Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Oh, irony

Harmonic convergence (or its evil twin, disharmonic convergence) is a rare bird in a world largely driven by caprice and happenstance. And so it's only right and proper to recognize it when it happens.

Today it happened half a continent apart, in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Tucson, Ariz.

In Ann Arbor, as was fully expected, Brady Hoke was let go as the football coach at Michigan. Meanwhile, in Tucson, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez -- Hoke's predecessor at Michigan, and the guy who recruited the talent with which Hoke went 11-2 in his first season -- was recognized as the coach of the year in the Pac-12.

Voila. Disharmonic convergence.

And again the Blob is left to wonder if perhaps Michigan didn't pull the trigger too quickly on RichRod. Diehard Wolverines will splutter at the very notion, saying that showing the man the road was the right move because he wasn't a Michigan Man and didn't fit the Michigan culture. They'll tell you he never got the whole Ohio State thing, and that, esthetically, he never got that Michigan football was all about  running the football, playing defense and hitting people in the mouth repeatedly until they cried uncle.

That wasn't RichRod's way, and so they sent him on his way -- even though his teams improved incrementally every year, while Hoke went from 11-2 to 8-5 to 7-6 to 5-7.

And so out Hoke goes. And, as one who covered the latter's 12-0 Ball State team back in '08, allow me to consider it a lousy deal even if it was both understandable and inevitable.

Much as I like Hoke personally -- and who doesn't who's ever spent any time around him? -- it's clear now he was nowhere near ready for  Michigan. To go from Ball State to San Diego State to what was once one of the four or five premier jobs in the country in three years is one steep learning curve. Too steep, frankly.

He might have saved himself with a decent year, but a decent year was never in the cards. In retrospect, the beginning of the end was the Notre Dame game, when the Wolverines were embarrassed 31-0 in prime time; the Shane Morris debacle and the firing of athletic director Dave Brandon were merely the final acts of a script that seemed already to have been written that night in South Bend.

So where does Michigan go from here?

Well, not back to the Brady Hoke well, assuredly. This time, one assumes, they'll be looking for a hire that makes a splash -- although I'll be surprised if it's either Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles, the two splashy names most prominently mentioned right now.

 Harbaugh will be too much in demand in the NFL if he and the 49ers part company. And  Michigan simply isn't a ripe enough plum anymore to lure Miles away from the SEC --  unless, of course, U of M throws the accumulated GNP of six European nations at him.

Which I suppose it could.

But the plain bare wood of it is that LSU to Michigan is a step down at this point. And that's why there won't be another Brady Hoke hire in Ann Arbor.

Michigan can't afford it.

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