So it looks like the inevitable parting between Rich Rodriguez and Michigan has come to pass.
And now the inevitable question: Why not Rodriguez to Pittsburgh?
The Panthers need a coach, and a big name would help them erase the turmoil of the past month. Rodriguez needs a job, and he certainly knows the area and the Big East. They may be former rivals (Pittsburgh did ruin Rodriguez's chance to play for the national title at West Virginia in his final game, after all), but this is a marriage that could benefit both parties.
Plenty of people see the wisdom of it, from CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd to our own Ryan McGee. Pitt fans complained over and over about Dave Wannstedt's stale offenses. Rodriguez would fix that in a hurry, though he'd have to adjust to the personnel available. Pat White isn't walking through the Heinz Field door next season.
There is the whole rivalry thing. Rodriguez coached and played at West Virginia and has many friends in the state. He'd have to coach a game in Morgantown this November, and he'd need some extra security for that one. But it's been done before, and if Rodriguez loves his state and school so much, he wouldn't have left the way he did in December 2007. He can stick it to the fans who have despised him since then by winning at West Virginia's rival.
Pitt would have to monitor Rodriguez and make sure he knew the practice-time rules. But after the Mike Haywood fiasco, the Panthers can no longer be sanctimonious about whom they hire.
Rodriguez would instantly make Pitt more interesting and more of a national story. I'm convinced he can still win big. The Backyard Brawl would become must-see TV across the country. And think of the potential shootouts between a Rodriguez-led Panthers team and West Virginia under Dana Holgorsen. Add in the rise of programs like Syracuse, Louisville and South Florida and TCU coming on board in 2012, and all of a sudden the Big East is infinitely more fun and intriguing than it was in 2010.
It all makes sense. So why not?