Ughhhhh...yeah I just don't have it this year. Apathy has set in. I still hate Iowa with every fiber of my being, but it's been near impossible for me to get excited for this game. With legions of Hawkeye fans rolling into "Kinnick North" Saturday the level of obnoxious will be raised to 11 as only Hawkeye fans can. They're an insufferable lot to begin with, but when you factor in just how bad and completely non-competitive the Gophers are right now? Yeah it's going to be a new level of awful- and that's really saying something considering the levels of awful Iowa has introduced us to in recent year- 55-donut in 2008 and perhaps the worst game in the history of college football in 2009 when Iowa won (or perhaps more accurately Minnesota lost) 12-0 when neither team could do ANYTHING offensively.
I know we said much the same thing last year, and then Jeff Horton and the Gophs shocked the B1G with an upset win that stole Floyd back for the first time in forever. That was the best win the program's had in awhile, and it makes this season's matchup even worse: for one thing, Iowa's not going to get upset by the Gophers two years in a row. For the other, it just makes me wonder what the hell happened to that Gopher team?
A LOT of the same guys that beat not only Iowa but Illinois to end last season are back, yet you wouldn't know it by the way they've played. This group is unquestionably worse than the one that beat Iowa a year ago, which I never though was possible. I'm glad coach Kill and his staff are here, and I believe they're the right guys to get this turned around. But I'll admit it- I'm disappointed in this season has gone. I expected to lose, just not like this.
We were told all off-season by those who knew Kill and who had coached against him just how prepared Kill's teams always were. How disciplined, and how prepared they were. Yet besides the second half of the USC game, we're yet to see the 2011 Gophers look prepared or disciplined. The stupid penalties and mental mistakes that happened under Brewster were a sad joke, a byproduct of terrible coaching. Yet the mental mistakes continue to happen.
I know the group that is going out there right now is VERY young, and young players in the Big Ten are going to make mistakes. I also know MarQueis Gray had barely played QB in a meaningful situation in the past four years, so he's going to make mistakes too. I'm still surprised by how out-of-sorts they've been. In Big Ten play they have been completely non-competitive, and after two weeks to prepare for Nebraska, I hoped that would change. It didn't. 34-0 at halftime and it wasn't even that close. I'm trying to have a better attitude about this season, but I'm not expecting another remotely competitive game until Minnesota plays Northwestern and Illinois at the end of the season. And even then I'm not saying they'll win, just that they hopefully won't get blown out by 30+ points.
I missed last year's Iowa game and will always regret it. I'm missing this year's Iowa game, and while I'd love to regret it, I have about as good a chance of that happening as...well, as Minnesota beating Iowa Saturday. I won't miss having to be around all of he obnoxious Iowa fans (for the record, the Nebraska fans were pretty good last week. They were excited to see a new city and stadium, and we both knew they were cheering for a much, much better team. There was only one d-bag a few rows behind me who cheered for every Husker play like it was the national championship game. And even worse, he made sure to look around every time he did so everyone KNEW how much better he and his frosted-tip, pretty boy self was than the rest of us), or sitting through yet another Gopher humiliation.
I hate Iowa, but I think I hate the situation this season even more. I like the coaches we have and I hope we finally see the players respond to them. I hope it happens, but I'm glad I won't be there to find out. And I hate myself for feeling this way.