Finally game week again, it was an odd Saturday to sit and watch football but not have a Gopher game to look forward to. So today's perspective is really going to look at two things, so let's skip the introduction and jump into it.
What Did We Learn Over the Bye?
This wasn't a great week for most of the Big Ten West. Iowa lost to North Dakota State. Wisconsin needed a late TD to beat Georgia State. Illinois was the second West team to lose to Western Michigan. Those games were all not veyr pretty and are getting Gopher fans excited about their chances in the West. On the flip side, Nebraska had a nice win over a ranked Oregon team and Northwestern finally got a W by beating Duke.
So what does this mean?
Not very much, in my opinion. I know that this past week made a good portion of the West look more vulnerable than we thought in the previous week, particularly Wisconsin and Iowa. But the point here is that these things change from week to week and one bad week by the Badgers and Hawkeyes shouldn't reframe the whole division, the discussion about who's going to finish at the top or our expectations. It was a bad week that could easily be written off as two teams who weren't as sharp due to looking past lower division/conference talent.
Ultimately the Gophers haven't proven much of anything yet and there's no reason for increased optimism quite yet. From our perspective things haven't really changed and are going exactly according to plan. The real test comes in two weeks when we head to Happy Valley before hosting Iowa. Just because Iowa lost to NDSU, well that won't mean much of anything in 3 weeks and we will have our hands full. The plan and expectation all along is to start 3-0, then navigate the next 3-game stretch of PSU, Iowa and
NW Maryland. Say what you want about those 3 teams, but I'll reiterate that the Gophers haven't proven much yet to start to get over-confident...even the Northwestern game.
Point is that we need to take care of business. If someone else appears to be down or weaker than we thought, it really doesn't matter because they are more than capable of playing well and beating us. Let's, as fans, keep focused on one game at a time and more importantly we need to focus on us. The rest of the West is far from perfect and I feel no differently now than I did three weeks ago. We are capable of competing in the West, but we are not a complete team and need to play well every single week. Let other teams struggle, we need to take care of business and it resumes with Colorado State this week.
That was my rambling dissertation to state that I really don't think we can make broad assumptions based on 1 week cause opinions change. One game at a time should apply to fans as much as we expect it from the team.
The Rams come to town. And remember a year ago when we went to Ft. Collins and needed K.J. Maye to be a hero with an overtime win? Let's take care of business this year and dominate this one.
So the Rams have played 3 games, starting a different quarterback each time. And they seem to have finally found their man in freshman, Collin Hill. He lead the Rams to a 47-21 win over Northern Colorado, throwing for 315 yards, 4 touchdowns and completed 21 of 27 passes. Potentially a test for our secondary but also a chance to get after a freshman quarterback and see how his psyche crumbles!
Forget the rest of the Big Ten right now, Colorado State is the focus. Whatever you think about how vulnerable other B1G teams are may very well change by this time next week. I'd like to see a focused effort that dominates the Rams on Saturday. Something to the tune of a 3 TD win and perhaps more of the back up QB!
Excited to have Gopher Football back on Saturday.