Minnesota Golden Gophers Face Must-Win, Only For Tim Brewster's Job Status

Tim MeehanCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 27: Target Field before an exhibition game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on March 27, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bulldogs defeated the Gophers 9-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

A win on Saturday against Northern Illinois University will only do one thing for the Golden Gophers of Minnesota, and that is give coach Tim Brewster a little bit of breathing room in terms of keeping his job.

Coach Brewster came to the University of Minnesota in 2007 and has since compiled a record of 15-26, including this season. 

In his first three seasons, the highest the Gophers have finished in the Big Ten is sixth, and they have twice lost in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.

For a coach who promised to return the Golden Gophers to prominence in the Big Ten, this season has been an utter disappointment.

While the first game of the season was a victory, it was not a great game for the Gophers by any means. 

They barely got past a Middle Tennessee State team in Murfreesboro, Tenn., with a 24-17 win in which Duane Bennett put the team on his back and carried them to victory. 

With Bennett carrying the ball 30 times for 187 yards, the Gophers were able to keep the Middle Tennessee State offense off the field and keep them from developing any real offensive rhythm.

The following week, the Gophers suffered what is arguably the most embarrassing loss of Brewster's tenure as head coach, a 41-38 loss at home to the University of South Dakota.

That game showed that Brewster's commitment to the run might be a bit premature, having called a handful of plays excessively.

Running plays continued to either gain no yards or such small amounts that quarterback Adam Weber was continually needing to convert on third-and-long.

What came the next week is something that Brewster has stated would be a much needed "big-time opponent" for the Golden Gophers in their rise back to national exposure.

Except there was one problem.  It showed that even with USC not playing particularly well, they could still easily handle the Gophers, even on the road.

The Gophers are entering this weekend's game with a 1-2 record, and considering who they have played that is absolutely unacceptable to Gopher fans.  A loss this weekend very well could be the end of Brewster's career with Minnesota.

Gopher fans have been calling for Brewster's firing for quite some time now, and unless his team starts to perform better and win games, Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi may be faced with no other choice but to fire Brewster.

Attendance and merchandise sales are down, and fans are unhappy with the direction of the program. 

Add those things to the failed expectations, all of which were because instead of managing them, Brewster piled them on, and it leaves him sitting on a very hot seat.