Archive

Archive for the ‘College Football’ Category

Texas, Oklahoma, and the ACC Will Not Trigger Four 16-Team Super Conferences

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Only the Irish can trigger monumental realignment

 

There are a lot of unimaginative people out there who have prophesied about the day when four 16-team super conferences will rule the college landscape. This writer is here to tell you to not believe the hype. There will not be a super conference consolidation Armageddon.

Sure, the ACC is going in the direction of forming a 16-team conference and the Pac-12 is on the verge of becoming the Pac-16. But where is the other “super” expansion going to come from? Each of these conferences actually has an academic mandate as well. The Big Ten, for instance, seeks state universities with high academic standards. That means they won’t be in the market for just any school. Sure, Notre Dame will always have that open invite, but the Big Ten won’t be inviting Louisville or Cincinnati to the party anytime soon.

In fact, the pool of potential Big Ten acquisitions has really shrunk with the Big East defections of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, as both were previously mentioned and, possibly, considered for the Big Ten. Also, if UConn and Rutgers follow those schools to the ACC, then the Big Ten is extremely limited in their ability to expand eastward. Without a potential New York City market school, the Big Ten would be forced to look west.

But what schools would fill the Big Ten’s profile in the West? Possibly Missouri and Kansas. But Kansas would probably require that Kansas State join them as a package deal. That certainly would be a no-go as the Kansas City market isn’t that big to begin with. Remember, the biggest motivation for the Big Ten to expand to 16 would be to add more lucrative television markets. Kansas and Kansas State only bring Kansas City and that is shared with Missouri. As a result, the Big Ten will likely remain at 12 schools, unless they add Missouri and are able to convince Notre Dame to join.

The SEC will be at 13 schools when Texas A&M officially joins the conference. The SEC has already indicated that adding a 14th school will be on the agenda once A&M joins. But the ACC just increased the departure fees for its member schools to $20M and, with a round 16, are probably safe from being raided.

Like the Big Ten, the SEC wants to focus on the large, flagship state universities and land grant schools. Unless Kentucky wants Louisville to join and the SEC makes an exception there, the Cardinals are probably left out of that potential expansion as well. West Virginia is the more likely Big East school to join the SEC, especially if they aren’t included in the ACC expansion. Missouri would be another potential candidate if the SEC wants to continue their western expansion. But for the SEC to get to 16, they would have to take a regional public school, like Louisville or South and Central Florida, or continue to expand west and bring on the Kansas schools with Missouri. See how crazy these scenarios are getting?

What is probably going to happen is that the SEC will find a 14th school to give them two 7 school divisions. The Big Ten will remain at 12 schools for the foreseeable future. The ACC will add two more Big East schools to complete their expansion at 16. The Pac-16 will be formed with Texas and Oklahoma bringing their in-state rivals, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. That leaves the remnants of the Big East and Big 12 to join in either a loose confederation where the two conference champions meet for a BCS bid or the remaining Big East football schools leave for the Big 12. The latter is the more probable outcome.

That would leave a new Big 12 with Baylor, TCU, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. They would probably look to add three more schools to return to the 12-school alignment and qualify for a conference championship game. BYU, Houston, SMU, Memphis, and Central Florida would have to be the leading candidates for the three spots. Long shot possibilities would include Air Force, UTEP, New Mexico, Colorado State, UNLV, Wyoming, and Boise State in the West and new FBS school, Massachusetts, and Temple in the East. Those two eastern schools both play in NFL stadiums and would bring exposure in two major metropolitan markets.

If the Big East loses their football schools, that won’t be that bad. The Big East will remain a viable and highly competitive basketball conference nationally, like they were for the first ten years of the league. With Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence, Marquette, DePaul and Notre Dame, they would have five schools that competed in last season’s men’s basketball tournament. With eight schools, they could easily expand by one or two and play a full round-robin schedule that is more conducive to college basketball.

Two schools that would have to be on the newly configured Big East’s list would be Xavier and Dayton from the Atlantic 10. Both are private schools and can help bridge the geographical gap between the East Coast and the Chicago region schools. That would leave the Big East as a very formidable hoops league.

While all of the realignment speculation is exciting, there probably won’t be as much as anticipated due to the factors that were laid out.

Advertisements

Who Could Replace the Dishonest Tressel at Ohio State?

Who Is Going to Replace the Dishonest Tressel at Ohio State?

If the Jim Tressel dishonesty saga were a season of “24”, this would be the first hour. Because as far as potentially sinking ships go, this Titanic just hit the iceberg. The damage has been done and the Goodship Buckeye is taking on water.

One look at the information released by the school, there is going to be a lot more to come out of this situation. The tattoo artist “really is a drug dealer” according to the email sent by the attorney/booster to Coach Tressel. In addition, the government offered him a deal with 10 years. For the accused tattoo artist, Eddie Rife, he might be able to bargain with the feds or he might offer to sell his story.

Being the entrepreneur that he was, Rife might not have gotten just merchandise from all of the players that he made deals with. Players also have access to game tickets that could be cashed in on the secondary market. Also, how are we to believe that he didn’t already sell some items that he received in bartering with players?

The university outlines three instances where Tressel had the opportunity to come clean, but failed to do so. This whole situation from the start with the player suspensions has had the vibe of “oh, bleep, we got caught”. Nobody involved, from President Gee to Athletics Director Gene Smith to Tressel and the players have shown the kind of contrition that is required and understanding of the severity of this situation. The sense is that behind closed doors they’re telling each other to “Don’t let this happen again, Ok?”

There is also the issue with Terrelle Pryor being stopped for traffic violations driving different cars owned by a local car salesman and a dealer. Pryor was cleared of wrongdoing in those instances but the number of questionable situations that he has experienced makes one wonder what happens when he’s not caught in the act.

While there isn’t anything else, yet, if Tressel has made any enemies in Columbus, now would be the time to expect them to surface with more information. Also, with the revelation that they weren’t fully cooperative with the NCAA, additional sanctions could be forthcoming. So with the university already admitting guilt in this situation and the possibility of more to come, it’s not farfetched to speculate on who might replace Tressel if the situation comes to that.

Here’s the short list:

Urban Meyer: Meyers just stepped down from Florida two months ago because of health issues, but the Cincinnati alum and Ohio native might find this opportunity to be too good to pass up. He was an assistant with the Buckeyes under Earle Bruce in the mid-80’s and, of course, is a two-time national champion head coach during his six years at Florida. Even if there isn’t an immediate change, perhaps Meyer becomes the heir apparent to Tressel if the administration wants to ease him into retirement after this season.

Bob Stoops: The Oklahoma head coach is a Youngstown, Ohio native and many believe that he would be interested in returning home if the Buckeyes job was open. In addition, Stoops played in the Big Ten at Iowa and his experience at an elite football program would help him come in with an understanding of the culture and high expectations that go with the job.

Dan Mullen: In his second year at Mississippi State, Mullen’s Bulldogs gave the Michigan Wolverines their worst loss ever in a bowl game, 52-14. Mullen had coached with Meyer every year from his days as a grad assistant at Notre Dame in 1999 until taking the job at Mississippi State. Mullen is from Pennsylvania so a move north to Ohio wouldn’t be out of the question for him. Would the combination of his New Year’s Day beat down of Michigan and his Pennsylvania roots would be appealing to the Buckeyes?

Chris Petersen: The Boise State head coach has taken the Broncos to two BCS games in the past 5 seasons and if the Buckeyes don’t go after a coach at a BCS school, this would be a great hire. He’s only making $1.6M which means a buyout would be relatively cheap to a school that currently pays their coach almost $4M annually. Petersen is the only one of these candidates that doesn’t have northeast connections, so this would be a more “outside of the box” pick.

Most Revolutionary Moments in Sports

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

The Bambino helped revolutionize the national pastime

With revolution in the air over in North Africa and the Middle East, it’s time to take a look at the most revolutionary moments in sports history that changed what we watched and how we watched sports.

1. Baseball rebounds from the Black Sox scandal by implementing rules that led to more home runs: After the Black Sox gambling scandal threatened the legitimacy of the preeminent professional sports league; baseball needed something to bring back the public to the fledgling national pastime. Baseball was on the brink of losing its legitimacy in the public eye and professional team sports as we know it wouldn’t be what it is today without baseball’s rebound from the scandal in the 1920’s. Babe Ruth led the way by revolutionizing the on-field product with his prodigious home runs, both in number and distance. The Yankees broke through with their first world championship and the team would become the biggest and most popular in American sports. The recovery, combined with the advent of radio, enabled fans to listen to their favorite teams in their living rooms and follow the games as they happened, without being at the ballpark. Everything that happened to baseball in this short period after the Black Sox scandal changed everything about baseball and the entire direction of sports in America.

2. Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier in 1947: One could argue this as the most important, but I don’t think this would have had the same effect on society if baseball hadn’t recovered from what could have been a crippling gambling scandal. But Robinson’s internal fortitude and perseverance to help integrate baseball was every bit as important to the civil rights movement as anything and anybody. By injecting black athletes into the mainstream of American sports, Robinson helped create the image of a society where people of all races could work, play, and compete as equals. Two decades later, Texas Western University would start five black players in the NCAA basketball championship game and win. This marked the first time that an all-black starting five had won. Eventually, every major college sports teams, including those in the South, would integrate and reap the on-field benefits that a culture of inclusion would have on their teams.

3. 1958 NFL Championship Game: This game is considered by many to be the best NFL game ever played. The Colts beat the Giants after scoring a touchdown in overtime and becoming the first “instant classic”. Football is the ultimate television sport and this game sparked an increase in popularity that led to the formation of the American Football League in 1960. Five years later, the rival league would pit their champion against the NFL champion in what would become the ultimate sporting event in the world, the Super Bowl. Joe Namath and the underdog Jets from the upstart league would win the third Super Bowl and the leagues would merge into one league following Super Bowl IV. Forty years later, the NFL stands as the new National Pastime and the most popular American sports league by a wide margin. The 1958 Championship Game started it all.

4. ESPN starts broadcasting in 1979: The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” changed how we view and follow sports through their cable network and subsequent new media platforms. The popularity of college basketball exploded with the nightly matchups featuring a screaming, passionate former college coach, Dick Vitale, making every game sound like the greatest sporting event in the world. The NFL would start broadcasting games on ESPN in 1987 and televised baseball beginning in 1990. This lead to more nationally televised games, more money, and increased exposure for the leagues. SportsCenter and the “moments” that have become a part of everyday culture became the ultimate viewing destination for sports fans to get their highlights and information about their favorite teams. With the internet, ESPN.com was instantly a must read site and led to the mainstreaming of sports bloggers, like the Sports Guy, who helped transform how sports are covered in a new media age. Everybody who didn’t take the traditional route to sports writing is a descendent of this transformational change in the media landscape.

5. Magic and Larry Bird faceoff in the 1979 NCAA championship game: This is still the highest rated college basketball game of all-time and sparked the biggest personal rivalry in basketball history. In addition to bringing unprecedented recognition to the Big Dance, they carried their new rivalry to the downtrodden NBA. Behind the Showtime Lakers and Big Three-led Celtics of the 1980’s, the NBA went from a struggling league with huge image problems to a legitimate challenger to baseball’s #2 spot in team sports popularity. Maybe the league would have become popular as soon as Michael Jordan arrived anyway. But the NBA had failed to capture the mainstream public’s imagination before the Celtics and Lakers rivalry of the mid-80s. When Jordan came along, he might have been just viewed as another great talent in the line of athletic wings Elgin Baylor and Julius Erving, but the newfound popularity of the NBA combined with Jordan’s talent to make him the most popular athlete in the world. He might not have been that had it not been for Magic and Larry.

6. Buster Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson: Douglas dispelled the mythology surrounding Iron Mike’s greatness and ended big-time championship boxing as we knew it. Boxing still has stars, but the heavyweight division has always been the main weight class and the champion has often enjoyed world fame. Boxing was the most popular sport early in the 20th century, ceding to baseball during the Babe Ruth era, and then having periodical revivals with iconic heavyweight champions like Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali. Tyson was the next in that line of iconic greats. On February 11, 1990, twenty-one years before the people of Egypt ousted their leader, Buster Douglas changed the sport of boxing forever. There have been other glamorous champs in boxing, but none have approached the level of the great heavyweight champion since Tyson.

Rich Rodriguez Doesn’t Understand ‘Hail to the Victors’

Still clueless

Did former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez believe that he was taking over a football upstart, or a team that hadn’t been good in years? Well, his comments seem to imply that.

Rodriguez talked about seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel” and made other comments to the effect that the Wolverines were turning the corner and would be competitive nationally again next season. Huh? This is MICHIGAN! The all-time winningest program in the history of college football. Their fight song is ‘Hail to the Victors’. This is not Kansas State when Bill Snyder took over. A down season at Michigan is not a losing season, it’s when you fail to beat Ohio State and fail to win 10 or more games. Period.

This is why Rodriguez is out. His team was historically bad. He still doesn’t get it and probably never will.

With Rodriguez, it wasn’t like he wasn’t given a chance. He didn’t take over a program moving from I-AA to I-A. He didn’t take over at a school that has finished higher than 3rd in the Big Ten only three times in 40 years (Minnesota).  Michigan wins Big Ten titles. They win Rose Bowls. They spend entire seasons in the Top 25 and they play games against Ohio State that the entire country stops to watch.

Want to know the cumulative score in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry during the Rich-Rod era? Try 100-24 in 3 games. For the offensive guru Rodriguez, he failed to average 10 points per game against the hated Buckeyes. While Michigan hasn’t been national championship worthy in 10 years, they were 11-0 and ranked #2 only FOUR YEARS AGO, when they traveled to Columbus to play the #1 ranked 11-0 Buckeyes. Four years later, Michigan is coming off their worst three season period in school history.

Michigan isn’t a job for a coach that needs training wheels, or time to get THEIR players. Michigan always has recruited the best. Rodriguez was handed quarterback Ryan Mallett who could be a first round pick in the 2011 draft. Mallett wasn’t mobile enough for Rodriguez’ “system”.  What Rodriguez didn’t get was that the “system” at Michigan and other blue blood programs like Alabama, Texas, and USC is that the great high school players come to you. As a coach, you just need to find a way to maximize the talent that you have. If you have a potentially prolific passer like Mallett, why would you design a quarterback-run-first offense? Not coaching the talents of the players that were left to Rodriguez is what ultimately cost him his job.

Well, poor performance over three years, a humiliating loss on New Year’s Day to SECOND year coach Dan Mullen and traditional giant Mississippi State, and NCAA violations led to his dismissal. If Mullen can get the Mississippi State Bulldogs good enough to stomp Michigan on New Year’s Day in only his second season, why couldn’t Rich-Rod? That’s why he’s gone and also the ghosts of 129 years of greatness before his arrival.

As Bill Parcells likes to say, “If I’m going to cook the food, I want to buy the groceries.” Well, a consistent diet of just baloney doesn’t cut it in Ann Arbor, Rich-Rod.

Can I Pay For a New Kidney With My Signing Bonus?

13 Hawkeye football players are suffering from a muscle condition

With reports about 13 University of Iowa football players suffering from a muscular condition possibly brought on by strenuous exercise, some questions came to mind.

  1. Thirteen is a high enough number to dismiss as strictly a coincidence. University of Iowa doctor John Stokes is not involved with treating the athletes, but was quoted in the AP article. He says that strenuous exercise “commonly brings on the kidney disorder”. But then he says that in 32 years, he’s never seen 13 people get this disease. It’s common, but it’s not even an annually occurring condition? What’s up, Doc? Protecting the university?
  2. What else besides exercise do these players have in common? What kind of “nutritional” supplements do they ingest and did strength and conditioning coach, Chris Doyle, oversee which supplements were to be ingested concurrently with the offseason workout regimen?
  3. What are the chances that there won’t be eventual confirmation of PED use in relation to Iowa’s offseason workout regimen?

Only last week did new Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson was required to disassociate with a company that manufactured a deer antler extract spray because it contained performance enhancing substances that were banned by the NFL and other organizations, but can’t be tested for without a blood sample.  Bengals safety Roy Williams followed up the report on Jackson with an admission that he uses that substance “two to three times per day”.

This situation in Iowa could just be a strange occurrence of a medical condition brought on by good, hard training. Or it could be something else that just might become the tip of a PED iceberg that a ship full of amateur and professional athletes, alike, are heading straight for with potentially morbid consequences. Now is not the time for a cover-up in Iowa City. If there was common PED use amongst these players that needs to come out in order to warn others of the potential dangers that are out there by ingesting unregulated products.

This has additional fallout on the NFL labor negotiations if they can confirm that PED use is to blame for the medical conditions of these players. How would players react to blood testing being added to the negotiations?

Unfortunately, many young athletes are willing to do almost anything to make it big in professional sports. Now it could become a life or death proposition. Most coaches and franchises are more than willing to overlook alleged use as long as the on-field performance continues.

If we are now finding out that there are side effects, in fact, serious side effects to PED use, this could give a whole new meaning to the phrase “I’d die to play this game.”

Here’s a link from the Iowa City Press:

Stanford’s Luck returns to school; who are the winners and losers?

Three days after completing an impressive redshirt sophomore season at Stanford, Andrew Luck decided to stay in school for another season. Luck was the unanimous #1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft. To me, he’s the best NFL prospect since Peyton Manning was drafted in 1998 by the Colts. With Luck returning to Stanford, who are the winners and losers?

Winners

Still the QB of the future in Carolina

Jimmy Clausen

Clausen just went from a one-year washout to possibly returning as the starting quarterback in Carolina. Most players make their biggest improvements between their first and second seasons and Clausen now has an opportunity to shine in his second season in Carolina, unless the Panthers new coach goes in a different direction. But none of the college QB’s available in the draft are overwhelmingly better than Clausen.

College football fans and the, sometimes, insufferable talking heads that will glorify the his decision daily

This one’s pretty obvious and you can count me in with this crowd, except that I won’t wax poetic about Luck’s decision. It will just be fun to watch him carve up college defenses next season and hear from SEC folks why he shouldn’t be the Heisman winner and Stanford isn’t as good as their best teams.

One more year of football relevancy!

Stanford, their fans and alumni

This one’s obvious as well. Stanford should now be a preseason top 5 team and will most likely play for the national championship if they go undefeated. This also increases the possibility of Jim Harbaugh returning to the Cardinal for another season. I believe that possibility is now 50% or more after this decision.

Jim Harbaugh

Whether he stays at Stanford or leaves in the coming weeks, Harbaugh’s price just went up. With the potential of a national championship team at Stanford, Harbaugh might determine that his NFL options aren’t as attractive as he would like. Carolina didn’t seem interested in Harbaugh and none of the teams that are pursuing Harbaugh have a good, stable situation at quarterback. So waiting a year and seeing who is picking first next year might be the better strategic maneuver for Harbaugh if he’s interested in teaming with Luck at the NFL level. Also, some of the NFL teams that would normally have fired their coaches didn’t because of the uncertain labor situation. With certainty in the labor situation, there might be as many as 10-12 openings after next season for Harbaugh to choose from. That kind of leverage for Harbaugh could force a team like Miami or San Francisco to pony up in excess of $10 million per season to entice Harbaugh to the NFL. At Stanford or becoming the first $10 million coach in the NFL, Harbaugh is a huge winner here.

NFC South, minus Carolina

Who would you rather face twice per season? Jimmy Clausen or Andrew Luck? Those three other teams in Carolina’s division have to be happy after this decision. Luck would have been the fourth high profile QB in that QB-rich division with Josh Freeman, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan.

Could Newton became the #1 pick now?

Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett, and Jake Locker

Quarterback is the most important position in football and these four potential first round picks just moved up a peg with Luck’s decision to stay in school. Cam Newton, especially, could end up being the choice in Carolina if he can prove that he’s got the pro passing skills desired in the NFL. Monday night’s national championship game against Oregon would be a great opportunity for Newton to prove his skills.

 

 

Losers

Wait until Luck sees us picking #1 in 2012 as well...

Carolina Panthers

There’s no bigger loser than the Panthers. Even if they weren’t going to pick Luck, they could have turned the #1 pick into an enormous package of picks and players to be used to turn around their team. Now they are looking at the next group of QB’s or a bunch of defensive lineman at the top of the draft. Don’t be surprised if they try to trade out of this pick now since they don’t have a second round pick and they have many needs.

Rest of the NFC

With Carolina facing another 2-14 type season, the rest of the NFC South will benefit with the probability of two easy wins. All three of them had 10+ wins in 2010 and with a virtual 2-0 start to 2011, they will be well on their way back to double digit wins. That makes it more difficult for the other NFC teams who are trying to get a wildcard spot. Remember, if Tampa hadn’t lost to Detroit in Week 15, they would have given the NFC South both wildcard spots.

Leigh Steinberg or whoever Luck’s eventual agent is going to be

With the new NFL labor agreement expected to limit the size of the contracts of drafted players, the 2011 draft will be the last one where the top picks are going to get the huge signing bonuses. In addition, with the surefire #1 pick at the QB position now out of the picture, the first QB picked might be outside of the top 5 and that will artificially drive down the signing bonuses without an enormous QB contract at the top.

Pac-10 opponents, including Cal

Cal gets another tough game against their archrivals and the rest of the Pac-10 might be playing for second place next season, especially if Harbaugh decides to return.

Any 2011 Heisman candidates

The road to the Downtown Athletic Club just got that much more difficult with the presumptive favorite returning to school. But it’s not a given that Luck will win, even if he has a great season. Peyton Manning was in the same position in 1997 and Charles Woodson came out of nowhere to claim the Heisman as a defensive player.

Are there any other winners or losers? I’d like to hear about them and why.

Rich Rodriguez dumped by Michigan, Harbaugh or Miles to follow?

"What the heck did that Rodriguez guy do to this program?"

Rich Rodriguez was just not a Michigan man. Or a winner, for that matter. Rodriguez was dumped on Tuesday afternoon after compiling the worst record ever in the history of the 132 year program. Despite the attempted arson of the Michigan record books, the Wolverines still remain the winningest program in the history of college football.

With Rodriguez, it wasn’t like he wasn’t given a chance. He didn’t take over a program moving from I-AA to I-A. He didn’t take over at a school that has finished higher than 3rd in the Big Ten only three times in 40 years (Minnesota).  Michigan wins Big Ten titles. They win Rose Bowls. They spend entire seasons in the Top 25 and they play games against Ohio State that the entire country stops to watch.

Want to know the cumulative score in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry during the Rich-Rod era? Try 100-24 in 3 games. For the offensive guru Rodriguez, he failed to average 10 points per game against the hated Buckeyes. While Michigan hasn’t been national championship worthy in 10 years, they were 11-0 and ranked #2 only FOUR YEARS AGO, when they traveled to Columbus to play the #1 ranked 11-0 Buckeyes. Four years later, Michigan is coming off their worst three season period in school history.

It only took Mullen two years at Miss State to blow out Michigan 52-14 on New Year's Day

Michigan isn’t a job for a coach that needs training wheels, or time to get THEIR players. Michigan always has recruited the best. Rodriguez was handed quarterback Ryan Mallett who is a sure-fire first round pick should he enter the 2011 draft. Mallett wasn’t mobile enough for Rodriguez’ “system”.  What Rodriguez didn’t get was that the “system” at Michigan and other blue blood programs like Alabama, Texas, and USC is that the great high school players come to you. As a coach, you just need to find a way to maximize the talent that you have. If you have a potentially prolific passer like Mallett, why would you design a quarterback-run-first offense? Not coaching the talents of the players that were left to Rodriguez is what ultimately cost him his job.

Well, poor performance over three years, a humiliating loss on New Year’s Day to SECOND year coach Dan Mullen and traditional giant Mississippi State, and NCAA violations led to his dismissal. If Mullen can get the Mississippi State Bulldogs good enough to stomp Michigan on New Year’s Day in only his second season, why couldn’t Rich-Rod? That’s why he’s gone and also the ghosts of 129 years of greatness before his arrival.

Harbaugh finished 3rd in the 1986 Heisman voting while at Michigan.

Who’s going to replace Rodriguez? Well the obvious first choice is former Wolverine quarterback Jim Harbaugh from Stanford. That’s why the dismissal occurred the day following Stanford’s season ending win in the Orange Bowl. AD David Brandon can’t afford to not go hard after Harbaugh. But the rumors coming out of the NFL are indicating that Harbaugh will look to the pros for his next job. So who’s left? As Bo would say, “We want a Michigan man to coach the Wolverines.”

 

 

Nobody will drive you crazier with a win than the Mad Scientist!

Les Miles – Michigan class of 1976, Current LSU coach

Miles played for Bo in the 1970’s and coached under him twice in the 80’s. Miles brings a national championship that he won in 2007 at LSU. That national championship might be the only reason why he didn’t take this job when Rodriguez did. Michigan hired Rodriguez almost a month before LSU played Ohio State for the championship. Despite winning the championship, there are annual calls for Miles to be fired in the bayou. That kind of uncertainty, despite his success, might and probably would lead to Miles giving his alma mater a different answer this time. Barring a Harbaugh miracle, I would expect Miles to be named the Michigan coach sometime after LSU’s Friday night Cotton Bowl game against Texas A&M.

Hoke's hoping that Michigan has to point to their backup plan in San Diego

Brady Hoke – Michigan DL coach 1995-2002, current San Diego State coach

Hoke is a former Michigan assistant under Lloyd Carr and also coached under Jim Harbaugh’s father, Jack, at Western Michigan in the 1980’s. Is that good enough for the Maize and Blue faithful? He turned around Ball State’s struggling program ultimately leading them to a 12-1 record in 2008. He has been at San Diego State the past two seasons and improved their record from 2-10 in Chuck Long’s final season in 2008 to 9-4 and a bowl win this season. That’s a pretty solid turnaround. My feeling is that Hoke is the ultimate fallback guy in case both Harbaugh and Miles turn the Wolverines down.

It really only appears to be a three man race and usually when there’s a delay in the decision to fire a coach, it’s when the school has tried to determine either directly, or indirectly, the feasibility of hiring their top choices. My guess here is the colorful Miles. As for Rodriguez, look for him to quickly get involved in the University of Pittsburgh job search that reopened a few days ago.