Saturday, November 27, 2010

(Updated) Should He Stay or Should He Go: The Rich Rodriguez Saga

At this point, Michigan fans have had a couple weeks to know about where the football program would finish this season, and people have been finalizing their opinions on Coach Rodriguez's job security for some time now.

I think it's fair to say the majority of the fanbase as a whole wants Coach Rod canned - the NCAA violations, the spread, the Big Ten record, losing streaks to conference powers and rivals, the complete and utter lack of defense. It's a wholly reasonable opinion, as Rodriguez's tenure at Michigan has been an utter embarrassment, and it's hard to keep coming up with excuses for the coach. Emotionally, Michigan fans feel like enough is enough, and are ready to forgive Jim Harbaugh's comments about Michigan's standards to hire the architect of the turnaround in Palo Alto.

There's another sizable contingent who says Rodriguez deserves another year. Three years is a short amount of time in the scheme of things, and he's still getting his recruits in place and up to speed in his schemes. Rodriguez has been the victim of an absurd amount of transfers, injuries, and admissions snafus, and inherited a certifiably awful 2007 recruiting class from Lloyd Carr. He's demonstrated progress - an explosive offense behind the nation's most electrifying player and seven wins and a bowl in his third season. Giving Rodriguez another year to get Michigan back to contending for the Big Ten championship would help avoid what could be a rash of transfers and would provide some much needed continuity that's important for player development and recruiting.

Dave Brandon does not have an enviable position as he heads home tonight, cell phone surely buzzing off the hook with alumni, former players, and friends offer their opinions on the fate of the coaching spot at the nation's winningest program. Whatever his decision, a couple things are clear:
  • Anyone less than Jim Harbaugh will be a disappointment. The Stanford coach and "Michigan Man" (ed. some of us haven't forgiven his previous treachery) has expressed a desire to coach at his alma mater in the past, and he absolutely is the #1 choice of Michigan fans everywhere. Hiring anyone else would have fans scratching their heads and wringing their hands.
  • Whoever coaches at Michigan next year should have a minimum expectation of 9 wins. Michigan will return 19 starters, will have one of the nation's most explosive offenses returning almost entirely intact, and will have improved depth and experience on defense. Michigan will have the talent to win 9 games next year, and anything less will be a major disappointment, no matter who the coach is.
  • Michigan fans will continue to support their team wholeheartedly. Fans support the team far more than the coach, and nobody will care who coaches the team as long as the team is succeeding.
Sports Directors' Decisions

Bill: Fire Rodriguez. The time has come to make the change, and we owe Rodriguez nothing. Bring on Jim Harbaugh.

Andrew: Rodriguez should get one more year, for most of the reasons listed above. However, I won't be heartbroken if RichRod is out at Michigan. I like Rodriguez more than most people, and want badly for him to succeed, but I want much more for Michigan to succeed, and if Harbaugh gives Michigan that chance then so be it. I think it would be premature to fire Rodriguez, but I can certainly understand the decision if it happens.

AD Dave Brandon will surely have to do some damage control if he plans on keeping Rodriguez, and you should expect the former CEO to crank up the PR very soon if Rodriguez is the guy. If he decides to fire Rodriguez, expect the decision to come sooner than later, and expect Harbaugh to be the pick. We'll know a lot more on Monday.

Bonus rumor: Update - We're going to go ahead and repost the rumor. It's precisely that, a rumor, and it should by no means be interpreted as anything more. If the powers that be have an issue with this, please email me at

Following the fiasco in Columbus, a couple WCBN personalities were informed by a source that Rich Rodriguez would be replaced by Jim Harbaugh, and that Rodriguez would be headed to Miami to take over the head coaching job there. We were initially highly skeptical, but with the firing of Randy Shannon a few hours after we received this tip, have reason to be a bit more confident that this will happen. Some of us are much more skeptical than others, and the Shannon firing wasn't exactly a major surprise, but there's enough here in our minds to leave it up on the blog. It's all very interesting. We'll see how it plays out.

Update II - WCBN has learned through a source within the University of Miami administration that the U and Rich Rodriguez have been in contact. What this means, however, is unknown. Everybody contacts everybody with these coaching searches, and it could be nothing more than Miami reaching out to RichRod only to be rebuffed. However, we believe there has been contact, which is interesting enough to pass along.

Whoever the coach - forever and always, Go Blue.



Andrew Goddeeris and Bill Rothwell from the Camera Deck at Ohio Stadium.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Midseason Hockey Thoughts

Well, well, well…with the non-conference schedule over and Michigan a few series into the CCHA, we have learned a few things. Michigan is still the Michigan of last year. A talented team with the ability to score goals, run a deadly powerplay, and makes key saves, but they cannot do it for 60 minutes or over 48 hours. Ties against Mercyhurst, New Hampshire, and Ferris State clearly show they cannot close out games on a consistent basis. Michigan has had a curse of sorts the past two seasons with having an awful Friday night record and a strong Saturday night record. Michigan is 2-3-1 on Friday night games this season and 6-0-2 on Saturday. The most disappointing moment has to be the Friday night game against Notre Dame two weekend ago, when Michigan had to strong two periods before tanking in the third. This past weekend Michigan took care of an inferior Lake Superior State team. After Thanksgiving is the College Hockey Showcase. Wisconsin and Minnesota, who are in the middle of the pack of their conference, will be a good barometer to determine if the wolverines are improving or staying stagnant.

Although, there is hope with this Jekyll and Hyde team because they clearly have talent. Defensemen Jon Merrill has played very comfortable as a freshman on the top pairing, Hagelin and Caporusso are scoring at a point per game pace, and Bryan Hogan has put up good stats. Even Scooter Vaughan has emerged as a scoring threat. Michigan fans might have to wait until the end of the season before the hockey team can get their act together as they did last year. The pressure is on the seniors to get back to the frozen four like they did when they were freshmen.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Three Spankings and You're Out!

Can Rich Rodriguez afford to lose this weekend to keep his job? Yes.

Can Rich Rodriguez afford for his team to get walloped in the biggest rivalry game in sports three times in a row? I doubt it.

I like Rich Rodriguez, but let's be honest: the man has done a poor job coaching arguably the best college football program in the country. I know the cupboard was empty when he came in 2008, I know he's faced an onslaught of freak injuries that continue to cripple his defense, and I know that it takes time to institute a new system such as the spread... but some things are simply inexcusable. Getting thwacked by Jim Tressel's Buckeyes after three years of building your program, no matter how decimated with injuries the Wolverines currently seem, is one of those things.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has been adamant about keeping Rich Rodriguez around Michigan's campus since the day Brandon was hired. According to Brandon, immediate success would not gauge Rich Rod's job security, but rather, "progress" would be key.

Call me crazy, but "progress" has yet to be accomplished by Rich Rod against the Big Ten's elite. Heck, some might say Michigan's regressed. Just last year the Michigan State Spartans and the Iowa Hawkeyes beat the Wolverines by margins of 6 and 2 respectively. And this year? Well, let's just say the combined margin was greater than 25, with both schools beating Michigan AT HOME by double digits.

Where is the progress? It's true that the maize and blue have improved their record every year under Rich Rodriguez, but Michigan has looked silly against Michigan State, Iowa, Penn State, and Wisconsin this year. No progress, it seems, has been made regarding how the Wolverines stack up to the top teams in the Big Ten conference.

The only good news for Rodriguez is that the trump card is still in play for 2010. The one game that matters more than the rest has yet to be played. A win against Ohio State, in my opinion, constitutes progress. Shoot, even a close game (within 10 points) would show that this team is on the rebound. But if history repeats itself and Michigan gets dominated by another Big Ten powerhouse, I'm just not so sure that Dave Brandon, with his self-imposed standards, can justify keeping Rich Rodriguez as the head coach of the University of Michigan football team.

I think three Buckeye-decorated spankings for Rich Rodriguez in three years, regardless of the circumstances, will mean he's out.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Listen: Basketball v. Gardner-Webb

LISTEN LIVE at 2 as Michigan basketball looks to move to 3-0 on the young season.

Adam Wilensky and Jack Warner on the call.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LISTEN: Hockey v. LSSU

LISTEN LIVE at 7:35 as Michigan looks to sweep the Lakers out of Yost.

John Zaccardelli, Michael Lewandowski, Adam Brewster, and Jeff Turner on the call.

LISTEN: Volleyball v. Indiana

LISTEN LIVE at 7 as Michigan volleyball takes on Indiana at Cliff Keen!

Andrew Goddeeris, Chris Kudialis, and Michael Fienberg on the call.

Listen: Football v. #7 Wisconsin

LISTEN LIVE at NOON as Michigan takes on #7 Wisconsin at the Big House. Michigan looks to improve to 8-3 on the year and get the marquee win of the Rich Rodriguez era.

Andrew Goddeeris, Bill Rothwell, Jeff Turner, and Chris Lafreniere on the call.

Friday, November 19, 2010

LISTEN: Volleyball v. Purdue

LISTEN LIVE as Michigan looks to rebound from tough losses on the road last weekend as they return to Cliff Keen to take on Purdue!

Tyler Bruens and Steve Neff on the call.

LISTEN: Hockey v. LSSU

LISTEN LIVE at 7:35 as the Wolverines look to snap their Friday funk and get an important conference win over the Lakers at Yost.

Andrew Goddeeris, Michael Lewandowski, and Kevin Carpenter on the call.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Is Amir Williams really about to Terrelle Pryor us?

Brace yourself, because what you're about to hear won't be good.

Multiple sources have begun to report that Detroit Country Day basketball standout Amir Williams, despite some late, promising visits to Ann Arbor, will be choosing between Ohio State and Florida for his commitment this Wednesday. It sounds like Michigan is going to take the bronze in the recruiting race for the 6'9" center... which means they will take nothing.

Is it just me, or is this history repeating itself to a sickening degree? Wolverine fans remember when current Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor teased the Wolverines for a few months before converting to the dark side, and now, my gut tells me, Amir Williams will do the same. The factor that makes this one even worse? Amir is from Detroit! Our backyard, our talent, and he is choosing to be a hairless nut for the next four years instead of becoming one of the leaders and best.

But not all hope for a decent future is lost.

As we have had to do multiple times in the last 5 years, Michigan fans now turn to Florida to turn a negative into a neutral. Remember 2007? The gators managed to beat the Buckeyes for the NCAA championship in both football and basketball.

Here's to hoping for one more triumph for Florida... goooo gators!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Michigan Basketball vs. South Carolina Upstate

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LISTEN: Michigan football v. Purdue

LISTEN LIVE as Michigan looks to move to 7-3 on the road against the Boilermakers from Purdue!

Tyler Bruens, Chris Kudialis, Matt Bernstein, and Adam Wilensky on the call live from West Lafayette.

Friday, November 12, 2010

LISTEN: Michigan hockey v. Notre Dame

LISTEN LIVE at 7:35 as Michigan hockey takes on the Fighting Irish from Notre Dame!

Andrew Goddeeris, Michael Lewandowksi, Adam Wilensky, and Matt Bernstein on the call.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Volleyball v. OSU

LISTEN LIVE as Michigan looks to bounce back from a tough loss to PSU and take down the Buckeyes at Cliff Keen at 6 pm.

Andrew Goddeeris and Chris Kudialis on the call.

Michigan football v. Illinois

LISTEN LIVE as the Wolverines look to snap their Big Ten skid and get bowl eligible for the first time in the Rich Rodriguez era against the Illini from Champaign. Kickoff at NOON.

Andrew Goddeeris, Bill Rothwell, Tyler Bruens, and Chris Kudialis on the call.

Friday, November 5, 2010

#15 Volleyball v. # 9 Penn State

The hottest ticket in town is MICHIGAN VOLLEYBALL! LISTEN LIVE tonight at 7 pm as the #15 Michigan Wolverines look to take down the #9 Nittany Lions in front of a SOLD OUT Cliff Keen Arena!

Andrew Goddeeris and the WCBN crew are your official voice of Michigan Volleyball!