Maize and Blue Dreams

You wake up by a sudden jolt, like you've been struck by a bolt of lightning. A cold sweat washes over you and a confusing about what you've just experienced. You run to the bathroom, do the ritual splash of cold water to your face and slowly raise your head to look at yourself in the mirror. "What the hell was that all about?" you mutter. The thoughts of what just happened start racing through your head. Self-imposed sanctions? A school record worst 9 game loss season and an overall record of 15-22 after 3 years? "No that couldn't have been real?, that was a nightmare!"

Beleive it or not, that is reality for Michigan football fans. The past 3 1/2 years have seemed like a promising dream that turns into your worst nightmare, especially for the last 2 of those years. Michigan Started the the 2009 College Football season, 4-0 and in 2010, 5-0, only to finish with sub-par records. In 2009 Michigan finished with a total record of 5 wins and 7 losses, missing a bowl appearence for the second straight year. In 2010 the outcome was better than the previous year, finishing with 2 more victories and an invitation to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. The way these teams started their seasons with so much promise, then only to see them dismantle right in front of you week after week was unbelievable. It seemed as if these teams were getting worse as the season progessed rather than getting better like most football teams do. The Gator Bowl appearence, Which was Rich Rod's first bowl since being named the head coach of Michigan, was a disaster With a final score of 52 to 14 to the SEC's Mississippi State Bulldogs. It was A game in which the offense had been stagnet the defense it's usual terrible self. It seemed that after that game Michigan fans began to really start evaluating Rich Rod's body of work and wondering if this was the right guy for our football team.

The record on the field wasn't the only reason Rich Rodriguez was crushing the dreams of every Michigan football fan. It was also the self-imposed sanctions and the 3 years of NCAA probation that really sent bad vibes throughout the Rich Rod coaching era. For failure to monitor practice hours Michigan was forced to apply self-imposed sanctions before any ruling from the NCAA would be handed down. Michigan reduced 130 hours of practice time, put limitations on coaching staff and cut the number of assistants or quality-control staff - from 5 to 3. They also banned them from practices, games or coaching meetings for the rest of the 2010 season. Michigan did avoid the most serious of these charges, which was that Rodriguez failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program. The University argued against that finding when it went before the committee on infractions. After reviewing the fact, the committee lowered the charge to failure to monitor.

The Legacy that Rodriguez left behind at Michigan isnt a legacy at all. He seemed to be the girl you date right after you just got out of a serious relationship, trying something new with someone who's not really your type, a rebound, as some might call it. Going from a pro-style offense to the spread and a 4-3 defense to a 3-3-5 was like going from blondes to brunettes. It's a nice change but you know it won't last. But, hey, we are all family being Michigan fans, so we can talk about it. Let's focus on the future and what's to come.
Michigan starts play this Saturday, September 3rd. A new era of coaching staff begins at Michigan this year and let's celebrate what our future may hold. A new beginging is always exciting to see what direction it goes and how much growth is made. Let's pray that our dreams of the future don't recede back to the nighmares of our past.

Enjoy the Game and Go Blue
Ryan Millard
Once a year poster on Midnight Maize.

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