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Michigan, it’s time to be better than Brady Hoke.
The school hired a coach with all O and no D, and now, your 2014 Pac-12 Coach of the Year, Rich Rodriguez, is playing for a conference championship with an outside shot of getting Arizona into the College Football Playoff.
Michigan didn’t like RichRod for a variety of reasons – most of which had to do with Michigan being bad at playing college football during his tenure – but it was acknowledged that the program needed to change and become a bit more progressive. It did, and Rodriguez built things up just in time for Brady Hoke to step in and win a Sugar Bowl.
And then a funny thing happened to Michigan becoming a superpower again – there was all D and no O in the Hoke era – and now it’s time to find yet another head coach who can try to make Michigan football really, really good again.
It’s this simple – win. That it. No matter what the style, no matter how the sausage is made, it’s time to be Michigan again.
Forget about all the bullspit garbage about the home schedule not being anything amazing. Forget about the idea of the team being boring, or Michigan fans having anything better to do with their lives. If Michigan starts winning again on a regular basis enough to start thinking about fun things like division titles, Big Ten championships, and playoff invites, then there won’t be any need to come up with gimmicky promotions and desperately beg the fans to fill up the cavernous bowl, and the students will be more than happy to pack the Big House.
Actually, it’s this simple – win and fill the stadium so the money is there to fund the rest of the massive Michigan athletic program. That’s it. So now all that matters is the next head coach who’ll come in and have to handle the expectations and desperation of a fan base that really believes the Leaders and Best thing about the school. It’s not going to take a Michigan Man to do it, and it’s not going to take someone who understands all the ins and outs of the university and how it rolls. It’ll take the best head coach possible. Period.
Of course Jim Harbaugh would be a great hire to restore the glory. Of course it would be really cool if Dave Grohl kicks off the next season of Sonic Highways from my breakfast nook, but that’s not happening, either. It’s one of the premier jobs in sports, and Michigan needs to be aggressive in thinking big, even if it doesn’t get a Harbaugh. Bound by nothing, the program should be able to widen its search to include anyone Florida might be looking at and anyone the NFL might be thinking about.
Yes, it really is possible to win big at Michigan right away, and no, there’s absolutely no reason the program can’t go into every year thinking that a spot in the top four is a true goal. And here’s the real kicker in all of this – it really is possible to be even better and stronger than it’s ever been, at least in the last 50 years or so.
Alabama will always be Bear Bryant’s football program, but it could be argued that Nick Saban has been every bit as successful – if not more – considering the new era and the difficulties in succeeding at the highest of high levels on an annual basis now.
It can be the same way for the next Michigan head coach, only without the relatively recent history of national titles that Saban had to live up to.
Bo Schembechler was a legend among legends, but he famously never won a national title. Lloyd Carr was never truly appreciated, but he came up with one national title and pushed hard for another. With everything Michigan has to offer, and everything in place to succeed with, with one dead-on right hire the new head coach has the chance right there for the taking to make the program his. The Schembechler mystique and era will always be looming over Michigan football and will always be revered, but the program can be better. It can be stronger. It can rise up and help make the Big Ten into a powerhouse again – the league is better when Michigan is amazing.
Hoke was okay, and he’ll be a great head coach somewhere else – he’ll probably pull a RichRod and win a Coach of the Year honor soon enough. By that time, though, Michigan should be worrying about its seed in the College Football Playoff.
Michigan: Be Better Than Brady Hoke
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