PROBABLY USELESS UPDATE: Kirk Herbstreit still thinks there's room for Harbaugh to decide to come to Michigan. Amid all the other negative reports, at least one media-type-guy still thinks it's gonna be Harbaugh...
HAS EVERYBODY GONE CRAZY?
The answer is probably yes. You've no doubt noticed that this blog has been relatively quiet over the past few days as the coaching change-a-palooza wheel turns. That's mostly because we're in the same boat you are; waiting and wondering what the heck is going on. Some things are known:
a) Rodriguez is likely to be let go as soon as this afternoon. Rodriguez and Brandon have a meeting scheduled for this afternoon.
b) Additionally, there is a team meeting at 7 PM this afternoon (same article as above) where the team will learn the fate of their coach.
The speculation immediately following the bowl game disaster was that Harbaugh would be installed as soon as he was finished coaching the Cardinal in the Orange Bowl. Now that his Cardinal has wiped the floor with the Hokies, however, the overwhelming feeling out of Palo Alto is that he will not be leaving Stanford in favor of Michigan. Multiple sources have said that if Harbaugh leaves Stanford, it will be for the NFL, and that if he decides to stay in the college game, he'll remain at Stanford. FWIW, @varsityblue (Tim from Mgoblog) tweeted a flight-tracker jet going from Ann Arbor to Hollywood, FL (airport for the Orange Bowl...).
What is clear is that Michigan has not yet fired Rodriguez, which means that substantial talks between the Michigan AD and Harbaugh have likely remained in the realm of "theoretical." It's one thing to say that you plan on staying at Stanford immediately following a tremendous Orange Bowl win with no real offer aside from a handshake from Michigan, it's quite another to turn down a written offer in the range of 4 mil (according to ESPN's Clayton) to return to your alma mater. That's the glass half-full.
The half-empty point of view is significantly more bleak. It's hard to imagine that Rodriguez could possibly be retained, as it would create a Chernobyl type toxicity between the Athletic Department who openly courted other coaches and "settled" for keeping Rodriguez, and the coach who knows that he indeed does NOT have the support of his school. The other option being thrown around in Brady Hoke. Hoke took perennial MAC doormat Ball State to a 10 win season, then turned around SDSU toa 9-4 season and a bowl win. Brian at Mgoblog's thought is that Hoke is a fine coach...for Minnesota, but not for a program like Michigan. He has, in fact, threatened to lop anybody who's name starts with "buh" head off with an axe should they arrive in Ann Arbor.*
My own two cents are worth exactly that. However, I have a blog and you don't, so you get to hear them. If Harbaugh escapes from Michigan, then Michigan will move to plan-B. There is a plan-B in place because people like Dave Brandon don't get to be CEO of a huge company for extended periods by putting all their eggs in one basket and not having a back up plan. There is virtually no way that Brandon does not have another coach in place should Harbaugh decline and Rodriguez not be retained. That name might be Brady Hoke - I'm not saying it's not - but Michigan has another guy in place should Harbaugh fall through.
My own opinion on Hoke is not as negative as Brian's, but not because I have different standards or information. It's only based on the fact that we rolled with the proven commodity last time in Rodriguez and it got us the worst 3 years in program history. Jim Tressel was as unproven as they got, and even Urban Meyer at Florida was a bit of a gamble. Hell, look at how Dan Hawkins turned out at Colorado. Hoke does have a proven record of success, albeit at smaller programs, but he's done it twice now at Ball State and SDSU. It's not the end of the world if Hoke is the guy, but you're allowed to be skeptical.
Updates as events warrant.