Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/15/14

After almost a year away from the sidelines, Rich Rodriguez is returning to coaching. It was revealed Monday night that Rich Rod had been hired by Arizona as its new coach, replacing ousted maniac Mike Stoops.

Rich Rod helped take West Virginia to the top of the Big East, but his tenure at Michigan was such a flop that it makes the super committee look downright effectual.

Did the Wildcats make the right call in hiring Rich Rod? Will he have success out in the desert?

Regie Eller: I am a huge admirer of the Michigan Wolverines.  The most noticeable mistakes he made at Michigan were assuming that Michigan would give him the proper time to install what he needed to be successful, and not surrounding himself with a staff that met Michigan standards. Meet Greg Robinson.

In my opinion, Rod is a fantastic coach, and he could have been wildly successful at Michigan, but it was not willing to fully buy in. That is not Rod’s fault. Arizona is not Michigan, but neither was West Virginia, Clemson or Tulane – where he was all very successful at.  Michigan provides zero indication to me that he will not work at Arizona. He knows the landscape, recruits California well, runs an attractive offense, is a great play caller and is a tireless worker. One question I ask; will he use Michigan as a learning experience and hire an adequate defensive coordinator? I believe so. I'm pulling for the guy. He is good for football.

Aaron Torres: I've got a number of thoughts on Rich Rod.

The first being that he never truly got a fair shake at Michigan. The boosters/alumni never really supported him, the administration never fully bought in, and most importantly (from reading Stewart Mandel's piece on the situation yesterday), even the old coaching staff tried to sabotage him. All in all, it couldn't have been a worse fit from a style standpoint or a cultural one.

More importantly though, let's go back to the style, because I suspect it to be far more successful out West than it ever was in the Midwest. Specifically, I truly do believe that the 3-3-5 can work at Arizona. That defense is designed for speed over size, agility and athleticism over bulk. Doesn't that seem to fit a lot more in the Pac-12, where other than Stanford, nobody runs a true power running game? Don’t you expect that to be much more successful stopping the likes of Washington and Oregon than it ever was Wisconsin and Ohio State?

Which kind of brings me to my point: Rich Rod's offense was fine after year one, and if anything was better last year with him running it, than this year in Brady Hoke's pro-style. The problem was always the defense, and culturally, it just didn't work. They didn't have the personnel, but most of all, it just wasn't the right fit. The 3-3-5 might be able to work in spots and maybe for a game (as TCU found out in the Rose Bowl last year). But week in and week out against the power running of the Big Ten conference as a whole?

It never stood a chance. I'm buying stock in Rich Rod.

Kevin McGuire: If the argument is that Arizona will be back to a competitive level in the Pac 12 rather than doormat for many teams, I'm buying in and placing all my chips in the middle of the table. Rodriguez is too good a coach to fail, and as some of you have already said he may not have been given a fair shake at Michigan. I agree and have been saying that all along. Michigan had a bit of a delusional vision of their program as well, which went against Rodriguez. They expected to win the Big Ten by changing the way the Big Ten plays football. C'mon man. That wasn't happening.

That said, despite all the turmoil, NCAA infractions and inability to beat Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State (big 0-for here), Michigan's offense and win total got better all three seasons. His failures came on defense, but don't look for that to be as much of a problem in the Pac 12. I said it the other day, but Arizona and Rodriguez seem like a great fit for each other. Rodriguez was doing things Chip Kelly does before Chip Kelly existed (exaggeration) and I suspect Arizona will give Rodriguez more than three years to get things going (and it won't take all three years).

Rodriguez's problem will be competing in the same division as USC, who is coming off of probation next season. Few schools will be able to get by USC on a regular basis. But if Rich Rod picks up wins against Arizona State, that will help. Rodriguez is not going to make Arizona a Pac 12 favorite, but he will make them relevant.

Tom Perry: I'm one of the few WVU fans who don't harbor ill will toward Rich Rodriguez. I still believe he made a huge mistake by leaving his alma mater. He could have stayed at WVU for 50 years, had a statue and remained a legendary figure for another 200 years.

How he was unfairly treated at Michigan has been covered well enough, so there's no need to go there on this one.

I believe Rich is a great coach and will be successful at Arizona, but what does that success mean? Arizona has never represented the conference in the Rose Bowl, and getting the Wildcats to that game may be enough. I think Rich can do that, but he'll need to commit to defense more. I agree with those who said the 3-3-5 can work in the Pac-12. Rich will lure Jeff Casteel away from WVU, and probably reassemble a lot of the staff he had there and Michigan (sans Bill Stewart).

While many in Morgantown will hate to see Casteel leave, I think Dana Holgorsen will be OK with it. He remained loyal to Casteel who has done a great job as the defensive coordinator, but isn't a Holgorsen guy. Holgo prefers to have a staff that is all his.

I actually wish Rich Rod good luck and hope he does well at Arizona. His reputation was pummeled at Michigan, but he's great for the college game and it will be good to see him on the sidelines again next fall.

For updates on their articles, follow the Crystal Ball Run staff on Twitter @CrystalBallRun.

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