Apparently, Michigan athletic director David Brandon needs to see Mississippi State run all over the Wolverines on January 1st before he can evaluate Rich Rodriguez’s performance this year. Actually, that isn’t the case at all. Brandon has stuck to his guns all year amid speculation that Rodriguez would be fired. There were numerous reports surfacing that Rodriguez would be fired immediately following the Ohio St. loss on November 27th. However, Brandon has continually maintained his stance that Rodriguez won’t be evaluated until after the Gator Bowl game on January 1st. Although, many don’t necessarily agree with Brandon’s decision to wait, there is no denying that it’s probably in the best interest of the school.
There are a couple key factors to keep in mind when examining this situation. First, by waiting until January 1st the Wolverines would save $1.5 million on Rodriguez’s contract buyout(buyout clause drops from $4 million to $2.5 million after Jan 1st). What better way to stick it to Rodriguez then showing him the door the same day that his buyout clause goes into effect. Second, it’s no secret that Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh has been linked to the Michigan head coaching job for the past couple months. Harbaugh, a 3 year starting quarterback at Michigan from 1984-86, is preparing his Stanford Cardinal for their first BCS bowl game(Orange Bowl) January 3rd versus Virginia Tech. Harbaugh has been adamant that he won’t discuss any coaching positions until after the Orange Bowl game.
It would appear that Michigan is throwing all of their eggs into one basket to go after Harbaugh following the January 3rd BCS game. Of course, who’s to say that Harbaugh has his sights set on Ann Arbor. You can guarantee that Harbaugh will be on the wish list of a number of NFL teams come January 3rd. My guess, if Harbaugh doesn’t accept the head coaching position at Michigan, Rich Rodriguez will be given one more year at the helm. For Michigan to land Harbaugh, they might have to make him the highest paid coach in the country. At this point, what other options do the University of Michigan and David Brandon have?