Just because the Gophers are not playing football this weekend, doesn't mean that there are not games being played that can have at least a minor impact on our season. I wanted to provide a quick overview of a few games this weekend and where our rooting interest's should lie.
Iowa vs. Bye
Hawkeyes are also on bye, I'm cheering for bye. Who Hates Iowa?
Wisconsin at Northwestern
My ultimate goal right now is to have the final game of the year between Minnesota and Wisconsin to be the one that determines who goes to the Big Ten Championship Game. They will likely need to have one or two losses prior to that game in Madison, maybe this is one of them or maybe it is not.
The other thing with this game is that Northwestern is our opponent next Saturday. The Cats are coming off a surprising win over Penn State last week so I think a win over Wisconsin would actually be a bad thing for the Gophers. We don't need them coming up to TCF Bank Stadium with any confidence or momentum.
I think we are actually hoping for a Badger win where they punish Northwestern and beat them down. A Northwestern win would further the mediocrity of the Big Ten narrative and give them more confidence for next week. I won't exactly be cheering for Wisconsin but I think a Badger win is best for us at this point.
Nebraska at Michigan State
Remember how I want us to be playing Wisconsin for the right to go to Indy? Well that means we need to see Nebraska lose a game or two along the way. Michigan State over the Huskers is what we want here.
Michigan at Rutgers
OK so the narrative all week has been about just how decimated the Michigan program is now. Brady Hoke is barely clinging to to his job. He has apparently brought the program to levels of incompetency not seen since Tim Brewster was roaming the sidelines for 11 AM starts. This incidentally diminishes the Gopher win at Michigan.
We are now all big fans of the Wolverines. A win at Rutgers, where the Scarlet Knights are favored, would change the perception of Michigan at least for a week. I'd really like to see Michigan get back on track, starting with a win over Rutgers.
Oklahoma at TCU
This one is kind of a big deal in my opinion. The one blemish on the Gopher record is their loss to TCU and most people chalk that up as a game where we were totally dominated by a mid-level Big 12 team. Well TCU has a chance to help their own image as well as Minnesota's maybe. A win to knock off Oklahoma would not only solidify them as being better than a mid-level Big 12 team but might put them in position to win the Big 12. But even just playing the Sooners tight would look good for TCU, and hopefully not make our loss look quite so bad.
Go Horned Frogs!
I think these are the only games that remotely should matter to Gopher fans. Other than that enjoy some quality games being played around the rest of the country.