Game day is almost upon us. Let's get ready with some Friday Nugz- if we can find any on a late Thursday night/Friday morning...
As a hockey guy, it's nice to see Phil Miller write a hockey story? Yes please! The Gopher v New Hampshire game Saturday is a result of the two school's hockey rivalry. Or maybe not rivalry, per se, but relationships. And Joel Maturi is involved. You're wondering, does UNH possibly value the non-revenue sports as much as Maturi did? Obviously impossible.
The MN Daily previews the game where the Gophers will try to end their struggles against FCS opponents. New Hampshire is where current Oregon coach Chip Kelly came from, and the Wildcats are still running his VERY uptempo offense. Like "hey yeah we usually run 90-100 plays a game. No big deal" type of uptempo offense. Let's hope the Gopher defense is well rested heading into this one because they're going to get tested.
Matt over at FBT gets very "staty" as he is want to do as he gives the final wrap of the win over UNLV.
For a UNH angle, the Concord Monitor calls Minnesota a big challenge. For a team whose offense plays at an incredibly high tempo, they're actually worried about Minnesota's speed. They struggled to adjust to the speed of Toledo in a game early last season, and they know the Gophers will play faster than their opponent from last week in Holy Cross. But don't think the Wildcats are intimidated, or think they can't win. The writer certainly doesn't seem too worried:
Yes, the Gophers have an imposing quarterback in 6-foot-4, 250-pound MarQueis Gray, who weighs more than both of UNH's starting linebackers, captains Matt Evans (228) and Alan Buzbee (235). Yes, the Minnesota offensive line averages 302.4 pounds (compared to the 274.8 for Holy Cross) and both of their running backs, Donnell Kirkwood and James Gillum, might be stars if they played in the FCS.
But this is not a mismatch for New Hampshire.
Even though the GOphers are the B1G school and New Hampshire is 1-AA, can the Gophs play the "nobody gave us a chance" card?
BEER! You love it, I love it, the student section isn't supposed to love it (oh but they do). If you want to have one at TCF Bank Stadium you probably won't love paying for it, as the U announced you'll pay $7.25 for an ice-cold brew (not to be confused with Play4Brew). You can only get two per trip, which is pretty standard, but get this- they're cutting off sales after halftime. Maybe it's just met, but f you're looking to stop people from getting too hammered, won't that just make them chug MORE to beat the halftime cutoff? Beer and wine (wine? Really? What is this, Ann Arbor?) will only be available from beer tents at the open end of the stadium, or as it will be known, The Beer Garden.
Finally, from the "Wait, what?" department, eight NDSU football players are facing fraud charges. For what, you might ask? You know, typical run-of-the-mill college stuff like voter fraud. No really. The players were supposed to go out and gather signatures for two state initiatives, one for a state conservation fund (what are they going to conserve in North Dakota? Wind? Their 2011 FCS National Championship? The insufferableness of UND hockey fans? I'll stop), the other...to legalize marijuana for medical use. The story alleges that the signatures were copied or faked, and it doesn't speculate whether they were doing so to get some free medical pot, or because they were just too lazy to petition real people for actual signatures.
A couple of late editions posted after I went to bed last night...
Amelia posted this one after I went to bed last night, but Gopher hoops is getting a visit from three recruits today. I am not the hoops expert here, so not sure where these kids are in the recruiting rankings. Cedric Hankerson from Miami has a unique list of schools right now- the U, Virginia Tech- and Boston U and Penn? Smarty pants.
Phil Miller looks at the control the Big Ten Network has over football scheduling, and their on-going battle with Dish Network (I'm interested how many readers actually have Dish Network instead of Directv?). Most importantly for Gopher fans is how many 11am kickoffs have sprung back on the schedule this season after promises last year they're moving away from it. Three of the next four home games are 11am, and none of them are afternoon games. We talked on the podcast last night, and in the comments yesterday about non-conference scheduling and attendance- this is another factor really hurting Gopher football right now. Part of the awesomeness that is college football is the atmosphere, and that includes tailgating. Pretty tough to build an appeal and an atmosphere when you have to get to the lot at 8 or 9 am for an early kickoff.
We all love the BTN for showing every Gopher game- well except for those which UNLV carries the rights to- and the money and prestige it makes, but the 11am kickoffs are brutal, and they're not giving a good reason for it. We have schools in the eastern time zone- start them at noon and give Minnesota and the rest of the central time zone the 2:30 kickoffs we need. While the BTN denies it, low ratings have to play a factor, but consider most of the Gopher games will be on BTN alternate feeds, what do you expect? And especially when played at 11:30? I hope they pull their heads out of their ***** and move towards less 1100 am kickoffs next year, not more. Then again, as we said on the pod for all of the other issues with attendance, winning will cure all.