Don’t ever discount the importance of the bowls. Just look at the state of things for the coaches at the biggest programs in the Midwest. Each was basically crushed in their respective bowls and left with a lot of folks asking questions until next season. Here’s a deeper look at each man and their situation.
Lloyd Carr, Michigan. Anyone in the know understands that Lloyd Carr will coach at Michigan until he wants to leave. But the Ohio State game and especially the Rose Bowl had fans and a lot of media reverting back to the harsh feelings of last year. Suddenly the statistic citers were back, talking about Carr’s failure to close out season. And the radio caller demands for Carr’s head are back. At a minimum most fans want change, something to similar to last year when Carr changed both coordinators, many are looking for more drastic changes in 2006. The problem is that up until the 2nd half of the USC game, Carr could argue (and who could deny) that things were fixed and that this was a championship caliber team. Nope. USC adjusted quicker and better and completely change their gameplan. Michigan didn’t until it was too late. Unacceptable by every fan and hopefully by the crew in Schembechler Hall. The talent seems to be there – the margin for error for Carr is shrinking.
Charlie Weis, Notre Dame As former coach Bob Davie recently said, the shine is off Coach Weis’s golden knob. The Irish lost to Michigan, USC and LSU in blow-outs (47-21, 44-24, 41-14), and Notre Dame hasn’t won a bowl game since the early 1990s. Some are questioning whether the Irish improved this year. Coach Weis himself called the Irish a “nice” team. While the offense has been great at times the defense is pretty much a joke. He is still loved at Notre Dame but you have to wonder if even the biggest supporters have some concerns in the backs of their heads about their plump leader.
Jim Tressel, Ohio State Tressel’s place amongst the top coaches in the game is certainly in tact but the BCS Championship debacle raised some questions that lead straight to the sweater vest. The normally calm and cool Tressel completely panicked on the 4th and 1 attempt on the Ohio State 29 and it was shocking to watch. The Buckeyes, whom heading into the game were in arguments as possibly one of the best teams ever, looked unprepared and overmatched. With his 2002 title and the great teams he’s put together, certainly no one is doubting Tressel’s place amongst the coaching elite but this game will never be forgotten and you only get so many chances to win titles. Another bad sign? CoachTressel.com is sponsored by “Roosters: A Fun, Casual Joint”, and reminds fans to look out for ‘The Tressel Vessel’…some type of motor home that cruises around spreading Buckeye good cheer.