And so the axe falls in Ann Arbor. After easily the most disastrous three-year stretch in decades, and it really was a shame that it couldn't have gone on forever, as expected Michigan has fired head coach Rich Rodriguez. Per the Detroit Free Press:
The end finally arrived for Rich Rodriguez.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has made the decision to fire Rodriguez, the Free Press has learned. The two were meeting this afternoon, according to a Michigan spokesman.
Obviously that's good news for Michigan, but the bad news is that it looks increasingly unlikely that Jim Harbaugh will take the job, so they likely have to move on to either Brady Hoke or Les Miles. In time things will get better for them, but it's going to be a hard transition back to more of a conventional attack, and honestly I do somewhat question the potential upside. Michigan gets hyped to the high heavens, but personally I peg them as probably the most overrated program in the country, what with a whopping one-half of a national championship in the past 60 years. They'll probably get back to being a top team in the Big Ten in time, but I'm not exactly betting on them being a true national powerhouse.
For Rodriguez, he'll rebound soon enough. His high profile and track record of success as an OC and as head coach at West Virginia -- not to mention the fact that many people blame the bad cultural fit for the issues at Michigan -- will get him a head coaching job somewhere in the near future. The problem for Rich Rod, though, is that he clearly made the most of his time at WVU only after the conference basically fell apart, and no matter what you think of his offensive abilities, it's clear now that he will probably never field quality defenses. He'll get another BCS coaching job if he wants it, but he'll never get another job at a big-time program.
And for 'Bama, well, it could have been us. We could have been trying to run the spread option with John Parker Wilson with a defense that gets torched every weekend. And, making matters worse, we'd be hearing right now about how Rich Rod was a great coach and how we just had ridiculous expectations. Fortunately, thank this lady for preventing all of that. In the end, it's comforting to know that for at least a brief moment of time, there indeed was a God and, yes, he bled crimson.