WCBNers, feel free to edit this post with your own comments below. Fans, feel free to comment with your thoughts.
Jeremy: I expect Michigan to lose their final two games, but showing heart against Ohio St. would be an impressive way to salvage a disappointing season and head into 2010 with some momentum. Do I think Rich Rodriguez should be fired following a 5-7 season? I'm indifferent. I have no doubt that Rich Rodriguez is the best coach for the 2010 team, so a large part of me wants to see what he'll do with the roster that he has crafted and the system that he has put in place. At the same time, I have zero faith that Rich Rodriguez will meet out expectations of building a championship program (needless to say, Michigan MUST compete for a Big Ten title next year and, at the very least, MUST be playing on January 1st, 2011). And why should I? After Michigan beat Florida in the Capital One Bowl with Rich Rodriguez on the sidelines, the 2008 team was supposed to be led by Ryan Mallett, Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington, Justin Boren, etc. They all left. Rodriguez struck out on Pryor, and was too stubborn to fit the system around his quarterback(s). The team, as it was constituted in week one of 2008, was supposed to be a six-win team (although many at WCBN predicted that the team would win seven or eight games). Michigan lost to Toledo (3-9), Purdue (4-8), and Northwestern (at home) and finished the season 3-9. This year, Michigan was supposed to take a step forward, certainly play in a bowl game, and compete with the middle of the Big Ten. Michigan has one Big Ten win and is in danger of missing a Bowl game for the second consecutive year. Rich Rodriguez has yet to prove to me that he can meet expectations--let alone exceed them. So fire him, keep him, whatever. Just please tell me that this school has a contingency plan when it's time to begin competing for a national championship again.
Goddeeris: First of all, I'm really looking forward to beating Ohio State this year. It's going to happen. I can feel it. It'll be a great way to get bowl eligible and I will proudly hang the picture of Brandon Graham crying tears of joy on my bedroom wall.
This has been argued at WCBN before, but I don't think Rodriguez can be blamed for players like Mallett and Manningham (and certainly not Boren, whose father was upset his younger brother Zach wasn't offered and pulled Justin from Michigan) leaving. Mallett saw an opportunity to play for his dream school, Arkansas, after Mustain transferred. Players leave during coaching changes, that's just how it is. Yes, he's been stubborn with his offense and play calling, but he's building a system and a program from (yes) a bare cupboard (especially on defense) and as painful as these last two seasons have been, I still have faith in Coach Rodriguez to right the ship and take Michigan back to the top.
Rich Rodriguez simply cannot be fired after this season. There is supposedly no greater mind behind the spread offense than Rodriguez, and bringing in a different spread coach makes no sense to me. If Michigan wanted to bring in a coach who ran more of a pro-style offense, I see us running into a problem with our lack of dominant outside WR, tiny O-linemen, and other personnel recruited to play Rodriguez's offense. That said, Rodriguez needs to put together a Big Ten Championship caliber season next year, and be contending for a national championship in year four. My health demands it. Go Blue!
Brian over at MGoBlog joined the debate today, coincidentally. Link lives here: http://mgoblog.com/content/when-can-we-fire-guy