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Daily Nuggz 9.2.2009

  • Ever wonder about the origins of Big Ten team names?  The Rivalry Esq discusses that exact topic for the Big Ten, and for Minnesota:
    Minnesota is The Gopher State, named after a cartoon from 1857 that satirized nine local politicians heads on gopher's bodies, pulling a train. The cartoon was in reference to a controversial $5 million railroad proposal in Minnesota... somehow the University picked up the name later. The Golden qualifier was added in the 1930's by radio announcer Halsey Hall who called the football team the Golden Gophers because the squad wore all gold uniforms. It was an easy time to call the Gophers golden, because from 1932 to 1941 Minnesota won 5 national championships.
  • The Rivalry Esq also published an article discussing the decline of the Gopher passing game throughout the 2008 season:
    But the problem that Weber has with Decker is that Decker is so good, and they have such a connection, both on and off the field, that Weber gets tunnel vision. I can't even begin to tell you how many times last season Weber would take a snap, look Decker's direction, and never look at anyone else. He inevitably would end up forcing the ball to Decker.
  • There are many rumors circulating as to what opponents the Gophers may add to their future schedules.  This link discusses the possibility of adding Notre Dame, and The Denver Post hints that Colorado State may be a future opponent:
    CSU coach Steve Fairchild let it slip out: "We're trying to get Minnesota on the schedule" during Tuesday's Mountain West conference call.
  • A sports betting handicapper gives a 6-6 over/under for the Gophers for their record on the season.  Basically, the Vegas expectations are for a .500 season:
    The reason the wins will be tougher to come by is because of a tough schedule. Three of the four Big Ten road games are at Ohio St., Penn St. and Iowa while the fourth at Northwestern is no easy game either. Three of the four conference home games are against teams ranked ahead of them so the whole conference schedule is a challenge. The Gophers also host Air Force and California in non-conference action.