Not all famous people are having as great a year as Steve Martin, who just released a new novel. Going into the New Year's Day Gator Bowl matchup against Mississippi State, the Michigan Wolverines head coach has a lot on his plate and much work to do to get ready. On top of all of that, this is a very busy time in recruiting for college football as well. And with a head coach's jeopardy in doubt, it can really affect recruiting for the incoming classes as well as verbals for rising seniors for the following year's class. And job uncertainty is one thing that has plagued Rich Rodriguez almost since he set foot on campus in Ann Arbor after taking over for the departed Lloyd Carr.
Third Season Ends for Rich Rodriguez
As the third year of his tenure as Michigan football coach comes to an end and he finally has guided the Wolverines back to a New Year's Day bowl game, it is evident that the pressure on him has still not subsided even as the team has shown a few signs of progress. With a quarterback in sophomore Denard Robinson who was actually built to run the system employed by Rich Rodriguez and with an explosive offense that has to be considered one of the very best in the country, Michigan has definitely shown some of those flashes. The trouble mostly has been on the other side of the ball, with a defense that at times doesn't appear capable of stopping a high school junior varsity team.
Of course, this is not to say that the offense under Rich Rodriguez this season has been perfect. Robinson has been spectacular at times and in the early going of the year was thought of along with Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State as a front runner for the Heisman Trophy. His abysmal performance against the first strong defense he faced in Michigan State and some uneven play in the second half of the season along with a few minor injuries have completely derailed that campaign, putting even more pressure on Rich Rodriguez to produce wins and to get more consistent results out of his team.
This year after an unheard of two year hiatus, the team is back in the bowl picture, and with rising and incoming classes the team figures to be back in that pattern for some time if Rich Rodriguez should stay. But the Gator Bowl and seven win regular seasons are not what fans expect from Michigan, and Athletic Director Dave Brandon has made it clear that they will not be tolerated by the athletic department either. Rich Rodriguez has been under the hot seat since day one, with a minor NCAA infraction scandal costing him face in 2009 and with constant rumors of big names coming to town to take his place.
Harbaugh to Sign New Stanford Deal
In 2009, it was Jon Gruden constantly being referenced. This year's big name was former standout Wolverines quarterback and Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh, who has his team in the BCS top 5 and a Rose Bowl destination on their minds. But word out of Stanford is that the school has offered Harbaugh a revised contract that will pay him more to stay, giving him plenty of money for auto insurance service. This is great news for Rich Rodriguez. Harbaugh had been considered to be the biggest threat to Rich Rodriguez, and many experts actually like the direction the Michigan program has been headed in and suggested that if the Stanford coach was unavailable, it would be better to let Rich Rodriguez have another year and watch him continue to develop Robinson and build his defense.