Michigan

How much does Brady Hoke need a victory over Michigan State this weekend?

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Brady Hoke got off to a hot start as Michigan head coach but as the mixed criticisms have come his way in the recent of seasons just how bad does the Michigan football boss need a victory this weekend?

Perhaps the most embraced Michigan head coach in quite a while since relieving the on-going stress of the Rich Rod era, Hoke took the Wolverines to an 11-2 season in his debut defeating both Notre Dame (in dramatic fashion) and Ohio State en route to a Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. After that the Maize and Blue suffered a bad regular season opening loss to Alabama on a neutral field, a road loss to Notre Dame in which Denard Robinson looked god awful and a season ending loss to Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The highlight though of the season was finally ending the four year losing streak to Michigan State in the final seconds from the Big House.

To no one’s surprise Michigan got off to a nice start this season looking dominant early while beating Notre Dame at home in their first rivalry game of the season. However as the season progressed Michigan fans were left wondering what team was the real Michigan? Narrow wins against Akron and UConn, escaping Indiana and losing to Penn State exposed some of Michigan’s shortcomings on defense as well as some of the decision making of quarterback Devin Gardner who at times was looking more like a liability than an asset.

Heading into this weekend’s game against Michigan State Brady Hoke remains a single game above .500 against rival teams (Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State).

Brady Hoke’ Rivalry Record (First 3 Seasons) 4-3
Season Notre Dame Michigan State Ohio State
2011 W, 35-31 Home L, 28-14 Away W, 40-34 Home
2012 L, 13-6 Away W, 12-10 Home L, 26-21 Away
2013 W, 41-30 Home TBD TBD

 

But how does that compare with other Michigan head coaches of the past?

 

Bo Schembechler’s Rivalry Record (First 3 Seasons) 4-2
Season Michigan State Ohio State
1969 L, 23-12 Away W, 24-12 Home
1970 W, 34-20 Home L, 20-9 Away
1971 W, 24-13 Away W, 10-7 Home

 

Gary Moeller’s Rivalry Record (First 3 Seasons) 5-2-2
Season Notre Dame Michigan State Ohio State
1990 L, 28-24 Away L, 24-23 Home W, 16-13 Away
1991 W, 24-14 Home W, 45-28 Away W, 31-3 Away
1992 T, 17-17 Away W, 35-10 Home T, 13-13 Home

 

Lloyd Carr’s Rivalry Record (First 3 Seasons) 6-1
Season Notre Dame Michigan State Ohio State
1995 X L, 35-28 Away W, 31-23 Home
1996 X W, 45-29 Home W, 13-9 Away
1997 W, 21-14 Home W, 23-7 Home W, 20-14 Home

 

Rich Rodriguez’s Rivalry Record (3 Seasons) 2-7
Season Notre Dame Michigan State Ohio State
2008 L, 35-17 Away L, 35-21 Home L, 42-7 Away
2009 W, 38-34 Home L, 26-20 (OT) Away L, 21-10 Home
2010 W, 28-24 Home L, 34-17 Home L, 34-17 Away

Obviously the outcome of this weekend could have Hoke tracking in one of two directions.

A win over Michigan State would assure an above .500 record for Michigan and keep their hopes at a berth in the B1G title game in Indianapolis alive. However a loss Saturday could very well mean a below .500 record against conference rivals with the high powered Ohio State Buckeyes still on the schedule at the end of the season. Moreover that below .500 mark would put Hoke in gross company with the Rich Rod regime something that definitely wouldn’t sit well with Wolverine Nation.

It’s all about expectations for Michigan and the expectations were high coming into this season. And not only is Michigan expected to win week-in and week-out the measure of success for a coaching staff and team is what the Wolverines do against their rivals. With Notre Dame coming off the schedule Hokes fate could very well be determined by what he does against Michigan State as well as Ohio State.

About Adam Hernandez

Adam Hernandez is the founder of The Majors Sports Network and is currently the lead editor of The Majors Ann Arbor.

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