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Michigan still grasping at straws

I think I finally understand the slogan the University of Michigan uses for its advertisements. Its tagline: “The Michigan Difference.”

One of those commercials refers to the all-Wolverine crew on Apollo 15, probably the least memorable of the Apollo missions.

Although I appreciate the astronauts’ contribution to the world’s moon rock collection, the slogan more aptly describes how football coaches use the school as a tool for monetary gain.

For example, take former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh, who is now the San Francisco 49ers coach. He probably said to himself: “How will I squeeze more money out of my NFL suitors? By using Michigan, of course!”

That extra millions of dollars or additional year in his contract — that’s “The Michigan Difference.”

The Wolverines have twice tried to lock down LSU coach and Michigan graduate Les Miles for their head-coaching gig. After Lloyd Carr retired in 2007, Miles was rumored to take over in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Fake Buckeye” Kirk Herbstreit virtually guaranteed that Miles would take the job.

LSU officials, however, worked tirelessly to get Miles a contract extension. Unfortunately for Ohio State, which went on to lose to Miles and the Tigers in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game, the Tiger administration succeeded.

Fast-forward to 2011, when Miles pulled the same trick. LSU, led by athletic director Joe Alleva, met with Miles on Monday night and convinced him to stay in Baton Rouge, La. Two days later, it announced that its coach would be back, with a new contract that runs through the 2017 season.

The contract also includes additional “bonuses.” My guess is that means Miles will receive extra time-outs to use during games because he can’t manage the three he has per half.

This is what the Michigan program has come to. It is no longer a “destination job.” It is just used for leverage.

So, Michigan brought in Brady Hoke to change that reputation. Of course, he tallied a 47-50 overall record at Ball State and San Diego State. I could only yawn this much if I popped Ambien.

Up north, Michigan will tell you that Hoke, who was a defensive line coach at Michigan from 1995-02, is the “Michigan man” they long desired. The only phrase more overused than that in college football is “SEC speed.”

That typical, Michigan “holier-than-thou” attitude is sickening. They don’t need a “Michigan man,” whatever that means.

Michigan needs someone who can recruit defense. Someone who doesn’t recruit convicts (Boubacar Cissoko), academic failures (Demar Dorsey) and players who are softer than the stuffed animal that former defensive coordinator Greg Robinson carried around on the sidelines (all of them).

Hoke might be that “someone,” but he has a lot of skeptics because his resume isn’t as flashy as Harbaugh’s or Miles’. It will take a lot of work, but his hope is to make Michigan a “destination job” once again.

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