Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back to the Future: Second half of Rodiguez’s Year 2 Finish at West Virginia

Rich Rodriguez’s second Michigan Wolverines football team is currently 4-2 in 2009. Michigan has lost two consecutive conference road games against Michigan State and Iowa by 6 and 2 points respectively. There are now six games remaining on the Michigan schedule including some tough contests against Penn State, at Wisconsin and Ohio State.

How did this compare with Rich Rodriguez’s second year of “magical improvement” at West Virginia in 2002? How did the Mountaineers finish?

Interestingly during Rich Rodriguez’s second year at West Virginia in 2002, the Mountaineers also started 4-2. This included 3 decisive wins, 1 close win and 2 decisive losses:

Tennessee-Chattanooga (decisive win by 49 points)

East Carolina (decisive win by 20 points)

Rutgers (decisive win by 40 points)

Cincinatti (close win by 3 points)

Wisconsin (decisive loss by 17 points)

Maryland (decisive loss by 31 points)

Coming off a disasterous 3-8 campaign in 2001, with a 4-2 record at midpoint of the 2002 season Mountaineer fans probably didn’t know what kind of team they had on their hands. With 6 games left in the regular season, Rodriguez’s Mountaineers would face three ranked foes: No. 1 ranked Miami (FL), at No. 13 Virginia Tech, and at No. 24 Pitt. West Virginia proceeded to go 5-1 over these last 6 games with 3 decisive wins, 2 close wins and 1 decisive loss:

Syracuse (decisive win by 27 pts)

Temple (decisive win by 26 pts)

Boston College (decisive win by 10 pts)

Virginia Tech (close win by 3 pts)

Pitt (close win by 7 pts)

Miami (FL) (decisive loss by 17 points)

This was how a 4-2 team finished 9-3 and landed in a Dec 28th bowl (Continental Tire Bowl). Rodriguez's 2002 Mountaineer team lost that game by 26 points to Virginia 22-48.

With Michigan’s remaining schedule, it might be tempting for Michigan fans to make the following equivalencies:

2009 Delaware State (W) = 2002 Syracuse

2009 Penn State (W) = 2002 Pitt

2009 Illinois (W) = 2002 Temple

2009 Purdue (W) = 2002 Boston College

2009 Wisconsin (L) = 2002 Miami (FL)

2009 Ohio State (W) = 2002 Virginia Tech

9-3. Wouldn’t that be something?

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