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Minnesota Football 2019: A Fan’s Primer

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Or: Shut the hell up and enjoy what’s happening

Much like Bateman, we won’t know exactly what we have until it’s over.
Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Hello! This is being written for Gopher fans, so if you’re not one of the tribe, feel free to wander along and do whatever it is that you do with your day. Or read along and feel free to laugh at me. Either works!

So. Hi there fellow Gopher fan. I’m guessing that, much like me, you’ve seen some shit. 1-11 under Brewster, the most unsatisfying 9 win season ever under Tracy Claeys, some fun and horror under Jerry Kill, some fun running games and horrible defenses and collapses under Glen Mason, and if you’re older like me some stuff from Wacker and Gutey. Who knows, maybe you’ve even seen more. But unless you’re older than my parents, there’s something you probably haven’t seen going on: a 7-0 start to the season. Pretty cool, right? Yup. We’ve got a good defense and an offense that’s very good and capable of beating opponents in any way they give us. And now we’re about to face a Maryland team that’s not only pretty crap, but they’re also on the revenge tour checklist from last year. Remember that game? A 42-13 asswhoopin that also cost us Antoine Winfield Jr. and laid out a blueprint for opposing teams to just torch our defense (hint: pre-snap motion. Robb Smith defenses cannot handle this sorcery) that was used to perfection by Nebraska and Illinois. But that was in the past, and this is a different Gopher team.

Let’s talk about what’s in the recent past, what’s in front of us, and what we can (and should) expect:

  1. We are 7-0. Are we good? Yes. Are we among the country’s best teams? Jesus no. There is a gigantic gulf between tOSU and the rest of the conference, and we should be thankful that they’re not on our regular season schedule.
  2. We’ve won 9 games in a row, and I would invite you to confidently pick out our best opponent from that group. Good luck! Because they’ve all been mediocre or worse. Does that take anything away from the difficulty of winning 9 games in a row and 7 to start this season? Nope, not at all. But just shut the hell up when you feel like we’re being disrespected.
  3. So just how close are we to being able to beat PSU? I don’t know. I’ve had that game marked down as an L all season, and I still expect to lose that one. They’re fast and good and more talented than we are. Can we play with them? Possibly. The Nittany Lions have shown a number of times this year that while they’re very good, they’re not great. Dare to dream, but prepare yourself for the worst.
  4. But what about Iowa? This game right here is the most important one of the season. Iowa’s offense is just putrid, especially now that they’ve probably lost WR Brandon Smith for the regular season. If you were to plop Brian Ferentz down in Dinkytown at any point during the Brewster or Kill/Claeys eras he would have been a perfect fit. They’re really not good and they rely on their defense to keep them in games. This is a game that we can and should win, and need to if we’re going to do what I expect us to do.
  5. Northwestern is shit. With how things sit right now, that should be another win.
  6. wisconsin. I have not wavered from my belief on how this game will turn out all season.

So what does all this mean? Well, we’re in the lead in the B1G West by 1 game with 5 to play. If things shake out the way they should this weekend we’ll be 2 up with 4 to go. We are in control of our own destiny, and there are winnable (yet tough) games ahead. This is 2014 all over again, but without the inexplicable loss to Illinois and a very limited offense. This is totally the year. If we beat Maryland, start looking for travel to Indianapolis and dream about what’s ahead. Just try to accept what Justin Fields is going to do to us as inevitable and it’ll hurt much less. The Airbnb's in the greater Pasadena suburban area look wonderful.

BUT! Nothing is a given. There could be injuries or other things that derail the season. That stuff happens in football and life. We know this all too well because we’ve seen it too many times. So here’s what we should do: Stop bitching and moaning every time somebody on the internet says we’re not very good. We know better. They just looked at the schedule and shrugged, while we’ve been watching the best Gopher football in an elephant’s lifetime. Enjoy the wins. Enjoy the weather. Enjoy having fun. We haven’t gotten seasons like this very often, and we should do more to enjoy them and not just worry about what random bloggers or writers things. Sound like a plan? Great. Let’s get excited for that Maryland game. Because this could be the first time we’ve started a year 8-0 since 1941, when Bruce Smith won the Heisman. You remember what the Heisman Trophy is, right? It’s the one football trophy that’s been at the Minnesota State Fair every summer no matter what happened in the past year.