Week 5: Michigan will fire Brady Hoke — it’s only a matter of when

Michigan fans thought they’d survived their storied program’s low point when Brady Hoke replaced oft-maligned Rich Rodriguez following the 2010 season. As turns out, the worst was still to come.

It’s right now.

With a 30-14 rout at the Big House, Minnesota handed the Wolverines their third loss Saturday, the first time in 135 years of Michigan football it’s sustained three defeats before Oct. 1. Changing quarterbacks — from fifth-year senior Devin Gardner to sophomore Shane Morris — did not alleviate Big Blue’s offensive woes. Michigan gained just 171 total yards, with Morris completing just 7-of-19 passes for 49 yards and an interception.

Hoke’s days are numbered. It’s fait accompli. Saturday may have been the final straw — and not just because Michigan lost.

The fourth-year coach made some stupefying postgame comments — particularly in regards to his questionable management of Morris’ health.

Early in the fourth quarter, Morris sustained a brutal hit, after which he could be seen visibly wobbling from an apparent head injury. Running back Justice Hayes motioned to the sideline for medical help. But Michigan left him in for another play before finally summoning Gardner. Shortly thereafter, when Gardner’s helmet came off, requiring him to sit for a play, Morris inexplicably went back in.

Morris eventually had to be carted off the field. What did Hoke have to say about all of this?

"I don’t know if he had a concussion or not, I don’t know that," Hoke said. "Shane’s a pretty competitive, tough kid. And Shane wanted to be the quarterback, and so, believe me, if he didn’t want to be he would’ve come to the sideline or stayed down."

What? Is this really 2014?

Even that might not have been Hoke’s strangest comment. That would be: “I think this team can still win a championship. I really do.”

Right. This team couldn’t even win the Little Brown Jug, much less a Big Ten trophy.



Breakout performance: Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State. The one-time Florida QB produced one of the best plays of the season thus far when he muscled his way away from two FSU defenders and kept scrambling towards the sideline before finding a receiver in the end zone for a sweet TD play. Brissett went on to carve up the Florida State D for 339 yards and three TDs, but the Pack still fell to the defending national champs, 56-41. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder has now thrown 13 TDs and just one INT on the season.

Coach of the Day: Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern. The Wildcats coach said last week of motivating his 1-2 team: “My size 12 is going where the sun don’t shine.It worked. Northwestern dominated 4-0 Penn State, 29-6, to win its Big Ten opener.

Stock up: Jim McElwain, Colorado State. With hot seat chatter heating up around some big programs, the 52-year-old Colorado State head coach is a name to remember especially after the Rams went to Boston and beat a Boston College team coming off its mauling off USC. McElwain’s squad, which has shown a knack for come-from-behind wins, again rallied, this time from a 14-0 deficit. CSU is now 3-1 and should be favored in the rest of its regular season games.

Stock down: Bryan Harsin, Boise State. The former Boise quarterback is not Chris Petersen, yet. The Broncos committed seven turnovers in a 28-14 loss at Air Force, the kind of conference game Boise rarely lost in the past.

Best win: Washington State. Down 21-0 on the road at undefeated Utah, the Cougars settled down on defense, holding the Utes to just two field goals on their final 12 drives of the game while QB Connor Holliday and his wideouts heated up to snag a 28-27 win. It was a must-win if WSU hopes to get back to a bowl considering they face teams with a combined 22-5 record going forward. 

Worst loss: Pittsburgh. Star Panthers running back James Conner finally met his match – Akron. Coach Terry Bowden’s Zips went to Heinz Field and held their ACC foe to a mere field goal in the second half of a 21-10 upset.

One Thing Nobody’s Talking About: Yale, in a triumphant kickoff to the 100th anniversary season of the Yale Bowl, knocked off Army, 49-43 in overtime, the first win by an Ivy League team over an FBS foe since 1986.

What I’ll Take Away From Week 5: As powerful as the SEC West is, the SEC East is a dud. The most talented team in the division, Georgia, had all it could handle at home with an extremely young Tennessee team. The supposedly next-best team, South Carolina, fell at home to a MIzzou team that had just lost to Indiana. The East also has the conference’s four worst teams.

Bruce’s current Heisman Top 5

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon Ducks

2. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska Cornhuskers

3. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia Bulldogs

4. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide

5. Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M Aggies

Stewart’s current Heisman Top 5

1. Mariota

2. Gurley

3. Cooper

4. Abdullah

5. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA Bruins