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What has three wide receivers, three running backs...and three quarterbacks? // B1G 2019, Minnesota Potluck #2

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The Gophers have a lot of answers at the skill positions...but a lot of questions throwing the ball. Same as it ever was.

Quick Lane Bowl - Minnesota v Georgia Tech Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Minnesota Week marches on.

Now that we’ve gotten the Cocktail Party niceties out of the way and speculated on what the next streak to fall in Minneapolis will be, it’s time to...y’know...critically analyze if that will actually happen!

Today we’ll stop by the tradition that is the Great Minnesota Get-Together for a nice Candy Apple Ale, gorge ourselves on a few sticks of fried butter, and ask if Mack Brown’s old adage still holds true for the 2019 Gophers. Jump with us, won’t you?

Question #1: Has the Minnesota State Fair gone too far?

With the seemingly endless explosion of craft breweries in and around the Twin Cities, it’s only natural that craft beer would become a major part of the premier Minnesota event: The Minnesota State Fair!

While Iowans enjoy their provincial corn on the cob, stolen-from-Indiana pork tenderloins, and looking at the big knobs on their prize pigs (OK, that one might be universal) and Texans claim the largest state fair because...well, there are millions more of them in general, but Minnesota only trails the Lone Star State in attendance by something like a couple hundred thousand people and comes in first on this definitely-scientific ranking of state fairs in the U.S.

The addition of craft beer by the stand- and tent-full, though, has added a fun dimension to the Great Minnesota Get-Together, which is already nice and boozy as is (and like it was meant to be, released its new 2019 foods today). Witness, if you will:

From left to right: the Chocolate Chip Cookie Beer (Big Wood Brewing, White Bear Lake); the S’mores Beer (actually my favorite, the Grand Design Porter, a s’mores-infused version of the Saint Paul Brewing--formerly Flat Earth Brewing Company—Cygnus X-1 Porter); and the Mini Donut Beer (from Lift Bridge Brewing, Stillwater).

There’s a full(er) list of the Minnesota State Fair beers here. Check it out and be jealous that I get to have as many of these as I want my wife allows me to have every year. But what say you, panel: Is this novelty state fair beer a good thing, or a bridge too far? What “state fair” beer would you like to see?

Thumpasaurus: Beers are like bowl games. Why would you not want there to be more?

Townie: Go fry a stick of butter. Stop putting weird shit in beer. First it was an absurd amount of hops, so my beer smells like my aftershave. Then it was fruit...then bourbon...now cookie dough? You’ve jumped the shark with that crap.

Jesse: Even though I don’t really drink, count me in the ‘let’s do all the absurd things’ camp.

If you’re going to have a bunch of State Fair Beers, let’s go all-in. Cotton Candy Ale? Sure, why the hell not! Fried Twinkie and CBD Stout? Uh, why wouldn’t you! Look, what I’m saying is that there are no ways to make this sound absurd to me, and these seem much more reasonable than what I’m thinking.

Also, for Nebraska, if you don’t find a way to make a Kool-Aid inspired beer, what are you doing with your life friends?

BrianB2: Alright Minnesota, at this point it kinda looks like you’re needlessly adding shit to beer for novelties sake. I cannot say, overall, that it is a bad thing though, after all, beer is still beer, and fried food is still fried food. That being said, I struggle to imagine how floating a marshmallow in a porter does anything to enhance the beer drinking experience.

However, I can say with a decent amount of certainty that there exists a bar in Maryland somewhere that straight up tops a bloody mary with an entire crab, so screw it, burn the system down! Also I have totally made a beer float before, so color me hypocritical.

Boilerman31: This needs to stop. I’m all for experimentation but this is getting out of hand. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a cloud I need to go yell at in a Bavarian accent.

MNW: It’s fantastic. I will say, given Brian’s comment, that you can get the S’mores beer normally without any of the garnish or accoutrements--you just have to go to Saint Paul Brewing on the East Side when they have it on or in growlers.

It’s definitely a state fair “thing”: Do I need to eat a pound of fried butter shaped like a cow, or a fried taco on a stick? Of course not! But those foods also aren’t taking over your favorite Michelin-star restaurants downtown, you snobs.

They’re a delightful one-off every year, and I think there should be more of them. Put a funnel cake over the top of it like mozzarella whips on a Bloody Mary. Do the All-You-Can-Drink-Milk(-Stout) barn. Serve me beer in the size of a Sweet Martha’s Cookies bucket. Just like how we need a Jamaica Bowl Sponsored by the Ely Chamber of Commerce or a Mount Rushmore Bowl Sponsored by All the Missiles Buried in the Ground Nearby, we need more state fair beers.

BRT: I think they sound delicious—candy AND beer in one? Why the hell not.

Poll

Which of these beers would you drink?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Chocolate Chip Cookie beer
    (4 votes)
  • 16%
    S’mores Porter
    (25 votes)
  • 16%
    Mini Donut Beer
    (25 votes)
  • 35%
    ALL OF THEM.
    (53 votes)
  • 27%
    None of them. Fairs have gone too far—says me, who is no fun.
    (41 votes)
148 votes total Vote Now

Question #2: Can the Gopher offense go far enough?

You know the old saying: If you have two (or three) QBs, you have no QBs.

I think we’re ready to add the corollary: If you have no QBs...you’re probably Minnesota.

And that’s an objectively troubling thing for the Gophers in 2019, unlike in years past, because damn, does this offense have the pieces to go, go, go! Check out the RBs, where Rodney Smith, Shannon Brooks, and Mohamed Ibrahim will all see substantial time and carriers, barring injury. Or look to the wide receivers—who have a claim to be the best corps in the Big Ten: Tyler Johnson comes back for his senior year already owning the school’s single-season yards and TDs records...and he’s joined again by Rashod Bateman and Chris Autman-Bell. Hell, even TE Jake Paulson played in all 13 games, and rising redshirt frosh Brevyn Spann-Ford is getting love from Fleck & Co. and bloggers alike. Oh, and mountain-mover Daniel Faalele will start his sophomore season the fan-favorite at RT.

So with only two starters lost, writers, you’ll have to tell us: Zack Annexstad or Tanner Morgan? Will freshman Jacob Clark or Cole Kramer come out of nowhere and seize the job? Does it matter who the Gophers trot out under center, or is this an offense made to get the ball and roll with it?

Bonus: Tell us your most glaring “if you have two QBs, you have no QBs” example. Bonus points if it stretched beyond one season.

Thumpasaurus: Morgan looked a lot more confident running the offense and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t at least start the season.

Hmmm...2009 was great when they put Juice Williams under center and ran the I formation and thought this would work. He set the record for all-time offensive yardage at Illinois (may have been for the Big Ten at the time actually, I don’t remember) and then was benched in the next game for Jake Charest, only to come back in with the offense at the 5 yard line. 3-9 was the record. I also have a vague memory of a game where Nate Scheelhaase and Reilly O’Toole switched off every possession, and for some reason I think this was in 2012 when we finished 2-10. 2017, of course, was the Chayce Crouch/Jeff George Jr/Cam Thomas fiasco. All of them finished the 2017 season with eligibility but none were on the 2018 roster. 2-10!

Townie: So your second year coach had a freshman and a redshirt freshman at quarterback...and they didn’t do well. I think you are overstating things here. I expect Tanner Morgan, who will be in his third year with Fleck’s offense, to get the nod. I say that simply based on his stats and his time in the system...because really, who watches Minnesota football, anyway?

In one of the worst experiments in PSU football history, Matt McGloin rotated with Rob Bolden for the 2010/2011 season. It was a disaster that didn’t get fixed until the arrival of Bill O’Brien in 2012. McGloin finally got the nod as full time starter and had a decent season his senior year.

Jesse: If Tanner Morgan makes ‘the jump’ this year, I think the Minnesota offense is suddenly really scary. I still have very little belief that’s the case, but it’s sort of him or bust at this point in my mind.

Also, Nebraska once believed it was a good plan to play a mix of hurt Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg III which was disastrous minus that one time that well…sorry, MNW.

BrianB2: At the University of Maryland, the saying is, if we have 6 QBs to start the season, we might have one to end it.

Bonus points for stretching it out multiple seasons you say? This should be easy.

In 2012 we made the foolish mistake of only carrying three quarterbacks on our roster. Since we were still in the ACC at this point, some of you may not be aware of this, but a back-up linebacker finished the season second on the team in pass attempts/completions, yards, and passing touchdowns. Stefon Diggs also threw a touchdown pass that season.

Since we joined the Big Ten, we have had the same starting quarterback start and end the same season exactly once, in 2014. Feel sorry for us, dammit! I do not apologize for not actually answering the intended question, I also do not apologize for taking this opportunity to once again whine about Maryland’s injury woes and not once mentioning Minnesota football.

Boilerman31: Prime example of 2 QB’s, no QB’s is Purdue. Just go back and look at the end of the Joe Tiller Era through present day. Post Drew Brees, Purdue has only had a small number of years in which a QB started and ended the season either due to performance or injury issues and I have doubts it doesn’t happen again this year with Sindelar. While his metrics are supposedly off the charts, he lost the starting job to David Blough last season after tagging in and out in 2017. It’s borderline infuriating at times to not have a stable QB coming out of Spring practice and I doubt it ends this year.

MNW: I don’t think you’re actually sorry, Jesse.

No, this Gophers team definitely needs a QB, and the more I read half-hopeful things that 2019 is the year Minnesota could really announce itself under Fleck, the more I worry that we’ll have yet another instance of Minnesota handing the ball off 35 times a game, but playing 500 when they have to throw the ball. This is one of the best WR corps in the Big Ten (and definitely the West), but there’s gotta be consistency from the signal-caller.

Tanner Morgan’s the starter, I’d bet, but let’s see what happens when he has to move the ball through the air. The most passes he threw in a win were the 24 against Indiana (27 in the loss to Illinois, 32 in the loss to Northwestern), and he failed to crack 60% in a game after Indiana.

Northwestern had the Kain Colter/Trevor Siemian pairing that won 10 games and the Gator Bowl in 2012, and then imploded in 2013. It was a lot of fun, and I love remembering it. Thanks to the asshole who asked this question.

Poll

How does the Gopher offense finish in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Figures out its QB issues, one of the best in the conference.
    (21 votes)
  • 44%
    Puts it together, definitely upper-half.
    (85 votes)
  • 24%
    Solidly mediocre.
    (46 votes)
  • 17%
    Still no QB? Bottom half of the conference.
    (33 votes)
  • 2%
    Rutgers-level bad.
    (4 votes)
189 votes total Vote Now