After what will surely go down as one of the most pathetic performances in team history, the Gophers have to be reconsidering their preseason goals. 138 total yards, 37 rushing yards, seven first downs, zero points. Not exactly how Adam Weber and the Gophers wanted to head into #19 Ohio State.
“Very frustrated,” said Weber in response to the self evident question of ‘Are you frustrated’. “This game hurts because granted, they’re a great team, but we really felt that we worked hard enough and we had the right personnel and game plan to go into this game and compete better than we did.”
Unfortunately for Weber and Co., there is no record kept of who worked harder throughout the week, the records kept are of wins and losses. Out of 100 times, it’s hard to see the Gophers winning even once against the Nittany Lions after that performance.
Personally Weber had a better day than the week previous vs. Purdue when he threw two picks. Unfortunately 10-22 for 101 yards and one interception still leaves quite a bit to be desired. The Gophers passing game is what is going to carry them the rest of the year if they are to win at all down the stretch, as the running game vs. Purdue was clearly a mirage.
The Gophers need just two more wins to qualify for the joke that is the bowl season of college football, where more than half of FBS teams qualify for the festivities. Tim Brewster’s future may rest on the Gophers playing for pizza; the papajohns.com bowl or the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. Whatever bowl it may be, Brewster will surely place some extra emphasis into these next few weeks. Let’s take a look at those weeks, along with Brewster’s job security thereafter.
THIS WEEK: AT #19 OHIO STATE
There’s no chance the Gophers win this week, it’s been six years since they beat Ohio State, and the series all-time is at 41-7 in favor of the Buckeyes. While Purdue did take a rather puzzling hit on the road vs. a team the Gophers beat a week earlier in Purdue, Buckeyes fans need not worry. The Gophers rush defense has gotten consistently gauged by teams much worse than Ohio State (see: Air Force). Oh, and if you were worried about Terrelle Pryor’s arm, don’t. There’s no bounce back game like one against the Gophers secondary. On top of that, the Buckeyes haven’t lost back to back Big Ten games in five years.
Brewster’s security: No need to worry yet Tim, no one expects much out of your squad here.
NEXT WEEK: HOME VS. MICHIGAN STATE
The Spartans have a huge contest at home against undefeated and BCS #6 Iowa. A lot will be told about the current number three team in the Big Ten on Saturday. Either way, this game is in a similar mold of the Wisconsin/Minnesota tilt earlier this year in which the Gophers came out losers. That contest and this matchup were the key games heading into the year, as all the others had pretty clear outcomes before they stepped on the field. The good news is that the Michigan State defense is not nearly what the Nittany Lions or Buckeyes are. The bad news is that they’ve thrown for nearly 2,000 yards thus far and have one of the Big Ten’s best receivers in Blair White. If the Gophers lose this one, they put themselves in a bind.
Brewster’s security: This leaves his entourage of blue suited men a little thin with a loss, but a win would surely secure his place in his cushy office on campus.
11/7: HOME VS. ILLINOIS
Clearly one of the worst teams in the Big Ten, Illinois has struggled throughout the year. They have one win against their little, not so talented brother, Illinois State. Take out the 45 they put up in that game, and they are left with 54 points in five games. Going into the Michigan State game they actually benched Juice Williams, their only shred of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Take a look at their schedule and stats, they are what Minnesota would look like without Eric Decker. This is quite simply a must win.
Brewster’s security: The seat should be getting awful hot if they manage to drop this one, as it would most likely drop them from even the Humanitarian Bowl’s radar screen as well.
11/14 VS. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: The Jackrabbits lead the Missouri Valley Conference at 5-1 overall, 4-0 MVC. They’re also an FCS (formerly D1-AA) team, win the game.
Brewster’s security: If they find a way to lose this, not only should Brewster be fired, he should be banned from the sport forever.
11/21: AT #6 IOWA: Legitimately, Iowa could be in position to seize a BCS National Championship Game birth. If so, the Gophers will not be the ones to rain on their parade. You thought last year’s 55-0 trouncing in the last game of the season at home against Iowa was bad? Well, Minnesota is back for more, and this time, Iowa is one of the best teams in the nation. That might spell disaster and embarrassment for this program.
Brewster’s Security: If Brewster somehow manages to lose out to this point, Tim’s job won’t depend on this game. No loss to South Dakota State can be made up by a win over Iowa and his job will already be out the window. That being said, they will not lose out. However, this game could be the last chance for the Gophers to make a bowl. If it does come down to this, it’s a brutal game to have to win. If the Gophers already have six wins, there are no worries, because a loss would just confirm what we all already had figured out; this team underachieved and made another meaningless bowl.
Some may see this speculation as too early. Why start to question Brewster’s performance now? It’s not the losses, it’s how they’re losing. We got a glimpse of how far away this team really is from legitimacy. They played a very good team and they got smacked in the face. Not even putting up a point. At this stage, Brewster’s objective should be to sell hope. If he can’t even sell hope in the form of a crappy bowl game, why are we even interested?
Making a bowl game off a seven win season shouldn’t be struggle, it should be a job requirement at a program of this stature.