Sometimes it is a little to easy to jump right towards FREAK OUT as a Minnesota sports fan. I mean, people talk about Cleveland as the land of FAIL when it comes to sports, but Minnesota has to have done something special to piss off the sports gods. The litany of FAIL that we as Minnesota fans have had to endure across all Gopher and pro sports is too long (and painful) to list.
And trust me, I get it. I've been there. It's hard to stay rational when your favorite teams start imploding. It's why a loss like Friday nights elicits absolute lunacy like "Fire Kill if he wins only 7 games next year" or "Teague should hire a new assistant to be Kill's decision making review board/replace any coach who leaves with a new asst who is Kill's decision making double check/make a GA be the double check in violation of NCAA rules" or any other number of silly responses. But I'm not hear to tear those ideas apart. First off, I've already done it. Second, that's not what I'm writing about.
I'm here to write an easy and fun piece about why I absolutely LOVED this weekend of Minnesota sports. I mean Gophers loss and all. So in no particular order, here are all the reasons I had a blast watching our hometown teams play these past 3 days.
- Philip Nelson goes Guns Up. Ok, so this is a clear fave of mine (as evidenced by the placement of Mankato Jesus as the photo lede for this post). Just an absolutely blatant and yet subtle bit of trolling by Phil all rolled into a spontaneous celebration of pure joy following a big play. Frankly, it's a lot of what I love about sports all packed into one moment.
- AP runs all over the Packers. All week all I heard from my GB loving friends was how the Pack had players back on D that were missing the first time and how AP would never run for that many yards on them again. 199 yards later the Vikings are in the playoffs and I was reduced to giggles. Yes, giggles. Some of the runs he tore off made the Packers D look so silly that the only appropriate response was to giggle like a child. Yes, I was annoyed that our OC was incapable of calling runs for almost an entire quarter and thus cost AP the record he deserved to break, but in the end it was still an AMAZING performance and an AMAZING season by one of my favorite athletes to watch and my fave NFL team.
- The Gophers tell BC to "FAAAAAHK OFF!" 8-1. Eight goals to one. An absolute beatdown of the #1 team in the country. A demolition of a team who showed repeatedly throughout the game why they were ranked #1. A game where Adam Wilcox was a Greek God between the pipes. A game where Bjugy had several legit chances to finish off a hat trick IN THE FIRST PERIOD. A game where the Gophers made sure that the one moment of BC happiness (their 3rd period goal) was immediate stomped out by a Gopher goal less than a minute later. The worst loss taken by BC since 1996. The worst loss hung on BC in almost 16 years. A game that featured Kyle Rau being the crafty little instigator that I love, throwing hard clean checks that pissed of BC and got them to cheap shot him in return. A defeat so devastating that BC fans were left to complain that the game was over before it began since it was at Mariucci (odd thing for fans of a #1 team to say) or to whine about the homer TV announcers and how stupid they were while conveniently ignoring that they got to say such silly things BECAUSE BC GOT BLOWN OFF THE ICE. Just pure joy put on display by Fox Sports North. Even the QR Codes and pointless social media pushing couldn't ruin this.
- Everything the coaching staff did with the extra 15 bowl practices, especially on offense. Wow. That was a lot of fun to watch. I mean, they broke out the Maryland-I formation. The freaking MARYLAND-I! And all the pre-snap motion? I'm not sure if you remember Matt's description of what "multiple offense" meant to Kill and Limegrover, but I've been waiting to see that Boise State level motion since they got here.
- The defeat of the "BUT WE'VE GOT SWAGGA!" defense of TTech's coaching change. As I said in the game thread, Texas Tech certainly did have SWAGGA! That is, if SWAGGA! is a code word for DBAG or CHEAP SHOT. I really enjoy watching stupid, fact free arguments burn to the ground. I like it even more when it's my fave team lighting the torches with their play.
- Nearly every national prediction proven wrong. The Gophers were supposed to get torched by Texas Tech. I could link you to at least a half dozen national predictions that talked about how our offense stunk and how we'd never keep up with the Red Raiders. And in each of these picks the Gophers' defense never got a mention and the U was be selected to lose by well north of 21 points. Clearly I did not think the Gophers would win coming into this thing...see my preview. But I also thought our defense was good enough to allow the Gophers to keep up with or beat the spread and that it would be a game for at least a half. Watching them best that prediction while setting fire to the idea that they were "lucky" to be in a bowl was a treat. I'm not talking about moral victory. I'm talking about the joy as a fan of watching people who didn't pay attention to either team all year made to look silly for their weak analysis predictions.
- The Gophers shut out Air Force. I didn't get to see this one, but there is nothing better than checking the box score on a Sunday morning and seeing that the Gophers put up a 4 goal shutout to open their home tourney. It's exactly the kind of start they needed for the weekend.
- The Gophers take every spot on the Mariucci Classic Tourney Team. A complete sweep, and one that was clearly deserved...no home cooking needed.
- The Packers manage to look both whiny and incompetent while losing. Aaron Rodgers pouted like a petulant child every time something didn't go his way and Mike McCarthy left his brain on the bus when it came to that challenge flag. Delicious to savor during a big win.
- The Vikings win means the Packers didn't get the #2 seed in the playoffs. I'm not sold on the idea that an immediate rematch is good for the Vikes, but I love the idea that the Pack lost a bye. I also like the idea of the Vikings knocking them out of the playoffs at Lambeau.
That's my list of things to love? What's yours?