So the Wolverettes of UM lost another one, this time to the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. Though in days of yore this would have been considered an outrage by the Maize and Blue faithful, it hardly comes as a surprise these days. After all, the 2 point margin of defeat was exactly what the wise guys in Vegas predicted on the point spread. Yet some things with the Michigan football program are so obviously out of whack, they border on the unbelievable.
First and foremost are head coach Brady Hoke and his boss, athletic director David Brandon. Forget Batman and Robin. These guys are to a major college football program what Bud and Lou, or Stan and Ollie would be to fighting crime. Unbelievable.
As mentioned previously in this space, Brandon, in his infinite wisdom, extended Hoke's contract for 7, count -em, SEVEN years after their team had just been walloped at home by Utah. That was two games after they'd been skunked 31-0 at Notre Dame. The following week, Minnesota would come to town, and thrash UM in their own Big House to reclaim the Little Brown Jug for only the second time in over two decades. Supposedly, one of the terms of that albatross, check that, pterodactyl contract was Hoke had to wear a headset so he would know what's going on with his coaches and players. He still doesn't. Unbelievable.
Hoke and Brandon were both roasted coast to coast following the Minnesota beatdown, because Hoke had allowed an obviously injured and concussed QB, one Shane Morris, to re-enter the game. The guy could barely stand up. It's not very often you see students and alumni gathering signatures and protesting on campus for the firing of their head football coach and AD. But it happened in Ann Arbor. Of course the "brain trust" got together and went into damage control mode. They had to come up with SOMETHING. So they chalked up the whole mess to a lack of communication. They swore it would be promptly fixed.
The very next week, as in yesterday, against Rutgers, Hoke STILL wasn't wearing a headset. There's confidence, there's arrogance, and there's even ignorance. But after being held up to national ridicule and disgrace for the Morris debacle, a reasonable person might conclude Brandon would demand, and Hoke would wear a headset so this Cool Hand Lukish "failure to communicate" might not rear it's ugly head again. But no. Not Brady. Evidently his idea of being a head coach is patrolling the sidelines and occasionally shouting "LET'S GO!!. In this day and age of head coaches having their hands on all the various heartbeats of a team, that goes beyond unbelievable. It's cluelessness to the infinite power. Therefore it should come as no great surprise the only teams Michigan seems capable of beating are lower division patsies at home. Against even mediocre competition they get torched.
But let's not forget where Hoke came from. Before his recent stint at UM, he racked up a yawner record of 47-50 during eight years at Ball State and San Diego State. No self-respecting college football power would normally even consider him as a new head coach. But that's where Michigan deviates from the norm. After the disastrous reign of Rich Rodriguez, UM, and Brandon in particular wanted a "by gawd" Michigan man in charge again. Turned out, before his not-so-successful tenures at Ball State and San Diego State, Hoke had been an "assistant" with the Michigan program for the previous 8 years. In Michigan football philosophy, that meant Hoke came with a pedigree. One word. Unbelievable.
The once mighty Michigan football program that used to chew up and spit out "lesser" opponents has now become cannon fodder themselves. Every school always wanted to play at Michigan, even if they knew their team would likely get blown out in the Big House. Why? Because it was a huge payday that would go a long way financing their athletic department. Nowadays, everybody wants to play Michigan for a quite different reason. Why? Because besides getting TV exposure they might not otherwise have, they're confident they can BEAT them. My oh my. How the worm has turned.
And Indiana comes to the Big House next week. That used to be a gimme game for UM. Not any more. The Hoosiers might well waltz into Ann Arbor and add yet another slap in the face to the Brady Bunch.
But Brady Hoke, with the full backing of David Brandon, will keep merrily, if cluelessly marching along to their own delusional fight song.
Which raises a couple more points about Michigan. What gives with their fight song anyway? Hail to the victors, champions of the west?
West of what? Ann Arbor's in the eastern time zone. Always has been. And before Penn State joined the Big 10 a few years back (and now Rutgers and Maryland), UM was the easternmost school in the entire conference since it WAS a conference. Hello? You'd think they could at least get THAT right.