Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The four-year exemption...

Obviously, most of us didn't get "our guy," or any of them, as the coach at the University of Michigan. Most of the fans who follow football on more than a superficial level wanted someone else. Over the last week, I, as have many fans, have had my say. I have vented my disgust at the process. But the bottom line is that Brady Hoke is now the head football coach at the University of Michigan, and I hope he is given the same "four year exemption" that RR deserved but didn't get.

I wouldn't mind seeing a "fire David Brandon" website, and would love to see the power of the Carr-tel gradually eroded, but Brady Hoke should not be a target for those dissatisfied with the outcome of the search. The Carr-tel deliberately sabotaged RR's tenure at the University of Michigan. They damaged the program, causing much of the attrition and affecting recruiting when they leaked the "violations" to Rosenberg.

While they have, indeed, been rewarded by their behavior with the hiring of "one of their own," it would be hypocritical for those who disagree with the hiring to treat Hoke the way the Carr-tel treated RR. Besides, while Hoke benefitted from the Carr-tel's behavior, he was much to busy coaching football to be a part of the damaging behavior.

So, I plan on giving Hoke the "four-year exemption." I don't expect much more than 6-6 this season, and will see anything else as a bonus. But it won't be Hoke's fault that he has been given a team that doesn't fit his vision or his skill-set. David Brandon was conscious of what he was doing when he abandoned the spread, and any ire for another year or two of rebuilding should be directed at him: not at Hoke.

As far as Hoke goes, unless something drastically wrong happens, he has to be given four years to execute his plan. And I will be behind him all the way. It doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to see him keep Denard and figure out a hybrid offense, but I will support him in the decisions he makes for the next four years.

Any coach deserves that much: especially the coach at the University of Michigan. No matter who he is, or how he got there.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Carr-tel reigns at Michigan

The Carr-tel has won. They have been rewarded for their sabotaging of RR's tenure at Michigan by having one of their own, Brady Hoke, named as head coach. This guarantees at least three more years of rebuilding, followed by as many years of mediocrity as whoever is running things by then can stomach.

Today's hiring virtually ensures that Michigan fans will continue to watch modern teams make the BCS title game, while wondering why Michigan never makes it. Over the years, we have blamed bad luck, bad referees, and bad timing for crushing losses, but the bottom line is that the old way of saying, "here we are, try to stop us" and then pushing other teams up and down the field doesn't work anymore, and hasn't worked since scholarships went down to 85 and cable allowed everyone to be on television.

If you love anachronistic, unimaginative football, you will love Brady Hoke. If you love seeing Michigan lose to teams with only one or two players who could make their depth chart, you will love Brady Hoke. If you think Lloyd Carr is the be-all and end-all of Michigan football, and that his face should be on Mt Rushmore, you will love Brady Hoke. Most of all, if you love watching Lloyd Carr pull the strings of a puppet coach, you will love Brady Hoke.

This hiring is the cruelest joke that has ever been perpetrated upon the Michigan fanbase. It proves that Lloyd Carr still has a lot of power at Michigan, and it proves that Mary Sue Coleman has had a lot more to say in this process than most of us think she did.

David Brandon and Mary Sue Coleman should both be fired today. They both had a chance to turn Michigan football into the "leaders and best" again, and instead chose to turn it into what will soon be one of the biggest jokes in college football.

Do you want to see Denard Robinson win a Heisman? Maybe it will happen at Auburn, but it won't happen at Michigan. Do you want to see Michigan end its losing streak against OSU? Sorry: it isn't happening anytime soon. Do you want to see what Michigan can do in the spread with upperclassmen on the field? It won't happen for at least ten years now.

This isn't Hoke's fault, and once the product is on the field, I will support him. I will continue to cheer for Michigan; I have since 1960 and it is too late to stop now. But today is not a time for blind optimism, nor is it a time for celebration: it is a time to grieve the loss of what might have been. Most of all, it is a time to hold Lloyd Carr, Mary Sue Coleman, and David Brandon accountable for their actions.

If this were a movie, Brady Hoke would come in, sieze the day, and Michigan would suddenly be a "player" on the national scene again. Their paleolithic offense would suddenly be the talk of college football, and the glut of spread teams playing for National Championships would fall by the wayside. Sadly for Michigan fans, this isn't a movie. And if it were, it would be something by Monty Python.

Thanks, David. Thanks, Mary Sue. Thanks, Lloyd. You have pretty much guaranteed that, without divine intervention, I won't see Michigan win another National Championship in my lifetime. You have guaranteed that the one half of a National Championship I got to witness in fifty years so far of following Michigan football is the only one I will ever see.

To further your selfish and parochial agenda, you have shattered the dreams of every Michigan football fan who wants to see Michigan play in the BCS title game, even if they don't know it yet. You have doomed the University of Michigan to be a quaint artifact of a bygone era, even as fans are dumping millions of dollars into your coffers in realtime.

You have all proven to be dishonest and incompetent. By your own standards, you should all be fired immediately. Security should usher all of you to the door without giving you a chance to empty your desks. None of you should ever be allowed to set foot on University of Michigan property again.

But that won't happen. Instead, it will be "business as usual." You will all talk about how you are going to "restore tradition to the University of Michigan." Sadly, though, that "tradition" involves chronic underachievement in BCS bowls, annual disappointment, and one National Championship in sixty years. The school deserves better. And the fans lining your pockets deserve better for their money.

You had a chance to give your fans better. And you failed miserably. May your karma be swift and just.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Conspiracy theories abound....

Since the blog is called "tinfoil hat sports blog," let's examine the various conspiracy theories and rate them on a one to five tinfoil hat scale.

1. David Brandon thought he had a deal with Jim Harbaugh and Harbaugh backed out.

This is almost etched in stone. John Harbaugh said something to the effect of "the Michigan thing is over now" the day of RR's firing. That, of course, would mean that there had been previous discussion. It also explains why RR and the players were left "twisting in the wind" for as long as they were. This is solid, and I will rate it FIVE tinfoil hats.

This leads to....

2. David Brandon lied to the media, players, and staff for at least a month.

Once again, if number one is true, then number two is also true. It was obvious after the OSU game that Brandon was not going to support RR. I actually thought RR had a chance to keep his job if Michigan won their bowl game, but it is obvious that the choice was made from the beginning.

I will also give this one FIVE tinfoil hats.

3. The "Lloyd Carr-tel" has undermined RR's position on a daily basis for three years, including "leaking" damaging information to Michael Rosenberg.

There isn't much to dispute this, either. Carr gave no support to RR during his tenure, when his voice could have stopped a lot of the drama surrounding RR. Lloyd Carr did not do what Bo taught him to do. Neither has David Brandon. But the Carr-tel has invoked Bo's name on numerous occasions to further their agenda.

Lloyd Carr is still angry that he was not allowed to name his successor and have him come from the IMCT (Inbred Michigan Coaching Tree.) Apparently, Carr thinks his one National Championship season entitles him to treatment reserved for coaches named Schembechler or Crisler. He conveniently forgets how the game passed him by and how terrible he looked against elite teams the last three years of his tenure at Michigan. He also forgets how bare he left the cupboard for RR.

Can there be any doubt that the attrition RR faced can be at least partially attributed to Lloyd Carr encouraging players to leave?

I will also give this FIVE tinfoil hats.

4. Michigan's next coach will be a "money hire" to further the financial health of the Big Ten Network and help extend its reach into the NY/NJ area.

This was suggested by a poster on mgoblog. If it is true, there will be no Brady Hoke hiring. It would pretty much mean that Jon Gruden or Les Miles will be the coach at the University of Michigan. This may or may not be true, and is even more cynical than I normally am. For now, I will give it a solid THREE POINT FIVE tinfoil hats.

5. David Brandon wanted Jim Harbaugh, but Mary Sue Coleman wants Brady Hoke becuase she adores Lloyd Carr and the Carr-tel is in her ear every day.

This seems pretty solid also, and would really be funny considering her statement that she has no idea who the next coach will be. Apparently, the Carr-tel doesn't want Harbaugh because he is a Bo guy, and they feel threatened by his presence. If it is true, it definitely is NOT what Bo would do.

I will give this one FOUR tinfoil hats.

Summing up:

It's sorta sad that all of the conspiracy theories coming out of Ann Arbor probably have some truth to them. I guess it just means that "things are complicated," but I miss the old days when people were more on the "up and up" about things like this.

If anything comes out of this, I hope the Carr-tel is neutralized and put in their place for good. They have sabotaged the head coach at "their" school to further their own agenda, and their current carping is a power play to try and get themselves "restored" to power at Michigan.

They may have a few good points, but it was Lloyd Carr who was repsonsible for the first FOUR losses in the current seven-game losing streak to OSU. It was Lloyd Carr's upperclassmen who should have led the way for the Wolverines the last two years, but there weren't many because he encouraged most of them to leave.

Until those who constitute the Carr-tel are capable of accepting the fact that the game has evolved and that Michigan should be leaders and best instead of being anachronistic fucks whining about where the "good old days" went, they should be told that their feedback is no longer encouraged nor appreciated.

The new head coach should NOT be a member of the Carr-tel, and any of their members who continue to fight progress or engage in carping, whining, and sniping, should be told they are no longer welcome to visit the team or the facilities.

Let the new coach do his job and let him turn Michigan into the leaders and best again. Hopefully, it will be someone who is not a part of the Carr-tel, and is strong enough to ignore their carping, whining, and manipulations behind the scenes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Show me, David Brandon: show me.

So, David Brandon has fired Rich Rodriguez. According to insiders, he was trying to goad him into quitting so that he wouldn't have to pay the buyout, but Rodriguez wouldn't resign. In other words, he lied again yesterday when he said no decision had been made. And, of course, he lied about not having contacted Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh's brother let it slip that there was some communication, saying Harbaugh was "done" with the Michigan job.

Really, Rich Rodriguez' only "crime" was not being part of the good ol boy network at Michigan. You know: those longtime Michigan assistant coaches who were part of a system that could win eight or nine games every year but almost never won against truly elite competition in BCS bowls.

So, now, David Brandon has decided to bring in "his own people," which probably means a return to the same old shit Michigan fans have endured for years. The alums are happy, but the operative phrase here is, "be careful what you ask for."

If Brandon does, indeed, bring the inbred coaching "tree" back, he is guaranteeing a return to the sub-elite level that has fooled most Michigan fans for years. Under the Carr regime, the pattern was the same for his last seven years. Michigan would be highly rated to begin the season. Fans would be excited, thinking "this could be THE year." Then, there would be at least one inexplicable loss that would remove them from National Championship consideration. If they made it to the Rose Bowl, they usually lost. If they went to a crappy bowl, they won more than they lost.

Most of all, though, every season ended in disappointment for Michigan fans who expected them to just once be as good as advertised. The reason was because the game had passed the entire coaching tree and the conditioning coach by. Michigan fielded teams that looked great on paper but were handcuffed by the playcalling and schemes of the coaching staff.

When Rich Rodriguez was hired, it looked like Michigan was finally serious about entering the 21st century. Unfortunately, a massive rebuilding job was neccessary. And there was a huge faction of good ol' boy network that was both ignorant and indignant over the fact that Michigan had gone outside the "tree" for a head coach.

Consequently, RR never got the support he needed to finish the job he had been required to start. And the ignorant and indignant among the fanbase and within the athletic department were allowed to gain traction. They found the "Michigan Man" button and pushed it for all it was worth. They conveniently forgot that neither Fielding Yost nor Bo Schembechler was a "Michigan Man" before coaching the Maize and Blue.

So now, the team is facing a much worse transition than the one it underwent with Rodriguez. The personnel is ready to start performing well next year, but only under the same offensive system. If a pro set coach is hired, which describes almost anyone in the good ol' boy network, there will be at least two more years of losing, followed by more of the same old teams that look a lot better in the preseason rankings than they do when the games have actually be played.

Most of all, they will probably lose Denard Robinson if they don't hire a spread-based coach. The QB depth chart will basically read, "Devin Gardner and a bunch of nobodies."

So, David Brandon: show me. Show me you made the right decision. Show me you aren't the incompetent, stumbling boob that you appear to be. Show me that you didn't tamper with Stanford's coach during the season and lie to the public on numerous occasions while representing the University of Michgan, only to lose your "sure thing" because he realized he didn't want to work for an idiot.

Show me that your decision was based more on performance than your ego. Show me that you are capable of hiring a head coach who has ideas that weren't formulated in Ann Arbor thirty years ago. Show me that you haven't just plunged the football program back into the a giant black hole of anachronism and nepotism from which there is no escape.

Show me that you have one shred of integrity. Show me that you have one shred of competence. Show me that you understand that changing back to the pro set has a lot worse consequences than changing the sauce at Domino's.

David Brandon: go fire yourself.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

By his own standards, David Brandon should be fired.

The events of this evening, so far, anyway, have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that David Brandon thought he had Jim Harbaugh in his pocket, and has been lying to the public in his position as Athletic Director for the University of Michigan. JH has suddenly gotten some cold feet, probably because the NFL will pay him about $2 million more a year than Michigan will ever pay any coach.

So, what does DB do? He leaves the coach, players, and staff twisting in the wind until tomorrow. My guess is that he is frantically working behind the scenes to find another coach or talk JH into taking the job. It's as though David Brandon wants to fire RR in the worst way, and decided that's exactly how he will do it.

AFAIC, David Brandon is Larry, Moe, and Curly rolled into one giagantic douchebag.

Brandon has preached ethics since he took the UM AD job. He has gone to great lengths to let everybody know that they "do things the RIGHT way at the University of Michigan," borrowing his tone, pacing, and arrogance from the stuffy, old Smith-Barney commercials.

So, how ethical is it to tamper with Stanford's coach without asking permission? How ethical is it to lie to the public on numerous occasions while representing his employers? And how ethical is it to make RR's job tougher, even if he stays, by undermining yet another recruiting class with his rhetoric and his "timetable?"

David Brandon could not have botched this scenario any more or damaged the team any more than he is right now if he tried to do it on purpose. Brandon is so inept and dishonest that he has, from all reports, driven JH away from the Michigan job.

I have cheered for Michigan since 1960, and will continue to, no matter how this scenario ends, but I will never, ever believe a word that comes out of David Brandon's mouth again. And I will never have any respect for him again, either, except the kind of "respect" one has for a rattlesnake or a scorpion.

While he is firing Rich Rodriguez, he should fire himself.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Let the Fellatio begin.....

After Stanford's dominating performance in the Orange Bowl, the local media are about to begin a fellatio-fest that will make Deep Throat look like a Disney movie. Harbaugh will be showered with so many superlatives that it may seem to some that he is Tim Tebow, and Thom Brennaman is writing all of the stories.

His team looked very good tonight. Everything he tried worked, except for a fake punt that was rendered moot by the middle of the third quarter. The segment of Michigan fans who never gave RR a chance has to be salivating at the thought that everything his team did tonight will happen at Michigan.

So, now the frenzy begins. The MSM are eager to write a "Michigan fires coach" story, followed by a "prodigal son returns home" story. Most MSM writers are inherently lazy; they write the same story or column over and over again, and only the subjects change. If they get their way, they will get to rewrite two stories that they have written over and over again in their minds, and have on file in their memories as one would remember his or her childhood home.

They have been trying to force both of these stories to happen since before the season even ended. I don't know what ever happened to writers trying to be objective and report the news instead of making it, but I really miss those days.

Anyway, by the time the week is over, I fully expect Jim Harbaugh to have cured cancer and AIDS, ended hunger, and created world peace. Unless, of course, he goes to the NFL. Then, he will have "sold out" and will be found to be "only in it for the money," or will have "gone to the NFL because his ego wouldn't let him do anything else."

I hope the media have to put their two preferred stories on the shelf for at least another year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Uh, comes the shitstorm.

It should be an interesting, though painful couple of weeks for Michigan fans. Thanks to the MSM, somewhere around fifty percent of Michigan fans think a coaching change is appropriate. I have been on record numerous times as saying that RR should be given at least a fourth year. Really, though, I think the massive nature of the rebuilding job that was neccessary at Michigan will require five years to really see whether or not RR can succeed at Michigan.

Questions for a new year:

1. What do you think should happen?

I think DB should be true to his word and evaluate the team using more factors than wins and losses. I think he should realize that this team loves their coach, that things are being done the right way at the University of Michigan, and that RR is setting the foundation for a program that will compete for National Championships once a few more personnel issues are taken care of and the current players get a year or two older.

Also, it is well-known that the school that angered Bo more than any other was Illinois when they fired Gary Moeller without giving him enough time to fully institute a turnaround. A great part of DB's resume when applying for this job was his connection to Bo. If DB were to do the same thing to RR that Illinois did to Moeller, it would go against everything Bo ever taught DB.

If DB does the right thing, RR will stay.

2. What do you think will happen?

Sadly, I am getting the "vibe" that DB does business the same way it is done at Domino's: dirty, cutthroat, two-faced, and behind closed doors. As soon as Jim Harbaugh's season is over, the question of whether or not there was a secret agreement in place will be answered. As much as I would like to believe that DB has been honest and forthright while representing the University of Michigan in public, I am beginning to feel that he hasn't. At any rate, we'll know soon.

3. What happened in the Gator Bowl?

The Mississippi State offense vs the Michigan defense was, as most have been all year, a "men vs boys" scenario. The men won. As for the offense, if they didn't score, they didn't see the ball for a long time. This put a lot of pressure on them and kept them from establishing much of a tempo.

We all hoped Michigan would win. But most of us knew, in our heart of hearts, that this team wasn't yet ready to be matched up against a top-25 SEC team. Next year, the addition of Nebraska will add more depth to the Big Ten and improve the bowl matchups. This year, though, the Big Ten suffered.

If Nebraska had been in the Big Ten, the matchups would have been something like Nebraska vs Bama, MSU vs Florida, PSU vs MSU, and Michigan vs Baylor or Texas Tech. When a team that is barely in the top 50 plays against a top 25 team in a bowl, the matchups aren't exactly "even."

4. How 'bout them Spartans?

Baw, haw haw haw haw! Finally, a question that makes me happy.

MSU was exposed as a massive fraud in front of the entire country. The day before the game, Saint Dantonio said in an interview that their game against Bama would be an indication of whether or not MSU had truly arrived as an elite team. MSU answered the question quite convincingly: Same Old Sparty.

MSU's power game with one or two speed guys worked in the Big Ten this year, but they really needed a lot of help. Every trick play they tried worked. Every trick play against rivals in the standings by other teams worked. Wiscy didn't take them seriously in the first half, and paid for it by being knocked out of a chance at overtaking Auburn or Oregon in the polls and playing for a National Championship. MSU overachieved in the W-L column this year.

They deserve to be congratulated, but Alabama wanted no part of it. And now, neither will their fans. It has to gall Sparty that they were beaten so badly by their old coach, Nick Saban.

Nick Saban grew up a Spartan fan. When he took the job at MSU, it was his "dream job." And he did a great job while he was there. Sadly for him and MSU, the administration at the time was part of the trend for academic administrators to be more involved in athletic programs. Nick Saban was micromanaged by scholars who knew nothing about football in particular or athletics in general.

Saban was micromanaged so badly at MSU that his "dream job" became a nightmare scenario, and he felt compelled to leave. Of course, he would go on to win National Championships at two different schools. Neither of those schools, though, was MSU.

Any other opponent would have underrated MSU and not taken them seriously, like most of the teams on their schedule this year. Nick Saban, though, made sure that his team would not look past MSU and that they would give their best effort today. The results were self-evident.

What does this mean? Easy: Sparty was lucky and their fanbase overrated them, as usual. They were the equivalent of a four-loss Big Ten team playing a very pissed-off three-loss Alabama.

Cancel my subscription to Sparty's resurrection.

5. What was that bitching you were talking about?

Most Michigan fans will be bitching about today's loss. The Fire Rich Rodriguez crowd will have two altars: one with a RR voodoo doll and a shrine with a homemade Jim Harbaugh doll. Then, in a few days, when the decision is made, if it hasn't been made already, half of the fanbase will be pissed no matter which decision is made.

Most Michigan forums and blogs will be cesspools for the next week. Even venerable MgoBlog, which is by far the best Michigan fan community, is turning into a shitty place for the next week or two. Forums that allow trolling, such as those in the newspapers, will be even worse.

So, basically, the next two weeks are going to suck for most Michigan fans, no matter which side of the fence they inhabit. And if there is a coaching change, we could be in for another two years of mediocrity.

I guess we'll know in a couple of days.