MACtracking: Survival Is Relative

Awfully challenging writing this column...could all you ex-MAC coaches please stop playing MAC teams in non-conference play so I have something to write about? Jebus. Anyway, Butchie's Boys cruised to another victory over NC State last weekend, and they'd probably be ranked now if it weren't for that pesky "getting their butts stomped by Tennessee" thing. Kansas had the week off, Michigan and Notre Dame won, blah blah...

More importantly, what the hell is going on at Minnesota? Jerry Kill's boys went down again last weekend, this time to FCS North Dakota State. Come follow after the jump for some attempts at explanation.

So the Gophers have been the very definition of bipolar this season - up and down repeatedly. They opened the year with a slow start and near come-from-behind win against USC, followed by a 28-21 loss to lowly New Mexico State that very easily could have been much worse (I know, I made myself watch it).

Then they appeared to rebound by holding off Miami (OH) for their first win of the season, only to look awful again this past weekend. Against North Dakota State, the Gophers struggled to find any kind of rhythm, and Max Shortell and Marqueis Grey each had an interception returned for a touchdown. Nothing really went well, and Kill's followers must be concerned about his teams odds of not getting destroyed on the road at Michigan next Saturday. Though in fairness if they stick to form they'll shut them down.

I talked with fellow Hustle Belter bmiraski about this mess in Minnesota and just how much might be the fault of former coach Tim Webster, and he confirmed what I already felt. Webster was never really well known for his recruiting, and true to form none of his recruiting classes were anything beyond underwhelming.

As Ben put it " I think that he probably focused too hard on the running game, without any ingenuity to it - it wasn't a triple option, it was just a couple of good backs with nothing around it...it isn't like you are going to get the cream of the crop QBs in Minnesota, but if you could get the best kid in the state each season, you would think you would have a shot at something."

In spite of that, they somehow are 10th in offensive yardage in the Big Ten, ahead of Ohio State and Penn State...so that's something? We'll have to keep an eye on this one, but it isn't looking good for Jerry in his opening season.

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