Brandon has had quite a first year on the job. A few of his more public bullet points...

• He's successfully brought night games to Michigan Stadium with the announcement of the first ever night-time kickoff set for the Notre Dame game in week 2 of the 2011 season.

• He inherited a football coach embroiled in controversy from inside and outside of the football program.

• He took the reigns of the "Big Chill" and guided that event to a very successful end, concluding in a Guinness World Record for the largest crowd to ever attend a hockey game.

• He fired his football coach, and embarked on Michigan's 2nd head coaching search in 3 years.

• He hired former Michigan assistant Brady Hoke, a relative unknown among Michigan fans, after it was widely rumored that Jim Harbaugh, and then Les Miles would be named to replace Rodriguez.

• And then just last week, the University of Michigan announced a $20 million dollar project to replace the scoreboards at Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena and Yost Ice Arena.

UM press release/
Regents Approve New HD Video Boards for Big House, Crisler and Yost
ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted unanimously Thursday (Jan. 20) to install new high definition (HD) video scoreboards at Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena and Yost Ice Arena. The boards will be installed at each venue prior to the 2011-12 season.

“We are excited about the conversion to HD and the installation of LED boards at our three biggest venues,” said Athletic Director Dave Brandon. “These new boards will provide our fans with the opportunity for enhanced and crystal-clear viewing of not only the event, but of replays, announcements and other fun ways to create game day excitement.”

Due to the construction at Crisler Arena, the Michigan Sports Television Production Studio, which manages and controls the video boards, will be relocated to Michigan Stadium until the arena is completed in 2012-13. The athletic department will convert to high-definition equipment with the installation of the new video boards.

The estimated cost of the project is $20 million. The athletic department will be funding the project through internal resources.
You may recall us talking about this a while back after the Big Chill.

Michigan's outgoing scoreboards were installed prior to the 1998 season.

While this came as great news to pretty much Michigan fans everywhere who have watched an event in these three venues in recent years, the advertising question still remained.

The cost of running an athletic department at a major university is only getting more expensive. And at Michigan, new stadium renovations, both at the Big House and at Crisler are costing UM well over a quarter of a billion dollars. I do not know the all of the details about the financial situation inside the athletic department, I know Michigan brings in well more than they spend, but I can only assume that changes are going to be needed in order to continue the positive stream of revenue for the department.

So my question is this. With the addition of these new video boards at the Big House, are we going to see an end to the no adverting policy inside the stadium?

Since the beginning of time, Michigan has refused to sell advertising space inside the bowl of the stadium. But with the old traditional scoreboards going away, and video boards replacing them, there could be a possibility of "temporary" adverting in the form of ads that appear on screen and then go away...much like they did for the Big Chill.

In our previous article, we quoted Brandon as saying this about the advertising done for the Big Chill and if that would be continued with football:
Q: Hockey is different with advertising on the ice and boards. Does it offend you in any way to have advertising (during Saturday's game) in Michigan Stadium? Is this something you would entertain in the stadium during football games?

A: These sponsors have been sponsoring our hockey program, many of them for years. They're one of the reasons why our hockey program can be as successful as it is. When you go over to Yost, this is what you see on the boards. This is what you see, display advertising. We use the ice, we use the boards, and from day one, as we created this (game), we wanted to give those sponsors the same opportunity because it's a hockey game. This is kind of how hockey works.

Q: But do you ever see advertising in the stadium for football?

A: No. I think our fans, even though it's pretty prevalent in most venues, I think one of the things the fans enjoy about their days at Michigan Stadium is they're not being bombarded by advertising messages, and I can understand that. I went to all the away games this year, and you go to those venues like Penn State or Ohio State and they have commercials running and videos and display advertising. As I've said over and over again, I borrow a line from Sam Walton. He said that if you don't know what to do, ask your customer. All of the research and input we've gotten from our customers is that they really don't like or want that as part of their game-day experience inside the stadium, and I respect that.
Since we've been getting some folks inquiring about the possibility of ads on the new big screens, we decided to go right to the source. In an email sent to UM media relations, they replied and confirmed that the new video boards will not be used for corporate advertising for football games.

So with advertising not being an issue (at least for football), I am all for these new video boards and I look forward to seeing how they fit in with the facade of the new structures. I for one am all for a total video board surface with no metal or "frame" of any kind around it. If we could go 20% larger than Texas' Godzillatron, I'd be satisfied. What say you?

Al Borges Interview

Can't post a Greg Mattison interview without posting an Al Borges interview. Borges comes to Michigan with Hoke from San Diego State where he was the offensive coordinator there as well.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Greg Mattison Interview

Great sit down with Greg Mattison, Michigan's old new defensive coordinator. He has some very nice things to say about Brady Hoke. Plus some great video of Michigan's practices from the mid-90's.

I know it's only January, but I am getting so excited for the 2011 season. Between the additions of Hoke and Mattison, and the subtraction of GERG Robinson, I think we're going to see a very different defensive squad on the field this coming year...one that is much more refined and disciplined.

Hoke Announces 7 Staff Hires

Full UM press release/

Hoke Announces Seven Staff Appointments
ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan head coach Brady Hoke announced today (Tuesday, Jan. 18) the hiring of seven staff members to his Wolverine coaching and support staff. Hoke named six of the nine assistant coaching positions and the appointment of his strength and conditioning coach.

Six members of the San Diego State staff joined Hoke in Ann Arbor. Al Borges will coordinate the offense and work with the quarterbacks, Dan Ferrigno will coordinate the special teams and coach the tight ends, Darrell Funk will coach the offensive line, Jeff Hecklinski mentors the wide receivers and Mark Smith has been appointed linebackers coach. Aaron Wellman also joined the Wolverines’ staff as the strength and conditioning coach.

Hoke rehired long time Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson to the same position on the staff. Jackson will begin his 20th season as a member of the Wolverine coaching staff in 2011.

“We have hired some great football coaches who will represent the University and Michigan football with great pride and respect for the tradition of this program,” said Hoke. “They are great teachers and mentors for young men and will work hard to help our players reach their goals.”

Hoke will continue to work on completing his coaching staff prior to signing day on Feb. 2.

Following are biographical sketches on the newly hired staff:

Offensive Coordinator
A two-time nominee for the Frank Boyles Assistant Coach of the Year award, Al Borges is in his first year as Michigan's offensive coordinator and 24th year serving in that capacity at the NCAA level. A member of Brady Hoke's staff at San Diego State in 2009 and '10, he most recently helped lead the Aztecs to a 9-4 record in 2010 as their offensive coordinator.
In four years as Auburn's offensive coordinator (2004-07), Borges was part of four bowl teams with a collective 42-9 record. He helped guide the Tigers to four consecutive top 15 finishes in the final Associated Press poll, including an undefeated season and a No. 2 ranking in 2004. During his tenure, Auburn defeated 12 nationally-ranked opponents, including nine teams ranked in the top nine. Four of his offensive players earned All-America honors and eight garnered first-team All-Southeast Conference accolades. Prior to that, Borges served as offensive coordinator at three Pac-10 schools: California, UCLA and Oregon.
Among his standout student-athletes were UCLA All-American, Davey O’Brien Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Cade McNown, UCLA Outland Trophy winner Kris Farris, SEC Offensive Player of the Year quarterback Jason Campbell (Auburn) and All-American running back Carnell Williams (Auburn).
Borges and his wife, Nikki, have two children, Cole and Mady Jo.

Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
After 21 seasons in the Pac-10 Conference and two with Brady Hoke at San Diego State, Dan Ferrigno joins the Michigan staff in 2011 as the special teams coordinator and tight end coach.
Ferrigno oversaw SDSU's tight ends and special teams. He also oversaw the special teams units at Southern California, California and Oregon State, and served as tight ends coach for three seasons with the Golden Bears.
As the wide receivers coach at California (2006-07), Ferrigno helped the Bears post a 10-3 record in 2006 en route to winning the Holiday Bowl and a No. 14 final ranking in the AP poll. Thanks in part to wide receiver DeSean Jackson's Pac-10-best nine touchdowns in 2006, California's 280 points in conference play marked the second-highest total in school history.
From 2001-05, Ferrigno helped lead Oregon to four bowl games, aided by 23 100-yard receiving performances. He helped develop Keenan Howry into Oregon's first All-Pac-10 first-team wide receiver in 16 seasons, as well as Oregon's all-time leading receiver, Samie Parker.
Ferrigno was tight end Tony Gonzalez's position coach at California. A first-team all-Pac-10 selection and NFL All-Pro, Gonzalez was the 13th overall pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1997 draft.
In all, Ferrigno has served as an assistant coach at California, Oregon, USC, Oregon State, Western Michigan, Pacific and San Francisco State.
Ferrigno and his wife, Shawna, have three daughters and three sons.

Offensive Line
Darrell Funk is in his first year with Michigan football, serving as offensive line coach. He previously served under Brady Hoke at both San Diego State (2009-10) and Ball State (2008), coaching the offensive line.
His offensive lines have ranked among the nation’s best in fewest sacks allowed two of the past three seasons. The Aztecs squad finished sixth in 2010 and Ball State was listed 10th in 2008.
Funk helped the Aztecs finish the 2010 season ranked 12th nationally in passing offense, averaging just over 295 yards per game, and 16th in total offense (456.69 ypg). In his lone year at Ball State, he helped the Cardinals to a 12-2 record, the MAC West Division title and a trip to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
A Fort Collins, Colo., native and Colorado State alumnus, Funk spent five seasons with the Rams under head coach Sonny Lubick (2003-07), including the final four working with the offensive line. He coached CSU's special teams and tight ends his first season in 2003, after a one-year stint at Northern Illinois as tight ends coach. He also has made stops as a full-time assistant at Rhode Island (1998-2001), Mesa State College (1993-97) and Muskingum College (1990-92).
Funk was a three-year starter at CSU from 1983-86, playing on both the offensive and defensive line and at tight end. He has a bachelor's degree from Colorado State (1988) and a master's degree from Illinois (1990). Funk and his wife, Teresa, have two sons, Tyler and Dustin, and one daughter, Courtney.

Wide Receivers
Hecklinksi is in his first year with Michigan football, serving as the team’s wide receivers coach. He comes to Ann Arbor after spending two seasons with Brady Hoke at San Diego State as assistant head coach, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator.
The Western Illinois graduate joined Hoke at Ball State in 2004 as the team's receivers coach, before taking on added duties with recruiting in 2008. On the field, Hecklinski helped coach two of the most prolific players in Cardinal history in wideouts Dante Love, who ranked second in the country in 2007 in all-purpose yards (206.92), and Dante Ridgeway, who was an All-American and one of three finalists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2004.
Hecklinski was the quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator at Arizona in 2003, after two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Central Missouri State, where he helped the team to the school's first-ever playoff appearance and bowl victory.
Hecklinski earned his bachelor's degree at Western Illinois in 1997, where he was a quarterback and threw for over 5,980 yards to rank second in the school's career record book. He played for the Arena Football League's Albany Firebirds in 1988. He and his wife, Tiffany, have a daughter, Riley, and two sons, Michael and J.R.

Linebackers Coach
Mark Smith is in his first year with Michigan football, mentoring the linebackers. He has eight years of defensive coordinator experience at the collegiate level, and has coached linebackers since 1988. Smith came to Ann Arbor after spending two years on Brady Hoke's San Diego State staff where he coached the linebackers, and six seasons as Hoke's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Ball State.
In 2008, Ball State ranked 29th nationally in scoring defense, surrendering just over 20 points per game. Under his guidance, the Cardinals' defense also was 28th in tackles for loss, 38th in pass efficiency defense, 55th in pass defense and 69th in total defense.
Before moving to Muncie, Ind., Smith was an assistant coach at Indiana State for 15 years, including his last two years as a defensive coordinator in 2001 and '02. He helped coach six All-Americans, including NFL Draft pick Dan Brandenburg.
Smith began his coaching career at Defiance High School in Ohio, after graduating from Purdue in 1979. The Richmond, Ind., native also has a master's degree from Bowling Green (1983). He and his wife, Kim, have three children, Heather, Eric and Craig. 

Director of Strength & Conditioning
Aaron Wellman is in his first year at Michigan the football team's strength and conditioning coach. He came to Ann Arbor after spending two years at San Diego State and five years at Ball State with Brady Hoke.
Wellman has 15 years of experience at the Division I collegiate level, including seven years in the Big Ten Conference. A safety at Division III Manchester College in Indiana, Wellman began his career as a graduate assistant at Indiana University, where he earned his master's degree in 1998. He spent three years as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Hoosiers and was primarily involved with the football, baseball and softball teams, as well as developing individual nutrition programs for student-athletes.
At Michigan State, Wellman was involved with all aspects of the strength and conditioning program for the football team, and assisted with men's and women's basketball and ice hockey.
A member of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, Wellman is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He and his wife, Shellie, have a son, Grant, and a daughter, Grace.

Hoke Nabs Ravens Greg Mattison to be Defensive Coordinator

Brady Hoke has gone back to the Michigan well to bring former Michigan assistant and DC Greg Mattison back to AA. Hard to really find anything wrong with this hire. Greg brings a strong pedigree of great defenses back to Ann Arbor. He's probably one of the best possible candidates we could have hoped for. No doubt, with Hoke and Mattison back at Schembechler Hall, Michigan is devoted to becoming a strong defensive team once again.

Full UM press release/
Hoke Hires Ravens Coordinator Greg Mattison to Run Wolverines Defense
ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan football coach Brady Hoke hired one of the NFL’s top defensive coordinators to run the Wolverines defense, naming Greg Mattison to the same position that he previously held in Ann Arbor during the 1995 and 1996 seasons. Mattison served as the defensive line coach for the Wolverines from 1992-96.

“Greg loves Michigan, loves recruiting and is excited about coming back to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan,” said Hoke. “Greg is one of the top defensive coordinators in football, and his defensive units have always prided themselves on stopping the run. He will be a great asset to our program and an excellent addition to our staff.”

An experienced, proven defensive coach, Mattison brings to Ann Arbor 12 years of defensive coordinator experience at the collegiate level and two seasons in the NFL. During his time at the collegiate level, he coached 18 future NFL players, including seven student-athletes drafted in the first three rounds and two first-round picks.

Mattison completed his third season with the Baltimore Ravens in 2010. He was the team’s defensive coordinator for two seasons (2009-10) after joining the staff as the linebackers coach in 2008. The Ravens finished as the No. 3 overall unit during his first season as coordinator and followed up with a No. 10 ranking this season.

Prior to his first foray into the NFL ranks, Mattison spent more than 30 years at the collegiate level, most recently as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the University of Florida for three seasons (2005-07). His defenses ranked among the top 10 nationally in rushing defense each of his three seasons. Mattison helped the Gators win the 2006 National Championship and SEC Championship. His defense held Ohio State to 82 yards of total offense in a 41-14 victory in the BCS National Championship Game.

Mattison spent eight seasons (1997-2004) at Notre Dame before making the jump to Gainesville. He was hired as the team’s defensive coordinator and alternated between coaching the linebackers and defensive line during his first five seasons. Mattison served as the Irish’s recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach his final three seasons with the program (2002-04).

During his previous stint in Ann Arbor, Mattison coached the defensive line (1992-96) and was the team’s defensive coordinator in his final two seasons (1995-96). The Wolverines defense ranked among the top 20 nationally in many statistical categories during his two seasons as coordinator.

Mattison has gained a wealth of experience during his coaching career. He also held coaching stints at Texas A&M (1989-91), Navy (1987-88), Western Michigan (1982-86), Northwestern (1978-80), Cornell (1977) and Illinois (1976). Mattison was head coach at Logan High School in La Crosse, Wis., for two seasons (1974-75). He began his coaching career as head coach at Riverdale High School in Muscoda, Wis. (1971-73).

He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1971. He was team captain for the football and wrestling teams as a junior and senior. Mattison earned All-America honors in wrestling and was named the Offensive MVP for the football team as a senior.

Mattision and his wife, Ann, have two adult children: Lisa and Bryan. Lisa was a three-time All-Big East selection as a member of the Notre Dame softball team. Bryan was a two-time captain and three-year starter at defensive end for the University of Iowa football team.

Michigan Fan Factions and Mike Hart on WDFN

There's no doubt, there have been factions created in and around the Michigan football world over the last 3 years. There were probably factions around the program prior to that, but I don't think the Lloyd Carr administration ignited those factions as much as the Rodriguez administration did.

Like him or not, Rich Rodriguez, the hire of Rich and his lack of immediate success poured gasoline on any sort of discontent that existed just under the surface before he got there, and after he was hired. He wasn't a "Michigan Man". He was an outsider, thrown into a situation that almost no one could have been successful in. As it turned out, Rich was the lightening rod that everyone could now point to as public enemy #1.

Fair or not, that's ultimately how Rich Rod's legacy will be remembered. I truly hope that he can find himself a perfect coaching job and a school that will embrace who Rich Rodriguez is and what he represents. He is a good coach, he is a good man, and deserves a chance at greatness. I will be rooting for Rich Rod no matter where he takes his talents.

Michigan blogs MVictors and Hoover Street Rag decided to team up and dissect the various sects of Michigan fans, and peer into the dark inky shadows of the vaunted Michigan factions and clans. It's truly worth a click. You won't be disappointed.

Speaking of not being disappointed, you might also enjoy this little clip of Mike Hart calling into WDFN this morning and talking to Matt Sheppard. He talks about the NFL, his thoughts on Rich Rod (both past and present), Brady Hoke and the challenges of coaching at Michigan.

Click here for MP3.

Hoke, Denard Interviews

A little Monday MLK Day video. Enjoy!

Denard discusses his reason for staying at Michigan:

Seven good minutes with head coach Brady Hoke:

Takin' the Low Road with Kyle Turley

There are bound to be a few people out there who are not going to be happy when a coach leaves a second, or third-tier program to take what was widely known to be their dream job at a traditional powerhouse school . You can take the high road like the SDSU athletic director did and wish your former coach luck in his new endeavor, or you can follow Kyle Turley and take the low road.

First of all, for those who don't know...Kyle Turley is a former player for San Diego State, and was a player in the NFL for the Chiefs, Rams and Saints. He made a name for himself by getting into a fight during a game, and throwing a Jets players' helmet across the field (picture above, video below).

He currently lives in Nashville where he focuses on his music career. He considers his music genre to be called "power country".

His debut album is entitled "Anger Management", clearly realizing there might be a problem. But his text message to Hoke would suggest a little more anger management might be needed.
"I understand what you gotta do for you and yours. But just the same, f_ck you and f_ck Michigan. Go Aztecs. I hope you lose every damn game. That was a bull-sh_t move, brother, and you know it."
Anyway, Kyle called into 1090AM in San Diego yesterday to let their listeners know just how upset he was at Hoke for leaving SDSU.

I'm not even sure where to start with this. Lane Kiffin? Really? That's the biggest comparison you can make?

San Diego State has never been the kind of program where coaches go to retire. It's a bridge school. You go there so you can improve your stock, beat some weak conference teams, and then move on. USC and UCLA have way more draw than San Diego State has ever had and will ever have. It's not a reflection of the coaching staff or University, it's just the way it is.

Look, I was at Bowling Green when Urban Meyer left to coach at Utah. Urban was a very popular coach at BGSU, probably the most popular to ever coach in the MAC. But as much as people were disappointed when he left, you knew that BGSU and schools like it are not where truly gifted coaches go to retire. You're simply just a resume builder. Sure it's great while they're there, but you have to know that it's only temporary.

Sure, San Diego is a nice place. Sunshine, warm, Mexicans, meth labs, drug trafficking, all that crap. But you simply can not compare San Diego State to Michigan. I'm biased, of course. But just look at the fan-bases. Michigan, even during it's down stretch, fills it's stadium with 113,000 people every weekend. San Diego State, against Utah in one of their biggest home games of the year, just topped 34,000 fans (Qualcomm holds 71,000).

This is not a slight against Hoke. But San Diego State is just not a football school. It's not a football culture. Michigan bleeds football. And so does Brady Hoke.

Brady Hoke Press Conference Video

The presser, in it's entirety. Enjoy.

First impression: I love this guy. More thoughts coming soon.

Getting to Know Coach Hoke

So who exactly is this Brady Hoke we all keep hearing about? Let's take a minute to get to know Michigan's 19th head coach.

Brady Hoke during his Michigan coaching career from 1995-2002
Hoke as the head coach at San Diego State from 2008-2010
Name: Brady Hoke
Born: November 3rd, 1958, Dayton, OH
Family: Married to wife Laura, daughter Kelly. Older brother Jon is currently the secondary coach for the Chicago Bears. Father John played for Woody Hayes at tOSU. Despite father's connection to tOSU, Brady grew up a Michigan fan.

Playing Career:
Ball State (1977-1980), Linebacker, 4-year letterman, 99 tackles as a soph., 95 as a junior, 150 as a senior. Captain of 1980 team, earned 2nd-team all MAC. Won 1978 MAC title.

Coaching Career:
1981-1982 Yorktown HS (DC, OL)
1983-1983 Grand Valley State (DL)
1984-1986 Western Michigan (DL)
1987-1989 Toledo (LB)
1989-1994 Oregon State (DL)
1995-1996 Michigan (DE)
1997-2001 Michigan (DL)
2002-2002 Michigan (Assoc HC/DL)
2003-2008 Ball State (HC)
2008-2010 San Diego State (HC)
2011-         Michigan (HC)

Coach Hoke congratulating Phillip Brabbs after his game winning FG against Washington in 2002.
Head Coaching Record:
Overall 47-50
Ball State 34-38
San Diego State 13-12
Overall Bowls 1-1

2008 MAC West Division Champions
2010 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year

A few thoughts
Initial reaction from Michigan fans has been mixed. On one hand, you have a large (but growing) group of people who are willing to let Coach Hoke come in, get started, and we'll see how things go. These folks are willing to support the new coach, but are very eager to see what he can do.

I will say right here and now that I am very much in this camp. I am willing to recognize that he's not the biggest name out there, but I also think that sometimes you don't need the big sexy name. Michigan has never been the kind of place that needs a big name as it's head coach. We make big names at Michigan, we don't hire them.

But there's still the group of Michigan fans who are jaded from the last 3 years with Rodriguez. This group of fans wanted the big sexy name to swoop in a rescue Michigan from mediocrity. And when Harbaugh, and then Miles never panned out, and Hoke was hired, they just threw their hands up in frustration.

To this group, I don't have anything I can tell you that will make you feel better. If you feel the need to fold your arms and hold your breath in protest until Jim Harbaugh comes to Michigan, then by all means. I personally feel that that kind of short-sightedness led to fractured fan base that ultimately led to Rodriguez being fired. If that's how you want to treat Hoke, there's not much I can

But if you want to rally behind Coach Hoke, then by all means this is the place for you. It will be my goal to try and be a fair and balanced as I can in my coverage of not only Brady Hoke, but all things Michigan football. But first and foremost, I will give him time to get started on the right foot. And it all starts with his lunch with the team today, and his press conference at 1PM.

Go Blue!

Michigan Gets It's Man

Official UofM Brady Hoke press release lives here.

Denis Porov/The Associated Press
After a week of uncertainty, the mysterious and sometimes comical coaching search has mercifully come to an end. Ever since the end of the Gator Bowl, Michigan fans have been waiting to find out who their next football coach is going to be. We all knew Rodriguez was done, but more important than that, no one really knew what to expect when this official search began.

Most Michigan fans had visions of Jim Haubaugh on the Michigan sidelines. And while I agree that Harbaugh would have been a fantastic hire, there was the lingering effects of his Michigan student-athlete comments he made 3 years ago. Don't underestimate the power of those words, and the lasting impression they left on the brass at UofM. I won't say that was the reason Harbaugh was never a serious candidate, there is obviously a lot of details I'm not aware of. But clearly Jim's star was on the rise, and he took his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at coaching at the highest level, and made the most of it.

And I don't blame him for that. I won't curse his name because of it. In my eyes he's still a Michigan man, and worthy of that title.

Once the Harbaugh hangover cleared up, all eyes turned to Les Miles. Why? He had name recognition, he was a Michigan man, he had all the things Dave Brandon laid out as his criteria last week. I personally wasn't such a huge fan of Miles, but I was ready to buy into him because it just seemed like a lock.

I won't speculate too much as to why Miles decided to stay at LSU. Was he even offered the UM job? Maybe he's just happy at LSU? Why shouldn't he be? I'm sure they made it worth his while. He's done pretty well by LSU as being considered for the Michigan job.

I didn't like the Miles discussion because frankly, I think Les has peaked at LSU. He's won on the biggest stage and has proven himself a winner in the world's toughest conference. He has nothing left to prove as a coach. Is that really the guy you want to come to Michigan to try and rebuild a winning culture? I have no doubt Michigan would have been pretty good under Miles, but maybe not as good as we could be.

Enter: Brady Hoke. Maybe the first, and ultimately the final choice to be Michigan's head man.

Hoke's name popped up 3 years ago when we hired Rodriguez. I didn't know much about him at the time other than he'd had some success at Ball State. But at the time, Michigan wasn't in the mood to gamble with a relatively untested Michigan man. We were in the mood to go out and get the sexy name. Bill Martin hired Rodriguez based on his success running a scheme that should have never some with 100 miles of Schembechler Hall.

After going after the big name, paying out the wazoo to get him (and fire him), only to ultimately find out that you just can't fit a square peg into a round hole, Michigan is finally ready to go back to the winning formula that has brought success to Ann Arbor for the last 40 years.

What I like about Brady Hoke is that first and foremost, he's a players coach. Just listen to what his players have to say about him. He's the kind of guy that kids would run through a brick wall for. It's cliche, I know, but you hear it.

He's the kind of coach that knows how to coach, and win in the Big Ten. He's a defensive-minded coach. He's like that because he knows that defense wins, not only in the Big Ten, but everywhere.

Unlike Harbaugh or Miles, I think Hoke is going to come in here, assess the talent we have, and adapt his schemes to fit what's here. At SDSU he ran a hybrid of the spread, west-coast and peppered in pro-style system. I do think that Denard can have a chance to shine in a Hoke offense. Will he be brave enough to stick around and find out. We'll see.

I guess what I like most about the Hoke hire, is that Michigan didn't follow the beaten path to get a coach who either needed top dollar to want to come here, or has already proven himself somewhere else. Michigan got a relatively successful coach with strong Michigan ties, a midwest guy, and a guy with still plenty to prove at the highest level. He's eager to win, he wants to do it at Michigan, and Michigan has always been his dream job.

For my perspective, Brady Hoke has a ton of upside. Is there still a lot of uncertainty? Of course. It's always a gamble when you hire a new coach...I don't care if it's Bill Belichick or Urban Meyer. But Michigan went the route of bringing in a guy who WANTS to be at Michigan. I applaud the move.

I said from the outset that I support Dave Brandon and trust him to make the best decision for Michigan. I think he did all Michigan fans proud with this hire. I will give Brady Hoke my full support while he's the coach at Michigan. I did the same for Rodriguez.

We'll see how well the many factions of the Michigan fanbase accept Hoke. It will be tough at first, especially after the Rodriguez debacle. But I think we owe it to him to come together at a Michigan fanbase and rally behind our new coach. Otherwise, this ship will never get off the ground.

Welcome Coach Hoke. And Go Blue!

It's Done, Brady Hoke Named Michigan Head Coach

Well, it's official. Please welcome Brady Hoke as Michigan's next head football coach.

Via UM Media Relations/
Hoke Named Michigan Football Coach
ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon announced today (Tuesday, Jan. 11) the hiring of Brady Hoke as the 19th coach in the 131-year history of Michigan football. Hoke arrives in Ann Arbor after spending the past eight seasons as a head coach at Ball State (2003-08) and San Diego State (2009-10).

“We are pleased to announce the hiring of Brady,” said Brandon. “He is a terrific coach and will be a great ambassador and leader for our football program. We look forward to having him build a championship program on the field and in the classroom.”

Hoke spent eight seasons in Ann Arbor before embarking on his head coaching career. He mentored the Wolverines defensive line all eight seasons, a group that helped Michigan rank annually among the nation’s best in rushing and total defense. Hoke coached three linemen to All-America honors during his tenure – William Carr (1996), Glen Steele (1997) and Rob Renes (1999) – and had five players earn first-team All-Big Ten accolades.

A member of Michigan’s national championship staff in 1997, Hoke helped the defense lead the nation in rushing defense at 89 yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry. Michigan’s team posted a 5-3 record against Michigan State, Ohio State and in bowl games during Hoke’s tenure on the staff.

Hoke was named the 2010 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Aztecs to a 9-4 overall record and 5-3 conference mark. He led SDSU to its first bowl game in 12 years, a 35-14 victory over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl. Six of his players earned first-team All-MWC honors in 2010, including running back Ronnie Hamilton, the league’s freshman of the year. In his first season at San Diego State, Hoke had five players named to All-MWC teams, while 11 players were MWC All-Academic selections.

Hoke took the leadership position at his alma mater, Ball State, in 2003 and built it into a championship program before departing after six seasons for the West Coast. He mentored players to 35 All-MAC selections in six years en route to a pair of bowl game appearances in 2007 and ’08. The 2008 season marked the best season in program history, tallying a school-record 12 wins and completing an undefeated Mid-American Conference regular season campaign. His team won the west division championship in 2008 and shared the division crown in 2007.

Hoke has 28 years of collegiate experience, with assistant coaching stints at Grand Valley State (1983), Western Michigan (1984-86), Toledo (1987-88), Oregon State (1989-94) and Michigan (1995-2002).

A 1982 graduate of Ball State University, Hoke earned four letters (1977-80) with the Cardinals. He was part of the only two teams in school history to post undefeated conference seasons: as a player in 1978, and as head coach in 2008. Hoke led BSU to the 1978 MAC championship, and as a team captain in 1980 earned All-MAC second team honors.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Hoke graduated from Fairmont East High School in 1977. Hoke and his wife, the former Laura Homberger, have one daughter, Kelly.

Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon will hold a press conference to introduce Coach Hoke on Wednesday (Jan. 12) at 1 p.m. EST. The media opportunity will be held at the Junge Family Champions Center located between the Michigan Stadium and Crisler Arena tunnels. The press conference is not open to the public. Both Brandon and Hoke will be unavailable for media interviews until tomorrow’s press conference.

Much more to come on this. But for now, sit back and enjoy the fact that the search is over, and Michigan has landed itself a very good coach.

Les Miles to Stay at LSU, Domino 1 Headed West

Via the LSU AD:
"I am pleased to announce that Les Miles will remain the head coach at LSU," said Tigers Athletic Director Joe Alleva. "Les has led this program to many great successes on the field and his players represent LSU well off the field. We look forward to many great years of LSU football under his leadership."
Well, it's drawing-board time again. DB is aboard Domino 1 and is headed to the OC. I sure hope Brady Hoke is on the other end awaiting his arrival. Please and thank you.

Update: Report that Hoke will meet with Brandon this afternoon in LA.

Brandon's Flight Path Avoids Ohio

We all know Dave Brandon has been traversing the country in search of Michigan's next head coach. He's been doing so via a private jet, which many Michigan bloggers have been tracking online.

We reported to you last night that Brandon met with Les Miles in Baton Rouge. While we know for sure that a meeting took place, the specific substance of that meeting remains a mystery. Word is, no deal or formal agreement has been reached. Maybe the two sides just agreed to sleep on it...who knows. We're hearing that LSU officials met with Miles shortly after UM officials flew back to Michigan.

But what I love, is that on the flight back to Willow Run Airport, Dave Brandon's jet, Domino 1, slightly adjusted it's flight path to completely avoid flying through Ohio airspace.

You can see that a direct line from BTR to YIP would clip just the edge of Ohio over Toledo.

All I can say is, either this is just a happy coincidence, or Dave Brandon knows that nerdy Michigan bloggers like me pay attention to stuff like this, and was having a little fun with the situation. Either way...in my book, Dave Brandon's stock just went way up last night.

Consider this the modern-day equivalent of Woody Hayes' not buying gas in the state of Michigan to avoid paying Michigan sales tax. Only now it's millionaires steering their corporate jets to avoid your rivals airspace.

Report: Brandon Meets with Miles

Via a report from WAFB in Louisiana, Michigan AD Dave Brandon met with Les Miles this evening rather than tomorrow, which is when it was widely reported that the two would meet.
9 Sports has learned that Miles and UM's Dave Brandon met Monday evening at Miles' field house condo off Nicholson Drive.

Brandon and two other Michigan representatives left the meeting and were taken to Baton Rouge Metro Airport in a Cadillac Escalade, where they were seen boarding Brandon's Domino's Pizza plane at 7:40 p.m.  The plane left moments later.

Is this Dave Brandon or Tony Stark? I can't tell?
The plane in question, Dave Brandon's Domino 1, as it has been referred to, as of this post in en route to Willow Run from Baton Rouge.

I wonder who the 2 other UM representatives are? Lloyd Carr?

For those who missed it, Les Miles' comments today his presser this afternoon...

Folks, I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd bet the house on Miles at this point. All signs are pointing to him as the next Michigan coach. As of this post, we're not aware of any specific offer being made, but  it's safe to say that if Brandon is flying back to AA tonight and not tomorrow, that's a sign that whatever meeting that took place went either really well, or really ugly.

Given Miles' answers about his future lately, I'd say the meeting probably went well. We'll see tomorrow. I have a feeling we're getting really close to an announcement. More news at 11.

Les Miles on Michigan

Cherry-picked from mgoblog. Take this video for what it's worth...a lot of words being used to say not a lot of stuff. Ahh, coaching searches, the only thing harder to gauge than a quarterback controversy. At Michigan, we've getting used to both.

Tracking Private Jets and Making Deductions From It

If the next head coach at Michigan is not Les Miles, then a ton of calories (and jet fuel) have been spent for basically no reason.

Let me first say that this coaching search has been run by one man, and one man only. Dave Brandon has kept a lid on anything that has been going on. People who say they're "in the know" are very few. And of those, most of them are lying. All of the rumors that surface on Twitter usually have the word "sources:" in front of it. Let me just tell you, unless something comes directly from Dave Brandon himself or the athletic department, then we're going to treat it as simply someone's pipe dream...like this morning when John Gruden's name was dropped saying he interviewed yesterday.

No, we're not going there. Instead, we're going to track some private jets on the internet!

The good folks at mgoblog have been tracking UM jets all over the southern United States. There is a report a Lear Jet that flew from Hilton Head, SC to Baton Rouge, LA today. This jet is the one you see below.
This plane is not Dave Brandon's. His jet has been parked in Dallas after flying back from Scottsdale, AZ on Saturday. This jet in the picture is said to be that of very wealthy UM alum Richard H. Rogel, who donated $22 million to the U back in 2004. His jet flew into Baton Rouge on Friday. One thing that is strange is that Miles and his staff and team were in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl on that day. But I assume that the LSU brass was not, thus the reason for UM people being in Baton Rouge, I guess.

But the flight this jet took from Hilton Head to Baton Rouge is the one that's the most interesting. Word is, Lloyd Carr has a vacation home there, and this plane was sent to pick him up. This jet has taken three trips into KSAV (Savannah Hilton Head International) in the last 2 days.

Needless to say, if Les Miles does not emerge from this as Michigan's next head coach, then someone's going to have a tougher time paying their next Jet-A fuel bill.

In all actuality, we're hearing more and more that Les Miles is going to be interviewed by Dave Brandon early this week. Miles has expressed an interest in the job, saying that it would be his dream job and likely his last. It has been reported that Miles would give the LSU AD a 24-hour notice before any interview would take place. As of this post, no one is reporting that the notice has been given, but real actual sources who really know something are few and far between.

If Les Miles is in-fact interviewed, and then hired, then this shows that Lloyd Carr is still very much in the picture at UM and probably in a "power-behind-the-throne" role. Would I be surprised by this? Not in the least.

That's enough speculation for tonight. More to come soon, I'm sure.

Official Statement from Rich Rodriguez

Via UM media relations/
Statement from Rich Rodriguez
“I am proud of the dedication and commitment exhibited by the coaching staff and student-athletes who have represented the University of Michigan football program over the last three seasons.  While I am disappointed to depart Ann Arbor before we were able to reach the level of success we had in our sights, I am confident that the players who remain have the potential to do great things and to return the Wolverines to greatness.  I would like to thank our fans and our student body for their tremendous support. There is great passion for Michigan football and I have made lifelong friends through this experience.”

Michigan's Next Coach: Poll Results

Well over 1,000 votes (1,110 as of 11:35AM) have been cast in our very unscientific poll in which we asked you, Michigan blog reader guy, who the next coach at Michigan will be. I tried to include any and all names that I've heard over the last 24 hours as possible candidates. Of course, there are some names out there that are not on this list, but I think we've narrowed it down pretty good. Here's how the citizens of Maize & Blue Nation voted.

Click images for larger versions.

Some interesting things to take away from this poll. Both TCU's Gary Patterson and Boise State's Chris Petersen got more votes than I thought they would. Not to say they don't deserve the attention. Both of their programs have enjoyed a ridiculous amount of success in non-BCS conferences, while knocking off very good teams from BCS conferences.

I thought Brady Hoke would receive more love, but I can see why he didn't. And on the flipside of that coin is the amount of people still holding out hope for Jim Harbaugh. By far and away two names in this poll who were the fan favorites are the ones that would most easily fit the criteria lined out by Dave Brandon during his press conference yesterday. And those names were Les Miles and Jim Harbaugh.

I firmly believe that both Harbaugh and Miles are very good coaches, and would likely do very well at Michigan. But both could potentially drive apart these factions that exist in the Michigan fanbase. Harbaugh has a lot of support right now, but he also has his critics due to his comments he made a few years ago about the academic standards for Michigan football players. Miles is a polarizing kind of figure. You either really like him, or don't like him at all.

Among the rest of the names, no real surprises. Pat Fitzgerald is a unique possibility. He's a proven coach, a proven leader, but not necessarily a proven winner (at least on the coaching level). But his passion and ability to inspire (and his youth, let's face it) have made it possible for him to make a name for himself.

But hey, these names are just ones I picked out of thin air. What say you? Post your thoughts in the comments section. I think at this point, there's no such thing as a possibility too crazy.

Poll: Who's Your Pick for Michigan's Next Head Coach?

San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke has been getting a lot of attention lately.
There are a lot of names being thrown around right now. While the door hasn't been completely shut on Jim Harbaugh, but it seems like he's off the board unless something unexpected happens.

Here's a list of names I've been hearing. Pick one.

Officially Official: Rich Rodriguez, Staff Fired at Michigan

Source: AnnArbor.com
We all know Rodriguez has been fired, but here's the official release from UM media relations...
Rodriguez Dismissed as Michigan Football Coach
ANN ARBOR -- University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon announced today (Jan. 5) that football coach Rich Rodriguez has been relieved of his coaching duties with the football program.

“I have completed a systematic and thorough review of our football program and believe that a change in leadership is necessary,” said Brandon. “We have not achieved at the level that I expect.”

Rodriguez compiled a 15-22 overall record and 6-18 mark in Big Ten play during his three seasons at Michigan (2008-10). He had an 11-11 record at Michigan Stadium, a 4-10 road record and lost his only bowl game vs. Mississippi State in the 2011 Gator Bowl. U-M was 3-9 in 2008, 5-7 in 2009 and went 7-6 this season.

Rodriguez became the 18th head coach in Michigan history on Dec. 17, 2007, replacing Lloyd Carr who announced his retirement following the 2007 regular season.

“Rich is a good person and coach,” added Brandon. “It’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out at Michigan, but I’m sure that Rich and his staff will find opportunities at other institutions. I wish Rich and his family all the best in the future.”

Brandon will immediately begin a national search for a replacement.

Video from the presser:

Dave Brandon's Big Ten Network interview immediately after the presser:

Rodriguez and Staff Fired, Presser at 12:30PM

Just as the headline says. According to Angelique Chengelis, UM football beat writer for The Detroit News, Rich Rodriguez and his entire staff has been fired. This information comes from a UM assistant. 

Michigan AD Dave Brandon will hold a press conference at 12:30PM today. Stay tuned for more details.

Want more updated info? Follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Two great sources of information from not only me, but many others in the Michigan media and  blogosphere.

Just Remember...

...it was a false media report that led to the entire world claiming that Rodriguez had been fired yesterday. It was not David Brandon or anyone else at the University that leaked this news. Nothing official came out when the news was broke yesterday afternoon, and no other media outlets besides Fox 2 Detroit were claiming that Rodriguez was fired.

Clearly, someone at Fox took it upon themselves to release a story that either they thought was correct, or assumed would be correct soon and just wanted to be the first to break the story.

This is poor journalism at it's finest.

I would like to stress this point. The University did not release this story and then spend all yesterday evening retracting it. It was an outside news source.

As far as we know, only this has taken place...

Brandon met with Rodriguez for over 3 hours yesterday, and at no time was Rodriguez fired or let go from his coaching position. A full team meeting was originally scheduled for 7PM, and was rescheduled for today at 4PM. The two will reconvene today to further discuss Rodriguez's employment.

All coaching options are still on the table. That includes Harbaugh. That includes Hoke. That includes every other coaching candidate. And that also includes Rodriguez.

Until an official word comes down from the University, this process should be considered ongoing and under control. There is not a rule that says a coach should be fired or decisions should be made in 5 minutes.

Trust in the process. Patience is a virtue. Go Blue.

Not So Fast My Friend

Yeah...about that whole firing Rodriguez thing.

Looks like Fox 2 Detroit might have jumped the gun a bit on this. UM is now denying reports that Rich Rodriguez has been fired.

According to Rivals, no decision will come down today about the fate of Rodriguez, and the team meeting originally scheduled for 7PM tonight will now take place at 4PM tomorrow.

This is the extent of what we know for sure.

Clearly something strange is going on here. There is a lot of hearsay and misinformation going on out there right now. Tough to tell the reasons for a possible delay in a decision or an announcement. Could Harbaugh still be in the mix? Is a late change of heart by Harbaugh to opt for the NFL thrown a wrench into Dave Brandon's process? We don't know anything for sure. We'll keep efforting the best and most reliable information we can.

Report: Rodriguez Fired at Michigan

No official word yet, but according to Fox 2 in Detroit, Michigan's head coach Rich Rodriguez has been fired. This would seem appropriate considering it was widely reported that the coach had a sit down meeting with Dave Brandon today at 2PM.

Expecting to get official word sometime after a scheduled team meeting tonight at 7PM.

But for all intents and purposes, the Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan has come to and end.

Where in the World is Jim Harbaugh...Going to Coach in 2011?

There is no question that Jim Harbaugh is the name on every Michigan fan's mind this morning. But there are a few other teams out there that have Harbaugh dreams for 2011.

I pose the question to you, Michigan blog reader guy...where will Jim Harbaugh coach next season?

Some Random Thoughts on the Coaching Madness

This much we probably know...

1. Jim Harbaugh will not be the head coach at Stanford next year.

2. Rich Rodriguez will not be the head coach at Michigan next year.

How do we know these things? What has lead us to know these things and accept them as fact?

First of all, we know that Jim Harbaugh is at or near the top of nearly every coaching vacancy's hot list...college or pro, in the country. You don't need a Stanford degree to realize that he's topped out at...well, Stanford. He's taken the Pine Trees about as far as they can be taken, as a program. He'd be crazy not to take his talents to a better program.

As far as Rich Rod is concerned, I've spent about a million keystrokes on this blog making a case for people to be patient with him, that his style of coaching was going to take time to catch on. But patience is just something that seems to be a commodity these days in Ann Arbor.

I typed this on 12/18/07:
Rich Rodriguez is the new head ball coach at the University of Michigan. The month long (soul) search is over. Les Miles can keep his fat contract at L$U. Whatever his name is can stay at Rutgers. And the Michigan Wolverines can try to reinvent themselves.

By hiring a coach like Rich Rodriguez, that's exactly what Michigan is doing.

We can hire all the dynamic coaches in the country. They can bring their different styles into the Big House and change all they want. But what remains the same is...this is still the Big Ten, and this is still Michigan.

The idea that Rich Rod is going to waltz into town, land his 5-star blue chip QB, and win 4 straight national titles is just crazy.
I'll stop there because in the next paragraph, I proclaimed Ryan Mallett was going to start the next year for Michigan. Oops :/

Anyway, like I was saying, sales at Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork have been seeing a sharp rise since Dave Brandon stopped supporting his head coach after the Wisconsin game. No question, as soon as Brandon stopped saying "I support Rich" and started saying "I will conduct and evaluation after the season", the media has gone crazy with speculation.

And with good reason. All signs are pointing to a firing as soon as tomorrow and as late as Thursday. Proof?  Former Michigan RB recruit Dee Hart said that if Rodriguez were coming back, he'd remain committed. Well, guess who decommitted this week and decided to go to Alabama?

As we all know, all signs are pointing to Jim Harbaugh as the man who will replace Rich Rod. He's the obvious choice. He's a former player, alum, his dad coached with Bo. Jim Harbaugh is everything that Rich Rodriguez isn't in terms of having the Michigan pedigree. He's a Michigan man, no doubt about it.

And that what keeps me so apprehensive about being so confident that it's going to be Harbaugh. It all seems to fit too perfectly. There's only one guy out there who is a more genuine fit than Les Miles...and it's Jim Harbaugh. The main difference for me is, I actually like Jim Harbaugh.

The only thing that makes me feel confident that a possible "deal" might not fall apart like it sort of did with Miles (even though many think a deal was never struck with Miles), is that Dave Brandon does not own a sail boat.

It won't be easy for Brandon to sell Harbaugh to the U. Jim rubbed a lot of people the wrong way with comments made about the apparent lack of academic standards for football players at Michigan [ESPN Story].

Mike Hart, who has never shied away from a controversy, said this shortly after the story broke in August 07...
"That's a guy I have no respect for," Hart said. "You graduate from the University of Michigan, and you're going to talk about your school like that, a great university like we have? To say that we're not true student-athletes? I don't know if maybe he wants to coach here and he's mad because he didn't get a job. … He's not a Michigan man. I wish he'd never played here."
I love Mike Hart.

Frankly, my gut is telling me that Harbaugh is probably not going to be the next coach at Michigan. I'm only saying this because I just feel there's too much money to be made in the NFL, the draw of the NFL is too huge (his brother John coaches the Ravens), and plus I just simply feel that it makes so much sense for him to come to Michigan, that it will never happen that easily.

I can be wrong, I typically am about situations like this. We'll find out for sure, maybe as early as tomorrow morning.

I will say before I end this post, that I am not a happy blogger that Rich Rodriguez is (apparently) being shown the door. Readers of this blog know that I am a Rich Rod supporter. I will always support the Michigan coach, whoever he is, as long as he is the coach. If this is truly the end of Rodriguez, expect a few words to be typed about his abbreviated time as the Michigan coach.