October 17, 2007

Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable - week 8

I have taken a few weeks off from the roundtable, but I'm back. The previous roundtables hosted by Run Up The Score and Maize n Brew, both were fine hosts but I never got around to participating in their discussion questions.

Well, the Hoosier Report is taking the bull by the horns this week and I'm back...

1. Call your shot. We are halfway through the Big Ten season (or, at least, most of us are). What will be your team's final record? Where, if anywhere, will your team be spending late December/early January? Who will win the Big Ten?

Well, my team is doomed for it's first non-bowl season in 6 years. Ultimately that doesn't concern me. What I want to see is improvement and recruits committing. If we lose the rest of our games but land a handful of the bigger named recruits we are seeking then I am a happy camper. Coach Brewster in his press conference this week said "bowl games don't excite me, winning championships excites me." I love his attitude and his efforts to make this team more than just competitive. I'll take a step, or two, or three backwards IF it means we will soon move forward.

Who will win the Big Ten? Who knows the say this college football season is going I'd say it could still be anybody outside of Minnesota or Iowa. Purdue could run the table and finish 5-2 or even Northwestern could win out to finish 5-2. All signs point to the winner of Ohio State / Michigan will be the champ. My money is on Ohio State, their defense is awesome and with every game their offense becomes more and more dangerous.

2. How is your team's coaching situation? Clearly, this varies from school to school, with some coaches approaching retirement (Carr/Paterno), some who are just starting out (Brewster/Fitzgerald), the unique case of Bill Lynch, and others who seem to be in their primes. If your coach is on the tail end of his career, where do you see things going from here? If he's still early in his tenure, any buyer's remorse? If he's in he's somewhere in the middle, are you happy or wishing things would go a different direction? How does your view correspond to the "majority" view among your school's fans?

As of today, October 17th, I am still a big fan of Brewster. I think his act is wearing thin on some because clearly 1-5 speaks more loudly than his optimistic words. He uses words like passionate and tremendous each and every time that he has a microphone in front of him. And everything that happens to this team is "positive". Like I said, this is rubbing some people the wrong way. From day 1 he was talking about winning and winning now. So people were expecting that NOW. There have been growing pains and Brewster's initial optimism has set him up for people to be disappointed.

With that said, I love it and and I'm glad he raised expectations from day 1. Maybe he falls on his face and maybe he is the worst coach in all of football. But currently he is doing his job. Raise expectations, get Gopher Nation excited and then work your tail off to meet them.

It is a huge transition and many of his changes have been implemented that clash with his roster. A spread offense has been implemented that has actually gone fairly well, but it has hurt a defense that was already lacking talent. The previous staff was able to hide their weak defense with a dominating run game that ate up the clock and kept them on the sidelines. Now we have an offense that gives us more 3 n outs and incomplete passes. Part of that might be due to a freshman QB.

I'm not going to fault him for his system struggling with another coach's players. This is why we give college coaches at least 3 seasons to see if they can win (and usually we are wrong).

BONUS BASKETBALL QUESTION: If you plan to cover basketball, give us a brief outlook for your team. Who is your best player? What do you expect from the team?

We have Tubby Smith in town, BABY!!! I actually like our chances this year. I won't go into any detail now but my prediction is a major turnaround and come Selection Sunday the Gophers will get one of the last bids into the tournament.

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