I talked to a good friend of mine and big Michigan fan on the way home from the Michigan State-UAB game Saturday and the first question out of his mouth was, "So, is Lloyd gone or what?" I'm sure he's not the only one asking that question about the Michigan coach, either.
I would hate to be a Michigan regent this morning, dealing with a deluge of 'Fire Lloyd" emails and phone calls. Fact is, Lloyd Carr won a national championship a decade ago and has taken the Wolverines to the Rose Bowl three of the last four years. His offense may be too stodgy and his defense in the dark when it comes to stopping a running quarterback, but Carr still has some built-up leeway he's got to exhaust before Michigan would ever think of firing him.
Now, everyone knows Carr doesn't plan on coaching much longer. Many speculated this would be his final season, that'd he ride off into the sunset with his Mike Hart-Jake Long-Chad Henne nucleus after one last go-round at a national title. The title dreams were dashed on the first day of September, and frankly there's nothing left for U-M to look forward to this year. Yeah, Michigan still could win the Big Ten, still finish top 10 (though they'll have to climb from the unranked in this man's poll), but this team will always be known as the one that lost to Appalachian State.
There's no defending Saturday's result, no reason Michigan should ever schedule a game like that let alone lose to a I-AA team, but it must be said that Appalachian State is better than a handful of Division I teams (including, probably, UAB) and the outcome might have been different had Mike Hart been available all game.
Regardless, Carr's task now is to keep his team from crumbling. They've got three big home games coming up against two good teams (Oregon and Penn State) and Notre Dame. Another loss and that 7-5 season of two years ago might start looking pretty good. Meanwhile, Michigan fans can spend the next three months coach-watching the likes of Kirk Ferentz, Les Miles and, just for fun, Jim Harbaugh (who incidentally is just the type of coach Michigan needs). Carr still will call the shot on his retirement, but Saturday's loss cost him any shot of picking his own predecessor. For that, my buddy was thankful.