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Tim Brewster came to the Gophers in 2007 with the reputation of being a big-time recruiter and salesman. His other program-building skills? Well, he had never even been an offensive or defensive coordinator at any level, let alone a head coach, so you be the judge.
That said, Brewster had a fairly soft landing after taking a year off following being fired by the Gophers. He was the wide receivers coach at Mississippi State for a year (the chili there was not particularly hot) and wound up in 2013 as the tight ends coach for your BCS champion Florida State squad.
More than that, however, Brewster has resumed his role as a top recruiter ... and is apparently a pretty good one as far as ESPN.com is concerned. The site ranked the top college football assistant coaches in terms of who brought in the biggest haul from the recruiting trail this year, and Brewster checked in at No. 6 in their list of 10. Here is what they had to say (Insider required):
What he did: It was an up-and-down signing day for Brewster -- two of his recruits bolted for other schools -- but the additions he brought in more than made up for the losses. On Wednesday, Brewster was able to sign No. 2 receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) and No. 14 offensive tackle Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central). Brewster did a great job of battling for Lane through a number of twists and turns, including getting him to back away from a commitment to Florida. Brewster was also responsible for landing Cook, the top overall prospect in FSU's class and the nation's No. 3 running back. As recruiting coordinator, Brewster's fingerprints are all over FSU's No. 3 class.
Why recruits love him: "He said when I first met him he wanted to recruit winners. That's something that always stuck with me in the back of my mind. I wanted to play for a program that expects to win." -- Cook.
There were also TWO assistants from Alabama listed in the top 10, but none from Arkansas -- where old Brewster friend Bret Bielema is now toiling away.
H/T to reader Nathan for the link.
Mark Skiba sounds remarkably calm and grounded for someone who just lost $50,000 in the final seconds of a football game and blew guaranteed thousands by not making a simple bet.
Skiba was one of a handful of fans to place a wager on Auburn at very long odds (500 to 1 in his case) to win the BCS National Title at the start of the season. His wager was $100, meaning if Auburn would have won last night instead of losing a lead in the closing seconds, he would have won big.
But he also had the option of making a big bet on Florida State for the single game to guarantee a nice payday. Instead, per ESPN.com:
When Skiba went public with his ticket last month, many fans contacted him on Twitter to offer advice. Most told Skiba that if they were him, they would place a sizable bet against Auburn to guarantee a payday.
Skiba had planned on doing exactly that. But as Monday's game approached, he backed off. With Florida State becoming more and more of a favorite, it meant that Skiba would have to bet even more money against Auburn to balance out the action.
So after consulting with his high school buddy, accountant Brian Burnett, who is an Alabama alum, the two made the trip to Las Vegas for the game but decided to let the bet ride.
"I regret nothing," Skiba said after the game. "At the end if the day, I was playing with house money for the last two months. This was not supposed to happen in so many ways. It's the whole experience and the story. That's what I will remember.
"It was a bit of a life-changing experience just from the exposure standpoint and tonight it definitely peaked."
We imagine the three hours during the game had to be among the most exhilarating of his life -- an experience that would have been dulled with a hedged bet.
But at some point, he's going to realize he walked away from guaranteed money. Maybe the experience means more to him, but it must still sting.
So this happened at the Sugar Bowl. It feels like the right way to end the week:
Instead, he has been hired by the SEC Network as an analyst and will also do some work for ESPN:
Former Florida quarterback and Heisman winner, Tim Tebow, has been hired as a college football analyst for the SEC Network launching in August 2014. Through a multi-year agreement, Tebow’s primary role will be as an analyst for SEC Nation, the network’s traveling pregame show that will originate from a different SEC campus each week beginning August 28, 2014. In the months leading up to launch and after, he will contribute to a variety of ESPN platforms including SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, and the network’s Heisman Trophy coverage, offering in-depth perspective as a legendary Southeastern Conference player.
On Monday, Jan. 6, Tebow will make his first appearance as an ESPN analyst during pregame coverage of the 2013 VIZIO BCS National Championship. He will contribute to the 9 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, College Football Live (3 p.m.) and College GameDay Built by The Home Depot (7 p.m.). He will also be part of studio coverage for the new College Football Playoff (semifinals and championship game), which begins next season.
Oh, but there is this at the bottom of that news release:
Tebow’s role with ESPN will not preclude him from continuing to pursue playing opportunities in the NFL.
Dream big, everyone.
Game of the week, 3:30 today: USC vs. Fresno State, Las Vegas Bowl (ABC)
Somewhere out there, right now, someone is telling his family, friends, or assorted internet followers that he is above watching the beginning of college football bowl season today. The games don't matter, he says; the matchups are nonsensical, and too many teams play in bowl games.
Our straw-man friend may well be right. But let's look at this a different way: college football is on television today, and who doesn't like that? USC, having just stolen Washington's coach, is pounding the final nail in the coffin of the Lane Kiffin era today, for one. For another, they're doing it against their in-state non-rivals, Fresno State, who were a single loss to San Jose State away from a perfect season and a potential bottom-drawer BCS berth. And the Bulldogs have QB David Carr, who could - you never know - be wearing Purple in 2014.
Next year, there will be a playoff for the Division I national football championship. It is the beginning of the end for bowl season; college football won't be able to resist the lure of the untold billions that await from an ever-expanding, March Madness-style tournament. The regular season will grow meaningless and bowl season will become increasingly anachronistic, and someday we'll all look back and wonder why this game was a glorified exhibition and not a first-round playoff game, with the winner going on to a spot in the Round of 16.
I think we'll miss it. I think we'll look back fondly on a time when the reward for any kind of decent season wasn't a playoff beating, but a trip someplace warm at the end of the year, to play a team that you wouldn't otherwise play, and a jump on next year's season. Either way, though, there is college football on TV today, and that's a good thing.
What else to watch
3:00 today: Colorado at Los Angeles (NHL Network): Los Angeles has a claim to be the best team in the NHL right now. Meanwhile, the Avalanche are young, fast, and skating serenely along above the Wild in the standings, always apparently teetering on the brink of a collapse but never quite tilting into disaster, either. Anyway, it's not too early to start thinking about playoff positions in the Western Conference, and this game will have obvious implications.
Noon tomorrow: Vikings at Cincinnati (FOX): This is genuinely the best game going in the NFL tomorrow, on your television. The other three games are Denver-Houston (yikes), Green Bay-Pittsburgh (nope), and Chicago-Philadelphia (yecch). Meanwhile, the Vikings are ruining their draft pick more with every passing week; can they do it again this week, against the mighty Bengals?
2:30 tomorrow: PBA Scorpion Championship (ESPN): The other week, I somehow found myself living out a fever dream, in which Terrell Owens owned a professional bowling team and in fact showed up in a patterned shirt and was attempting bowling trick shots. This is all true, except for the part where I reveal that it wasn't a dream after all, and that the whole thing was strangely hypnotic and televised on ESPN. (Anyway, if the VIkings are losing, this would do a good job of getting you an afternoon nap.)
6:30 tomorrow: Wild at New York Rangers (FSN): Do you guys remember when Nicklas Backstrom wasn't terrible and starting him in net gave the Wild a decent chance to win? (Let's hope Backstrom remembers too.)
What to read this weekend
The story of how Qatar came to host the 2022 World Cup is equal parts fascinating and infuriating. The short answer is that everything and everyone is for sale, for the right price, but it runs deeper than that - and by no means is the discussion over, given that now FIFA and Qatar are facing a fight against almost every other established soccer interest in the world.
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