That’s a phrase I’ve found myself uttering (…to myself…) lately when it comes to your Minnesota Golden Gophers varsity football squad. I’ve always been a realist/pessimist when it comes to my sports teams, and I’d like to think it comes from a lifetime of heartbreak, disappointment, misery, suffering and agony cheering for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Mariners, Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Supersonics (at least before they were stolen from the good and faithful Sonic supporters of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest by David Stern and his merry band of petulant, spineless, greedy, swine-flu spreading, financial market crashing, two-faced lying bastard mother****ers from Oklahoma City. Now the NBA is more dead to me than your dead mother). Admittedly, I did not grow up cheering for the Maroon and Gold like Jer and the Capps family and others, as I made my first voyage to the great state of Minnesota about 11 years ago (I have been in and around these parts ever since), so like dark beer, red wine, and country music, the Golden Gophers have become an acquired taste for me. Because I haven’t lived and died with them in the past, I’ve felt that I can look at the team with somewhat rational eyes and mind (although by the end of the Glen Mason “Era” I was well past rational with how much I hated him and his smarmy used-car salesmen ways).
But after being at O’Shaunessy Stadium last Saturday for the Gopher spring game my supposed rational objectivity, my realistic pessimism, my pessimistic realism went right out the door with just a few precision passes from the arm of MarQueis Gray (MAN-CRUSH!!!), a few shifty steps from Troy Stoudermire, and a few monster tackles from the defense. I have become totally, completely, passionately and irrationally in love with this Gopher football team. This spring, they had me at hello.
It doesn’t mean I’m not still fighting my inner demons/realism/pessimism- because I am. I KNOW that Big 10 titles aren’t won in the spring just like World Series aren’t won in spring training and Super Bowls aren’t won in mini-camps. I know you have to take spring game scrimmage results with a gigantic grain of salt because, you know, it’s a SCRIMMAGE and all…YEAH BUT STILL!!! How can you not be fired up about this Golden Gopher football team?!?
See? There it is- the “YEAH, BUT STILL!!!” that has entered my vocabulary since Saturday. I KNOW I’m putting way too much stock in one glorious Minnesota spring afternoon, but I can’t help but be downright giddy about The U’s prospects for 2009 and beyond. For the first time possibly EVER Minnesota has better quarterbacks than Michigan and Wisconsin, a plethora of weapons at wideout, depth AND experienced talent on defense, and a stable of capable running backs (I know the Gophs had a stable of running backs every year under Mason, but that was about all they had. Ok the line was pretty good too. We’ll get there!).
The O-line certainly remains a real question, and how fast they gel and perform under Tim Davis’ new blocking schemes could very well determine whether it’s the Motor City Bowl or a New Year’s Day bowl for your 2009 Golden Gophs. But at least there’s size and depth now that wasn’t there in Brewster’s first two seasons here. I’m not quite ready to predict Rose Bowl this year, but honestly, after Ohio State who are you afraid of in the Big 10 this year? The Buckeyes are the clear favorites to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl (they’re also the clear favorites to have their a**es handed to them yet again in a national spotlight game. This time it’s Sept 12th under the lights at The Horseshoe when they host USC, and just like last year at The Mausoleum, the Buckeyes will probably lose by 30. Feel the Big 10 Pride!), but after that this conference is WIDE OPEN! I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.
So bring on your negativity and realism about how spring stats and scrimmage results are meaningless in predicting future success. I will simply say “YEAH, BUT STILL!!!!”
Game 6 Live Blog
2 hours ago