Commentary: In the year 2014: Accepting the inevitable | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Commentary: In the year 2014: Accepting the inevitable

Posted: January 1, 2014 - 9:56pm

My resolution for 2014 is to accept change with open arms.

For instance, as you sit in your favorite chair reading this column with a warm cup of coffee or read it online at your desk on your office computer, I will have new management.

No, Dispatch Sports Editor Mike Bialka isn’t going anywhere. He’s the only one who usually gets my humor so retaining his services is vital. As of Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, The Brainerd Dispatch is under new ownership in the form of Forum Communications Co.

Let me be the first to write welcome to the Fargo, N.D., based company.

Being a North Dakota State University graduate, I’m happy to have ties to the home base. With my resolution to accept change, let’s start this new year out on the right foot.

For instance, I accept the change at head coach for the NDSU Bison football team. It will be sad to see Craig Bohl and his 11 years of coaching head west to Wyoming, but two, and likely a third, NCAA FCS Division I championship later, I can accept change. Especially since current defensive coordinator Chris Kileman will take over as the new head coach. Kileman has been on Bohl’s staff since March 2011 so the transition should go well.

Another head coaching change is with the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Leslie Frazier was let go Monday. While I don’t agree with this or many moves the Vikings make, I will accept change.

I liked Frazier’s calm, business-like demeanor. His strength — defense — didn’t carry over to his team, however. Minnesota ranked 31st out of 32 teams in total team defense. Only the Dallas Cowboys were worse.

Minnesota was 31st in pass defense and 16th in rushing defense. The Vikings were 31st in third-down conversion percentage, meaning the defense could never get off the field. I don’t know how many blown fourth-quarter leads they allowed, but it was too many.

I accept change, but I think a new defensive coordinator would have been sufficient.

Sticking with football, I accept the change of a college football playoff that will be implemented in 2014. However, I do believe the Bowl Championship Series worked in that it produced the country’s two best teams. A playoff known as a Plus-One System is new, but I don’t think it went far enough.

I say get rid of non-conference schedules. I’m tired of watching these “big” conference schools continue to lose to NDSU anyway. Just play a conference schedule and then pick the 64 or 32 top teams and bracket it down to the final two.

But then I love March Madness and wish everything was similar.

I will also accept change, should it ever happen, in the form of an NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB championship for one of our home teams. Of the major U.S. cities that have a sports franchise in all four leagues, Minnesota (as in Twin Cities) is the last to have won a major title — the Twins in 1991.

Locally, one change I would love to see is the reinstatement of a third full-time sports writing position. I don’t remember when we lost the position, but as many of our loyal sports fans have noticed, we’ve lost a presence in the surrounding area as well as Central Lakes College with just two full-timers on duty.

We’ve tried to keep our sports fans up-to-date with the latest information with Twitter, our internet show “Sideline View,” and the Dispatch web page, but I know there are many more stories we’re not able to tell because we just can’t be everywhere.

I guess instead of a resolution, that would be my 2014 wish. It would certainly be a change I think we all would enjoy.

Happy New Year!

JEREMY MILLSOP, sports writer, may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.