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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Michigan's candidate du jour, according to rapidly spreading internet rumor: Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz.


Here's a kitten if you need it:


  • Has built Iowa from a 1-10 abomination train into a mid-level Big Ten power akin to Wisconsin. If we were having this discussion three years ago this sentence would be a lot more superlative.
  • No hint of scandal.
  • Generally well-respected amongst the coaching community.
  • Done for the year and able to take the job ASAP.
  • Is a nice man who loves his family.
  • Uh... done for the year and able to take the job ASAP? Ferentz's team is 6-6 and has lost to Iowa State and Western Michigan. Since his back-to-back-to-back seasons at #8, Iowa is one game above .500.
  • Aside from one year when Willingham was minding the barn at Notre Dame, Zook was busy yelling at frat boys in Florida, and a bumper crop of Chicagoland recruits were there to be harvested, Ferentz's recruiting has been meh.
  • Though there has been little hint of NCAA scandal, Ferentz's team was plagued with individual malfeasance all year.
  • 3-6 against Iowa State. That's like being 3-6 against Michigan State... if Michigan State was Baylor.
Should Michigan want Ferentz? Well, do Iowa fans even still want Ferentz? This poll over at Black Heart, Gold Pants puts a neat little bow on the situation:
We know you're, to put it mildly, upset; we are too. Is it the W/L record? Is it the rash of run-ins with the law? Are the worse transgressions happening on or off the field?
  • Athletic performance: 19-18 record since 2005 season; 11-13 in Big Ten since 2005 season; 3-7 record in last 10 games against Iowa State; no bowl wins since 2004

  • Citizenship: 42% attrition rate since 2003; 14 arrests of 11 players in last seven months; sexual assault investigation involving three football players
42% attrition rate!

I mean, seriously, change some names and this BHGP passage could have been lifted verbatim from the comments of this blog during the Ohio State game:
We wasted the best front seven since 2004 on an offensive line which flat out refused to block anyone. We wasted the best running back tandem since Russell/Lewis on a quarterback who couldn't hit an open receiver and receivers who didn't catch the ball when he did. We wasted a tough, classy, downright professional group of seniors on a team filled with convicts and thugs and a coaching staff that was too f---ing stubborn to even attempt to fix the all-too-obvious problems.
Oh, oh, and this one:
Defenders of this coaching staff have repeatedly said, "the coaches put players in position to win, and it's the players' fault for not performing." Assuming (I think incorrectly) that this system would actually lead to success, it's the job of the coaches to prepare these players both schematically and technically. If the players are unable to perform effectively in otherwise correct schemes, the players must be more technically sound, the players must be replaced by those who can perform, or the schemes must be adjusted to account for a lack of talent/knowledge.
Do. Not. Want. Transpose Michigan's 2005 and 2006 and the programs are in an eerily parallel decline down to the cronyism, inexplicable surfeit of arrests and bootings, and hideously disappointing offenses.

Now add in the likelihood bit: Ferentz makes over three million dollars a year -- as of approximately one year ago he was the second highest paid coach in college football, though he's slipped behind Meyer and maybe a couple others since -- and has a kid who's grown up dreaming of playing for his dad at Iowa ready to sign a letter of intent in February. The salary thing might actually be even steeper: last year Ferentz raked in 4.6 million(!).

In no way does any of this make sense, and in that this seems more reminiscent of the brief Kevin Stallings panic during the basketball search -- undertaken as Beilein finished out his NIT run -- than a real threat to your (and my) sanity. While I have nothing approximating solid information in this case, Occam's Razor veritably screams "smokescreen" and I bet you a dollar we look back on this as one of the weirder rumors to wander around during the coaching search.