Minnesota Football: Golden Nugz 10.14.13

University of Minnesota Athletics

Gopher Hockey- both men's and women's- did some winning this weekend. So did the Wild. Speaking of "Wild", Gopher Football had Saturday off, but it was the "wildest" college football weekend this season. Speaking of taking the day off, that's what the Vikings did yesterday, or maybe they should have as the lost in embarrassing fashion.

Gopher Football had a much needed bye week, so let's start with Gopher Hockey, shall we? Oh we shall! Men won the Ice Breaker tournament with a 6-0 pasting of Mercyhurst Friday night, and a 3-2 win Saturday night over #12 New Hampshire. The Mercyhurst win was even more lopsided than the score would incidicate, as goalie Adam Wilcox pretty much got the night off. Saturday night was a different story as he was brilliant, and The U needed two incredible saves from him with under 15 seconds to go to preserve the victory. Freshman Vinni (with an I not a Y) Lettieri scored the eventual game winner in the second period, and the Gophers got goals from another freshman in Hudson Fasching as well as veteran linemate Sam Warning.

It's a good start for a young team, and should help build some confidence for the season ahead. We knew they'd score and create chances and they didn't disappoint, and also played good D when they needed to. Oh, and remember how I said last week about senior D Justin Holl being in danger of not making the top 6? Um, what I meant was, he would definitely be on the top pairing with Brady Skjei and look great. Yep, totally what I meant to say. The other pairings were Mike Reilly and Jake Parenteau, and Ben Marshall with the freshman Mike Brodzinski. The Gophers travel to Bemidji State this weekend, with both games on FSN.

Gopher women's hockey swept Wisconsin, running their unbeaten streak to 53 games. No big deal, it's just how they roll. Best team in the state? Best team in the state.

Not much for Gopher football news as they prepare for Northwestern this week, but considering what kind of news we've had with this program lately, that's probably not a bad thing. As an example Marcus had a piece in Saturday's paper about how the fading Gophers may not win two more games to get bowl eligible. See? You missed that kind of misery and depression during the bye week, amiright? I'm going to give myself a concussion banging my head against my desk at either the level of negativty from the local scribes this week and/or the eventual unofficial "Kill Watch" when they'll keep asking when head coach Jerry Kill will be back with the team. Really, really good times ahead in the next seven weeks or so for Gopher Football. Prepare yourselves accordingly, and by that I mean please try to keep your killing sprees out of anger and frustration to GTA 5 and GTA 5 only.

Our only posts this week may just be different booze options we recommend to drown your sorrows. Like Alaskan Winter Ale. The fall and winter beer season is my wheelhouse for beers, as I love ales, stouts, porters, and all the delicious stuff that comes out this time of year. I love Alaskan Ale, and when I found out about their Winter Ale, well, it had to happen and it happened quickly. I enjoyed one/several/many during a nice Canadian Thanksgiving dinner Saturday (a nice glazedham, not turkey, just to mix it up), and cannot recommend it enough.

Sorry where was I? Sports links? Um right sure. Let's just get the rest of the negativity out of the way in the local sports scene by saying this state has difficulty playing football and the professional and B1G level. The Daily Norseman saw yesterday's debacle as same stuff, different day. Good times. At least the Vikings will get rewarded with better draft choices for this horrible season, though when some of them turn into Christian Ponder, Josh Robinson, Toby Gerhart...yeah nevermind.

At least the Wild are winning, and they're beating "rivals". That's right, Minnesota Wild Hockey- Now with Rivals! After beating Winterpeg Thursday night, Minnesota faced the old Minnesota team now drawing tens of fans down in Dallas Saturday night at The X and crushed them 5-1. Matthew Dumba and Justin Fontaine scored their first NHL goals, Nino Niederreiter scored his first of the season playing on the "big line" with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, and Matt Cooke continues to look great with a goal and an assist. Nik Backstrom getting hurt (but thankfully not seriously) may have been a blessing in disguise as Josh Harding looks like the team's best goaltender. Oh and Mikael Granlund is finally starting to look like "Mikael Granlund crazy-hyped future star". I'm telling you, forget football, just watch hockey. You'll be (potentially) much happier.

Or maybe just don't watch Minnesota football, as we finally had a crazy day in college football. In a season that had been totally lacking big upsets we got three on Saturday as Utah shocked Stanford 27-21, Mizzou spanked an injury-riddled Georgia 41-26, and Texas delayed the near certainty of Mack Brown's demise at least one more week with their first victory over Oklahoma since 2009 36-20. Oregon staked their claim as the clear #2 team in the nation with a 45-24 thrashing of 16th ranked UDub in Seattle. Or at least for this week, as the winner of #3 Clemson v #5 Florida State this weekend could/should jump the Ducks up to #2.

As Stewart Mandell explains in his weekly College Football Overtime Monday column, two schools who may have real trouble keeping up in the national chase, even if they run the table, are Ohio State and Baylor. Both schools are winning, and winning in style, yet are being done no favors by the rest of their conference as OSU looks like the best B1G team by a mile, as does Baylor in what looks like a very down year in the Big 12.

CBS Sports BCS Standings projections (the official standings aren't out until Oct 20) shows Ohio State in much better shape than Baylor, as the Buckeyes are fifth while Baylor is still at 14. But Ohio State may drop as the season progresses and other top 10 programs play better teams. That's because the only other B1G schools in the projected top 30 are...hang on, let me look...no one else in the top 5...top 10...15...20(?!?)...oh there they are! Nebraska at 24, Michigan at 25, Sparty 28 and Sconnie 29. So yeah, apparently a very down year in the B1G too. Meechigan, who was supposed to contend with OSU, lost a wild/ugly 4 OT game vs Penn State 43-40, who you may remember lost the week before to Indiana...who lost this week badly to Michigan State 42-20. By the way, not a misprint, Michigan State scored 42 points in one single football game. Northwestern, who was the new "it" team for about 10 minutes, has now lost back-to-back games to OSU and Bucky. Still, even after getting steamrolled by Wisconsin 35-6, the Wildcats aren't out of the soon-to-be-properly-named West Division race even with two losses, as the other five schools in the West all have at least one loss. And it just so happens, Northwestern plays those five schools the next five consecutive games, starting with the Golden Gophers this Saturday at 11am in Evanston on E!SPN2.

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