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Posted on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 11:14 a.m.

Brady Hoke or Mark Dantonio? Who is your Big Ten coach of the year?

By Nick Baumgardner Big Ten bloggers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett agree that the 2011 Big Ten coach of the year award belongs in the state of Michigan.

The only problem is, which school?

Rittenberg and Bennett posted an interesting blog debate Wednesday morning, pondering whether Michigan coach Brady Hoke or Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was more worthy of the honor.


Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio.

Jeff Sainlar |

Rittenberg stands in Hoke's corner.

"If the Wolverines win out to finish 10-2 and beat Ohio State for the first time since 2003, Hoke has to be the pick," Ritterberg wrote. "Dantonio also has done a great job helping Michigan State navigate a much more difficult schedule and record back-to-back great seasons for the first time in recent memory. Difference is he did it with a team he recruited, unlike Hoke."

On the Dantonio side is Bennett, who argues that Michigan could finish 8-4 without a signature victory.

"The Spartans' only loss in conference play was on the road at Nebraska after three straight emotional, high-stakes games in October," Bennett writes. "All Michigan State has to do is beat Indiana at home and Northwestern in Evanston, and it will finish 10-2 with a 7-1 conference record and a spot in the first Big Ten title game."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

Theo212, Hey, what's up with the semi-nude life sized poster of Al Borges covering up the old RR one on your bedroom wall in the basement? Welcome back Theo212 after a successful long stint in the rehab (weaning yourself away from RR).


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 12:27 a.m.

Nice to be back, D21. Willievrine, tater, and I have been busy merging the MCC with the Circle of Honor. (Pssssssssss..... Those pictures are on the CEILING, remember?)


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

I have to nominate Alsace Lorraine as the Wolverine commenter of the month as he is on a roll. Hoke in a landslide. TiM

David Vande Bunte

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7 p.m.

Why in the heck would Dantonio be coach of the year? MSU was co-B1G champions last year, so all he has done this year is hold the line. Coach of the year should be a guy that improves from the previous year. That's not a knock on just means that he hasn't really done anything to distinguish himself this year compared to last year. Usually this goes to the coach of a team that has a huge turnaround or showed remarkable improvement from one year to another, and MSU hasn't really done either.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Too early to tell. There's still 1/4 of the B1G season to play, with two very tough back-to-back games for UM. So far, Brady's only 1 W ahead of last year. Just to play the devil's advocate, most of UM's improvement has been on the defensive side of the ball, and one could argue that at least SOME of that improvement could simply be attributed to players maturing (particularly Kovacs) and having Woolfolk and Floyd back for the full year. However, if UM wins out, the award should go to Hoke. (If Nebraska wins out against UM and Iowa, an argument also could be made for Pelini as B1G COY!)

David Vande Bunte

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

Agree with Don. One year of maturity =/= 92 place improvement. Not even close. Even if Michigan was starting the identical defense with no freshman playing, It has far more to do with change in player discipline, accountability among the players, proper scheming within the defensive strategy, switching from the ridiculous 3-3-5 defense, attitude, and GOOD COACHING. RichRod didn't care about defense, and Gregg Robinson is incompetent.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

I'm sorry ... just can't buy into the argument that some of the improvement on the defensive side of the ball is due to one year of maturity. I grant it's possible, I just don't but into it. First, Hoke and Mattison are playing a lot of true freshmen this year. That would argue against maturity and for coaching. Second ... I just can't believe -- I simply WON'T believe -- that Greg Robinson this year with this defense would be doing anywhere near as good ... or, for that matter, much better than last year. But that's me ... last year was such a disappointment I can't rush fast enough to purge that and not grant the previous regime any credit.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Borges is doing everything in his power to see that we lose every game. Yet, thanks to personnel, we've still managed to win a couple. Who brought in that personnel? The King Coach of The Year? The King

David Vande Bunte

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

Why do I get the distinct impression that Theo is not very good at picking up on sarcasm when it's written rather than spoken?


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

Tulane would be a good fit. He'd do well there.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Hang in there, bro. I've heard rumors of Tulane...maybe your long lost Rodriguez will return as the King of the Bayou (notwithstanding Les Miles at LSU)? Conference USA for the win!


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

Theo212, Hey, what's up with the semi-nude life sized poster of Al Borges covering up the old RR one on your bedroom wall in the basement? Welcome back Theo212 after a successful long stint in the rehab (weaning yourself away from RR). :)


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

I'm with you Theo! To inifity and beyond!


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

I like how you think, Don! (I've noticed a couple new posters, "rufus" and "lindor", and they like The King as much as we do. Put us 4 together and there's no telling how much intelligence we can SPREAD across the blogosphere!)


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

Yes! Yes! But not just Coach of the Year, dear Theo ... COACH OF THE MILLENNIUM!! No ... not sufficient. COACH OF THE ETERNAL UNIVERSE!! Somewhere in another galaxy they're playing football with pure read option spread and no defense. Scores are typically up in the basketball range. But everyone is happy. Then after the game they go and get a pizza at "The King's Pizza" ... then go home and dream sweet dreams of "The King." Oh what a vision of loveliness! I wish I could go there right now. *sigh*


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Thankfully we're not picking the honor right now ... it comes after completion of the regular season. Here's are the scenarios I see: o MSU wins B1G championship game, then Dantonio ... but only if Michigan is not 10-2 o If Michigan wins out and ends up 10-2 then Hoke ... regardless of what MSU does o If Michigan goes 9-3 and MSU wins B1G, then Dantonio o If Michigan goes 9-3 and MSU loses B1G, then Hoke Hoke at 8-4 drops from consideration, I think, unless MSU utterly collapses, which I don't see happening. Hoke's guiding Michigan out of the wilderness into the light of sane football is worthy of recognition, but at 8-4 isn't enough sparkle. 9-3 puts the name on the list. 10-2 assures it.

jeff blue

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

If we beat both NEB and OSU, it has to be Brady -- no question. But, we shouldn't jump the gun. These opposing teams have both pretty good defenses. We haven't beaten a good B10 team yet in 2011 -- now is the time. GO BLUE!!


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

Greg Mattison deserves coach of the year


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

Does the Big Ten Honor coordinators? If not, it should.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

I vote incomplete at this time because there are two more regular season games yet to play. Since both teams are 8 and 2, a slight edge goes to Brady Hoke because it is his first year. Mark Dantonio wasn't so successful in his first year at MSU. Let's see how they stack up after 12 games.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

I just thank God that our new athletic director allowed (financially) the head football coach to hire who he wanted for coordinators this time!


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

Hey, Bill Martin didn't earn nine straight years of surplus for the athletic department by writing a lot of checks to needless defensive coordinators...who needs one of those? (Heavy sarcasm) I'm thankful Dave Brandon was willing to write that check, too. I'm happy with our current coaching staff, but I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Jeff Casteel came along with Rodriguez like he was intented to. As much as I came to dislike Rodriguez, it was hard not to loathe Bill Martin exponentially more for some of his actions (or inactions). And, really, fishing off the Florida Keys (and out of reach by cell phone) during Michigan's first true coaching search since 1969? Arguably one of the biggest decisions of his Michigan AD career, and the man goes fishing!!


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

The jury is out to lunch for me on this one...If Hoke and the Wolverines win out and finish 10-2..then by all means, BRADY HOKE for coach of the year. But if they lose to the way

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

How can Dantanio even be in consideration, after msu failed to disicipline Golhstin for his behaviour during the UM game. He has fostered a cuture of thuggary at the school.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

Obviously, I'm partial to Michigan, but I'd say if Sparty wins the Big Ten Championship and earns a trip to Pasadena, it's all Dantonio's, however if that does not happen and Michigan wins out, it's Hoke's. Successfully running an offense with a team ill-equipped to run it, and turning a defense around whose numbers are near the top when less than a year ago they were among the worst, pulling off what would be a 10-2 record is enough for me. If Sparty loses the championship and goes to the Capital One Bowl or the like, they didn't improve, and just maintained, which is commendable, but not enough in my mind for Coach of the Year honors.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

Dantonio for coach of the year??? Are you kidding me??? I personally think Jerry Kill deserves it because Minnesota actually won a game.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

When Minnesota fired Glen Mason, after he pulled the Gopher's carcass out of the Big Ten's gutter, it's hard to wish Minnesota much more success than they had this year. I laughed when they signed Kill to an extended contract. Maybe they know something that I don't. All I know is Glen Mason took also-ran Kansas and Minnesota teams and made them consistent bowl game teams (7 out of 8 years while at Minnesota).

Nick Baumgardner

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

And for the Jerry Kill nod, Heartbreak, I nominate you for Commenter of the Week. If only such an honor existed.