Saturday’s game against Penn State is a huge game. This is probably the biggest game in the 10 year history of TCF Bank stadium and Gopher fans can have the discussion about this being the biggest game the Gophers have played since...?
As we sit here, six days before kickoff, I am going to tamper some of the enthusiasm this game. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly excited for Saturday at 11:00 AM. But lets unpack this one a little.
The Biggest Game Since...
This likely is the biggest game in the decade of having TCF Bank Stadium. One can argue if this game is bigger than the Wisconsin game in 2013 for a spot in the Big Ten Championship game. Or is this one as big as the 2003 Michigan debacle? I don’t know, yes..no...maybe. But here is the thing.
This game may not even be the biggest game the Gophers play in 2019.
What could be bigger than two teams undefeated at 8-0 in the last third of the season? Hosting Wisconsin on the last game of the year with a chance to secure a trip to Indianapolis, that might be pretty big.
This one is a heavy weight fight, this one will have ramifications on so much of college football after the regular season. But ultimately this game doesn’t “decide” anything, especially for Minnesota. The goals laid out for the Gophers of winning the West and possibly getting to an elite bowl game are still there. And will still be there if they fall on Saturday.
We will lose at some point
This team is going to lose a game this year. At some point, it is likely to happen. And THAT IS OK.
And to be honest if we are going to lose a game, this is the one to lose. If we go 1-1 over the next two games, I’d much rather beat Iowa. Would beating the #5 team in the country be huge? Yeah, would be outstanding and you will see this blog blow up with excitement. But beating Iowa, maintaining a healthy lead in the Big Ten West and still winning our division is a priority to me.
The single most important reason I want this Penn State game is for Rose Bowl implications. Would love nothing more than a trip to Pasadena for this program and losing to Penn State is likely going to make that reality more challenging. But first things first...The Big Ten West is the primary goal.
But a loss is going to happen. And that is going to be OK.
It is all part of the journey
I said it early in the season when we looked kinda dicey on our way to 3-0, but lets just enjoy this season.
Saturday is going to be a fantastic environment and the Gophers will get to test their mettle against a very good Penn State team. I’m anticipating a great game. But lets not put undue pressure on this one or make any grand conclusions based on the result of this one game (whatever the outcome).
The season is a journey, the goal is Indianapolis and this is part of the process.
I can’t wait!