The Spread, Hate Week: The Hate is Off?

I want to hate Brady Hoke, but I can’t.

Now don’t take that the wrong way. The capital-H Hate I harbor for That School Up North still burns as strong as ever. But lately the joy of Hating has taken a bit of a hit. Our rival’s recent ineptitude under current “head” “coach” Brady Hoke has sapped the ability to fully revel in what is supposed to be a border-war between two equal-but-opposite foes. They are supposed to be our Joker, our Lex Luthor, but instead they’ve taken to acting like this guy.

While the bulk of the Wolverine fan base is content to assign fault to quarterback Devin Gardner or, absurdly, ex-coach Rich Rodriguez, the true responsible party is the one who stalks the sideline each Saturday, footloose and headset-free (so the path of pies to his pie-hole is unobstructed, one guesses). Since arriving in Ann Arbor, Hoke has been trending downward in a vast array of statistics (including offensive yardage, first downs, sacks, sacks allowed, touchdowns and of course: wins) leading to whispers of giving a certain turf-grazing grad yet another call.

While there’s no guarantee it will happen this year, the Hoke era is nearing its end. Despite his supposed recruiting prowess, it has not yet translated to success on the field, and that is the entire point after all, isn’t it? If he can’t even do the thing he’s good at, how is he supposed to do things he’s never done before, like win a conference title?

Let’s put Hoke’s terribleness in perspective: Lloyd Carr spent 13 years as Top Wolverine and posted six bowl wins, five Big Ten titles, and 1 national title. Rich Rodriguez was no hit in Ann Arbor, but in his 19 seasons as a head coach at various stops, he produced 8 conference titles and won three bowls. He has 15 wins (so far) in his first two seasons at Arizona. Coincidentally, he also had 15 wins in his three seasons with the Wolverines. Carr’s career winning percentage was 75%. Rodriguez is currently at 59%. Brady Hoke? 54%.

In the Thanksgiving dinner of TSUN coaches, Lloyd Carr is the racist grandpa, ranting in his La-Z-Boy about the Good Ol’ Days. Rich Rodriguez is the dopey uncle, sinking his savings into one get-rich-quick con after another. And Brady Hoke is the oldest cousin, begging to sit at the grown up table, even as he dribbles Kool-Aid down the front of his untucked dress shirt.

I want to Hate Brady Hoke, but he hasn’t earned it.

This post brought to you without the assistance of the overrated 13th letter of the alphabet.

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