Happy New Year everyone! As we start the new decade (using the arbitrary standard of beginning with a year that ends in 0), I feel like a little bit of reflection is in order. At this point in 2010, we were all shaking off the cobwebs to try to perform a postmortem on a 14-13 Insight Bowl loss to Iowa State. Tim Brewster’s lads just couldn’t get anything going against the vaunted Paul Rhoads defense (**SOBS**) to finish the year 6-7.
Ok, I had to get that out of the way because it’s been one hell of a decade and it was capped off with a wild and crazy 10-2 season. Pretty awesome, right? Yeah...soak in the happy thoughts, because you’re going to want to have all of your defense mechanisms ready for today.
When Minnesota is on Offense:
Ummmm….yeah. So Auburn’s DL is the best that the Gophers have faced in ages, even with Nick Coe not participating. With the status of starting RT Daniel Faalele being a gametime decision and our best blocking TE Jake Paulson being out, I’m not entirely optimistic that we’ll be able to move the ball. In a perfect world we find a way to do what we did in the PSU game, which was go to 6 OL and a TE blocking (Ko Kieft, perhaps?) and take our chances with Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman finding space against the defense before Tanner Morgan gets killed. Running the ball seems rather unlikely, especially with Shannon Brooks having injury issues and missing his last game as well. I hope we can get to about 28 points to have a shot to win, but that feels rather optimistic.
When Minnesota is on Defense:
I have no idea. LB Kamal Martin is missing the game due to surgery, and he’s been the best of the group at that position this year. We’ve survived with Braelon Oliver and Mariano Sori-Marin filling in, but it’s just not the same. If Auburn has a fully armed and operational Boobie Whitlow, that could be a huge problem. Between their talented RB and the potential of Bo Nix tucking and running when there’s nothing available in the passing game, I’m expecting a bit of a long afternoon for the defense. Hopefully Antoine Winfield Jr. can cause some problems and get a turnover or two, because that feels like one of the best chances we’ve got in the game.
What I Expect To Happen:
I’ll have a beer or two prior to the game and get sunburnt.
As for the game, I just think Auburn is too good for the Gophers. I believe this Tigers squad is the best team the Gophers have played since the 2014 Buckeyes, and I just have a hard time figuring out how we’ll be able to score enough to win. 31-21 Tigers, but it’s OK because all of the Auburn fans I’ve ran into down here have been awesome.
What happens in today’s Outback Bowl?
This poll is closed
WSR becomes the Bloomin’ Onion
Nobody pays attention to this game because Alabama beats all of the stuffing out of Michigan and everyone’s watching that instead.