Yesterday we gave props to the women's softball team. Today, on day 84 we look at one of Nebraska's new divisional rivals: the Minnesota Golden Gophers. After Michigan and Ohio State, Minnesota has claimed the most Big Ten football conference championships, but haven't won one since 1967.
The Gophers also have 6 national titles (1934, '35, '36, '40, '41, and '60). Why are they day 84? Well since they are our new "rival", we need to talk a little smack and most Gopher fans (that are old enough) would just as soon forget 1983. That's the year we hung 84 on 'em.
Alright, now that 84 is out of the way (and I'm not going to mention 54-0 or 61-7), let's look at the history between these two schools. Minnesota and Nebraska have played a total of 51 times. Minnesota actually leads the series 29-20-2 and it was 29-6-2 at one point until Nebraska rattled off 14 in a row. To put things in perspective, Nebraska has only played Oklahoma State 42 times, while Minnesota has only played Ohio State 50 times, Michigan State 43 times, and Penn State 12 times. And before I die (hopefully) Minnesota and Nebraska will have met more that Minnesota-Indiana (66 times) and Minnesota-Purdue (67 times) since they will meet every year while Indiana/Purdue are cross overs. There's a lot of history there, it's just ancient history. Tom Osborne wants to play Minnesota every year and the feeling seems to be mutual.
" Regarding Nebraska's place in division alignment, Osborne identified Iowa and Minnesota as two schools that share links with the Huskers, Iowa through a state border and Minnesota through on-field history (51 games, most with any Big Ten team). "Any alignment where Nebraska wouldn't play Iowa would not be as well received by our fans," he said. "It doesn't mean they're going to revolt."
Personally, I will enjoy the Minnesota-Nebraska game. I grew up in Omaha and have family in Western Iowa and Southern Minnesota. I also spent plenty of time growing up in the Okoboji region so I was exposed to Hawkeye and Gopher football. I had a soft spot for these two because I could relate to the two states.
As for a trophy for Nebraska-Minnesota? I just can't think of anything good right now. Maybe someday something will develop, but right now it would seem forced. There's nothing really that sticks out like a Penn State-Nebraska "National Championship" trophy or an Iowa-Nebraska "Corn" trophy. I think we let this one work itself out over time if it's meant to be. Maybe Taylor Martinez will leave his cell phone in Minneapolis next year after the game and Minnesota will say, "If you want it, you'll have to win it back."