Tag:Minnesota
Posted on: October 9, 2010 12:32 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 6

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. Short version: warm and clear. It's beautiful everywhere today. This is Mother Nature's way of apologizing in advance, so plan on seeing it snow bloodflakes by Thursday. Anyway, as usual, all times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Indiana at No. 2 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Mid 70s, clear

Minnesota at No. 20 Wisconsin, 12:00, Madison, WI: Mid 70s, clear

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 1 Alabama at No. 19 South Carolina, 3:30, Columbia, SC: Mid 80s, clear

No. 17 Michigan at No. 18 Michigan State, 3:30, East Lansing, MI: Low 70s, clear

No. 11 Arkansas at Texas A&M, 3:30, College Station, TX: Upper 80s, clear

Evening kickoffs

Oregon State at No. 9 Arizona, 6:00, Tucson, AZ: Upper 80s, clear

No. 10 Utah at Iowa State, 7:00, Ames, IA: Mid 70s, clear

No. 12 LSU at No. 14 Florida, 7:30, Gainesville, FL: Low 70s, clear

No. 8 Auburn at Kentucky, 7:30, Lexington, KY: Upper 60s, clear

Late night kickoffs

No. 23 Florida State at No. 13 Miami, 8:00, Coral Gables, FL: Upper 70s, clear

Southern California at No. 16 Stanford, 8:00, Palo Alto, CA: Lower 70s, clear

Posted on: October 4, 2010 7:39 pm
 

Tim Brewster: Gophers could be '5-0 right now'

Posted by Adam Jacobi

There is a tiny nation in the South Pacific named Vanuatu, home to less than a quarter million people, mostly of aboriginal descent. Though the country didn't gain independence until 1980, the islands have been inhabited for up to 4,000 years, which means the people are steeped in a rich, but largely isolated culture.

So when the American military arrived on the islands during World War II, the native people were amazed by what they witnessed. The soldiers were so technologically advanced (and non-hostile!) that the people began to assume that the marching, paperwork, and other daily rigmarole was actually ritual, all to curry favor with the gods, favor that was rewarded when goods just arrived via parachute at the island for the Americans.

The wonderment continues to this very day, as a mythical American soldier named "John Frum" is revered by locals, and he's the basis of both a religion and a political party in Vanuatu. These adherents, believing in the "rituals" they or their recent ancestors had personally witnessed from the Americans, began copying these rituals in an attempt to recreate the success and prosperity of the Americans that had come decades before. They carved guns from wood, made landing strips in the jungle, and marched in matching clothes.  

This type of group is referred to as a "cargo cult," and historically, these cargo cults have been confined to South Pacific nations like Vanuatu. Shockingly, though, there appears to be another one popping up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and its leader is Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Tim Brewster:

The Gophers are 1-4, but as coach Tim Brewster insisted Sunday, "we could be sitting here 5-0 right now." Brewster said he was pleased overall with how the Gophers played and the improvement they showed, but they blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to a team that committed 10 penalties and made three costly turnovers.

Recall, of course, that Brewster has also demanded that his school spend more on football infrastructure, even as they enjoy the benefits of a brand new stadium. Brewster displays a replica national championship trophy in the locker room of this new stadium, and he frequently touts his proximity to the title-winning 2005 Texas program as a rare merit, proof of his ability to deliver the cargo of a crystal football to TCF Bank Stadium. His public persona is one of great bravado and confidence, as he's seen other, more successful coaches behave. In short, Brewster pretends -- at great effort -- to be a very successful football coach. And Minnesota is 1-4.

That, friends, is a cargo cult, right in the heart of America. At this rate, the only thing left for Brewster to do is hire a John Frum (any will do) as an assistant coach.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 1, 2010 3:49 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Saturday in the bathroom.

Breakfast

Main Course - Clemson vs. #16 Miami - Noon - ESPN2


Okay, so once again breakfast has a lot of weak sauce in it this week, but we promise you that lunch and dinner are going to be a lot better.  Just remember what your mom used to tell you: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  So eat this up because you're going to need it to help prepare you for the rest of the day.

Just beware that while the Miami looks good using too much Jacory Harris in it can cause indigestion.

Side Orders: This morning we offer some sides that should fill you up, but will probably leave you hating yourself for eating it later.  There's Ohio State steamrolling Illinois, and our "Ninth Place in the SEC" special, Mississippi and Kentucky.   If you already hate yourself, try some of the Minnesota and Northwestern.

Lunch

Main Course - #8 Oklahoma vs. #21 Texas - 3:30pm - ABC


Now that you've choked down your breakfast we can reward you with the real food for the day.  We're offering our Red River Rivalry this afternoon which is chock full of red meat deliciousness.   Just remember that the Longhorn can be somewhat tough and inconsistent. 

Texas has a lot on their plate this week, as they are coming off a rather embarrassing loss at home to UCLA last week, and a similar performance against Oklahoma this weekend could destroy the rest of their season. 

Side Orders: If you're not sure you can handle all the beef in our main course we do offer plenty of other options this afternoon.  There's Michigan State hosting Wisconsin in a game that will give us a better idea of what either team is really about this season.  There's also North Carolina State and Virginia Tech, or if offenses that set the game of football back 80 years are more your style, there's always LSU and Tennessee.   My advice is to just watch Patrick Peterson in that game.

Dinner

Main Course - #1 Alabama vs. #7 Florida - 8pm - CBS


We didn't lead you astray with our Alabama and Arkansas last week, and we promise you that this week's Florabama won't disappoint either.  Alabama has already faced it's first real test of the season, but this week they are the test.  Florida is 4-0 but didn't wow any of the critics until last week's Trey Burton-centric dismantling of Kentucky.

If the Gators can manage to get past the Tide they'll officially be back in the national championship picture.

Side Orders: It's not a bad night when your second choice features another two top ten teams.  If fowl is more your taste, then try the Oregon and Stanford.   The Pac-10 doesn't have a championship game, yet, but this game basically is just that.  Two high-scoring offenses finally get to test two defenses that have proven sturdy thus far.  If you prefer something a bit more old-fashioned we're also offering Iowa and Penn State.

Late Night Snacks

Nevada and Colin Kaepernick are two things you'll probably be hearing about quite a bit in the coming weeks, as they're essentially the last thing standing between Boise State and an undefeated season.  So why not check them out when they travel to Vegas to take on UNLV?
Posted on: October 1, 2010 2:42 am
 

Amazingly, Butch Davis has UNC's support

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's been generally accepted fact since the revelations about North Carolina assistant John Blake and his monetary involvement with agents that Butch Davis is, in all likelihood, the most fired man in college football. Fired-er than Tim Brewster. Fired-er than Dan Hawkins*. FI. YERD.

All of that is apparently news to Davis' employers, however, who reiterated their support for Davis in an interview with the Daily Tarheel:

In an interview, athletic director Dick Baddour said calls for Davis’ resignation are without merit.

“I continue to give Butch Davis my support,” he said. “Clearly we’ve identified some areas we need to work together to be stronger and I believe that Butch should be a part of that effort to lead this football program in the way that we know he can.”

Bob Winston, chairman of the UNC Board of Trustees, said the latest revelation has not shaken the board’s confidence in Davis.

“They have confidence in Coach Davis to lead the University of North Carolina football team,” Winston said

This type of talk goes far above the usual type of rhetoric involved in votes of confidence; Baddour and Winston are unequivocally handing the job to Davis, no more questions asked, for 2011 and beyond. There's no other way to interpret their quotes without assuming the administrators are being so deliberately misleading that a new football coach would have no reason to want to work for them.

So if Davis' job really is safe, in retrospect, it shouldn't be all that surprising; the LSU brass who came thisclose to hiring Davis twice over the last 11 years still talk fondly about him, even knowing what turmoil the UNC program was in at the time. So if Davis has this essentially universal support among administrators who've had the opportunity to interact with him, it stands to reason that he's got one more chance, and UNC wants him to have that chance in Chapel Hill. But man, if he (or any single one of his assistant coaches) messes up again, man... 

*Doesn't "Brewster Davis Hawkins" sound like a competing ad agency to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? Is that just me? Fine.

Posted on: September 29, 2010 11:42 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Tony Dungy responds to Minnesota rumor

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Tuesday the Pioneer Press reported that were Tim Brewster to be fired by Minnesota that the school's first choice to replace him would be Tony Dungy .   Before going on to play in the NFL and become a Super Bowl-winning head coach with the Indianapolis Colts, Dungy played football at Minnesota.

Dungy had also been atop the school's wish list during its last coaching search, the one that ended with Tim Brewster being hired. 

Dungy went on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday and was asked if he had any interest in the Minnesota job.  Based on his answer Dungy seems perfectly content with his television gig.
"I am loving my time at Football Night in America -- I'm looking forward to watching the Oregon Ducks play and I'm spending time in Tampa with my family. So I have too much on my plate to even think about any coaching jobs, including my alma mater."

Of course, though Dungy says he hasn't even thought about the job, he never said he wouldn't be interested either.  So, if Minnesota has been planning on asking him about it, odds are that answer won't keep them from making the phone call.

Though they do still have to fire Tim Brewster, or else it would be incredibly awkward.




Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:56 pm
 

Could Tony Dungy replace Tim Brewster?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Tim Brewster is still the head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  Why?  Well, we don't really know to be completely honest with you.  The Gophers have done nothing this season under Brewster to warrant him keeping his job, and there's not much reason to believe things are going to change this year or in the future.

Brewster's in his fourth season at Minnesota and he's currently the not-so-proud owner of a 17-33 record (8-24 in the Big Ten).  Considering that the man Brewster took over for, Glen Mason, went 64-57 at Minnesota and only had one losing season in his last five years before he got canned, you would think patience would be wearing thin with Brewster.

Especially because the school just spent a lot of money on a new stadium, and they'd probably like a home team that can win there once in a while.

If Minnesota ever does go ahead and relieve Brewster of his duties, some folks in Minneapolis already know whom they'd like to see the school go after: Tony Dungy.

People close to Dungy, who coached the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl championship, feel he would be more inclined toward the NFL than college if he were to try coaching again.

But Dungy is different than most big-time coaches, and has a special affinity for his alma mater. A $5 million annual contract from a NFL team might not be as important to Dungy as the challenge to make his alma mater relevant in football.

I'm not so sure that restoring the honor of the ol' alma mater actually outweighs a $5 million salary, though it's true, Tony Dungy is a bit different than most head coaches.  Maybe now that he's won a Super Bowl and has spent the last year and a half working on television, he could see coaching in college as his next challenge.

That being said, Dungy has turned down the chance to coach at Minnesota before, as the school asked him about the job before they eventually hired Brewster.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: September 27, 2010 8:00 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 11:53 pm
 

For the Big Ten, the fight begins this weekend

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Big Ten Conference play begins this weekend*, and the race for the conference title is either already over (Ohio State) or wide open (the six other teams seemingly capable of winning the conference). We'll quickly find out whether many of the presumptive challengers to the Buckeyes' supremacy have what it takes to put together a great season. Considering the questions surrounding so many of them, the answer seems to be "maybe, but it's unlikely." In no particular order ...

Michigan (4-0): On one hand, Denard Robinson is a near-lock for Heisman candidacy this December; his stat lines are other-worldly, and there are few defenses in the conference that seem capable of containing this Michigan offense. But that defense. Ye gods, the defense. Michigan allowed 37 points to FCS stalwart UMass, and has given up more points thus far than every Big Ten team except Minnesota. Can Robinson and his teammates outscore enough conference opponents to justify the team's No. 19 ranking? They'll find out soon enough against Indiana this weekend; the Hoosiers have scored more than 40 points a game this season and have talent everywhere on offense.

Iowa (3-1): The good news: the Iowa Hawkeyes look materially better than last season, as wins that were close last year are blowouts now. Ricky Stanzi is far more efficient as a passer, and the only interception he's thrown all season came on a deflection. The bad news: the Hawkeyes have three kickers, which is to say they have none, and their cornerbacks are still rather suspect. And good heavens, that Arizona game. Iowa committed mistake after mistake in the first half, found themselves down 20 points at the break, then imploded on the offensive line with the game on the line. So what's there to make of the Arizona game? Was it an aberration, or is Iowa merely a bully of plainly inferior competition? Penn State comes to town this weekend, and intends to find out exactly how good the Hawkeyes actually are.

Wisconsin (4-0): No undefeated Big Ten team is more of an enigma than Wisconsin, who looks like it should be a Rose Bowl contender on paper -- and may very well be so -- but has underwhelmed against FBS competition. The Badgers needed a blocked extra point and a miraculous tackle at the 1-yard line at the end of the first half to help preserve a 20-19 win against Arizona State, and only beat an unimpressive San Jose State team 27-14. Yes, they won 70-3 over Austin Peay. Whatever. Wisconsin has the hogs up front and the stable of running backs (led by All-American candidate John Clay) to run over just about anybody in the conference, and Scott Tolzein is having another impressive and efficient season. Their defense isn't a weakness, and they get Ohio State (whom they've usually given fits) in Madison. But lo and behold, they face Michigan State in East Lansing this week, and it's basically a toss-up. Which Wisconsin will show up this Saturday -- and this season? 

Penn State (3-1): Joe Paterno made waves when he installed true freshman Rob Bolden at quarterback to begin the season, and for the most part, the decision has worked out; Bolden hasn't looked great, but he's playing with a maturity beyond his years, and he's certainly not a weak link in the offense. That weak link, however, would be the offensive line; Penn State hasn't blown anyone off the ball with any regularity yet this season, and that includes the likes of Youngstown State and Temple. That Penn State is still ranked after its somewhat underwhelming non-conference schedule demonstrates the deep level of trust voters have in JoePa to field a competitive team, and that's a trust that's rarely betrayed. Still, the Nittany Lions had better start playing like a quality team very soon, or they could find themselves in line for something like the Texas Bowl.

Northwestern (4-0): The Cardiac 'Cats have the inside track to a 6-0 record right now; they're two-thirds of the way there at 4-0, and their next two opponents are absolute doormats Minnesota and Purdue. Quarterback Dan Persa is one of the highest rated passers in the NCAA, and he's also Northwestern's leading rusher. That's sort of a bad thing. In fact, Persa and his stable of running backs all average less than 4 yards per carry, and they haven't even faced great rush defenses: of their three FBS opponents, only Central Michigan is in the top half of the nation's rush defenses. Let's face it: if you can't run on Vanderbilt (143 yards on 46 carries most certainly does not qualify), you can't run on most of the Big Ten. Can Persa keep up his efficient passing in the conference season, or is that 6-0 start going to turn into 8-4 and a mediocre December bowl bid?

Michigan State (4-0): Here's what's scary: The relatively underhyped, unheralded Michigan State squad could end up being better than all the teams mentioned above. Kirk Cousins is 17th in passing efficiency in the FBS. True freshman Le'Veon Bell is a dynamo in the Spartans' backfield (and pancaked two defenders at once on MSU's game-winning fake field goal). Also, unlike Michigan, MSU doesn't have a giant honking RED ALERT attached to its defense. Oh, and the Spartans miss Ohio State on this year's schedule. Ten wins or more for Sparty? It's happened all of once (1999) since the NCAA went to 11-game regular seasons, but it could easily happen this year. Or MSU could revert to its usual self and drop four or five games in the conference. We'll start finding out when the Spartans and Badgers lock horns -- if, y'know, ancient Greek warriors and badgers had horns -- this Saturday.

So who's legit and who's not? To be honest, right now, nobody really knows. That's why this weekend's going to be vitally important for all the teams mentioned above. No more excuses, no hiding behind cupcake schedules; it's Big Ten season now.

*It's worth pointing out that the Big Ten is still something of a dinosaur in this respect; it's the only conference with an eight-game schedule that has yet to begin conference play. Sure, thanks to bye weeks, Indiana and Illinois each still have a non-con to squeeze in during the conference slate, but that's it; for the rest, it's the tried and true formula of out-of-conference, in-conference, bowl. A bit stale, to be sure, but it's somewhat nice to not have your conference title hopes completely ruined before it's even October; Georgia, after all, has already gone 0-3 in the SEC. Hopeless in September. That's no way for a fan to be, is it?

Posted on: September 26, 2010 5:45 am
Edited on: September 27, 2010 3:00 pm
 

How fired is Tim Brewster? Very, right?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Minnesota dropped their third game in a row on Saturday, losing 34-23 to presumptive MACrifice Northern Illinois. That's three consecutive losses to non-conference opponents, making Minnesota the first team in Big Ten history to drop three consecutive non-con games when those three games include one against a I-AA/FCS opponent.

Of course, there isn't a great sample size for that type of "feat"; the Big Ten hasn't been scheduling I-AA/FCS programs for very long, and losses to those types of programs have been conceivable for an even shorter amount of time. But still: this is a new level of futility.

It's gotten so bad for head coach Tim Brewster that fans were chanting "Fire Brewster" during the game, and he certainly didn't do much to dissuade any of them during the loss. He sent his team out twice on 4th and 1; Minnesota was stuffed both times. The Gophers also surrendered a blocked punt with a minute left in the first half -- this led to an NIU touchdown that would give the Huskies a lead they never relinquished -- and Minnesota was also whistled for nine penalties, four more than were the Huskies.

So this loss gets added to the two before it, Brewster's critical comments about the program's spending habits (in a brand new stadium, mind you), the recent disciplinary troubles, and the fans' rather severe loss of patience with the program. At this point, barring an immediate and aberrant turn in fortunes, Minnesota looks to be a 3-win team, tops. That would put Brewster at 17-33 (8-24) for his Minnesota career, numbers that would earn just about any BCS conference coach a swift firing no matter what the buyout.

In fact, the shame of losing to South Dakota and Northern Illinois in the span of three weeks might get some coaches fired immediately, but ironically, Brewster's temporary saving grace might be his own team's ineptitude. If Minnesota AD Joel Maturi looks at the program, he's going to see middling performance at every position -- meaning Maturi's unlikely to find a current assistant with a track record of success that suggests he'd be any better than Brewster to finish out the season.

But once this season is over, yes, Brewster is a dead lock to be fired; this is a historic level of haplessness, and Brewster's one assumed strength coming into this job (recruiting) has essentially failed to materialize in Minneapolis. The rest of the Big Ten just hopes Maturi doesn't notice that Mike Leach is available.

 
 
 
 
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