Rich Rodriguez remains Michigan’s coach another day. Why?
Larry Lage reports it’s because no decision has been made. Michael Rosenberg still maintains the decision has been made to fire Rodriguez, but he doesn’t provide a reason for delaying the announcement.
Obviously, Lage and Rosenberg can’t both be right. If Rodriguez is retained, Lage will probably have been right (I doubt the decision has already been made to keep Rodriguez). If Rodriguez is fired, we won’t know.
Maybe because I’m not firmly in the Rich-Rod-should-be-fired group like everybody else, and maybe because I think Rosenberg recently got burned using a seemingly reliable anonymous source (more on that later), I’m partial toward Lage’s report.
Here’s my guess best guess at the situation.
Before the Gator Bowl I think the scenario was:
- Jim Harbaugh was Plan A
- Rodriguez was Plan B
- Rodriguez had a slight chance of becoming Plan A with an impressive bowl victory
Now, I think the scenario is:
- Jim Harbaugh is plan A*
- Brandon is determining whether Rodriguez or someone else is Plan B
- Once Brandon has determined his Plan B, that will be Harbaugh’s deadline to commit to Michigan
*I don’t doubt that someone who would be in the know told Rosenberg that Harbaugh had ruled out Michigan. In fact, my gut feeling says it was Harbaugh himself.
But that doesn’t mean Harbaugh has ruled out Michigan. The quote came shortly after the Cardinal’s Orange Bowl victory. I’m sure Harbaugh felt emotionally tied to Stanford at that time.
When that feeling subsides, I think Michigan will re-enter the picture. That doesn’t mean Harbaugh will come to Ann Arbor, but I don’t believe he’s eliminated the Wolverines until he eliminates them out in a stable state of mind.
I find it difficult to believe Brandon envisioned such a debilitating Gator Bowl result. I certainly didn’t. So, that threw a wrench in keeping Rodriguez if Harbaugh turned down Michigan.
I think Rodriguez would have remained Plan B with a more-typical loss, but 52-14 is something else all together. I think Brandon has used his time since the bowl to evaluate Rodriguez and other Plan B options – probably beginning with Brady Hoke and expanding further.
Brandon might have been ready to fire Rodriguez today, but the fact that he hasn’t suggests their meeting went well enough to prolong the decision. That doesn’t mean Rodriguez will be Plan B, but I think whatever he said today gives him a chance.
Of course, that becomes irrelevant if Harbaugh chooses Michigan. Brandon must know he can’t wait forever for Harbaugh, although Brandon appears to continuously head in that direction.
My guess is Brandon will decide on his Plan B tomorrow, Thursday at the latest, and ask Harbaugh for a final decision at that time.