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.