Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:23 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 5:53 pm

Hinnen's Insane Predictions, Week 8

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that  South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week . Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

Playing at home for interim coach Jeff Horton and that until-now foreign concept known as pride, Minnesota surprises Penn State and their ever-creaky offense with 17 first-half points, then hold on for a 17-13 upset. After the game, Joe Paterno offers up something even more surprising, issuing his resignation effective at the end of the year to ESPNU's speechless sideline reporter. To drive his point home, Paterno leaves his trademark glasses at the edge of the TCF Bank Stadium field, a la an Olympic wrestler leaving his shoes on the mat. ESPN issues a press release promising to include footage of Paterno's gesture in every college football montage from now until 2024.

Severely Unlikely

At halftime of the Missouri -Oklahoma game, the visiting Sooners hold a commanding 24-3 lead. Just before the break, Gary Pinkel is spotted pushing a button on some kind of radio-like device on his belt. A few minutes later, Bob Stoops is just about to begin his halftime team talk when there's a knock on the locker room door. It's Mizzou alumnus Jon Hamm , dressed as his famous Mad Men character Don Draper . He introduces himself as Draper and asks if he could speak to the team for a minute. Stoops, a huge Draper fan, is awestruck and concedes. Hamm/Draper has a lackey wheel in a wet bar and offers Stoops and the rest of the Sooner staff a stiff drink as he begins to pitch the rest of the Sooners on what he calls a "revolutionary" sports drink called "Gator-ade." Too polite to decline, Stoops and his staff are severely tipsy by the end of the break. 12 different second-half double-passes back to quarterback Landry Jones later, Missori escapes with a 27-24 win.

Completely Ludicrous

Washington State goes on the road and defeats No. 12 Stanford.

Posted on: October 22, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 4:17 pm

Patterson's Insane Predictions: Week 8

Posted by Chip Patterson

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

Jordan Jefferson's utter distaste for the Auburn Tigers is fully revealed with a historic performance on Saturday.  Last season, Jefferson entered the contest with the Tigers having thrown interceptions in three out of the last four games.  He went on to stun the Auburn defense, throwing for 242 yards and two touchdowns.  Jefferson adds to his record against the Tigers by throwing (gasp) a perfect game as a quarterback.  Jefferson completes 30 of 30 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns with ZERO interceptions to lead LSU in the 35-31 victory in Auburn.  Cam Newton has a chance to win the game in the last minute but Les Miles' spies apprehend him with a planted laptop in his flack jacket.  TIGERGATE!

Severely Unlikely

Tennessee trots out the young Tyler Bray for some snaps against the Tide, and the freshman explodes for 297 yards and a pair of touchdowns in two quarters of action.  Trailing 28-27 with four seconds left on the clock, Volunteers kicker Michael Palardy lines up a 34-yard field goal searching for some sweet redemption for the Tennessee faithful.  A rocking Neyland Stadium drops to silence as Marcel Dareus charges up the A-gap and extends his arm to pull off his best Terrence Cody impression.  History repeats itself and Dareus deflects the kick, celebration ensues on the Crimson Tide sideline.  But there is a flag on the play.  Twelve men on the field is called because Greg McElroy is standing on field, trying to sign language his cell phone number to a Tennessee cheerleader.  Palardy drills the second attempt to seal the upset, and Nick Saban sets McElroy's 'Bama Bangs ablaze with his eyes. 

Completely Ludicrous

While sitting out in a duck blind, former Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster texts in every play call to his interim replacement/offensive coordinator Jeff Horton.  Interestingly enough, Brewster calling plays with no knowledge of down or distance is more effective than having him on the sideline.  The Golden Gophers succeed in knocking off Penn State 28-10, picking up their first conference win of the season.  Coach Joe Paterno tries to get some offensive spark by inserting freshman Kevin Newsome in a wildcat package.  Paterno paces his feeble fibulas up and down the Nittany Lions sideline but can't find Newsome anywhere.  He is back in University Park in Music Building 1, tickling the ivories.  

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Posted on: October 22, 2010 3:14 pm

Below the Radar: Four other games to watch

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's easy to pick out this weekend's biggest games: LSU and Auburn , Iowa and Wisconsin , Oklahoma and Missouri . But every week there's plenty of interesting matchups -- no, really -- that don't feature ranked teams and don't make anyone's "must-watch" list other than the team's fans. Here's four of them you should keep an eye on regardless (all times Eastern):

Penn State (3-3, 0-2) at Minnesota (1-6, 0-3), 12 p.m. This one won't feature a ton of points (the Gophers and Nittany Lions rank 76th and 108th in scoring offense, respectively), and obviously it's not going to have much impact on the Big Ten race, either. But this is the game that could legitimately be the beginning of the end of the Joe Paterno era; the Lions might be able to stomach one humiliating loss (last week's 20-point home shellacking at the hands of Illinois ), but a second at the hands of the reeling, coach-less Gophers -- not to mention the accompanying 0-3 conference record and dwindling hopes of bowl eligibility -- could start the succession planning in earnest. The long-term implications alone make this contest critical.

Rutgers (4-2, 1-0) at Pitt (3-3, 1-0), 12 p.m. Both the Scarlet Knights and Panthers have suffered some serious nonconference pratfalls --- Rutgers' unthinkable loss to Tulane , Pitt's home bludgeoning at the hands of Miami -- but both got off to 1-0 starts in Big East play with big wins over UConn and Syracuse , respectively. This is the Big East, after all: once you get to 2-0, it's impossible not to call you a serious contender in the conference. The key matchup will be Pitt's fast-rising Ray Graham (118 rushing yards per game) against Greg Schiano 's 15th-ranked defense.

Kansas State (5-1, 2-1) at Baylor (5-2, 2-1), 3:30 p.m. There's honest-to-God Big 12 implications here; if Mizzou loses to Oklahoma late Saturday, the Wildcats could forge a three-way tie atop the Big 12 North with their own date against the Tigers still to come. But the stakes are probably higher for the Bears anyway; a win would push Baylor to six wins and a postseason berth for the first time since they played the 1994 Alamo Bowl. There's surprising talent on display here, too: Wildcat back Daniel Thomas is the conference's second-leading rusher at 130 yards a game, and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin (14 TDs, 3 INT) has a Denard Robinson -esque blend of rushing speed and throwing accuracy.

Georgia (3-4, 2-3) at Kentucky (4-3, 1-3), 7:30 p.m. The storyline for this one is simple: the winner stays in the dead thick of the muddled SEC East race. Beyond that, last November the Wildcats used a bevy of Georgia turnovers to upset the Dawgs in Athens and have generally given Mark Richt 's team fits the past few seasons. If Richt wants to permanently silence the bleating for his head that began after Georgia's 1-4 start, he can't afford a second straight defeat at the hands of a team that's been Georgia's traditional inferior. Too bad for him the Wildcats have been feisty at home thus far this season, pulling one major upset against South Carolina last week and coming within one stop of doing the same to Auburn the week before. As long as Randall Cobb is around (even if Derrick Locke isn't), expect more feistiness to come, and for this one to come down to the wire.

Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:38 pm

Tim Brewster may have driven Minnesota to drink

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

That's right, it's another update on Minnesota football on the CBS College Football Blog. Maybe you don't think the trials and travails of the Big Ten 's worst team is worth that much attention, but consider that in the last two weeks, the Gophers 1. threatened to fire their ironically hilarious coach if he lost one more game 2. lost that game in ironically hilarious fashion 3. fired the coach as the same athletic director who'd hired him taunted him as "not Vince Lombardi" 4. turned the ignition on a coaching search that in all logic should end in the hiring of Cap'n Mike Leach 5. had to douse a nasty rumor the coach had gone Hal McCrae on the team trophy case.

If you're a college football blogger, there's no way to ignore catnip like that. If you're a Minnesota football fan, it's probably enough to drive you into the waiting arms of sweet, sweet alcohol. Which heeeeeeeey , that might just give the Minnesota administration an idea :

Just days after Tim Brewster's firing, the University of Minnesota will be spending a lot of money to find a new coach. People wonder if lifting a ban on alcohol sales at Gopher games would bring in more cash to the U of M.
Well, the question isn't actually "if" selling alcohol would bring in the dough; "people in the know" say a liquor license could net the program a quick-n'-easy $3 million. (And "people in the know" are never wrong.) That might be enough to lure the good Cap'n all by its lonesome.

But of course, when we're talking about alcohol, nothing's simple. As the Fox video report on the issue ...

... illustrates, the Gopher powers-that-be haven't even moved this into the discussion stage just yet. But they do have options: either to go whole hog, to just allow alcohol in the brand-spanking-new TCF Bank Stadium's luxury boxes, or to keep teetotaling.

The video also illustrates that plenty of other Big Ten schools -- like Michigan -- make plenty of money without liquor sales. But those other schools aren't Minnesota. The Gophers are behind a serious financial eight-ball, trying to pay for the new stadium, for Brewster's buyout, for the inevitable assistants' buyouts, for the new coach's salary, for his assistant's new salaries, all while dragging around the millstone of widespread fan apathy and inconsistent revenue streams.

In short: if they're not considering it yet, they probably ought to be.

HT: Get the Picture .

Posted on: October 21, 2010 8:44 pm

No, Tim Brewster did not steal Minnesota's trophy

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Today's most tantalizing rumor in college football, put forth by Pat Reusse on ESPN 1500 in Minneapolis, is that after being fired on Sunday, Tim Brewster went a little crazy and broke a trophy case at Minnesota before leaving the premises. If true, it'd be absolute professional suicide; nobody would want to hire a coach who can't even handle being fired without exacting vandalistic revenge on university property. 

Slight problem: the rumor is totally untrue. A spokesman in the Minnesota athletic department told CBS Sports that the rumors were "completely false," and that it wasn't even clear where the rumors had started. Also, keep in mind: it's very much in Brewster's best interests to keep a rumor like this quashed, but much less in Minnesota's best interests to protect Brewster -- especially if the rumors were true.

But though everyone craves scandal and discord, this rumor doesn't even pass the smell test. For the myriad faults attributed to Brewster over the course of his campaign at Minnesota, at no point did anyone ever suggest the man had a temper problem, on the field or off. Heck, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema tried to flat-out embarrass Brewster's Gophers when he went for two late in their game two weeks ago, and what was Brewster's reaction? A terse exchange with Bielema and then strong words delivered calmly at his press conference. If Brewster wasn't going to whip himself into spittle-flecked histrionics then, when would he?

Further, it's not as if Reusse and Brewster don't have a long, sordid past. From the moment Brewster set foot on Minnesota's campus, Reusse -- who is also a columnist at the Minneapolis Pioneer-Press -- has been a prominent critic of his. The shared enmity reached its zenith after Brewster tweeted (and immediately deleted, except this is the Internet) this: "How would you like to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror....... If your FAT PAT??" Yep: fat jokes at reporters from a D-I football coach. That happened.

Reusse was one of the first to shovel dirt on Brewster's grave after the firing, calling Brewster's initial news conference "the least sincere pile of verbiage ever heard in Dinkytown." Reusse was right, of course, but it's pretty easy to see why he would be eager to pass along rumors of negative behavior by Brewster, aberrant and unsubstantiated as it may be.


Posted on: October 20, 2010 3:32 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:14 pm

Lou Holtz to Minnesota?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The coaching corpse of Tim Brewster hasn't even begun rotting yet, but there's already been plenty of movement to find a replacement in Minnesota.   The Gophers wanted Tony Dungy, Dungy said no thanks, but he'll help.  He then offered up Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Lesley Frazier, to which I replied Mike Leach, and then this morning interim head coach Jeff Horton said the school should look at Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

But what if the Gophers wanted to go the crazy route?  What if they actually wanted to look outside the state of Minnesota for a replacement?  Apparently there are some within the schools who have set their eyes on a crazy old man in Bristol, one who just might have the prescription to make Minnesota football all better.  That's right.  Dr. Lou.
There was some talk Tuesday that some local dreamers will try to bring Lou Holtz , 73, back as Gophers football coach, with a master plan that Holtz's son Skip, the coach at South Florida, would succeed his dad at Minnesota.

The late Leroy Gardner, who worked for Holtz as an academic adviser at Minnesota, described Holtz as "the most sophisticated (fibber) he had ever seen."
Lou Holtsch back to coach the Minneshota Golden Gophersh?  Shufferin' shuccotash!

Holtz spent two years at Minnesota before leaving to take over the job at Notre Dame, leading the team to the Independence Bowl.  The Gophers beat Clemson in that game, but Holtz had already left for South Bend by then. 

Personally, I don't know that hiring Holtz would really make all that much sense for the Gophers.  He is 73 years old, and he seems pretty content with his television gig.  Besides, I don't want Minnesota's football team being the only people in this country privy to Holtz' pep talks and life advice.  That wouldn't be fair to the rest of us.

Posted on: October 20, 2010 11:21 am
Edited on: October 20, 2010 11:24 am

Scott Linehan gets endorsement for UM job

Posted by Chip Patterson

Tim Brewster's mid-season firing from his post as head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers had led to an early spin of the coaching carousel.  But what would college football be if we couldn't sit around discussing coaching rumors.  Tony Dungy, reportedly one of Minnesota's top targets, has already declined interest in the job.  It has been suggested that Minnesota should seek the services of former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach, and he has already stated he is willing to listen to anybody.  Jeff Horton, the Golden Gophers first-year offensive coordinator, has found himself assuming the duties of the departed Brewster and has already begun endorsing candidates for the open position when he was speaking to the media on Tuesday.

"Scott Linehan would be an awesome candidate," said Horton, who was chosen to coach the Gophers' final five games this season after Tim Brewster was fired Sunday. "He would bring his record here with the Vikings, and their offense speaks for itself. He's coached in college before. He knows the college game, and he's been on the highest level in the pros."

Linehan has spent the better part of the last decade bouncing from several different positions in the NFL.  He served as the offensive coordinator at Minnesota (including the high-octane 2004 season, referenced above), Miami, and served the same position for the last two seasons with the Detroit Lions.  Linehan's only head coaching experience was a brief stint with the St. Louis Rams that included an 11-25 record and getting fired four games into his third season.  Horton has spent the last four season working on Linehan's staff (2006-2008 with St. Louis, 2009 with Detroit), and clearly wants to get his "close friend" back into the college game.  Linehan's last college coaching experience was serving as offensive coordinator from 1996-2001 at Washington and Louisville.

Linehan does not bring the type of resume that Leach would, and might not be the first choice of fans and boosters.  The Pioneer Press suggested on Tuesday that Minnesota might pursue former Golden Gophers quarterback Marc Trestman.  Trestman, now head coach of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes, would not address the situation with the Canadian press.

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Posted on: October 19, 2010 11:33 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:44 pm

Ohio State's Ross Homan out with foot injury

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Jim Tressel announced at his news conference today that Ohio State has lost its most important linebacker for a good chunk of the rest of the season. Ross Homan, a senior three-year starter from Coldwater, Ohio, suffered a foot injury in the Buckeyes' game against Wisconsin. According to Tressel, that'll put Homan out for "a couple weeks."

How much this matters to Ohio State depends largely on how long the injury lingers. Assuming "couple" means at least "multiple," Homan's going to miss this week's game against Purdue and next week's trip to Minnesota. Not to assume victory for OSU or anything, but ... yes, OK, we're assuming exactly that. A bye week awaits after that, then the Buckeyes host Penn State. Even if Homan can't go for PSU, that's four weeks to recover, which certainly seems reasonable, and Ohio State shouldn't miss Homan very much in those three games against relatively toothless offenses.

However, if Homan's foot injury lingers (as foot injuries too often do), a fifth week missed might be a problem: that's when the Buckeyes travel to Iowa. Homan was clutch in Ohio State's win over the Hawkeyes last season, when he registered eight tackles and an interception. That was good enough for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, and Ohio State could surely use a similar performance this year.

At the very least, though, if Homan's foot problems leave him out long enough to miss the Iowa game or the Michigan game the week afterwards, the retooled Ohio State linebacking corps should be up to full speed with that amount of time to adjust. If the Wisconsin game is any indication, strongside linebacker Andrew Sweat will move to Homan's spot, while sophomore Jon Newsome will replace Sweat.

So, no: Ohio State's season is not automatically ruined, and it's not terribly likely that the Buckeyes' win-loss record will be adversely affected by the loss of Homan either.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com