Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable Week 7

This week, the questions are being posed by our friends at The Hoosier Report.

Without further adieu, here are the questions and answers ....

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?

Hmm. Tough question. Unfortunately I only see one more victory, that would be this week at home against North Dakota State. I don't see this team winning at Michigan or Iowa or at home against Illinois or Wisconsin. The team was competitive on Saturday against Northwestern, but the only Big Ten team left on the schedule that seems beatable at this point is Iowa. That would mean Tim Brewster endures a winless first Big Ten season.

Where will the Gophers be in late December/early January? On the recruiting trail. As for the Big Ten champs? Ohio State still has to travel to Penn State and Michigan. The Wolverines' road games--at Wisconsin and Michigan State--are far more winnable. I'm going with the resurgent Wolverines.

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?

I think most Gophers fans at this point want to be patient with Coach Brewster. These are primarily the same fans who drove Glen Mason out of town. When Brewster was first hired, I reacted like many other fans by saying "Tim who?" After a 1-6 start, Brewster has been hit with some criticism, but that has had more to do with his penchant to say outlandish things and talk as if this version of Gophers is championship material. Buyer's remorse? Not yet. Brewster was pitched to Minnesota fans as a recruiter. He'll need to excel in that arena to keep the boo birds quiet while he's struggling on the field.

I will say though that I'm somewhat troubled at the fact that Brewster doesn't seem to be an offensive or defensive guru. He was a tight ends coach and recruiter. He cedes all play calling to coordinators Everett Withers and Mike Dunbar. On Saturdays, I'd like to see Brewster take a little more control over the games.

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?

Oh, you bet I'm going to cover basketball. This blog is named after a former Minnesota basketball player and was started in large part because of the excitment generated after the Tubby Smith hire. Our best player? Probably senior center Spencer Tollackson. He's a kid who can be one of the better centers in the Big Ten this year, even if he's not a big name. Expectations are moderate for the 2007-08 Gophers. The talent level on the team isn't going to turn any heads. But it's fair to say Gophers fans expect Tubby Smith to put out a .500 basketball team or better and be competitive in the Big Ten. A middle of the road Big Ten finish in year one of Tubby's tenure would meet expectations.


Hawkeye State said...

Not only is Tollackson a pretty good post player, but he's excellent on My Name is Earl.

Mark said...

I would argue that Lawrence McKenzie is the team's best player, but Tollackson is probably the one whose play will most influence how the team performs.

PJS said...

LOL, Hawkeye State!