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A Michigan fan waking up this morning has to feel like the guy walking into a restaurant to see his ex-girlfriend 20 pounds lighter in a mini skirt with some guy that has a brand new Silverado, a better job, and is more attractive.
Arizona football’s shocking upset of the Oregon Ducks deep into Thursday night sent shock waves along college football’s West Coast, but it also had a ripple effect in Ann Arbor, where former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez is the toast of the sport this morning as the face of Arizona’s revival.
That left hoards of snarky comments along the lines of, “Glad we fired this guy who wins games for one who doesn’t,” and “Good job Dave Brandon, firing Rich Rod.”
Revisionist history is mighty fun.
Michigan fans should calm down about Arizona and maybe just root for the Wildcats if they want, who knows. Rich Rodriguez isn’t at Michigan because he couldn’t win enough games and the school was slapped with its first ever probation.
It doesn’t make Rich Rod evil, a failure, or a demigod. It makes him basically what Brady Hoke is now … a guy who couldn’t win enough games in Ann Arbor with the football team and thus everything else off the field was magnified.
But spare the bleeding heart “How could we let this guy go!?” crap. Really, it should read, “How could we run Lloyd Carr out of town like that!?”
Rich Rod wasn’t a fit for Michigan because Michigan isn’t a place you walk into after nearly 40 years of continuous bowl games and winning seasons and say, “We’ve got to tear this place down and build it back up.”
Michigan wasn’t broken. The Wolverines were winning 8-10 games per year. Michigan wasn’t Indiana, where Kevin Wilson walks in, goes 1-11, and then starts to build things back. You can’t break and build at Michigan. The fans demand wins, and they demand them now.
Hoke did it the reverse way, winning big early and forever being held to that standard of 11 wins. Back then it was, “Oh, we just needed a coach!” Now it’s “He did it with Rich Rod’s players because Rich Rod is the greatest coach ever!”
At best, it’s ex-girlfriend syndrome. What is that? It’s where you break up with a girl thinking it can’t get any worse and the grass has to be greener elsewhere. Then, long down the road with the girl you picked that was the complete opposite of the previous one, that’s not working out either, and it’s as terrible as ever … all of a sudden, that distant ex becomes Mila Kunis and you forget all the problems you had then.
There’s no telling what Michigan would look like with Rich Rod now, but I can tell you the program would have been in a better place if Lloyd Carr hadn’t taken the hell he received for winning … but it not being “enough” for some fans’ tastes and expectations.
Whoever coaches Michigan has to understand that if you don’t win, it’s going to get extra ugly. Whoever coaches Michigan will be measured against what Ohio State is doing, forever. If the Buckeyes, Michigan State Spartans, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish … M’s chief rivals … aren’t experiencing national success, it’s hard to tell if the coach guillotine would be so popular as it has been over the last decade in Ann Arbor.
Either way, Arizona is good at football because Rich Rod is a good coach there, and that’s pretty much all there is to this story. Michigan broke up with Rich Rod because it didn’t want him. Too much damage had been done in the relationship. So let’s stop pretending it was something else, something great, just because it’s a bit worse now, okay?
Bear Down, and all that. Good for Rodriguez.