Wednesday

Brewster to Tennessee?! & DFTU


Hello again everybody...

Everybody take a breath. It's finally over. No more ads. No more stump speeches. No more debates. At least not until the 2012 cycles starts in about 6 months or so.

Setting the politics of it aside, last night was a truly remarkable moment in American history. 138 years ago, the legal barriers to federal voting rights for people of color were dismantled. Last night the promise of the 15th amendment to the Constitution was finally realized.

As someone who's read extensively on the Civil War and the myriad of ways in which it, as well as it's aftermath, shaped and molded the country we know today, it makes me wonder if 150 years from now, people will be reading and studying this election in similar ways.

Yes, I'm a history-geek. I can't help it.

That's all I'll say about the election here, however. Onto the wonderful world of sports. Today, I have to comment about a rumor that's surfaced with the opening that was created at the University of Tennessee after head football coach Phil Fulmer's resignation. Then it's this week's edition of the DFTU.

Onward!

"Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind."
- E.B. White (1899-1985), American author


So yeah, I could explain how I make The Sports Take so damned entertaining, but all you'd really end up with is a handful of frog guts!

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First of all today, I need to address a rumor that's surfaced relative to the Tennessee football coaching vacancy.

Tim Brewster?! Are you freaking kidding me?!

I know the Gophers are having a tremendous (copyright Tim Brewster) season and all, but two years in the Big Ten with a combined record of 8-13? Somebody thinks that's a resume for a SEC head coaching job?! Really?!

I can almost understand the logic of it. Almost.

Phil Fulmer's calling card was his ability to recruit. So whomever Tennessee hires to replace him, had better be equally skilled at convincing young men to attend UT. Brewster clearly fills that mold. There's no question of Brewster's ability to sell it. Even as someone who's not a Gopher fan, I can't help but get a little fired up when I hear the man speak.

Fulmer's failing however, was his inability to coach-up the talent he recruited in recent years. And I can't possibly see how anyone could have come to a clear conclusion that Brewster is any better in that regard than Fulmer was.

The most common complaint about Brewster's hiring in Minnesota was his lack of experience. Not only had he never been a head coach, but he'd never even been a coordinator at any level. The jury is still firmly out on whether he really can succeed without having that kind of experience going in.

So please. For the sake of my friend Jon and Volunteer fans everywhere, let's just stop all this "Brewster to Tennessee" speculation before people actually start taking it seriously. Can we do that? Please?!

Finally today, it's time for everybody's favorite segment: Dan's Favorite Teams Update!

Wisconsin Badgers: The Badgers are 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the Big Ten.

I discussed the "stomach-punch" loss to the Spartans on Monday. So I won't belabor that point here.

I will offer criticism of head coach Brett Bielema however. After RB John Clay had scored a touchdown on a 32-yard run, LB Jay Vilai was flagged for bumping into an official as Vilai ran onto the field.

It didn't appear to be an offense worth penalizing, but there could've been a back story that we're not aware of. It's possible the Badger sideline had been warned. It's possible that Vilai said something after bumping the official. There are any number of things that could've justified the flag.

What can't be justified was the head coach's reaction. Bielema sought an explanation from the official who threw the flag. There's nothing wrong with that. Coaches do that all the time. But after having been told by way of explanation that the official said his ability to do his job had been interfered with, Bielema lost his temper.

"I told him in my opinion, he wasn't really doing a good job."

That's Bielema's quote from the post-game press conference. I imagine the actual quote was slightly more colorful.

Now in the pantheon of college football coaching mistakes, this is hardly the most egregious. (Woody Hayes punching an opposing player was just a tad more offensive.) But it does demonstrate a potentially fatal flaw in Bielema's ability to coach his players.

All year long Badger fans have heard the coaching staff stress fundamentals, not making mistakes and accountability. Over and over, those terms have been used as both goals and explanations of failures.

But how can the coaching staff hold their players to a standard, when they fail at maintaining that standard themselves?

Bielema apologized to fans and to his team for his blunder. But in an otherwise lousy year, this sort of mistake is what kills a fan-base's confidence in a coach. Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling for Brett's head. I don't think we're anywhere near that point yet.

What I am saying is that if this kind of nonsense is part of a pattern, rather than an anomaly, the point where I start calling for his job will be drawing near.

The Badgers travel to face the Indiana Hoosiers at 11am central time on Saturday. This game's critical for Wisconsin's bowl chances. Wisconsin needs wins in two of their last three games to become bowl eligible. And to get to any kind of decent bowl game, they probably need to run the table. It's possible. I'm not sure it's probable. Can you tell I'm bummed about this season? Oof.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild are 7-3-1, with 15 points, and tied for first place in the Northwest division.

The Wild are 1-3 in the past week. The win came at Phoenix. The losses were at Dallas, versus Montreal and at San Jose. There's no shame in losing to the Sharks. They've been perennial Cup contenders over the last few years. And it pains me to say it, but Dallas is a pretty good club too. Being on the road for those to games doesn't help either.

But I am concerned that their injury status is starting to catch up with them. There's been a veritable parade of Wild players on and off the injury list during the first few weeks of this season. Marian Gaborik still isn't healthy enough to return. Not only does his injury rob the team of his skills on the ice, but it also prevents them from getting a decent return on the trading block. And now it looks like free agent acquisition Owan Nolan looks destined for a long stint in the press box.

If there's any good news for the Wild it's that after they wrap up this West Coast swing, they'll play 7 of their next 8 games in the friendly confines of the Xcel Energy Center.

Yes, that's a reach, but I'm making it anyway!

The Wild travel to Denver to take on the Avalanche Thursday night at 8pm. That's followed by the final stop on their road trip in Vancouver Saturday night. Game time is 9pm central time. Those two games are followed by 4 days off before they host the Coyotes next Thursday night. Hopefully they can heal up a bit during that time off!

That's all for today folks. I'm back tomorrow with more college football goodness. Until then, thanks for reading!

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