Well through five games the Gophers are sitting in great position. As we have said all along, this team has done what it has needed to do and still has all of their season goals ahead of them. But we have a lot of ground to cover here this Monday morning, so lets get started.
First and foremost, this team is undefeated at 5-0. This is the program’s first 5-0 start since the 2004 season. There seem to be a number of different reactions to these facts, I’d like to go through them.
“They haven’t played anybody.”
This is true, the Gopher’s schedule has been rather weak. And to be fair, they barely snuck by a few of these weak teams.
Appropriate response? Who cares!
Five wins is still five wins regardless of who you play. And two of those wins have come over Big Ten opponents. Strength of schedule is measured differently in different places. In the preseason is was somewhere in the 50-60 range in terms of rank among the rest of FBS. Currently I have seen their SOS somewhere in the mid-80s rank.
Power 5 teams with an even weaker schedule include
- NC State (3-2)
- Arkansas (2-3)
- Boston College (3-3)
And others, but you get my point.
Sure we played a good FCS program, Fresno State and Georgia Southern. But we beat them. Purdue lost to Nevada (S&P ranking of 115 heading into last weekend and probably worse than any of our three opponents), Illinois lost to Eastern Michigan. Nevada lost to a weak Stanford team. Blah blah. Point is that the Gophers have won their games, it is ok to acknowledge that the opponents aren’t exactly going to be ranked, but five wins is five wins.
“Hey awesome, the Gophers are ranked!”
Once again the appropriate response is, Who Cares!
Enjoy it, but really getting outside accolades is irrelevant. If we need the associated press to give us validity, then we really need to reevaluate what is important. Do we really care what current bowl we are projected to be in?
No, we really shouldn’t. I would imagine that being a coach at this level, it would be incredibly difficult to get it through to your players that being ranked is so meaningless, especially in early October. Does it matter towards BCS rankings and getting yourself into position for a truly elite season? Yes, but this team is going to have to go 12-0 to realize those dreams.
Now, as a fan, is it fun to be ranked? Yes. Enjoy it. But it really doesn’t mean much to move from receiving votes to 25th/26th in the country.
“OMG We are going to go 8-0!”
Slow down there Cowboy. Do NOT start looking past anybody. OK, you can look past Rutgers. But nobody else.
Yes, we are undefeated and we are playing better. But we are in no position to be looking ahead. Nebraska and Maryland both beat us last year. Are both looking pretty bad right now? Yes, but that means nothing.
Instead, lets enjoy this week’s game. Not worrying about the ramifications or what our record is going to be three weeks from now. A lot can happen in three weeks. Three weeks ago our team “looked so bad” that we didn’t stand a chance to beat anybody in the Big Ten. So lets not start assuming wins now.
This is the Mike Tice reminder to ENJOY THE SEASON.
“This is nice, but we are going to be killed by Penn State and Wisconsin.”
Heck, probably Iowa too. Why stop at Wisconsin and the Nittany Lions?
Guess what? WHO CARES!
Enjoy this season. I’m going to level with you, other than one or two writers here at TDG, nobody has ANY CLUE what is going to happen the rest of the season. We might finish 11-1, we might finish 6-6.
Those last four games (and the three in between) are going to take care of themselves. I realize this is blog and we will write our opinions, you will comment and we will all enjoy the roller coaster ride of the season.
We will be here to commiserate on any sucky losses and we will be here to celebrate the big wins. But today? I’m enjoying the season.