Rich Rodriguez Cries and Josh Groban Calls ’em Out for it

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As embarrassing as the UM defense has been this college football season, the Wolverines have another “butt of many jokes” to deal with. Unfortunately, that source of unintentional comedy is the program patriarch itself. At least for now.

An excerpt from The Jersey Chaser.com

As if Rich Rodriguez doesn’t have it bad enough worrying about getting fired from his job, now singer Josh Groban has made fun of the University of Michigan football coach on Twitter! At last night’s U of M football banquet, Rich Rod was brought to tears as he sang Groban’s classic “You Raise Me Up.”

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Rich Rodriguez Invites Transplant Recipient to Monday Michigan Press Conference

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Since its inception in 2006, the Wolverine-Buckeye challenge has inspired thousands of donors to register. As of Nov. 18, this year’s challenge stands at Michigan: 69,967 and Ohio 49,822.

Andrew Majors was just five months old when his family brought him to University of Michigan physicians, worried that something was very wrong with their tiny baby.

His parents got devastating news: Andrew’s liver and kidneys were not functioning properly. He would need not just one, but two transplants to survive.

“They told us he needed a new kidney and we were devastated,” said Andrew’s father, Greg Majors. “Then they told us he needed a new liver as well, and we were floored.”

Little Andrew got a new kidney and a new liver, thanks to a young organ donor. Doctors at the University of Michigan performed the transplant on Andrew when he was a year old – one of the youngest people to receive a combined liver-kidney transplant at that time.

Today, Andrew is 16 years old and thriving. He will appear with U-M Football Coach Rich Rodriguez at his Nov. 22 press conference to highlight the need for organ donations, a cause that Rodriguez has promoted this season.

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TSB Exclusive Interview: Rich Rodriguez’s pride

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By H. Jose Bosch

The Sports Bank’s very own H. Jose Bosch has been given a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive interview with Rich Rodriguez’s pride. Long believed to have disappeared, Jose has managed to find it and get the interview everyone’s been wanting.

The transcription after the jump.

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Falling into the abyss will test loyalty for Rich Rodriguez

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By H. Jose Bosch

I didn’t watch a single play from Saturday’s debacle in Ann Arbor. Why? I was tailgating with my father before James Madison University took on the University of Maine.

That’s right. I picked a Football Championship Series (formerly Division I-AA) football game between two mediocre FCS teams over the Wolverines on an HDTV.

That’s how far Michigan has dropped in the last two years.

It’s not that I’ve stopped rooting for Michigan or that I don’t care about the results. I was just as upset about the loss as if I had watched the whole game. Well, maybe I was a little less upset because I didn’t actually have to watch it.

The fact is that with the exception of the Ohio State game (and only that is due to such a long and outstanding tradition) the Wolverines are no longer must-see TV. They really haven’t been for most of the Rich Rodriguez era.

In years past, when Michigan was a perennial national power, you’d be foolish to miss any match up. You wanted to witness every step in the march toward a Big Ten title and, in some years, a national title. But for the last two season fans have been watching the Wolverines stumbling and tripping into the unenviable position of being an NCAA laughingstock.

The only school worse of than Michigan is, arguably, Notre Dame. And that’s only because Charlie Weis has been coaching their longer. Oh and that’s been Rodriguez’s only signature win. Against another former great who is embarrassing itself.

michigan_sucksI’ve always been a Rodriguez supporter. I’ve preached patience with this team and the program. Not all of this terrible play is his fault. Brian Cook at MGoBlog has done a fantastic job breaking down why you should still support RichRod. (But even Cook, who is the highest-profile Rodriguez supporter on the web, is starting to weaken).

But I’m going to admit that my support is wavering a bit. This team is an improvement from last season, but just because you improve from nothing doesn’t mean you’re close to being a national power. I’m sick and tired of the Wolverines, not just losing games, but losing them in a fashion that shows they’re a.) unprepared b.) not talented or c.) or both.

Sometimes to clean up a mess you have to make everything just a little bit messier. We’re in that stage with Michigan right now. But can any of us stand to see this through?

Yet another sad chapter in the Michigan football saga

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By H. Jose Bosch

Dear Michigan football fans,

This is not the way I want to end things, but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell you in person.

I’m leaving.

Yes, I know the season isn’t done yet but I feel like it’s time for me to go. I think Saturday’s loss proves that this has all just been a charade. I mean, when we walk down the street together, people are laughing behind our backs. We can’t go out for a nice quiet evening without someone else questioning our relationship. It’s clear that this just isn’t going to work out.

But I want you to know that it’s not you, it’s me. I know people say that all the time, but I really do mean it. Our relationship began under false pretenses. You were looking for something more long term and I clearly couldn’t provide that for you. That doesn’t mean what we had wasn’t real. It just means we weren’t being realistic when we thought it was going to last.

Did you see the defense give up nearly 400 yards of offense on the ground? Could you stand to watch those half-hearted attempts at tackles? Do you understand that a freshman quarterback just can’t lead a team as effectively as a more experienced quarterback?

I know what you’re probably saying to yourself. You’re probably angry that I’ve even led you on this far. That’s fair. But please don’t be too angry with me. When I saw how happy you were at the beginning of the season, I couldn’t help but stick around. It was easy for me to ignore all the problems after a 4-0 start. But now that the team is 5-4, the team’s issues are too big to ignore.

I’m afraid to say you’re on your own the rest of the season. That doesn’t mean we still can’t be friends. But I think it’s best that we spend some time apart.

Never forget me Michigan football fans. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet again in the future.

With love,

Hope

Illini Win??!!?? Yes, You Read That Right!

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By Paul Schmidt

There’s no one anywhere who predicted an Illinois win Saturday against Michigan.  I’m about the biggest Illinois apologist that there is, and even I was urging you to bet against the Illini, and to lay 7 points while doing it!

After a short amount of time, however, the glow of a great victory has waned and left two very poignant questions to be asked.

The first is whether this was a victory from an Illinois team finally playing up to expectations, or whether this victory can completely be attributed to the wheels falling off of this Michigan teams’ wagon.

The more that I think about the game, the more I really believe the latter to be true.  Michigan’s defense is starting to play ridiculously bad.  It’s almost getting comical at just how bad they are playing.

The Wolverines are doing whatever the opposite of peaking is, winning only one game in their last five, with that win being against FCS opponent Delaware State. With NCAA investigators descending upon Ann Arbor, RichRod looking dirtier than Rod Blagojevich and a best-case scenario of six wins (with games remaining against Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State, winning one would be an accomplishment), Michigan is definitely in disarray.

Illinois just managed to take advantage of that.

The second question is much more accusatory towards the Illini — Just where was this type of offensive production all season?? I understand that Michigan’s D isn’t that good, and that Illinois just managed to take advantage of it. But 55 rushes for 377 yards? Illinois didn’t even manage that production against Illinois State earlier this season, in their only other win. That type of production has little to do with the quality of your opponent — You’re just getting the job done up front and mangling a team when you get that many yards. And even if Michigan’s defense (along with coordinator Greg Robinson) is terrible, Illinois still was great on offense, just like everyone thought they would be all season long.

So why now? Why, when they are 1-6, and 0-5 in the Big Ten, can Illinois suddenly move the football?  Why is the offense NOW able to create some opportunities? Why did it take so long for this team to finally get motivated and put up the effort which we all knew they were capable of?

Zook_thinkingUnfortunately, those are all questions that only Ron Zook has the answer to, and no doubt he’s not giving anyone the answers.

And therein lies the ultimate problem.

This team would have almost been better off playing horribly the rest of the season — this win only provides a ridiculous tease to an increasingly more disenchanted fan base.  While they were certainly placated during the second half, and most likely after the game as well, soon all of their minds will turn to these questions, namely, just where was all this effort all season long?

If Zook can’t figure out what worked this week, and how to consistently squeeze this type of effort out of his team, remarkably, the win may end up reflecting worse on him than any loss would have.

Rich Rodriguez’s reputation may take a hit but it shouldn’t

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By H. Jose Bosch

The Michigan football team officially began their season but no one really cares about football practice when a recently dismissed player is accused of trying to sell cocaine.

Welcome to the new Michigan football, where the drama isn’t just on the field!

OK, I had my Michigan fan moment.

All of us are just hoping that 2009 will wash off some (not all) of the stink from last season. I don’t think anyone but the biggest homers thinks this will be a nine or 10-win year but there is some hope that 2009 will be better because it really can’t get any worse in Ann Arbor.

Then the Detroit Free Press has to pee in the freshly fallen snow of our optimism by releasing a report about why Justin Feagin was really dismissed from the team. In case you missed it and are too lazy to click a link, Feagin is accused of taking $600 from someone he knew and promising cocaine in return.

Whether he actually knew someone who would ship cocaine or he planned on pocketing the money for himself is unknown and irrelevant. Both scenarios make him a grade-A jerk.

I would never condone illegal activity, but if you’re going to break the law, at least be competent about it. Did Feagin really think that he could be a cocaine middle man without anyone finding out? And even if he never intended to sell cocaine, did he really think that he could take $600 from someone and not be pursued by the guy?

But the actions and stupidity don’t really upset me. Feagin was an insignificant and whether Rodriguez kicked him off the team for allegedly peddling cocaine or for jay-walking, I wouldn’t really lose sleep.

What is upsetting is that an incident like this could hurt Rich Rodriguez’s reputation and undermine what he’s trying to do at Michigan. Rodriguez was painted as the anti-Lloyd Carr, a coach that was willing to win at all cost, even if it meant hurting the integrity of a program. At a school like Michigan, which replaces the concept of gentleman with “Michigan man,” integrity is a major pillar of the institution.

So when a player who was brought in by Rodriguez does something as stupid as this, it hurts Rodriguez, who was already walking on eggshells after a 3-9 season.

upset_rodriguezI don’t think this incident will lead to everyone getting the pitchforks out of the shed and running Rodriguez out of town right away, but each time something goes wrong within the program it’s another line drawn in the sand. And like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, too many lines and Rodriguez is going to step out over the ledge and plummet off the map.

I will admit that while Rodriguez was at West Virginia, he probably had to take more risks on players than Carr ever did. He was late to the recruiting game when he was hired and probably stretched more than he would normally do at Michigan. But this mistake doesn’t mean there will be many more in the future. Sometimes coaches get it wrong. Souring on Rodriguez quickly could do more damage than good here.

Instead, we must forge ahead and be as optimistic as possible for the year. We can’t un-ring this bell but we shouldn’t let it ruin what will hopefully be a fun season.

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