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.