Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Say It Ain't So, Joel

Just when you think Tim Brewster might right the Gophers' ship, Joel Maturi pulls you back down.

I read with great pleasure an item in the Fargo-Moorhead Forum earlier this month that suggested Brewster had no intention of scheduling North Dakota State in the future. The Gophers will face the North Dakota State for a second straight season when the Bison head to the Dome later this year, in a game that the national television networks are fighting for the rights to televise. You see, Brewster would like to schedule a big-time opponent for the maroon and gold. Texas, perhaps--a team he has some history with. Once upon a time, the Gophers and Notre Dame were no strangers.

Now, Glen "Mediocre" Mason made a living by schedling cream puffs for the Gophers to beat. In order to be bowl eligible, a team must win 6 games. Last year, Mason's squad finished 6-6 during the regular season, with the help of a 10-9 win over NDSU. Without that win, the Gophers wouldn't have had a chance to blow a 98 point lead to Texas Tech in a December bowl game.

“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Does NDSU really help us?’ ” Brewster said. “I want to make sure our nonconference games benefit the University of Minnesota more than the team the Gophers are playing.”

This is not a new issue here at PJS. In our short existence, we've harped on the Gophers' football schedule here and here. So, it was with great satisfaction to see Brewster showing he has a sense of what Gopher Nation really wants. From the same article, Brewster continues to sum up the thoughts of pretty much every Gopher fan I know.

“When we’re recruiting nationally, and a young man says, ‘Who are your nonconference games this year?’ and we say ‘Bowling Green, Miami of Ohio, Florida Atlantic and North Dakota State,’ what do you think the reaction is?” Brewster asked, rattling off Minnesota’s nonconference schedule this fall. He answered his own rhetoric by slumping his shoulders and letting out a disappointed groan, mimicking how a blue-chipper might react.

As much as NDSU fans, coaches and administrators might not like what Brewster is saying ... he's exactly right.

But Maturi essentially bitch-slapped Brewster for working to give Gopher fans what they want. In a differnt article in the Forum, Maturi puts Brewster in his place.

"In the end, it’s my decision,” Maturi said. “Much of this is financial and doing what’s the best thing for your program in looking at the big picture.” Maturi said he and Brewster have a great relationship, but they have yet to sit down and talk about scheduling philosophies. The Bison and Gophers play next fall, but have nothing set after that.

So, Maturi just undermined Brewster and admitted to not having discussed scheduling with his new coach. Certailny, there are financial realities not available to PJS, and Maturi certainly received calls from NDSU's administration. If nothing else, it'd be nice, if Maturi and Brewster were on the same page.

And in a perfect world, it'd be nice to have another reason to tune into a Gophers nonconference football game. Perhaps to tune in and see the type of program Brewster is talking about turning Minnesota into.


Tom said...

lets hope this was just rhetoric from Maturi in an attempt to appease NDSU fans and administrators. If he is going to force the non-conf schedule to continue to be cream puffs this may be a futile attempt by Brewster to build this program back.

Paging Jim Shikenjanski said...

Even if it was rhetoric, Maturi still undermined Brewster, as I think one columnist suggested was his "I'm not Glen Mason tour." I don't mind a couple cream puffs, but not four every year. And I don't see the need to play NDSU.

Paging Jim Shikenjanski said...

I meant to say....

Brewster, as one columnist suggested, was on his "I'm not Glen Mason tour."