Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
It got big play on ESPN, it was all over the internet, and the radio call-in shows were buzzing. But Tim Brewster, who earned all the attention by berating Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema at midfield during the postgame handshake on Saturday has a question:
What's the big deal?
"It wasn't any long thing," Brewster said of his five-second conversation with Bielema, who tried to explain himself as Brewster yanked his hand away and stalked off. "Is this the first time that's ever happened?"
He's got a point. The way Wisconsin and Minnesota compete against each other, on the recruiting trail as well as the football field, maybe it's a wonder that there aren't occasional fistfights at the 50-yard-line. Brewster, though, said there was no history between them that caused him to chew out Bielema. He even chatted with his Badger counterpart before the game.
"We're strong rivals as coaches, but I didn't have an inner dislike for him," Brewster said. "I didn't have an ax to grind."
Well, not until the Badgers capped off their final touchdown drive, with 6:39 left and a 25-point lead, by lining up for a two-point conversion. The pass play wound up short of the goal line by a foot or two, but Brewster and the Gophers were steaming over what they felt was an effort to show them up by running up the score.
"I'd be less of a min if I didn't stand up for my kids, who I would fight to the death for," Brewster said. He criticized Bielema in his postgame press conference too, with athletic director Joel Maturi in the room. Did he fear his boss would object to the attention-getting comments, that turned it into a national story?
"Joe agreed with me," Brewster said, "just like everyone else in America."
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