Jim Harbaugh

Unlucky seven: Time for RichRod’s tenure to expire


Given the fact that Ohio State came into the game favored by 17 points and were playing at home with yet another shot at a record-tying sixth-straight  Big Ten title, Michigan’s 30-point loss is not all that surprising.

What is surprising — and disheartening if you are a Wolverines fan — is how it transpired.  There was no fight, no spirit, no heart, no character, no nothing from nearly everyone clad in the iconic maize & blue.

And this wasn’t an early October game against Indiana; this was Ohio State-Michigan in late November.  The Game.  One of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, let alone college football, where records and rankings get tossed out the window and the only thing that matters is the heart, effort and pride you show in The Game.

And that was the performance Rich Rodriguez’s team threw (up) on the field Saturday afternoon?

The rumors around RichRod’s future were swirling even before what turned out to be the Wolverines’ seventh straight loss to their hated archrivals.  This loss will do nothing but ratchet up the heat on Rodriguez and, by extension, new athletic director David Brandon.  And rightly so, because it’s time.

It’s time to stop the embarrassment for one of the greatest programs in the history of college football.  Time for Brandon to pull the plug on the Rodriguez Experiment and start the whole damn thing over.  Three years in and, with the exception of Denard Robinson, this football program is no better shape than when he took over for Lloyd Carr.  In fact, you could argue that they are worse off than they were in November of 2007.

It’s time to get on the phone with Jim Harbaugh and beg — literally, figuratively and all points in between — the Stanford head coach to come back home and right a sinking ship.  Do whatever it takes to get Harbaugh off The Farm and back to Ann Arbor.

A sizable faction of Wolverine Nation didn’t want Rodriguez in the first place, if for no other reason than he wasn’t a “Michigan Man”.  You want a “Michigan Man”?  Get Harbaugh.  Not only would it be a prodigal son returning, the man has turned Stanford into a national powerhouse.  Stanford, people, an institution of higher learning that scoffs in the general direction of Michigan’s lofty academic standards.

Certainly the case will be made, mostly by RichRod sycophants, that you would not only be changing a head coach, you would be changing an entire system as well.  Michigan’s going into their fourth recruiting season gathering players who fit the Rodriguez’s spread offense — and dread defense;  Harbaugh is the polar opposite of the current UM style, and it would certainly take a year or two to rid the program of the spread stench and get back to “Michigan football”.

To that we say, so what?  Harbaugh’s “style” has worked and has been working in the Midwest for decades.  Harbaugh’s “style” has worked on the West Coast with one recruiting hand tied behind his back academically.  What, you’re concerned that a coaching change that brings back “Michigan football” could result in a couple of years with 5-7 wins?  Been there, done that with Rodriguez, only with Harbaugh, there would be some hope and some pride restored to the program.  With Rodriguez stalking the sidelines for a fourth year, you have neither.

It’s a no-brainer if Brandon, a former Wolverine player, truly cares about the future of his beloved football program.

Pull the trigger and get the Wolverines back on track sooner rather than later, Brandon.  College football is a much better game when Michigan is relevant and not simply used as a punchline.

Or as Ohio State’s annual whipping boy.

Bud Foster says he is too invested in Virginia Tech to leave Hokies

Bud Foster

For years there was a thought that Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster would one day be the successor to longtime head coach Frank Beamer. With Beamer announcing his decision to retire at the end of the season, there was never any word about Foster being handed the keys to the program. Instead, Virginia Tech has found a coach with an offensive identity in the hiring of Justin Fuente from Memphis. Given the way coaching changes can tend to go, nobody would have blamed Foster for being a tad miffed at not getting the job in Blacksburg, but he will remain the defensive coordinator of the Hokies as a key member of Fuente’s new staff. He says he has put in too much work to leave now.

“I’m rooted in here. We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this place,” Foster said Monday. “It wasn’t hard. I wouldn’t have stayed here for as long as I’ve had if I didn’t feel like we had the opportunity to win at the highest level. I feel that more than ever right now.”

Fuente being able to keep Foster on the staff is a huge advantage. Foster not only ensures Fuente will have a dependable coach managing the defense, which should remain one of the top defensive units in the ACC as long as he stays put. Keeping Foster on the staff also allows for some tremendous stability during the transition, which can always be key when a coach with no previous ties to the university takes over a program. Foster can help Fuente get acclimated to his new surroundings and also keep valuable recruiting ties alive and well during the change.

Foster acknowledged he would love to one day be a head coach, and that dream will continue, but for now he is more interested in contributing at Virginia Tech.

“I always wanted to be a head coach. This would be a dream job. I’m happy with where I am. I’ll never be bitter. I won’t cry myself to sleep wishing “what-ifs” and they type of thing. My goal is to be the best football coach I can possibly be. I want to help this program be the best football program it can possibly be.”

Maryland wasting no time getting in touch with Mark Richt

Mark Richt

On Monday morning Georgia head coach Mark Richt said he was absolutely going to continue coaching even though his days at Georgia are coming to an end. If that is the case, Maryland would like to make that a reality for Richt.

According to a report from Inside MD Sports, Maryland has made first contact with Richt and a meeting could come as soon as tomorrow. Maryland is looking to fill a head coaching vacancy after firing Randy Edsall during the season. Richt will not be the only potential candidate to interview for the Maryland job. The Washington Post reported Monday interim head coach Mike Locksley was also given a chance to interview for the job on a permanent basis. That interview was reportedly set to happen Monday.

It would make sense for Maryland to make a call to Richt. With Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank looking to help build the Maryland program, there are sufficient funds to make a splashy hire for the program, which is showing signs of a well-structured future with plans to improve the football program. The Maryland job has some good potential in the long-term and competes in the same division as some tough opponents. That would include at least two coaches Richt is very familiar with; Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Penn State’s James Franklin. Richt faced Meyer when the Buckeyes head coach was at Florida, and Franklin of course coached at Vanderbilt. All three were in the same SEC East Division down south. Could they be reunited in the Big Ten East in 2016?

Whatever the case may be, if Maryland can land Richt as its next head coach, it would be a tremendous hire for the Terrapins. Heck, he already has the attire for it.

Unlike Missouri, 5-7 Nebraska will jump at opportunity to go bowling

Cethan Carter

Nebraska will be first in line to accept a bowl invitation when it arrives in the mail, despite going 5-7 this season. The Huskers, who are first in line among 5-7 candidates based on APR scores, will reportedly accept a bowl invitation to fill the first vacancy left to fill once all bowl-eligible teams are slotted into the postseason mix.

Missouri released a statement earlier today saying it will not accept a bowl invitation following a 5-7 season. The Tigers would have been the second team among 5-7 teams to receive a bowl invitation based on APR scores. According to a report by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, Kansas State would be next in line, followed by Minnesota, San Jose State, Illinois and Rice.

Missouri and Nebraska would appear to have different agendas of course. Nebraska is coming off the first season under new head coach Mike Riley, while Missouri is in the midst of a full coaching search. The decision not to go to a bowl game allows Missouri’s coaching staff in place under the now retired Gary Pinkel to pursue new opportunities without having bowl preparations get in the way.

Maryland sack master Yannick Ngakoue entering NFL Draft

Yannick Ngakoue, Christian Hackenberg

Maryland will have a new head coach in 2016. Whoever that head coach ends up being will have to find a way to replace one of Maryland’s best players. Defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue says he will skip his final year of eligibility with the Terrapins and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Ngakoue was the second in the Big Ten with 13.0 sacks this season, trailing only Penn State defensive lineman Carl Nassib. Ngakoue’s sack total is a Maryland school record and was one of the few reasons for optimism for Maryland’s dreadful football season, which ended with just three wins.