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Is The Hat Really Going to Michigan?

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Are we having fun yet watching the coaching firing/hiring process in Ann Arbor or what?

Rich Rodriguez is out, Jim Harbaugh was never in and is now coaching the 49ers, and now the Michigan faithful turn their teary-eyed faces to LSU head coach Les Miles.

Is The Hat really going to leave Baton Rouge for the Wolverines?

Is this a good or bad thing for Notre Dame?

First, let’s talk about this whole "Michigan Man" thing, of which Les Miles is certainly one.

I don’t get it.

I think it’s incredibly arrogant to assume that Michigan can’t succeed without some "Michigan Man" at the controls.

Could you imagine the uproar that would be created if Notre Dame went around searching for a coach in such a fashion?

Now, don’t get me wrong…in a lot of instances bringing in someone with an intimate knowledge of your university and football program can be beneficial and usually works really well. Heck, even Notre Dame prescribed to this theory for decades before letting go of the notion with the hiring of Ara Parseghian in 1964.

But just because someone is a "Michigan Man" doesn’t mean he’s going to do any better than Rich Rodriguez.

In truth, you don’t need someone to be a "Michigan Man" to succeed, you just need a good head football coach. And if you’re worried that a certain coach won’t succeed because he’s not a "Michigan Man" and won’t "understand the culture" then don’t hire a complete ass as your leader.

To me, blaming the failures of Rich Rodriguez on him not being a "Michigan Man" is a convenient excuse. No one would have cared if he won more football games.

Just look at Notre Dame, we had Charlie Weis as a "Notre Dame Man" but that didn’t work out so well. How could that be!?!?!?

Weis was a Notre Dame graduate and was supposed to understand the campus culture and embrace all of the unique aspects of the Irish community. But in the end, he didn’t win enough football games and all of that "Notre Dame Man" talk falls to the wayside.

So now this brings us to Les Miles and the apparent decision that awaits him.

According to reports, Miles will be meeting with Michigan AD David Brandon on Tuesday. Do you think the Mad Hatter will leave the confines of Death Valley and head back "home" to coach in Ann Arbor?

At first, I was convinced that Miles would not go to Michigan, but now I am not so sure.

I always hate when people say that a certain position is someone’s "dream job" and many are saying exactly that with Miles and the Michigan opening. Unless someone has said so multiple times throughout their career then I am skeptical.

Is Michigan the dream job for Miles?

Michigan fans were saying it was for Harbaugh, but I never believed it.

"Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan…it must be his dream job!"

I think there are a lot of assumptions out there when we’re talking about this subject.

"Coach X was an assistant at University Y for three years…it must be his dream job!"

I want to hear it from the horse’s mouth please.

Nevertheless, it appears that at the very least, Miles has extremely strong ties to the University of Michigan, and although I’m still skeptical that it is his dream job or that he’ll actually leave LSU, I think there’s a somewhat lukewarm possibility that he could move to Ann Arbor.

Miles was an offensive lineman at Michigan in the mid-70’s, completed a two-year stint as a graduate assistant in 1981, and then coached the offensive line for eight years from 1987-1994. He met his wife there and naturally still has a lot of friends in Ann Arbor.

That is indeed a lot of time and attachment to a school and it’s a lot different than someone like Jim Harbaugh who spent 4 years as a player on campus, but otherwise hasn’t been connected to Michigan for the past 20 years now.

Is moving to Michigan a good idea for Miles?

Is his hire a good move for Michigan?

I don’t think it is a good move for Miles, and I’ll put it in a lot of the same terms that I did with the potential hiring of Harbaugh: Unless the Michigan head coaching job is really, really, really Les Miles’ dream job that he absolutely has to have right now, I think I would stay away.

Despite what revisionist historians are trying to tell us, the current roster at Michigan is so weak that this job is not that attractive, far less so than in 2008 when Rich Rodriguez took over and Miles turned it down.

When the rumors were swirling back in 2008 that Miles would be the next head coach at Michigan, he was busy winning a national championship with LSU, and he ultimately stayed in Baton Rouge.

He’s just completed a very impressive 11-2 season with close losses to Auburn and Arkansas and he’s among the highest paid coaches in the country.

Not only that, but he has one of the top two or three cushiest jobs in the nation with his Louisiana recruiting base, known as the strongest per-capita talent pool in the United States.

15 of his current 21-man class come from Louisiana, including 6-four star players and 1 five-star player. Nearly each and every season Miles has been guaranteed a dozen of Louisiana’s finest football talent, and it’s worked out pretty well.

If it weren’t for his ties to Michigan, everyone in the world would think he was crazy to leave LSU to coach the Wolverines.

You could argue that Miles has been on the hot seat for so long in Baton Rouge and that the Tiger fan base is sick of his play-calling, coaching style, and general buffoonery, but at the end of the day the guy is 62-17 overall, 32-15 in the SEC, with a conference title and a national title.

Maybe he really wants to coach at Michigan and maybe the LSU fan base is going to drive him out of town, but we’ll just have to wait and see if it pans out that way.

But right now, no matter how hot Miles’ seat may be in Baton Rouge, he could be looking at a national championship next year. If he leaves for Michigan those plans go right out the window and he’s starting essentially from scratch.

From a Notre Dame perspective, you have to ask yourself how good of a coach is Les Miles really?

And to be honest, I think that is a really difficult question to answer.

Do I think Michigan hiring Miles would be a good hire? Yeah, I think it would be, but he’s far less of an intimidating hire than Harbaugh would have been, and I definitely think there’s a good chance his coaching and recruiting skills are exposed a little bit once he’s out of the treasure that is Louisiana.

I’d also be a little cynical if I was Miles, worrying about just how long the Michigan alumni and fans think he has to turn their program around. Has the majority of the Michigan fan base come to terms that a major rebuilding process needs to be initiated?

Will they be able to handle an average of 6 or 7 wins for the next two to three years? Are the fan base and the decision makers going to be that patient with Miles?

If Michigan truly wants to return to the nation’s elite again (or just become a dangerous ranked team that beats Ohio State once in a while) Miles will have to recruit at the same level, if not better, for defensive recruits at Michigan than he does right now at LSU.

Will everyone be satisfied if he is just bringing in decent recruiting classes and improves the defense from their current pathetic state?

These are a lot of the questions that both the Michigan fan base and Les Miles have to contemplate.

Miles has built a strong defense at LSU, but his offenses have been generally underachievers. How will that play out at Michigan where the offense is so much further ahead of the defense?

A lot of critics have lambasted Miles and his staff for not sticking to a system on offense and hindering the growth and potential of those units. Basically, they try to run a pro-style/spread combination offense that often shoots the Tigers in the foot each season.

Would Miles stick with the offense that was run under Rich Rodriguez, or would he tinker with it and install some pro-style packages like at LSU? Does this portend disaster and confusion for Michigan?

There are certainly a lot of interesting storylines to watch as this whole ordeal unfolds.

I think this hire for Michigan really comes down to expectations. You’d think that it would make the most sense for Michigan to get the best possible coach available, and Miles seems to be one of those guys, but does that set the bar too high?

Does a successful SEC head coach go to Michigan to rebuild for three years? Is that what’s best for Michigan? Or would a younger and hungrier coach like Brady Hoke best be served to take over and bring the Wolverines back to respectability?

Sure Miles is a good coach, maybe even a great coach, but he’s staring at a serious rebuilding effort in Ann Arbor. He’ll be losing his golden recruiting pipeline, the offense will take some strong efforts to remodel, the defense and special teams are at MAC levels, and let’s not forget that Miles is probably the worst public relations coach in the entire country.

On the surface hiring an experienced national championship-winning head coach from LSU would seem to be a slam dunk deal for Michigan, but a lot of this smells like disaster to me.

Is that the Notre Dame bias in me talking? Maybe a little bit, but tell me you’re not picturing Michigan 2-4 in 2012, after a 5-7 season in 2011, mediocre recruiting classes in tow, with the Wolverine fan base getting more and more restless every week while enduring Miles’ nonsensical interviews and press conferences.

From a comedic perspective, this could be the absolute jackpot for Notre Dame fans, not only because Miles is still very much a shyster in the same vein as Rich Rodriguez and makes George W. Bush blush with his head scratching comments, but because by hiring someone with the stature of The Hat, there is an implicit expectation that he take Michigan back to the promise land.

And I for one do not think Les Miles is the coach to do so. And if he is indeed hired by Michigan, I think we’d all better buckle our seat belts because it’s going to be one wild ride.

Dare I say a wild ride that could make the Rich Rod-era look tame?

What do you think college football fans?