Seems a bit like deja vu really...West Virginia is preparing for a bowl game, recruits are committing to colleges and Rich Rodriguez is being associated with another job. Sporting News reported and others quickly picked up that Rodriguez met with Michigan officials over in Toledo on Friday. Of course Rich Rodriguez won't comment on these rumors because he doesn't comment on these situations. Michigan officials will neither confirm nor deny.
Last year, when the Alabama came calling, I was on Rod watch 24-hours a day trying to find out what was going to happen. Didn't want to lose this coach. I wanted Pastilong to do whatever he had to do to keep Rich Rodriguez as the coach of West Virginia University. And Pastilong stepped up to the plate and offered Rodriguez more money and, I'm sure, several other concessions on facilities, etc., to keep Rod as coach.
This year, I don't know if I care. We lost John Beilein to Michigan only a few short months ago and that was a huge loss but we've obviously moved on. I don't think we can find the Bobby Huggins of football to hire but I'm not going to freak out about it this year. Maybe Rodriguez just wants attention. Maybe he really wants out of West Virginia. Maybe he thinks he deserves more money.
If it's money, I think WVU is paying him amply for the job he's doing. Granted, he's not making as much as the Alabama coach. He's making less per win than a lot of coaches in D-I. But he's also at West Virginia. As much as we want to believe otherwise, we're not on the same field as an Oklahoma or Ohio State or Michigan. We might be able to compete with a USC or Texas or Auburn on the playing field, but we can't compete with them at the bank. We don't have a stadium like Penn State's and we don't have the deep pockets of Alabama. That's the facts. If Rodriguez is attempting to use this latest development (which I've heard is not a formal offer yet) as ammo for more money, he probably needs to move on.
West Virginia fans have already seen ticket prices sky rocket over the past few years. What used to be a family outing has turned into an event that many can no longer afford. The argument is that is what you pay for a "national" program but eventually you will price seats out of the range of fans who are paying for all these improvements and salaries. Once again, we're talking about West Virginia and, if you haven't noticed, the economy here isn't exactly a juggernaut. I honestly don't believe Pastilong will offer Rodriguez more money this year...regardless of him staying or going. And I think that's the right move.
Don't get me wrong, I hope Rodriguez continues as WVU coach for many years to come (even if he loses to Pitt). I don't believe he's leaving, even if he is given a formal offer by Michigan. But, if he does go to Big Blue, send our best to John Beilein and tell him he would have been better staying here too...