Michigan fans evidently needed to see a little bit more from Rich Rodriguez this year than a 7-5 season and a trip to the Gator Bowl. Just 32% want him to return as the team’s coach in 2011 with 35% explicitly wanting him to be replaced and 33% unsure on the issue.
Those numbers represent a decline of support for Rodriguez. A May PPP poll found that 51% of Michigan fans wanted to see Rodriguez continue as coach while only 20% hoped to see him removed. Since that time support for him continuing has declined by 19 points while support for him leaving has increased by 15 points.
Michigan fans generally just don’t like Rodriguez. Only 20% have a favorable opinion of him to 38% who view him in a negative light. The 20% who view him favorably is identical to what it was in May but the unfavorable rating is up 12 points from 26% in that earlier poll. A fair number of fans who were on the fence about Rodriguez have now moved into the negative column.
To put Rodriguez’s numbers into perspective, North Carolina Coach Butch Davis sported a positive 41/20 approval spread on an October poll and 57% of the school’s fans wanted him to continue compared to only 14% who wanted him fired. Obviously the expectations are higher at Michigan, but Davis’ far superior numbers came despite his team posting the same record as the Wolverines this year and during the middle of an NCAA investigation that could land the program on probation.
While Michigan fans are pretty divided on whether Rodriguez should stay or if he should go, there’s a pretty broad consensus on who the school should target to replace him if he is indeed fired. 64% would like Jim Harbaugh to be the next coach compared to 23% who pick Les Miles and only 3% who want Brady Hoke.
Clearly any concern Michigan fans might have had about Harbaugh’s comments about the school’s academic standards a few years ago have been assuaged by Stanford’s winning ways on the football field.
Full results here