Profiles of the Big 10: Minnesota Golden Gophers

I've been living in Minnesota for almost 22 years now (nearly to the day!) and over that span, I've certainly learned a lot about Big 10 football. I was a Gopher season ticket holder for three years during the Jim Wacker regime I finally gave them up because I was tired of having Minnesota fans tell me to sit down and shut up. I enjoyed going to the games, and the seats were good, but those Gophers fans - it's like they think they're going to an opera. 

The end result of flirting with Minnesota fandom was an even greater appreciation (obsession) for Nebraska football. 

The biggest thing to like about Minnesota is that the Huskers will beat them consistently. Minnesota's worst loss in their school history was the 84-13 at the hands of the 1983 Husker team. A few years back I ran into a couple of guys who played in that game who told me that they did everything they could not to score, including making plays up in the huddle.

Minnesotans are nice people, hence the "Minnesota Nice" phrase they throw around to make sure everyone stays nice and polite, but they never really say what they're thinking. It causes a passive-aggressive nature - they'll treat you well at the game, but then try to kill when you turn your back or run over you in the parking lot when no one is around.

Minnesota has a nice, shiny new stadium which only opened this past season. It's a huge upgrade from the Metrodome, which has to be the most stale place evah to watch a sporting event. The bad news is that it only holds 50,000, and since it's new it'll be less likely that Gophers fans will give up their tickets.

Believe it or not, Minnesota has the edge in wins against Nebraska. The two teams have met 51 times, Nebraska winning 20, losing 29 and tying two. Minnesota established themselves in the early years of football, and it was Nebraska that wanted to play them more often to make a name for themselves. Of the first 13 games between them from 1900-1913, Nebraska won only two. From 1940-1949, the Gophers had a ten-game win streak. Since then the tables turned as Nebraska rose to prominence and Minnesota faltered. Minnesota's last win against Nebraska came in 1960. Since then, the Huskers have won 14 straight, the last coming in 1990. 

I doubt that Minnesota football can ever return to the greatness it once had. I swear there's something in the state's constitution requiring them to rush three and drop eight when they're ahead by more than 10 points. And with Kevin Cosgrove in charge of the defense, you know they're never going to be that good. 

It's no coincidence that the Gophers last Rose Bowl was in 1962, just around the time the Vikings came into existence. Since then the state has become a Vikings state and the Gophers second-ran. The best athletes in the state recognize this and routinely flee to other states. 

The bottom line - a Minnesota-Nebraska yearly game would be a win-win for both teams. Nebraska would win all the games, and Minnesota would win the tax revenues, something the state needs badly to get it out of it's massive debt.

The same falls true for non-revenue sports. Nebraskans would travel to see Minnesota - Nebraska volleyball matches as well as women's basketball and every other sport in-between. Traveling to Minnesota has the added attraction of going to the Mall of America. The MOA has 40 million people visit every year. That's more than Disney World, which has about 25 million visitors annually. And no, I'm not going to take you there unless you're willing to pay me handsomely. 

One thing Nebraskans have in common with Minnesotans - hating Iowa. Rather than me come up with a suitable trophy, I'll leave that up to the comments section. 

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