Rear View Mirror: 2007 Gophers Football

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Another Gopher football season in the books and for the first time in years we aren’t looking forward to a minor bowl game in El Paso or Nashville. I have mixed feelings about the Gophers season and Tim Brewster. Although at times the Gophers play was embarrassingly inept, atrocious even, with poor coaching, poor execution, slow and overmatched athletes (especially on the defensive side of the ball) there were some glimmers of hope: We finished the season better than we started and played Iowa and Wisconsin tough, Weber appears to be a legitimate spread quarterback, and the word on the street is that Brewster is putting together a nice recruiting class for next year.

I hope this season was a humbling experience for Coach Brewster. The guy can talk but he needs action to back up those words or he’ll eventually be ignored. The book is still out whether or not he can coach a football team. At times his game plan was woefully inadequate, bad game time decisions were made and, even though there were a lot of true freshman playing, at times the Gophers didn’t seem ready to play (e.g the Illinois game which was homecoming!). Brewster will need to ask more of himself if he’s going to also ask more from his players.

One final word on the Big Ten Network. Thankfully a lot of people were not able to watch the Gophers season due to the fact that many games were on the Big Ten Network and not available to Comcast, Time Warner and Charter cable customers. However, I would have happily sat down in front of the TV to watch the Gophers-BADgers game if it were on TV, regardless of the Gophers' record or their chances.

I understand the reasoning behind the Big Ten Network: Much like Victory Sports of a few years back for the Twins, the successful establishment of these networks would help the team's bottom line. And I would love to watch the Big Ten Network among my regular basic cable choices. However Comcast has recently reduced the number of channels I get while increasing their monthly fee. So it seems quite unlikely that they are going to add an admittedly niche channel to their offerings. So while the Big Ten Network, in theory, adds $$$ to the University’s coffers and visibility to all the Big Ten teams, it is built on a seriously flawed business plan.

The same goes for the NFL network which you will be hearing about a lot in the next few weeks as the Dallas-Green Bay game will be only seen by a few handful of households that can get the NFL network at home. With the college basketball season heating up now, we are going to miss a lot of Gopher games on TV. Unfortunately there are more cable TV watchers who don’t care about sports or get their sports via satellite dish to cause an outcry. I see no change in this situation until the folks at the Big Ten Network and NFL network read the handwriting on the wall and go the way of Victory Sports.

17 Comments

Free - I agree that the Gophers showed some spunk at the end of the year, but overall the season was a miserable failure. I truly believe that Brewster has set himself up for one of two legacies. He will be either The Man Who Resurrected the Gopher Football Program or The Single Biggest Buffoon in Minnesota Coaching History.

Jeff T.

I'm still drinking the Kool Aid. I think it needs to be said that Brewster has got people talking about the program again, and that is a good thing. He is also of the mindset that the U of M should be able to compete with the best programs. Mason was satisfied with the second tier. As Free points out, Brew probably learned a lot this year, but one thing I hope he continues with is his positive attitude. It is working in terms of recruiting. According to various web sites I am reading, our recruiting class currently ranks #27. Mason never sniffed anything that good. By 2009 we should be quite competitive again, and by 2010 we should be competing for the Big 10 title.

As far as the BTN goes, I must admit I sympathize with the cable companies on this one. If the BTN succeeds and gets on the normal tier of channels, every conference, from the PAC to the WAC, will want their own channel. It would be an enormous mess. It just isn't a good model. I am more than willing to pay a couple of bucks extra a month to get Gopher basketball and football.

I have to disagree with Shane on the BTN because the argument Comcast uses is flawed. We all already pay for plenty of channels that we never watch, so why shouldwe care that there are folks who might never watch BTN but have to pay for it? If Comcast truly feels for their customers, why haven't they implemented a la carte pricing and let us choose only the channels we want to pay for?

With the Gopher basketball season getting underway, I'm really starting to contemplate switching to DirecTV.

That is a good argument Snyder, but the BTN is looking for a fee that is probably 3 times per customer than, say, what the Food Network charges. Again, if the BTN succeeds every conference in the nation will go down this route. I look for Comcast to stay firm on this one. We will never see the BTN on cable. There aren't enough Gopher fans to make the noise to make it happen.

Re: Brewster. I'd feel better about the good recruiting class if Brewster had shown a little more acumen on the sidelines. A good percentage of this season's record is not because Mason left the cupboard bare (he did), there were a lot of Freshman playing (there were) but decision made by Brewster and his coaches. I hope his coaching ability improves along with the talent level.

Gotta agree with Shane. BTN is asking a lot per set of eyeballs for their network. No way Comcast, Time Warner and Charter cave. I will be hurting during basketball season, though. Man I was glued to the radio listening to that game last night.

I'll agree that I don't think Comcast will cave to BTN, but I still don't think their argument has merit. I also wonder why it was so easy for BTN to reach agreement with DirecTV and the others that they have agreements with. A bunch are smaller cable operators and you'd think they'd have a harder time ponying up for BTN than a giant like Comcast would. Which makes me wonder if part of the problem due to Comcast having an ownership stake in some of the other regional sports networks like SportsNet Chicago.

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with every conference having their own channel and I think the actual amount of the fee sought by BTN is less than what Comcast has alluded to.

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This page contains a single entry by Freealonzo published on November 19, 2007 9:04 AM.

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