HELLO! AND WELCOME TO GOPHER BOWL DAY!
Is that too much? Probably. But it’s the last Gopher football game of the year, so let’s talk about it!
WHAT: The Guaranteed Rate Bowl
WHEN: TODAY! (Tuesday, December 28th) Or, to be more accurate, TONIGHT! (9:15 GTZ)
WHERE: A BASEBALL STADIUM! (Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, AZ) Or, more likely for everyone reading this, ESPN!
WHY: BECAUSE WE DIDN’T LISTEN TO EISENHOWER AND ALLOWED THE BOWL-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX TO BECOME TOO LARGE AND UNWIELDY AND ENTRENCHED IN EACH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT TO STOP IT!
HOW: American Football is a game played between two teams of 11 players at a time whereby a team with the ball (offense) attempts to move forward 10 yards in 4-ish (HELLO NEBRASKA FANS!) plays to gain another set of 4-ish downs while their opponents (defense) attempt to stop them. Yards can be gained by running the ball, throwing and catching the ball, defensive penalties, and punting. A ball carried into or pretty close to the endzone is deemed a touchdown and 6 points are awarded, and the team that scored the touchdown is given the opportunity to kick an extra point or go for a two point conversion. There are a whole lot more stupid rules, but the goal of the game is to have more points than your opponent at the end of 60 minutes of play by either outscoring them or Iowa’ing them to death by faffing about and kicking a couple field goals (which are worth 3 points a piece).
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, shall we discuss the game a bit? You’ll notice that there are guards at all of the doors and windows, so escape is quite impossible. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHA.
Wait, I’m sorry. That’s for the discussion on how PJ Fleck allegedly recruits. Anyway...
As of Monday night, Minnesota is favored by 4.5 to 5 points, which is weird because you can’t score a half of a point in football. Trust me, I know because Jerry Kill tried to win multiple games 0.5-0.
The Gophers should (key word here at the end of December 2021, as we’re all day-to-day) have everyone available except RBs Mo Ibrahim and Trey Potts. WVU, on the other hand, had leading RB Leddy Brown opt out. Brown led the Mountaineers with 1,065 yards and 13 TDs, which accounted for a nice 69% and 72% respectively. Not that it matters much, since WVU was 99th in Yards per carry and 85th in attempts per game. The Mountaineers did their work on offense through the air, and Brown’s disappearance means they’ll be just about as predictable as the Gophers will be. Minnesota was 7th in rush attempts per game, WVU was 31st in pass attempts per game. Hopefully styles make fights, because I’m way too overconfident about how this one will go.
Why? Because WVU’s defense was OK-ish against the run. They were 35th in YPG allowed and 55th in YPA and only allowed more than 200 yards to Iowa State and Texas, but they allowed more than 5 yards per carry in the 3 games against good rushing teams (Baylor in addition to ISU and Texas) that they played. If that trend continues against Minnesota, it should be a rather long night with a quick game.
On the other side of the field, the Gopher defense finished the year 9th in passing YPG allowed and 24th in YPA. Only Ohio State and Purdue threw for more than 250 yards on the Gophers, and opponents only averaged 133 yards a game through the air in November.
Between the ability to pound the rock, a salty-as-hell defense, and PJ Fleck’s undefeated record in bowls while at Minnesota (SHUT UP! 2-0 IS A PERFECTLY VALID SAMPLE SIZE!), Gopher fans should be able to feel confident in this one. Let’s close out this stupid season with a bang and get going on 2022. Don’t forget to make some good resolutions about rowing and have a great week.
FOR ALL THE GUARANTEED RATES
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Which New Year’s resolution is yours?
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Pet all of the cats & dogs
Try to survive it