The Monday Perspective has been one of my favorite things to write for The Daily Gopher. Several years of often writing that things are going to be OK, manage expectations appropriately, enjoy the season, progress is not linear, one game’s outcome does not necessarily dictate the next...and other such attempts to keep us all from running around with our hair on fire. (you know who you are)
I’ve been a Gopher football fan for decades. As a young kid making the 90 min journey to the Metrodome with my uncle or family friends who invited me to the game hooked me early. So many epic childhood memories. Getting our car towed cause my dad forgot to renew the tabs on the car and my family wandering the scary downtown Minneapolis looking for the impound lot (after Chip Lohmiller missed a game winning field goal against Indiana on homecoming). Seeing Mike Alstott run wild in a 59-56 Gopher win. Riding home from a win over Iowa State and passing the Cyclone team bus only to be flicked off by one of the players because we were politely showing him our Gopher gear. Chris Darkins rushing for 294 against Purdue in 95. So many great Big Ten players, fun Gopher games and very few signature wins.
What happened Saturday against Penn State, that was special. That was a moment to soak in and it will be remembered by Gopher fans for years. It was truly special.
Every once in a while we get to experience a special season. And a special season does not have to result in a championship, but is one remembered for a generation. It has special moments to accompany a season that stands out.
Previous coaches here have had fantastic starts before fading. Glen Mason was great at starting out 6-2 or 5-1 before fading in the Big Ten. Tim Brewster started 7-1 before collapsing in the final season of the Metrodome. So it is perfectly understandable that people were wary of the 8-0 start and how things were going to play out, beginning with a great Penn State team.
But this team was ready and gave Gopher fans something to remember.
The 2003 team was so close to a Rose Bowl. The 2005 team could have been pretty good if that Wisconsin debacle doesn’t happen. 2015 really should have secured The Jug and then 2016 was a 10-win team. All good seasons that could have turned special at certain points.
Saturday’s win over previously unbeaten Penn State was that moment turning something to “special.’, It doesn’t mean “we have arrived.” This season has been special but there are still a few games remaining to solidify where this season ranks in the hearts and minds of Gopher fans.
Part of me wants to put my foot in the ground and say that this is it. This is the year it all has to happen. Rose Bowl is within our grasp, winning the West is under our control...THIS IS THE YEAR IT HAS TO HAPPEN.
Those things may happen, they may not. Today, I don’t care. Saturday was a special moment. I love the mental toughness of this team as much as I admire their talent & execution. I’m not worried about the upcoming games as being any sort of a let down, this team will be prepared.
Soak this in, enjoy this week and I am so very excited for Iowa on Saturday. Let’s go get the West and make this a season we’ll never forget, not just a game that we’ll never forget. Today we can clamor for more and while also appreciating what has been done.
I’ve had so many conversations the last couple days with Gopher fans who have been waiting for this for a very long time. This season is one we will not forget. Three games remain and I can’t wait to see how this turns out.