Getting some pancakes and coffee in the morning, and strolling to the Gopher game at TCF Bank Stadium on a crisp, but not cold Fall morning, might be my vote for the purest good time going for Minnesota sports fans. Or maybe its just that college is a beautiful thing period. Kids, go to college. Adults, take a group of kids down to the game, even if you can’t get in. There’s just good stuff in the air down there for old and young to find some inspiration. Plus chicken wings at Big Ten restaurant, or Chinese food at Village Wok is worth the trip alone.
Public service and travel channel messages aside, the former athlete in me always hopes for the best in college competition – for the sake of the experience of the athletes and fans – and the Gopher Football team has their work cut out for them this year (as usual). Naturally my California upbringing requires me to begin by mentioning that the USC Trojans are coming to town on September 18 and fortunately for the Gophers, the Trojans come limping into this season with less confidence than at any time in this decade. Unfortunately for the Gophers, the first two games of the season are against pesky small time programs Middle Tennessee State and South Dakota, and the Gophers haven’t dealt with their kind very well the last few years, this includes a loss to North Dakota State University in 2007 – which was slightly forgivable because it was Coach Tim Brewster’s first year. However, it was most memorable (in my book) for the advertisement taken out in the Star Tribune thanking Gopher Fans for their hospitality. That was funny...VERY funny.
I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad that 3 of the 4 most difficult conference home games for the Gophers are against the most dominant teams the conference has to offer. So either everyone in attendance will be in for a massive treat of an upset special, or a massive treat watching future Heisman Trophy hopefuls like quarterback Terrell Pryor of Ohio State march up an down the field. The one thing we do know is that no matter the sport, Minnesota teams are usually good for some excitement, good or bad, that seems to come right out of a movie script.
Now as for the rest of college football, this is one of the most interesting years in decades considering the teams that have transferred to new conferences and smaller programs like Boise State that are now getting enough respect to be ranked high in the pre-season polls, to where they may have a large stone’s throw at landing themselves in the annual BCS National Championship game. That’s right, Boise State might be the new Notre Dame, USC, or Michigan of college football.
Parity is at an all time high in college football, and one of these coming years there is going to be a mess like never seen before that turns the past history of college football on its head. I say it’s a great thing because: 1) It seems to spell more opportunity for young athletes to get expanded opportunities for interest by colleges that may not have even bothered to scour the nation for hidden talent before (perhaps your own son or daughter can benefit), and 2) President Obama will have all the ammo he needs to throw his weight around to create a National Championship Tournament like there is in college basketball. Of course in the President’s case, he’s got so much on his plate it seems like he’s losing weight…or that could be a result of too many people literally sitting on the man’s plate.
I hate to say it, but Gopher fans may want to pray for early snow and cold so they can use some of that Minnesota home field advantage. Thank God for hot cocoa in the press box. Best of luck to the rodents, Sept. 18 not included.