Enough sitting around and watching the NCAA football world defending their ground against another Nittany Lion onslaught--it's time to play some ball, and we've got some fresh meat on the grill. Hate Week Minnesota status: ACTIVE!
Who: Horton hears it.
For Tim Brewster, there comes a time in every coaches career where he needs the absolute best out of his players, his staff, and the best out of himself. That was last week against Purdue (admittedly a low bar in the first place) and yet the result was another double-digit loss. Brewster is out, and although he takes his $600,000 buyout with him, he leaves behind the architect of the nation's 76th most profilic offense: TimJeff Horton.
We don't know a lot about brand new Minnesota head coach TimJeff Horton. So we've used the internet to peruse enough biographical information to paint a picture of a true renaissance man, with our commentary and notes attached.
Connecticut-based magician Jeff Horton has been fine tuning his repertoire to develop routines that dazzle and amuse both the young and the young at heart. Note: watch out for misdirection plays.
Jeff Horton's powerful bass-to-the-sky vocal range is well-known to the New England bluegrass scene. Note: A New England magician and singer? Quite impressive. I wonder if it's "bass" like the music or like the fish?
Prior to Minnesota, Horton spent 22 years in the college coaching ranks, including seven years as quarterbacks coach at the University of Wisconsin (1999-2005) and head coach at UNLV and Nevada. Horton spent a year with the Detroit Lions as QB coach during one of their many 2-14 seasons. Note: The man who fostered Matt Stafford's 61.0 passer rating in 2009? Impressive! Also, being a quarterback coach at Wisconsin must be the least complex job in sports. Play 1, hand off to RB. Play 2, hand off to FB. Repeat. Maybe we should focus on something else.
In addition, Jeff Horton is the Road Squad Leader at the Kansas DOT Bureau of Design. Note: Sounds communist, therefore is communist.
Jeff Horton also won the 43rd annual Louis Schwitzer Award for the development of the Head and Neck Restraint Extension. Note: Probably from straining to avoid watching his teams lose or not pass.
We at JPDH welcome TimJeff Horton to the Big Ten coaching ranks, and we ask him not to let the screen door hit him on his way out in early December.
What: The Battle for Survival...one coach notwithstanding.
We've all faced the horrible turrible reality that Penn State could have a very rough year. The highlights of last week's game involved walking on the field, walking off the field, and the impassioned tweets of former PSU players exclaiming to fans that, "all was not lost!"
The Illinois game was such a letdown to the collective confidence of fans that it turned this game from a formality to a must-win road game for Penn State's chances at a postseason game.
I would like nothing more than to look at this as an opportunity to impress, but it's more of a line in the sand. If Penn State can't generate pressure from their front seven against this offensive line, if the Lions can't contain this running back corps, if PSU can't break through this red zone defense, then Penn State fans may consider the horrible turrible prospect of a winless Big Ten campaign. It won't happen. The meldown stops in Minneapolis. They just suck too much.
Where: Gophie's Got a Brand New Home
This will be Penn State's first foray into Minnesota without a trip to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, a soulless wonder that is now the exclusive home of Brett Favre. That is not a coincidence.
The Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers will battle at TCF Bank Stadium, commonly referred to as "The Bank". It's easily one of the most imposing venues in the Big Ten--provided you reduce your area of study to the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Minnesota is 0-4 a home this season, with losses to--if you can believe it--South Dakota, Southern Cal, Northwestern, and Northern Illinois. Not exactly a murderers row of opposition outside of U$C. Clearly they have issues with directional schools. Perhaps JoePa is mulling a one-week rebranding of the school as "Eastwestern Pennsylvania State University." Whatever it takes to win.
When: Morning on ESPNU
That's how irrelevant PSU's become in the Big Ten race. Technically it starts at 12p.m. on the east coast, but tune in at 11:59 a.m. in the off-chance you will get to hear the soulful baritone voice of Pam Ward for just one minute longer. You know you want to. I don't even know if Ward is calling the game, I'm just crossing my fingers as always.
For Minnesota, this game is a springboard to the remainder of their hellish season. Finishing up with Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa and Illinois is not the best pathway for the Gophers to pull out a 6-6 record and an Insight Bowl berth. It's not the best pathway to avoid getting shutout in five consecutive weeks either. Maybe they've already packed it in. We can only hope, but it would be best if PSU forced the issue with some early scores.
Why: Defend the Bell
It's about heart. It's about heritage. It's about the ending of an era. When Jim Delaney was forced to separate Big Ten teams into separate conferences, the hardest pill to swallow was replacing the semi-annual rivalry between Penn State and Minnesota with...a semi-annual rivalry between Penn State and Minnesota.
“Lots of discussion. Probably the most-discussed (topic),” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said. “I think that we knew once we committed to the principle of competitive equality that it was going to be really difficult to not separate Michigan from Ohio State and Penn State from Nebraska. Likewise, it was difficult not to separate Iowa and Wisconsin."
Although he doesn't mention the Governor's Victory Bell, we can read between the lines. There were specific reasons they wanted to keep PSU-Minnesota from being an annual contest.
- They wouldn't want it to supercede Michigan-Ohio State in prominence, which inevitably would occur.
- The GVB's role in spurring South Korean riots has left many of the Big Ten top brass nervous about making it an annual event.
- The NCAA was worried that the phrase, "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate" trademarked for the Georgia-GA Tech game would suffer from brand confusion if it had to compete annually with Gophers-Lions.
- They did not want to dilute the prestige of a Big Ten Championship game by making the PSU-Minnesota a regular season contest.
The Bell must be defended. All losses to an unranked team is, was, and always will be unacceptable. Penn State is better than this, we all know it. We only have six weeks more to shock the world. Let's do it. HATE!