Thursday, September 27, 2007

Minnesota preview - Thank God for Jim Tressel

I'm not going to pretend about this weekend's game. Ohio State is worthy of their #8 ranking, and Minnesota is not a good football team. This game is not going to be pretty for Golden Gopher fans. Here's the relevant stats;

- Minnesota is ranked 119th in the NCAA in total defense. Yes, the worst team in Division 1.
- Their rushing defense is actually 51st, giving up 135 yards per game.
- The passing defense....holy crap, it's awful. Worst in the NCAA, giving up 408 yards PER GAME.

Offensively, Minnesota is ranked much higher. But upon further review, the Gopher offense seems to be getting a lot of their yards and points in the 4th quarter, often playing catch-up against prevent defenses. Minnesota has scored a total of 62 points in the first three quarters, and 80 points after.

This is also a team that lost to both Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic.

Finally, Ohio State has the second-best defense in the NCAA, while Minnesota leads the nation in turnovers.

Like I said. It won't be pretty.

But Minnesota does have a future. New head coach Tim Brewster knows he is rebuilding his team, and he's the right guy for the job. His recruiting efforts already far outweigh anything Minnesota has seen in years, and Gopher fans can look forward to a brand new team in a brand new campus-based stadium very soon. Brewster and MSU coach Mark Dantonio will be battling the rest of the legendary list of Big Ten coaches for a long time, as they both bring their teams back from the dead. Chin up,'ve got a future.

During the 2000 season, both Minnesota and Ohio State were playing below their potential. Ohio State realized it and dumped John Cooper during the offseason. One of the names brought up frequently for Cooper's replacement was Glen Mason, Minnesota's leader. Mason played football at Ohio State, and was an assistant coach under Woody Hayes. He was widely touted as the next coach, before the job was given to Tressel.

As good as it has been for Buckeye fans since that day, that's how bad it got for Minnesota fans under Mason. Read this post by Gopher Nation, and see how great of a recruiter Mason was for this guy didn't get driven out of town sooner is a mystery to me, especially when he's been heard to say things like this;
"I used to say at Minnesota all the time, if you ever see us in the top 10 in USA Today recruiting we're cheating."

"There's no palm trees there, there are no mountains, there's not an ocean and it's cold during the winter."
A special thanks to Mason for being that bad at recruitment, especially when one notes that James Laurinaitis comes from the Land Of Lakes.....

Ohio State 42
Minnesota 14

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