After nearly a month of palace intrigue, it's all over. Rich Rodriguez, High Sensei of the combat art we know as Ninja Football,* has taken the head coaching job at Big Blue. Brian is happy (he didn't even make a sailboat reference in the announcement). MSC is pleased as punch. The M Zone thinks all things are good and decent in the world. When everyone is this happy, it can't be good for us.
Michigan fans are shiny happy people holding hands
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. Rodriguez is 60-26 in seven seasons at WVU. He pwn3d the Big East, winning 4 of the last 5 titles and 3 coach of the year awards. His teams run the spread option better than just about anyone. In other words, this ain't your father's Michigan offense anymore, and Florida (and, increasingly, Illinois) has taught us all the basic math of Wacko Ninja Offense + Top-Notch Talent = Carnage. Nobody ever confused West Virginia's defense with the Steel Curtain, but you don't have to play that much defense when you're hanging 50 points on everyone. Also, Rodriguez had a $4M buyout at WVU, so Michigan probably won't be able to afford those additional 14 wheelchair seats at the Big House.
Mary Sue Coleman doesn't care about disabled people.
The good news? For starters, we get the high comedy of watching the statuesque Ryan Mallett run a spread option offense.** Michigan's not on the schedule again next year, so we can watch the carnage from a safe distance. Rodriguez already told the WVU players he wouldn't be coaching the bowl game, and you can still get in on Boomer Sooner at a modest - 6 1/2. Plus, WVU was only 8-11 against ranked opponents since 2002; the argument could be made Rodriguez-led teams have a tendency to fold in big games and piled up that gaudy record by feasting on the dregs of the frequently-awful Big East. Of course, there was this:
USF 21, WVU 13
And don't forget this:
No explanation necessary
So Michigan has a coach, and it's not Kirk Ferentz. Bill can go back to his sailboat. Ron Zook can start poaching Michigan recruits. We can all breathe easy, folks. Our long national laugh at Big Blue's expense is over.
* - "Ninja Football" hat tip, once again, to The Bemusement Park
** - Actually, I don't think Mallett will be the starter come September, and will likely transfer. The "Mallett to Arkansas" rumors have already started, but might I suggest Iowa? We're the only team left running Lloyd Carr's offense, after all.