ANN ARBOR — In the spring, Brady Hoke declared the 2011 season “a failure,” despite the fact that his team had won a BCS bowl. His team did not win the 2011 Big Ten conference championship.
When asked on Monday to describe the 2012 season, the second-year Michigan football coach tempered his words.
“We didn’t win the championship, and that’s the expectation,” Hoke said, two days after the Wolverines’ 26-21 loss at No. 4 Ohio State. “I think there was some growth. I think that growth is probably as much how the senior class came together. I think it also is for the young guys who played some valuable snaps in football games.”
But, Hoke added, “It’s disappointing to all of us. More disappointing because of the seniors, for them.”
The No. 21 Wolverines (8-4) now await a berth to a bowl game instead of playing Saturday in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis. Michigan has not won a Big Ten title outright since 2003, and a 23-9 loss Oct. 27 at Nebraska ultimately cost Michigan its best shot at playing for the 2012 Big Ten title.
It also cost Michigan’s coaches a few extra dollars.
Per Michigan’s coaching contracts — obtained by The Blade through a Freedom of Information Act request — Hoke and his offensive and defensive coordinators stood to earn bonuses totaling up to $740,000 had they won the Big Ten championship.
Earning a berth in the Big Ten title game would have garnered Hoke a bonus of $320,000. Winning the Big Ten title would have assured Hoke a bonus of $525,000.
Additionally, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison would have received a bonus of $90,000 had Michigan played for the conference title or a bonus of $150,000 had Michigan won the conference title. Offensive coordinator Al Borges would have received a bonus of $39,000 for Michigan playing the Big Ten title game or a bonus of $65,000 if Michigan had won the conference title.
By comparison, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer — whose contract Ohio State released in June — earned $50,000 because because the Buckeyes finished the regular season atop the Leaders division. Had Ohio State been eligible for the postseason, Meyer would have earned a $100,000 bonus if the Buckeyes won the Big Ten title. Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman and defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, whose contracts were also obtained through a Blade FOI request, will each receive a bonus that equals three months’ salary after Ohio State finished the regular season atop the division.
The Omaha World-Herald published the revised contract of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini (signed in April of 2011) on its interactive Web site, dataomaha.com. Pelini’s contract states he will receive either a $200,000 bonus for reaching the Big Ten title game or a $350,000 bonus if Nebraska wins the conference title.
Michigan will likely play in either the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla., or the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa.
The Capital One Bowl said Sunday on its Twitter account that Michigan is one of three teams in consideration for the Jan. 1 game, which pits the No. 2 team from the Big Ten against the No. 2 team from the Southeastern Conference.
But ESPN.com reported that if Wisconsin (7-5) defeats Nebraska (10-2) in the Big Ten title game, Nebraska or Northwestern (9-3) would play in the Capital One Bowl. Michigan would be ineligible for the bowl because it has two fewer wins than the Cornhuskers.
Either bowl would still garner Michigan’s top three coaches tidy bonuses. Hoke would receive a bonus of $135,000, while Mattison would receive a bonus of $37,500 and Borges a bonus of $16,250.
Until a bowl matchup is announced, Hoke said he and his staff will concentrate on recruiting and that his players will work out and prepare for finals, which are scheduled to begin Dec. 13, per Michigan’s academic calendar. But Michigan will not practice again until it learns of its bowl game and opponent. Bowl game pairings will be announced on Sunday.
REDSHIRT SOUGHT: Hoke said Monday that Michigan has applied for a medical redshirt for junior quarterback Devin Gardner and that he expects the petition to go through.’
"The documentation and everything is being sent to the Big Ten,” Hoke said.
If granted, the redshirt would be retroactive to Gardner’s freshman year at Michigan, when he had seven completions for 85 yards and a touchdown in three games before suffering a back injury, and Gardner would have two more years of eligibility at Michigan.
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