It’s probably a little early to give my official predictions of coaches on the hot seat (I was 7-3 last year), so I’ll quickly speak to the fact that many are suggesting that Michigan coach Brady Hoke needs to appear in a BCS game to keep his job.
The long and short of it is, he’s as safe as Urban Meyer.
Yes, I just compared the job security of Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer.
The truth is, Hoke - in order to keep his locker room believing in him and to continue recruiting high quality athletes to Michigan - needs to win about nine games, and appear in a top-tier bowl game. Beating Ohio State and/or appearing in the conference championship game will only bolster his position and extend his longevity.
To compare Michigan’s path to a national championship with Ohio State’s is foolish for all, including Wolverine detractors. Although the programs appear far apart, in reality they couldn’t be closer. I’m not suggesting the Wolverines can’t get the national championship game this season, but their path is more difficult.
Like Ohio State, they only face one BCS opponent (Notre Dame) in their non-conference schedule, but they face worthy in-conference challenges against Penn State then Michigan State, Nebraska, and Northwestern in consecutive weeks before facing Ohio State at the end of the season.
On paper, their schedule is tougher, and in reality, their team isn’t as strong. Hoke’s recruiting skills have proven to be formidable over the past two off-seasons, and assuming Michigan only loses three games this season, he will survive and the Wolverines will secure an appearance in a top-tier bowl game.
I’ll go ahead and make the assumption that Michigan takes two of three from Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State and say they play in the conference championship game, and play in a upper-level bowl game.
They’ll only be able to do this if Hoke’s defense plays as well as expected, and Devin Gardner quickly adapts to whatever scheme offensive coordinator Al Borges comes up with for the quarterback.
To oppose that, Michigan will have three new starters on its offensive line. If they don’t have their ills figured out by the time they play Notre Dame, they better have it figured out by the time they face Penn State and Michigan State.
I say all that, not to evaluate the X’s & O’s of what Michigan can do this year, but to quiet those who think Hoke is in danger of losing his job.
Officially, I see no reason for Michigan to lose more than two games in 2013.
Do you think Brady Hoke is on the hot seat, or has he built enough good will to carry him a few more seasons?