"I'm going to travel back to Ann Arbor when the team goes back (Sunday morning), and over the next few days will wrap up my work as far as my evaluation that has been a nine-month process. I will meet with my coach, and I will have more to say on this matter the latter part of the week."
In layman's terms, this means he's stalling until after Stanford's Orange Bowl game tonight in order to "check and see" if Jim Harbaugh is interested and a verbal deal can be struck before Brandon announces his final "evaluation." He's not simply going to cut Rodriguez loose - if that's his plan (and not much indicates otherwise) - without having a coach lined up and ready to step in immediately. There will be no "coaching search."
If Harbaugh turns him down (or the administration vetoes the choice based on Harbaugh's past comments about Michigan), Brandon will move on to Plans B, C and so on. Is one of those options the return of Rich Rod for a fourth year? Maybe. But my belief is that happens only if Brandon gets down to the Plan K portion of his list, give or take. And since I assume that folks like Brady Hoke - who'd donate a testicle to coach in A2 - are slotted in pre-K, it means Rich Rodriguez is not coming back*.
|U-M fans wait to hear Rich Rod's fate|
This is going to be a very interesting week for Michigan fans. Rumors will be flying, Twitter will be atwitter with true and false tweets, and the mods on the Michigan message boards will be working overtime as passions flare.
The last time there was so much on the line for Michigan and its fans that didn't involve a football game on Saturday would probably have to be another January some 29 years ago. In 1982, Texas A&M offered Bo Schembecher nearly $3 million for 10 years - then the richest contract in the history of college athletics - to become its football coach and athletic director. After several anxious days, Bo turned it down saying, "Frankly, I've come to the conclusion that there are things more important in this world than money. For that reason, I've decided to stay at Michigan."
Now, like then, Michigan fans must wait.
Whatever Brandon's choice, as Greg at MVictors says, I hope it "unites the clans." The internal bickering between large swaths of the Maize and Blue faithful is unfortunate. I won't say "new" because I'm guessing such discontent by sports fans whose teams don't win every championship every year has always been there. The only difference is that now the Internet has given us all a voice. I bet had the 'Net been around in '79 after Bo dropped his 7th consecutive bowl game, the message boards at LetsGoBellBottoms.com would have been flooded with folks calling for his ouster and some dude would have scooped up FireBo.com, .org and .net long before.
And who can unite the clans - or at least the vast majority of them? Probably only the selection of Harbaugh. The return of Rich Rod certainly won't. And a "surprise" pick like Hoke won't either.
So until Brandon declares his decision, all we can do is...
* Yes, if Rich Rod does return for a 4th season, feel very free to mock me mercilessly in the comments section.