3 straight Michigan Wolverines home games could cure Brady Hoke’s woes


Sep 6, 2014; South Bend, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) runs with the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Hoke’s tenure as the Michigan Wolverines’ head football coach has come under intense scrutiny from fans, alumni and media alike.

While the rumblings began last year during Michigan’s struggles with Akron and Connecticut, they approached a fever’s pitch after last Saturday’s  31-0 loss at Notre Dame.

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As we speak, disgruntled fans must be creating a variety of props to parade around the Big House when Michigan faces Miami (of Ohio) this Saturday (Sept. 13)  at 3:30 pm.

“…The fanbase is turning on you (Hoke), people are calling for your head, and it’s your fault,” wrote The Michigan Daily’s Alejandro Zuniga. 

21 Big Ten titles since 1969

No, it’s not Hoke’s fault for accepting a job in 2011 which had no real upside.

After all, Michigan suffered only two losing seasons since 1967, and on a more positive note,  U-M has claimed 21 Big Ten crowns since 1969.

Truth is, Michigan’s program was in shambles when Hoke took over. The resignation of Lloyd Carr in 2007 followed by the disasterous three-year reign of Rich Rodriguez were the main causes. Losing to Ohio State nine of ten times from 2001 through 2010 didn’t help either.

Hoke’s hiring did plenty to right the ship even before Michigan played its first game.  He calmed the fanbase, brought ex-players back into the fold, and turned recruiting around within a few weeks.

RichRod’s players

All he did during his first season was defeat Ohio State, finish 11-2 and win a BCS bowl game.

Naysayers said Hoke did it with a group of Rodriguez seniors along with quarterback Denard Robinson, who could (and did) win games all by himself.

Other followers expected Hoke to contend for the Big Ten and national titles in 2012.

While Michigan’s disappointing 2012 and 2013 seasons will be debated for years to come,  it’s the recent loss at Notre Dame that sticks in everyone’s craw.

Effective pass rush missing as usual

Without doing a complete analysis, it’s obvious Michigan lost another game at the lines of scrimmage. Like 2012 and 2013, Hoke’s offensive and defensive lines remain the Achilles heel of the entire team. If the staff can’t correct those two problems, and there’s little indication they can, Michigan will be in for a long season.

And if that’s the case, and this may sound premature to some, Hoke’s Thanksgiving turkey may be his last in Ann Arbor.

But just as the 24/7 news cycles bring about second chances, Hoke has the opportunity of at least prolonging the agony.

Michigan’s next three games will be played at home, and against teams Michigan is expected to beat. If nothing else, the home cooking will do wonders for Hoke’s appetite.

Michigan also ranked in ESPN’s ‘poll’ 

Miami, who is ranked at the bottom of college football by ESPN, has earned that distinction by losing 18 straight over three seasons.

Although new RedHawks coach Chuck Martin is expected to follow the long list of Miami mentors who’ve later excelled in both college and pro ranks, he obviously won’t turn things around by Saturday.

Despite also being ranked  in ESPN’s “Bottom 10” (at No. 5),  Las Vegas oddsmakers have Michigan listed as 31-point favorites over Miami.

2nd home game could be the final blow

The second game of the trio, is Sept. 20 against a Utah team which defeated Michigan 25-23 at the Big House  in Rodriguez’ debut in 2008.

Kyle Whittingham, who is in his 10th year as Utah’s head coach, has fielded a team capable of “upsetting” Michigan. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson leads the balanced attack which helped defeat then No. 5  Stanford a year ago.

Should Whittingham’s team upend Michigan, there ‘s absolutely no reason to discuss Minnesota, which would be next on the Michigan schedule.

After all, lists of Hoke’s replacements will begin to dot the landscape.

No doubt Whittingham and even Martin will be somewhere on the list.

Bolded players and coaches are linked to Sports-Reference an enhanced statistics website.