Week 7 Snaps (cont.)
As a rule, I hate the idea of midseason firings. But in the case of Minnesota and Tim Brewster, it is past time for a change. With a 28-17 loss at Purdue, the Gophers dropped to 1-6 (RECAP | BOX). It's hard to find another win on the remaining schedule. It's really difficult, based on what we've seen so far, to imagine them beating anybody.
Which is why the rumors and reports swirled all week about Brewster's immediate future. We say "immediate" because his fate is a foregone conclusion -- it's only a matter of when. With today's loss, Brewster is 15-30 in four seasons. When school president Robert Bruininks starts his speech to a conference of community leaders on Wednesday by saying, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "It will be difficult for me to speak intelligently on effective community leadership when I have a 1-5 football team" -- well, we all know what 1-6 means, don't we?
The Gophers didn't go down easy to middling Purdue, but if they played hard, they also exhibited all the signs of discombobulation that have confounded and frustrated fans. Here were two dazzling lowlights that changed the game and may have hastened Brewster's exit:
Despite a high snap over his head, Dan Orseske had time to punt midway through the second quarter. Instead, he panicked, tried to run and lost 28 yards, giving Purdue a very short field en route to a touchdown.
On the second play of the third quarter, Gary Tinsley fumbled away a potential momentum-changing interception. Somehow, as he approached the goal line, Tinsley managed to toss the football directly at the pylon -- touchback, Purdue's ball -- and the Boilermakers promptly went 80 yards in 13 plays for a three-touchdown lead.
Those are the kind of unforced errors that happen when everyone knows it's over.
The email popped into my inbox right after the final gun in Oklahoma State's 34-17 win at Texas Tech: "As an OK State alum and fan, I must ask what you would like with your big helping of crow?"
Tobasco, I guess. And some sweet tea. But crow it is, because after I picked the Cowboys to finish fifth in the Big 12 South, they're 6-0 overall, 2-0 in conference play, and a legitimate contender to win the division.
They've got a big-time offense led by a fantastic receiver: Justin Blackmon. Remember the name. And when you do, think Dez Bryant and Michael Crabtree. Brandon Weeden has stepped in at quarterback, and the Cowboys have a very good running game led by Kendall Hunter, but Blackmon is a difference-maker.
Nah, didn't think so.
What is it with Florida State? Is this the team that blew out Miami? The team that was blown out by Oklahoma? All of the above, I think. The Seminoles outlasted Boston College, and they're probably the ACC's best -- faint praise there -- but they continue to confound.
Five minutes into the game, BC's Montel Harris had already rushed for 138 yards, and he finished with 191, continuing his three-year assault on the Seminoles' defense. FSU had been allowing 94 rushing yards. If the Eagles weren't handicapped with a green quarterback in Chase Rettig, they might have won at Doak Campbell.
We wondered, even as Missouri went 5-0 without leaving the Show Me State, what it meant. The Tigers beat Illinois -- and that looks pretty good now -- but also feasted on four creampuffs. After a 30-9 win at Texas A&M (RECAP | BOX), it's time to consider whether they could present a challenge to Nebraska in the Big 12 North.
Saturday in College Station, Texas, Blaine Gabbert carved up the Aggies -- 31-of-47, 361 yards, three TDs -- en route to a romp. But the revelation was the Tigers defense, which is more than just a statistical creation. They're fast and physical. They pressured Jerrod Johnson all day, completely stuffed the Aggies' run game (57 yards on 33 carries) and threatened a shutout at Kyle Field before allowing a third-quarter field goal and a meaningless fourth-quarter touchdown.
Is Mizzou ready for primetime? We'll find out in a hurry. The Tigers host Oklahoma next week, then play at Lincoln on Oct. 30. If you're tempted to fast-forward Nebraska into the Big 12 championship game even after the Texas loss, you might want to wait a couple more weeks.
Meanwhile, the Aggies (3-3, 0-2) are headed toward another forgettable season, and it's hard to remember that, before the season, there was plenty of optimism. Johnson was a chic preseason pick as the Big 12's offensive player of the year (OK, he was my pick, anyway, in SI.com's preseason package). Johnson remains wildly talented -- and wildly inconsistent. As A&M struggles for bowl eligibility, we can cue the grumbling and the speculation about Mike Sherman's future.