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Minnesota Gopher Sports: The Monday Perspective cares

But what do we really care about?

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Holiday Bowl - Minnesota v Washington State Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’m feeling like Gopher fans have reached a level of frustration over the last couple weeks that feels a bit “off” to me. It started last week with what seemed to minor frustrations that the 6-0 Gopher basketball team was still not ranked, despite being undefeated. Then it really seemed to hit a boiling point on Sunday after it was announced that the football team would be going to Phoenix for the Guaranteed Rate bowl game.

Tweets like this...

or this...

I guess my question on the bowl game selection and for Gopher hoops is...WHO CARES?

GoAUpher wrote up a nice piece on how the process ACTUALLY works and explains how the Gophers ended up where they ended up.

But again...who really cares? Do we feel more validated by our 8-4 season if we are in Las Vegas instead of Phoenix? Does playing in Nashville give us more national cred? Have we earned so much respect that we “deserve” to bump up to the Outback Bowl?

First and foremost, if you want a better bowl game, then don’t lose to Bowling Green who finished 2-6 in the MAC.

There are basic bowl tiers (unofficial)

  • Tier 1 - College Football Playoff
  • Tier 2A - New Year’s 6 (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Cotton, Peach)
  • Tier 2B - Also on Jan 1, but not the BCS Bowls (Citrus, Outback)
  • Tier 3 - a whole bunch of decent bowl games (Music City, Vegas, Gator, Alamo, etc)
  • Tier 4 - crappy bowl games but we got to 6 or 7 wins (Quick Lane, Fenway, First Responder)

If you aren’t going to land in the top 2 tiers, what on earth does is matter which bowl you go to? Citrus and Outback were not realistic considerations for the Gophers. Which meant that they were lumped into GN’s Tier 3 and when you are in that group, the bowl you go to really makes no difference.

Do we feel so much better about our season if we played in the Vegas Bowl? If you think so, I’d love to hear it articulated why that makes a difference to you.

It was a good season for the Gophers, they are going to a bowl game which above all else is a really fun reward for the team. It is a vacation, they get cool swag, they make a bunch of great memories and then they get to play 1 last football game together.

That’s it, that is all the matters at this point. Whether we get to put the Music City Bowl or the Guaranteed Rate Bowl trophy in our trophy case really is immaterial. I just don’t get the angst or the manufactured feeling of disrespect.

We have gone to a bowl game 8 of the last 9 years (excluding 2020), it could be much worse. Some powerhouse teams haven’t been to a bowl since 2016.

Which leads me to hoops. I’m far less fired up about this, but last Monday I was reading a lot of similar disrespect angst because Minnesota had beat P5 team on the road to remain undefeated and still were not receiving any votes.

The record is great, but we have to have some self-awareness here. This team is much better than we anticipated, but they still have a lot to prove. And frankly, I just don’t see them anywhere near the caliber of a top 25 team.

Now, they did get a second road win and this was over what was easily the best team they’ve faced all year. And they very likely will be receiving votes when this week’s polls are released. But even if they don’t...who cares?

They have really proven themselves once this season. And playing in the Big Ten, they will have ample opportunity to continue to prove themselves. But what does a ranking really mean? Nothing. Other than validation, but I’m not here for validation. A ranking, especially in December, means nothing.

You may recall that just about a year ago, Northwestern jumped out to a great start to the season, even 2-0 in the Big Ten. Then they lost 13 straight conference games and were the worst team in the league. A December ranking is meaningless.

And really, I’m OK with just enjoying this team as they are for the season. Maybe they keep things up and end up near the NCAA Tournament bubble. Maybe they fall off the map and become unwatchable. This was always considered a year of transition and expectations have already been met.

But there are some Dudes on this team and they play well together. I don’t need ranking validation.

So what do I care about?

I care that Gopher football plays well against West Virginia and I’d love to see them get that 9th win. Whatever bowl is on the trophy matters not. Get the win and move into 2022.

I care that Gopher hoops gets better throughout the season and remains competitive. Wins matter, ranking does not.

Really it is all about enjoying the season. Mike Tice had never been so right...enjoy the season.