A couple of weeks ago, Florida hired their new head football coach. And soon after, Nebraska did the same.
Florida now has Jim McElwain who replaced Will Muschamp. Nebraska now has Mike Riley who replaced Bo Pellini.
It was an unusual end to a season in college football where three tradition-rich football programs were in need of new head coaches. While the Gators and Cornhuskers have found their man, Michigan continues to tumble in the breeze — and there’s no one to blame but Michigan itself.
At the end of the 2007 season, Michigan supporters wanted Lloyd Carr gone. So much pressure was put on Carr that he decided to retire after the team’s bowl game that season. Carr’s record over his final five seasons at Michigan? 2003 (10-3), 2004 (9-3), 2005 (7-5), 2006 (11-2) and 2007 (9-4).
But despite Carr’s record late in his coaching career, fans were most unhappy about his record against Ohio State. Over his final seven meetings against the Buckeyes, Carr and the Wolverines lost six of them. And in Carr’s final season, Michigan lost at home to Appalachian State, a game most of us will never regret.
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So it seemed at the time that running Carr out-of-town would be a good thing and that his replacement would make Michigan a winner again.
Enter Rich Rodriguez.
Rodriguez spent three seasons in Ann Arbor compiling an overall record of 15-22. It was no secret at the time that the current Wolverines roster did not have the type of talent needed to run Rodriguez’s spread offense that he successfully coached at West Virginia. Rodriguez needed time to turn over the roster before his team could show any success.
But he was run out of the state of Michigan before he could finish. And now look at what he’s done at Arizona.
Big mistake, Michigan fan.
So who did the Wolverines turn to next?
While Hoke got Wolverines’ fans excited in his first season as head coach in 2011 (Michigan finished at 11-2), many thought this was a direct result of Rodriguez’s recruiting efforts. Rodriguez had finally recruited a roster that he could work with but was fired before he had a chance.
That theory soon seemed to become reality when Hoke’s record got progressively worse each year after that: 2012 (8-5), 2013 (7-6) and 2014 (5-7).
And now that Hoke is gone, who’s next? Les Miles has said that he does not want the job. Jim Harbaugh does not seem interested.
The fear for any new head coach at Michigan is simple. They are afraid that they will be run out of time before they have time to finish the job.
Because of this vacancy at the head coaching position, recruiting is suffering. While teams like Ohio State and Michigan State continue to get better, Michigan has been left behind as the new doormats in the Big Ten.
If there is any silver lining to this story, look at what happened at Florida State. When legendary head coach Bobby Bowden retired, many felt that the Seminoles would never be as good on the field as they used to. In fact, the program had already started to take a dive during Bowden’s final few seasons.
We all see how that story turned out. Maybe the same can happen for Michigan. Only time, and a new head coach, can tell.