I have a few prevailing thoughts, most of them are only casually related.
First, this is my weekly reminder to not get too high or too low throughout the season. This is not always an easy thing to do. After the 0-2 start to the Big Ten season, when everything seemed to be going wrong, it was easy to go down the path of pitty and assume this was going to be another lost or typical Gopher season. But now things have dramatically changed with a four-game conference win streak for the first time in my lifetime. And a team that appears to be good enough to be competitive in every Big Ten team, regardless of opponent.
As stated several times here, it is a lot of fun to be a Golden Gopher fan right now. I'm taking the advice of Mike Tice and I'm enjoying the season. Being 8-2, or 10-2 or 8-4 or whatever does not guarantee anything for next season (just ask Northwestern fans), but right now I'm having fun. I am excited about this season and in my opinion whatever happens over the next three games is just gravy.
I wanted 3 things this year. I wanted tangible signs of improvement, I wanted a signature win and I wanted to return to a bowl. Check, check and check; plus an extra win or two. 8-2 is better than everyone except Matt anticipated (and he still has a Wisconsin win on his prediction record). The team has shown dramatic improvement not just from last year but within the 2013 season. And we are certainly going to a bowl, with a chance to go to a fairly decent one.
Lets enjoy this season, regardless of what happens in the next two games.
Secondly, I'm not exactly thrilled with this whole campaign to get College Game Day on our campus next weekend. It would be a lot of fun and I'd certainly get behind the excitement. But my gut tells me that we've haven't earned it yet. 8-2 and playing a huge rival, who is also 8-2, has the makings for a nice match-up to go along with what is one of the better stories in college football. But we haven't exactly accomplished anything yet.
I don't want to be a downer here, remember I'm enjoying the season immensely, but we are barely a top 25 team that might go to a decent bowl. I want to get CGD when we've earned it, when we are playing a game with national meaning. That's all. It would be a lot of fun, it would be great exposure and this is going to be a game where there are going to be a lot of recruits on campus. I'm not against CGD coming to a chilly Minneapolis, I am just not going to beg them to come.
Lastly, I really love Jerry Kill. More precisely I have a ton of respect for him as a man of character.
I could just leave it at that, but I won't. I have always thought that were I an elite recruit, i would have chosen the U. I would have chosen it because I wanted to go there and try to succeed at my favorite college. I liked Clem, I could have played for Glen Mason and I have a lot of respect for Tubby Smith. But I would WANT to play for Kill.
He has a sincere heart for the kids and to me he embodies exactly what a college coach should be. This has nothing to do with being impressed how he has overcome his health issues or other adversities. But he loves the kids in a genuine and sincere way. He understands that his job is to win football games and to develop men. It isn't lip service to him, it is his DNA.
I rarely idolize athletes and coaches because even the ones you think will never do something bad, they often do. But I have no reservations about putting Coach Kill on a pedestal. I have heard some stories about things he has done for players, even for players he has been forced to remove from his team; he is a coach that you don't find other places. He is unique and we are lucky to have him.
Of course his job is to win football games and if he ends up failing at that, it won't matter what kind of a human being he is. But I have a ton of respect for the man, I desperately hope he wins more football games and I think he has the character and determination to do it.