It has come to our attention that there a significant sub-population of Gophers fans who are willing to say (out loud and in public forums) that they want Wisconsin to beat Ohio State on Saturday to advance to the College Football Playoff.
I feel like I’m taking crazy pills because we already went through this a little over two years ago.
This isn’t hard. If you are planning to cheer for Wisconsin as a Minnesota Gophers fan then you are bad and you should feel bad. It’s really that simple. The funny thing is I can already hear the people who believe they’re right to cheer for Wisconsin saying “WELL ACTUALLY...” out loud as they read this and all I can do is shake my head because these people are fools.
I am here to preempt the tired and incorrect arguments these people will give one by one because they are terrible and without merit. Before I do so I need to stress a very important point:
It’s us or them.
Minnesota and Wisconsin are in direct competition in every way possible. They compete constantly for recruits. They compete for a rivalry trophy. They compete for pride. They compete for bragging rights. They compete for exposure. And on and on it goes.
This is a zero sum contest. Wisconsin doing well makes it easier for them to beat Minnesota on and off the field. There is no trickle down effect from their glory to the Gophers. Every bad argument I’m about to highlight is invalid for multiple reasons, but at their core they all fail because none of them can get past the fact that when you’re talking about a border rival within your conference it always comes down to “us or them.”
If you want Minnesota to succeed, then you can’t cheer for things that make it easier for Wisconsin to succeed. “TO BE THE BEST YOU GOTTA BEAT THE BEST” is a cool thing to say on a message board, but it makes me think of this.
This is the real world, not a WWE promo. In the real world Minnesota needs to build itself up to even be on a position to compete for the Big Ten West, much less a conference title game and beyond. A strong Wisconsin doesn’t help the Gophers do any of that.
Put another way:
I don’t get that at all. Why support your biggest rival and strengthen a team you have to play and recruit against every year?— Ryan Dobbs (@rwdobbs) December 1, 2017
1) We should all support the Big Ten
Let’s go through a number of permutations on this argument.
“WISCONSIN HAS THE BEST CHANCE OF REPRESENTING THE B1G IN THE PLAYOFF AND IT’S IMPORTANT THAT THE B1G BE REPRESENTED.”
Money? Sure, there’s some money tied into a Big Ten team making the playoff but we’re already rolling in cash thanks to Delany selling his soul to Rutgers and Fox. So the money doesn’t matter.
Respect? So what? Minnesota isn’t going to be more respected in any way that matters because Wisconsin makes the playoff. It just isn’t. And I could care less whether the other 13 teams are respected or disrespected because I’m not a fan of those teams. And seriously, if you’re bothered by BIG TEN DISREPEKT then I seriously think you need to reexamine your priorities.
“WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.”
The Big Ten is an athletic (and nominally, and academic) confederation designed to raise insane amounts of TV revenue and provide scheduling arrangements for teams across dozens of sports. It is not NATO. When another member is
attacked playing a game there is no treaty saying we should be there supporting them. This is the most asinine reason out there. This is not a mutual defense pact. As I already said, Minnesota vs. Wisconsin is a zero sum game. Supporting them “BECAUSE B1G” is simply you putting a silly notion of unity above what actually helps Minnesota.
“BUT WE’RE ALL BROTHERS/FAMILY/FRIENDS IN THIS CONFERENCE.”
The Big Ten is not your family. The Big Ten isn’t a group of friends you’ve known for years. The Big Ten isn’t your country. The Big Ten is a collective of like minded schools who compete athletically. More importantly, it is a collective of like minded schools who compete athletically that have proven they will sacrifice all the things that we love about this particular collective in order to make more money. The conference doesn’t care about our loyalty unless it makes them money.
2) We want the Big Ten to be respected so Minnesota will be respected when we’re finally good.
This argument is tied to the “ALL B1G EVERYTHING” argument, but it gets its own call-out because it masquerades as concern for Minnesota. Pro tip friends: No undefeated Big Ten team is ever getting left out of the College Football Playoff.*
If Minnesota is good enough for the Playoff one day they can earn their way there by winning out. If they can’t go undefeated in that happy hypothetical season then Wisconsin going to the playoff right now isn’t going to be the thing that saves them. Seriously. It won’t be. The idea of conference respect is immensely overblown and it pales compared to the details of a specific team’s season (i.e. did they play a hard or easy schedule and how many times did they lose).
There is one other simple fact. If/when Minnesota finally rises high enough to be worthy of a Playoff berth there will be an immense amount of skepticism and doubt from the national media and playoff committee. That’s just part of the deal of being a non-helmet school that hasn’t won a conference title since the 60’s. If you think for one second that Wisconsin making the playoff this fall will change that skepticism you are delusional.
Oh yea, and the zero sum thing again.
*I mean, I suppose if every other P5 champion was undefeated and the Big Ten rep could get left out if they were viewed as the weakest but that scenario has literally never happened. If you’re worried about that scenario you’re lost in a fantasy land.
3) Wisconsin fans will cheer for us one day
First off, no, most of them won’t. I see Gopher fans bitch and bitch about how terrible Wisconsin fans are all the time. But yes, those people are totally going to support Minnesota when we’re good.
And the small number of Wisconsin fans that will? They’ll be morons deluding themselves with terrible rationalizations. Why do you care if they’ll support Minnesota in a hypothetical dream season anyhow? You should care a lot more about how much fun it would be to celebrate that magical season with your fellow Gopher fans.
4) Ohio State is evil/too good/always wins/another terrible rationalization
Wisconsin losing means Bama might get into the Playoff
Grow up, Peter Pan. Count Chocula. Who cares if you don’t like Ohio State? Who cares if Alabama gets in again? If you somehow hate Ohio State or Bama more than Wisconsin then you might be a fan of the wrong team. For real.
BONUS REASON TO IGNORE THIS LINE OF THINKING: If you simply must use a bad rationalization to feel complete with your life then you can cheer for Ohio State and delude yourself into thinking that you’re supporting the B1G and that doing so matters!
5) If Wisconsin can do, we can do it!
See point #2. Minnesota already has what it takes to make the College Football Playoff. It’s called winning all your football games as a Big Ten team. If you need inspiration that badly please print out the following images and put them on your wall.
If you want Minnesota to win then you want them to have every advantage possible. Wisconsin winning and doing good things makes it harder for Minnesota to have advantages. In fact, in the current state of the CFB world is puts Minnesota at a disadvantage. There is no argument you can make that changes this immutable fact. If you are a Minnesota fan and you cheer for Wisconsin you are expressly saying you’re ok with the Gophers being at a disadvantage and I have to ask what the heck is wrong with you.