You know what the craziest college football “stat” of 2011 may have been? That of 56 first-place votes cast in the AP’s coach of the year balloting, only three went to Brady Hoke.
Three. For a former assistant who was welcomed back by a program that had been seven games under .500 over the previous three seasons, and who—talk about crazy—breathed 11-2 fire into it immediately. Somehow, that Michigan miracle went largely overlooked. By Sporting News, too, which is not to say Kansas State’s Bill Snyder was undeserving.
It’s hard not to be struck by the force-of-nature effect Hoke had in 2011 and continues to have as the Wolverines move toward a season they’ll likely enter as the favorites to win the Big Ten. The school hasn’t claimed an outright Big Ten title in nine long years; hasn’t shared one in eight. This opportunity now is as critical as it gets.
With Hoke, the pedal is always grinding on metal. If he can stand on it with both feet while he drives, that’s what he’ll do. There’s no looking back with him, so it’s pointless to try to engage him in reliving the glory of an 11-2, Sugar Bowl-winning debut.