In a purely reasonable world, hating Minnesota would be a bit difficult for a UW fan like me. Yes, we’re rivals, but, really, what threat does Minnesota actually pose?
Wisconsin has won 16 of the last 17 football matchups. The only loss (2018) came in what was already a lost season for the Badgers, and probably helped ensure that Minnesota was overconfident (or too #HYPRR?) for the 2019 showdown, the most important Axe battle in recent history. You all remember it right?
[Imagine dreamlike sound effects and a voiceover courtesy of an optimistic (i.e., deluded) Gopher fan:]
With a win, Minnesota will cap an 11-1 regular season, win the B1G West (by multiple games), and keep CFP hopes alive. Man I’m stoked. GameDay is in town and the game couldn’t have started any better!
Gophers have outscored UW 44-15 over the last two years at this point! The balance of power is changing!! Chryst can’t keep up with Fleck!!! This is awesome!!!!
And we’ve kept Taylor pretty well in check so far. With sloppy, snowy weather to come, all we gotta do is to continue to bottle up the overrated Badger rushing attack. Right?
Okay, whatever. We’ve trailed before. And we’ve got Fleck. I’m sure he’ll make some halftime adjustments.
What? Minnesota did nothing with the opening 3rd quarter drive? No worries, they pinned UW inside their 10. I’m sure the defense will stiffen and flip field position, right? [ed.—Watch both of next two plays.]
Okay, okay, but Minnesota got a FG to get back to within 7 and bring some calm to the game. Perfect time for somebody to pull out a wrinkle that really seizes the momentum. [ed.—Might as well watch next two plays here, as well.]
Shit. Shit! Shit!! This isn’t how it was supposed to go. Okay. Down 24-10, but I saw Coach Fleck spastically running down the sideline. That MEANS something. Gophers don’t give up! Let’s get a stop on this 3rd down play and begin a division-winning comeback!
%*#^(@()!!! I can’t believe UW just came in here and ate our lunch. Spotted Cow sucks anyway.
So, again, how do you hate Minnesota when they bring so much entertainment value to your life? And it has pretty much been this way for decades. The Gophers almost always have the better regular season in hockey, but UW has 6 nattys to Minnesota’s 5 and has won a title more recently. The women’s hockey squad is two-time defending champions, allowing them to level the natty race with the Gophers at 6 each.
The best basketball team in Gopher history came to Wisconsin* ranked #2 in the nation and this is how that turned out:
* Granted, Minnesota being good at basketball is such a dated concept that the game in question predates the existence of the Kohl Center...
Since that magical, if probation-ensuring, season for Minnesota, they’ve won 2 NCAA tournament games. Total. Wisconsin has won that many in a single tournament (i.e., reached the Sweet 16) TEN times.
Sure, Minnesota is better at women’s hoops, but not even a Gopher fan actually wants to discuss women’s basketball right now.
And yes, Minnesota has wrestling legacy to fall back on, but those days are receding into the rearview as well, ever since J Robinson had to fold up his Olde Tyme Apothecary. [And Chris Bono is killing it on the recruiting trail, so...]
Seriously, does anything encapsulate this “rivalry” more than Gopher fans puffing their chest out about getting a better seed than UW, then a few days later seeing UW knock off the #1 overall seed while Minnesota is at home after getting run over by Giddy Potts and MTSU?
I haven’t even mentioned the 2005 Axe game, but I fear I’m testing your patience, so here’s a screengrab of the most important play of that one:
Sorry, found the video:
[Laurence Maroney had 43 carries for 258 yards, and that’s how you’re going to repay him???]
Can you really hate this?
Okay fine, you can. Let’s stick with the perennial reasons to hate Minnesota:
- Goldy is a shitty mascot. “Golden” Gophers is stupid. And blah blah blah according to history blah blah blah Ground Squirrels something something that’s just as weak.
- Ski-U-Mah is fucking stupid on its own terms, but made hilarious by the fact that it is based on A) ripping off a Dakota phrase and B) fucking up the translation at that. Nice work idiots.
So, yeah, I hate Minnesota.
But I sure do love the “rivalry.”
P.S. So do Iowa fans: