Honestly, I was pulling for Rodent Droppings. But the people have spoken and early this morning our vote counters called the race for Golden Nuggets, a name courtesy of Boudreau. Boudreau, please send me your mailing address for a prize, though I think GN might have been exaggerating when he said it was "fabulous."
Anyway, on to various items one day away from the biggest game in the Tim Brewster era. GN will be back later with an objective preview of Saturday's game. And, remember, we'll be having liveblog fun here Saturday if you are incined to join us.
- Lots of reading here from BuckeyeSports.com (Scout) previewing the Gophers for OSU fans.
- The Bleacher Report predicts OSU 31, Minnesota 14.
- The Sports Memo writes that Minnesota's coaching and depth will be exposed Saturday in Columbus. No question, I'll be watching how Brewster and the coaching staff respond in a big game especially if it's close.
- Very, very interesting post from Badgercentric which posits that Michigan's down year might lead to a longterm downturn for one of college football's giants. Badgercentric pointed to, among other things, the downturn in Michigan's economy thanks to its reliance on the American auto industry and the state's lack of growth compared to other states feeding players to conference teams. Here's a snippet:
Michigan's population growth has also stagnated. Between 2000 and 2006, at a time in which the U.S. population grew 6%, and the Midwest's population grew 2.8%, Michigan's grew just 1.6%. This is the seventh-slowest growth among states. Ohio and Pennsylvania, where UM pulls many of its top out-of-state recruits from, grew just 1.1% (fourth-slowest) and 1.3% (fifth-slowest).
Other states feeding Big Ten football programs grew at much quicker paces: Illinois (3.3%), Wisconsin (3.6%), Indiana (3.8%), and Minnesota (5%).
- Three bloggers at We is Notre Dame are intrigued by the Minnesota-Ohio State matchup and there are predictions of a close game, but in the Buckeyes' favor.
- The Des Moines Register's Randy Peterson says Michigan State's Javon Ringer is the "slam dunk" player of the year in the conference so far. Posting 143 carries for 699 yards through four weeks will get that kind of attention. But ESPN's Rittenberg says MSU fans are "justifiably" concerned about Ringer's ability to withstand the workload for an entire season.
- If you missed it yesterday over at The Rivalry, Esq., GN had a little back and forth about the game this weekend. And I gave our friends at Eleven Warriors five keys for the Gophers this weekend. Let's just say any semblance of Minnesota confidence wasn't warmly received in 11W's comments section.
- One topic we haven't really touched this week here is that the trip to OSU will give Wayzata product James Laurinaitis a chance to flex his muscles over his hometown school. Marcus Fuller of the Pioneer Press looked at Laurinaitis' decision to bypass the NFL draft to return for his senior season at OSU.