Odd Dilemma for Badger Fans

Over the past three games, the Badgers have looked extraordinary in shutting out Purdue 37-0, edging out Indiana on the road 31-28, and demolishing Michigan 45-24 in a game that served to re-emphasize that right now It Sucks To Be A Mich-i-gan Wolv-er-ine.  Although Michigan is too busy with rivalries with Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Penn State to be concerned with the Badgers, current and recently-graduated Wisconsin students (at least of the Jewish persuasion) see Michigan as our biggest rival and have felt immense schadenfreude as a result of the ineptitude of the program under Rich Rodriguez’s tenure as dictator coach.

As I outlined a couple weeks ago, being a giant douche generally does not translate into victories as an NFL coach.  This tenet does not, however, hold true in the college ranks where being a drill sergeant is probably the most effective mechanism for maximizing the productivity of a bunch of 18-22 year-olds with no income (this may or may not be true at Michigan, or for that matter any top program, but they aren’t getting paid like NFL players) or world perspective.  Therefore, while the fact that Rich Rodriguez is a demonstrable and detestable prick makes it more enjoyable to see him fail, it does not necessarily preclude his running a successful program.  However, Michigan has been nothing short of abysmal the last two seasons, going 8-15 in his tenure.

Defenders of Rich Rodriguez have been quick to point out that Lloyd Carr did a poor job recruiting in his final seasons as Michigan coach.  As Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press detailed, Rodriguez even implied these comments himself, saying, “We’ll win more of these games and other games when we have a better team than the team we’re playing.”  These comments, which are quantitatively untrue, are unnecessary and self-gratifying.  According to scout.com, Michigan had the 9th best recruiting class in 2006, 10th in 2007, 6th in 2008, and 14th in 2009.  In those four years, Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois, Purdue, and Wisconsin–who all beat the Wolverines this season–did not have a higher rated recruiting class in any of these years and only Illinois ever ranked in the top 25.

While the argument that the teams that defeated Michigan this season are objectively more talented is almost definitely false, Rodriguez would be justified in saying that his current crop of upperclassmen is not an adequate match for his system.  Therefore, despite the fact that Michigan, led by Rodriguez, has vastly underachieved, they could be scary going forward if he gets the chance to match his recruits with the spread offense.  Because he is not a “Michigan Man” (is anything more arrogant and obnoxious than how Michigan people emphasize it as Michigan MAN? Does any other group of people anywhere classify people in manners similar to this?) and has demonstrated himself to be incompetent, a hothead, a rules violator, and an overall dick these two years he may not get the chance to prove it.

The dilemma then becomes as follows: as a fan who roots hard, real hard, against Michigan, do I want Rich Rodriguez to be fired or bolt to another program at the end of this season or not?  As previously detailed, I would like him to be fired because it is always enjoyable to watch people who are blatant pricks fail to achieve success and the potential for Michigan to eventually achieve greatness under his system is genuinely scary.  Also, if Michigan fired Rodriguez they would waste his two recruiting classes and have to start all over with a new coach and a new system.  Subversion!  On the other hand, maybe he truly is an awful coach for Michigan and will continue to embarrass the program with his doucheyness while failing to aspire to greatness as his recruiting classes grow older.  That would be awesome!

Because I find myself torn in the dilemma I must turn to a tiebreaker.   Here, it is essential to think about what Michigan fans want and hope for the opposite.  Therefore, even if the decision ended up being the correct one, Wolverine-haters would be hedged in the short-term with Michigan fans’ being unhappy.  An overwhelming majority of Michigan fans I have spoken to want Rodriguez to be fired.  Therefore, I must, while recognizing the potential peril, hope for one more year.


One Response to Odd Dilemma for Badger Fans

  1. Atishay says:

    I understand your post is coming from a Badger point of view and I am decidedly a Wolverine. I have no problem in reading other people take shots at the Michigan football program if their assertions are backed up. You call Rich Rodriguez a “douche” but you fail to give any reasons as to why he is a douche other than to say that he’s the head coach of the one University you hate the most. Also, you should really do some actual research before listing off recruiting class rankings because there was a mass exodus of upperclassman that Lloyd Carr recruited once Rich Rodriguez became head coach because of the difference in his system. Now I’m not saying that his record the last two years is acceptable, but I am saying that if you’re going to make an argument against someone-even someone you loathe for unknown reasons-you’d be better served to do some fact checking and actual research before calling someone a douche and complete failure.

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