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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

A Few Talking Points for Confident Teams

Nick Saban is tired of everyone loving his team. No, not just tired – Saban is upset, and you won’t like Nick Saban when he’s upset, as beat reporters from Toledo to East Lansing to Baton Rouge to Miami to Tuscaloosa can attest. Said Saban on Wednesday, upon being asked how much time his backups might see in Saturday’s game against Western Kentucky, “when you people start writing stuff about people that we’re playing that doesn’t give them the proper respect, that’s not fair. It’s not fair to them, to their players who work hard. It’s not fair to our players, who need to respect them.” And then he got upset.

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    Minnesota Has the Scheme, Needs Talent

    Minnesota’s big-picture problem lies more with the Jimmies and the Joes, less with the X’s and the O’s. In terms of overall talent, Jerry Kill had much more to work with at Northern Illinois — Chandler Harnish, Chad Spann, Jasmin Hopkins and Martel Moore, among others — than he currently does with the Gophers, who are still bringing in the sort of athletes needed to run Kill’s system.

    The Huskies had the players and the scheme; the Gophers are still learning the scheme. Even if the system was in place, this team lacks the weapons to run the offense at full capacity.

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      No. 84: Minnesota

      At their best, Jerry Kill-coached teams will make you wish you’d just stayed at home. At their worst, Kill’s teams will have opponents lining up at the door waiting impatiently for their turn, as more than a few Big Ten teams did a season ago. So this we know after Kill’s uneven debut: Minnesota will be less like Northern Illinois, more like Southern Illinois. In DeKalb, Kill took a two-win team and quickly turned it into the MAC’s biggest bully, reaching three straight bowl games before leaping to the top spot with the Golden Gophers. In Carbondale, home of the Salukis, it took Kill one painful season and a second middling finish before the program began its dominating run through the Gateway Conference. More Southern, less Northern. For the efforts of this comparison, let’s leave Saginaw Valley State out of the conversation. But even that small-school stop merits a mention: Kill won there too. Kill’s won everywhere, if not from the start then down the road – and always, Kill has won big.

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        How Tippy Dye Changed College Football

        Tippy Dye changed college football. I’ll give you two reasons why, but let’s begin with a little background on Dye, who passed away on Wednesday at 97. He had an impact on college sports in three different incarnations: as a player, as a coach and as an administrator. Born in 1915 in Harrisonville, Oh., Dye was a two-sport star at Ohio State — basketball and football — from 1934-37. He took a brief foray into coaching after the end of his playing career, coaching at Brown and his alma mater from 1941-43, before serving in the Navy during World War II. Dye was actually a basketball coach: at Ohio State from 1946-50, winning 22 games in his final season, and at Washington from 1951-59, reaching the Final Four in 1953.

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          Mega Millions-Level National Title Odds

          As you may have heard, the odds of pulling the winning ticket in a Mega Millions jackpot is 175,000,000 to 1. You are far, far more likely to win a gold medal at this summer’s Olympics than you were of picking six correct numbers last Friday. Not that the odds stopped me from buying a $5 ticket at my local convenience store, or prevented another risk-taker – as I witnessed while waiting in line – from stepping up to the teller and plopping down five crisp $100 bills. Do you have any idea how long it takes to print out 500 lottery tickets? To put the Mega Million odds in football perspectives, let’s consider one scenario: What odds would you give Hawaii to win every game for the next decade?

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            Ranking the Big Ten’s Class of Quarterbacks

            Another Wisconsin-themed hypothetical question: Where would you have ranked the Badgers’ quarterbacks against the rest of the Big Ten if Danny O’Brien had instead opted for, say, Penn State? If Wisconsin had gone into 2012 with options like Joe Brennan and Jon Budmayr, it would have joined Michigan State as the only two teams in the conference to not return a quarterback with at least one career start under his belt. So consider the toppling dominoes: O’Brien should start, which should push Brennan into a more fitting role as his backup, which will allow Budmayr to heal and former walk-on Joel Stave to develop.

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              The Big Ten’s 2012 Non-Conference Schedule

              After looking at the non-conference schedules found in the SEC, let’s turn our attention to the Big Ten, where every school but one, Nebraska, has filled out its dance card for the coming season. The Cornhuskers are close: three games down, one to go. And considering how Nebraska’s scheduled trio of games look, there’s little doubt that the program will look to fill that open date with the easiest, most cupcake-like opponent available on that particular Saturday — that would be Sept. 22, by the way, if you’re a lower-level program looking to plop a six-figure check in the school coffers. And the F.C.S. is certainly in the conversation: Nebraska has played one such school in each of the last two years after not doing so from 2007-9.

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                For Some, A College Football Christmas

                I’ve been sick as a dog all week, so like North Carolina in the Independence Bowl, I just didn’t show up. But regularly scheduled programming begins anew starting right… about… now. Earlier in the week, before the virus climbed inside my body and started wreaking havoc, I asked you to send in your college football-related Christmas gifts — I probably should have said holiday gifts, which was an oversight. If your Hanukkah haul included anything interesting, please send it along. In the effort of brevity, and because there’s much to get to after a four-day break, I’m including a small handful from Twitter, email and the comment field.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.