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The Rivalry, Esq.'s 2009 Closing Argument - Minnesota Golden Gophers

But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. 

-Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird


We, The Rivalry, Esq. place before this college football court, the 2009 season of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  This is a team that finally has broken the shackles of indoor living and will open a brand new outdoor stadium. All summer, the question has raged: can they break through the shackles of mediocrity?  I say to you, ladies and gentlemen of the college football jury, ENOUGH!  Let this court give them the fair assessment that they deserve.


I. Case History

What an incredible start to the 2008 season for the Gophers!  Minnesota rambled out to 7-1 and was ranked 17th.  It hit the point that I actually wrote that if Minnesota won out against four mid-level teams, they could well go to the Rose Bowl.  Minnesota.  Rose Bowl.  You read that right.  It was plausible.

Instead, the Gophers lost all four games down the stretch.  It is hard to say which loss was worse.  They then got blown out by Kansas in the Insight Bowl.  



II. Factual Summation

A. The Rivalry, Esq. Says

Here's some of what we've written about the Golden Gophers over the off-season

Spring Preview

About Eric Decker

About the New Stadium

A First Visit to TCF Bank Stadium

Evaluating Adam Weber

A Silver FoxAn AxeBoo Smith

B. Michael Jackson Says

Because all blogs are required to compare athletic teams to some random entertainment icon, we're equating Big Ten Teams and Michael Jackson songs.  The quality of the reading improves if you listed to the barely justified song choice as you continue.


Enjoy the stadium while it's young and pretty, Minnesota.

III. Emotional Plea

A. I Hate Minnesota

Maybe its because he's lived too long in the South, where hatred is a tangible commodity, but Bama Hawkeye has felt his hatred for Big Ten rivals boiling.  Here's why he hates Minnesota.

I hate Minnesota because the dome was a dump, and they waited until I left the Midwest before they moved out...I hate that repulsive color scheme...I hate that you embarrassed the Big Ten with your collapse against Texas Tech a couple of years ago...I hate that little buck-toothed chipmunk that they put on everything...I hate that they ruined Hayden's last game as a Hawkeye head coach...I hate that Minnesota fans think that they have a monopoly on cold weather...I hate that Weber-to-Decker worries me...I hate that your firing of Glen Mason has resulted in his commentary on the Big Ten Network...I hate Minnesota.

B. Why You Should Love Minnesota

Because they finally have the facilities to compete in the Big Ten...Because they used to be good, and it is good for the league to have all of its schools actually viable...Because they're starting to schedule non-conference opponents with a pulse...Because they didn't wear memorial patches when they left the Metrodome (you don't memorialize what you loathe)...Because they're in the Big Ten.


IV. Verdict

A.The Rivalry, Esq. Calls the Games


Opponent Graham Filler Picks Law Buckeye Picks Bama Hawkeye Picks
@Syracuse_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium
Air_force_old2_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium
California_medium California_medium California_medium California_medium
@Northwestern_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium
Wisconsin_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium
Purdue_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium
@ Penn_state_medium Penn_state_medium Penn_state_medium Penn_state_medium
@ Ohio_st_medium Ohio_st_medium Ohio_st_medium Ohio_st_medium
Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Minnesota_medium
Illinois_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium Illinois_medium
South_dakota_st_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium Minnesota_medium
@ Iowa_medium Iowa_medium Iowa_medium Iowa_medium
FINAL RECORD 7-5 (4-4) 7-5 (4-4) 7-5 (4-4)

B. Bama Hawkeye Calls the Bowl Game

7-5 again.  This time, there are more teams eligible, and it pushed Minnesota one spot down in the rotation. Maybe after being outside in the Minneapolis cold they won't mind the dome in Detroit?

Motorcitybowl_small_medium_medium vs. Central_michigan_medium_medium

 On Appeal

Words from an SBNation blogger on their team.  Here's some thoughts from The Daily Gopher discussing their new offense

Offensively the Gophers are trying to change their stripes.  For the last two seasons we have had the Mike Dunbar spread offense (which Cal fans should be familiar with).  This achieved moderate success through the air but for various reasons it was a disaster on the ground.  So Coach Dunbar is no longer on staff, a run game coordinator was hired away from Alabama and a shiny new offensive coordinator was hired from the NFL.  What exactly we will be running is a bit unclear but we will likely be running.  OC-Jedd Fisch has no hands on experience as an offensive coordinator so what his offense will look like is a mystery but he has had success in the NFL at developing receivers and was intimately close to the Denver Bronco's run game.