There are a number of changes to future Gopher football schedules. The biggest change is the cancellation of the home and home series with North Carolina in 2013 and 201
Gopher athletics also announced today that the University of Minnesota and University of North Carolina football programs have cancelled their two-game, home-and-home series scheduled for the 2013 (at UNC) and 2014 (at TCF Bank Stadium) seasons. Minnesota is currently working to secure opponents for those dates.
It has been no secret that Coach Kill has desired to get out of these games in favor of a home game in 2013 against a more favorable opponent. There are a number of philosophical differences between Jerry Kill and Tim Brewster, scheduling opponents is another that can be added to the long list. I am a bit saddened by this development and I appreciate having one BCS conference opponent on the non-conference portion of the schedule each season. But for now, the priority is being placed on wins over a more quality opponent.
Hard to completely disagree with this notion while the program is building. The short-term goal has to be bowl eligibility. In a few years I hope that the program is back to regular bowl games and at that point I desperately hope to see quality opponents back on the schedule rather than a full slate of cup cakes.
The University also announced that the Gophers will open the next four seasons on Thursday night.
Athletics officials have reached an agreement with the Minnesota State Fair that will see the Gophers open the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 football seasons at TCF Bank Stadium on the Thursday night before Labor Day. The games were originally scheduled to take place on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Minnesota will now host UNLV on Thursday, August 29, 2012, Eastern Illinois on Thursday, August 28, 2014, South Dakota State on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, and New Mexico State on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.
Personally I really like the idea of playing on Thursday to open the season. It gives you an opportunity to get some national exposure and it gives you an extra couple days to rest and prepare for your week 2 opponent. What I don't care for is the quality of opponent. You are never going to get national exposure with Eastern Illinois or South Dakota State. At least these games will be at home and not on the west coast so we don't have to stay up till 1:00 on a week night.
Lastly the Gophers announced two more future opponents have been scheduled.
Two other future opponents were also confirmed today. Minnesota has added Kent State to its 2015 schedule and will host the Golden Flashes on Sept. 19, 2015, while South Dakota State is scheduled to visit TCF Bank Stadium on August 29, 2019.
Both of these are ho-hum future opponents.
When it comes to the four non-conference games I would love to see us schedule one BCS conference school, one regional FBS school, one MAC (or MAC caliber) school and then one other mid-major or low-major school. Everybody schedules a gimme game with an FBS and we should be no different (we just need to get to a point where these really are gimme games). I really want to see a quality opponent on the schedule even though it means you have to schedule it home and home. And then get yourself two other teams somewhere in the middle. This year's schedule was exactly what we should have every year, except you don't go to UNLV, that should be at home.
I'm bummed we took UNC off the schedule and now we have two holes to fill, one for next year and another in 2014. There are probably not very many schools with availability left at this point so will probably take whoever will come to Minnesota.