Disclaimer: What you are about to read is both opinionated and offends good taste.
In case you missed seeing it somewhere in the news, the Michigan football team had their annual end of the season banquet yesterday in Livonia. The most newsworthy of the events that occurred was a Rich Rodriguez speech in which he emotionally stated his strong desire to be a Michigan man. Something also to note was that Rodriguez had his team hold hands to the song "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban.
Josh Groban? Football?
Rich Rodriguez, based on my potentially biased opinion, has all but told us that he is out the door after the bowl game. If this is true, the Josh Groban song is acceptable because this banquet was like a funeral- the death of an era. People get teary and emotional at funerals, I understand. But the extent of my empathy is only contingent on the fact that Rich Rodriguez knows he's gone.
And if he doesn't know the status of his employment at the University of Michigan next year?
SHAME ON HIM. What's with this nonsense about Rich Rodriguez acting so soft in front of crowds? He moped about the NCAA allegations, he moped about his defensive woes all season, he moped about the injury problems on his team, and now this? Josh Groban?
Coach: Crying (or coming damn near it) never solved anything. If you don't know that you're going to get fired, then stop acting so feeble. It doesn't resonate well with fans, administration, or recruits.
When Tim Tebow's Florida Gators got beat in 2008 by an inferior Ole Miss team, potentially ruining a championship season, how long did he feel sorry for himself? About 5 minutes. Then he stood up in front of a crowd of media, delivered (regardless of what you think of Tim Tebow) a great speech about how hard the team the was going to work the rest of the season, and then got it done by winning a national championship. Tebow's leadership turned sorrow into determination.
And Rodriguez? Well, after months of having his tail between his legs in front of the media and alumni, it appears that it will remain there. This submissiveness, I'm sure, is doing wonders for the public's perception of him as a strong-minded football coach.
Michigan had a winning record, but not a winning season. A winning season breeds optimism, support, and a determination to improve. Instead, the Michigan football team is currently surrounded by pessimism amongst supporters, de-committing recruits, and a student body that has the right to feel sorry themselves for having to live through the Dark Years of modern day Michigan football. When you're a junior at Michigan and you have yet to beat Michigan State, Penn State, or Ohio State, a little bit of wallowing in self-pity isn't hard to accomplish.
I can never fault a man for getting upset over losing his job, but as long as Rich Rodriguez is publicly known as the head coach of Michigan, he owes it to the Michigan fan base paying his multi-million dollar salary to act the part. Michigan fans are simple creatures: they like to win, and they like to be around people who are determined to win. Excuses, moping, and an affinity for Josh Groban, have not, and will not ever, fulfill this simple desire.