Silver Linings in Minnesota

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 3: Quarterback Max Shortell #11 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers throws a pass against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 19-17. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It's been freakin' ugly for the Gophers this year. After a spirited 2nd half performance against USC, the crap has been flying around in so many different ways it's getting hard to keep track of them. Every single writer on this blog has voted Minnesota the worst team in the B1G for the last several weeks, and for good reason. Indiana should be thanking us for keeping them out of the cellar.

So I decided it's time to steal BabaOReally's idea, and try to find some silver linings. This ought to be interesting.

Cloud: The Gophers lost to North Dakota State. It was gross, and it was the third time in five years that the Gophers have managed to lose to an FCS team. This feat was accomplished with 3 different coaches.

Silver Lining: The Gopher offense did manage an impressive opening drive against NDSU. A clock-eater that was balanced and resulted in a TD. While it's not a ton to build on, it does show that this offense, with preparation and clear direction, can execute.

Cloud: The first half of the season was the easier half for the Gophers, but they managed to lose three games (NMSU, NDSU & Purdue) that looked very winnable coming into the season. Things get much tougher from here on out with Nebraska, Wisky, MSU, Illinois, Iowa & N'Western on the schedule.

Silver Lining: I would say there are two here. First, our most winnable games are behind us, which means as fans we can approach each Gopher game moving forward completely devoid of optimism and most likely significantly boozed up. Second, N'Western is reeling after losing 4 straight even with #PersaStrong back at the helm. I'm not saying the Gophers will beat N'Western, I'm just saying that game suddenly looks slightly more interesting.

Cloud: At 1-5 overall, with the toughest part of their schedule coming up, it's likely that the Gophers will manage to drop 5 strait games at The Bank. 

Silver Lining: IT'S HOCKEY SEASON! The Gopher men's hockey team started out 4-0 with a sweep last weekend over defending National Champions University of Minnesota Duluth. The Gophers have one of the most exciting freshman in the game in native Minnesotan Kyle Rau, and the Gophers look to get back to their championship contending ways.

Cloud: The Gophers have the worst offense in the B1G.

Silver Lining: A lot of freshman are getting a significant amount of playing time which can only help their development. Against Purdue WR Marcus Jones had a 32 yard reception and a kickoff returned for a TD. QB Max Shortell has played in every game this season. Tommy Olson, Jimmy Gjere and Zac Epping have all gotten a good amount of playing time on the OL and are all freshmen. This playing time should help them out in coming years.

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