A little while ago, I broke down how Nebraska's coaching search could potentially impact BYU in a number of ways. It turns out, that isn't the only big name, Big Ten coaching search that has implications that could extend all the way to Provo. Michigan is now looking for a new Michigan Man after Brady Hoke was canned after four lackluster seasons. What does that mean for BYU? Let's explore.
Why are you always trying to shove the Big Ten down our throats, Matt? Michigan has nothing to do with BYU
Normally, I'd agree with you, but this time is actually does! BYU is scheduled to make a trip to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan on September 26th, 2015, their fourth game of the season. The road trip to Michigan follows early season road tilts to Nebraska and UCLA, along with a home game against Boise State. So this coaching search has a real, practical and direct impact!
Who are some of the candidates for the Michigan job?
You've probably heard of the biggest, since San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is unquestionably Michigan's top target. The problem, of course, is that successful college coaches seldom jump back to college, Harbaugh is likely to attract major interest from the Raiders and Dolphins, and that waiting long enough to see if he's interested could further torpedo this recruiting class.
Les Miles at LSU (a Michigan man himself) is also unlikely to be a candidate this time around, given his age and the way he was treated during Michigan's other two recent coaching searches. If Michigan strikes out on Harbaugh, the pool gets shallow in a hurry. The Wolverines may try former Rutgers and Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, Boston College coach Steve Addazio, and heck, maybe even Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. Whittingham had reportedly discussed the Nebraska job.
Why did Brady Hoke get fired?
There are a lot of reasons, but like most coaches Hoke didn't win enough. The Wolverines got worse every season under Hoke, which is notable given that the Big Ten is not exactly the AFC North, and struggled to develop some of his players. Hoke also lost his biggest defender, AD Dave Brandon this year (Michigan also needs an AD), and came under constant fire for the way he handed QB Shane Morris' concussion situation. There was enough going to fell Hoke even if he was winning a little bit more.
So that's probably good news for BYU right? Sounds like Michigan sucks
This Columbus native and Ohio State graduate will never try to argue that Michigan *doesn't* suck, but there is a good chance that the Wolverines will rebound with their new coach. For all of Brady Hoke's faults, he was a very good recruiter at Michigan, and this roster is full of four star young players who for, whatever reason, didn't develop fast enough.
The Wolverines likely have some major question marks at QB (Shane Morris, despite being a highly rated recruit, hasn't shown much in on field action), but there's lots of talent other places. Derrick Green is a former five-star running back who was showing promise this year before he got hurt. The offensive line improved greatly and is loaded with four and five stars. Jake Butt is a four star who could be a major weapon at tight. Jabril Peppers was one of the very best recruits in the country but missed most of the year due to injury. He could be devastating in the defensive backfield. The list goes on and on.
It's entirely possible Michigan misevaluated a few of these players, and this year's recruiting class is likely to be very small and a dud, but the Wolverines are going to have more talented players than BYU at most position groups. No matter who is coaching, this is going to be a tough game for BYU.
What happens to Brady Hoke now?
That's a good question. Hoke is a solid defensive mind and a quality recruiter, so it's unlikely he's out of coaching forever. In fact, according to that same Scout report we discussed earlier, one of the jobs Brady Hoke is tied to is the Oregon State head coaching job.
Yeah, but BYU isn't scheduled to face Oregon State in the near future so who cares?
You know who else is on that list though? Bronco Mendenhall. Bronco can't leave BYU for Oregon State if Brady Hoke gets that job first.
So if you want Bronco to stay, root for Hoke, (or somebody else) to get that Oregon State job quickly. If you're hoping Bronco leaves, root for Hoke to get the job at Colorado State, or perhaps to take the year off and do snow angels in his heaping pile of Michigan buyout money, before grabbing a DC job.
Could Bronco go to Michigan?
Maybe to visit, but like I wrote before, he'd be a pretty terrible fit for that head coaching job. I don't expect them to talk to him.