We are officially halfway through the 2022 Gopher football season. And it has been a roller coaster of emotions through 6 weeks plus a bye.
The Gophers started the season going 4-0 and absolutely destroying their opponents. And full disclosure, I was 100% on board that this team was destined for a remarkable season. Were the opponents weak? Yes, but this team was punishing them.
For me, this team was answering all of the questions I had going into the season. And as we were starting to see the cracks forming in Iowa and Wisconsin, I was starting to believe that this was our Rose Bowl season.
So here I am...with you all...already disappointed. Expectations are a bitch.
But I’m here to tell you that the season is not over.
Is the Rose Bowl happening? That dream is on life support and unlikely enough that it really isn’t worth spending any time thinking about.
Is a Big Ten West championship possible? Yes, but Illinois and Purdue both having essentially 2.5 game leads is problematic.
Disapointing? It is, but I’m not yet willing to throw in the towel on this season. And I’m especially not willing to start getting overly critical of the coaching staff or program trajectory. I cringe at some of what I see from the Twitterverse, message boards and our comments. Why? Because in my lifetime of Gopher coaches. A timeline that technically goes back to Cal Stol, but practically begins with John Gutekunst; it is decades of somewhere between futility and mediocrity.
I get it, if this is the year where Wisconsin and Iowa are falling off AND if teams like Purdue and Illinois are capable of stepping into that void...why can’t we? I hear you, I am frustrated by this as well.
But I’m also not going to let myself fall into the trap that winning at this level is easy or some kind of formula. I’m not going to let myself feel as though a season that isn’t a Big Ten West title or Rose Bowl trip is a failure. I’m also not going to let myself believe that PJ Fleck peaked and the program is plateauing.
Fact is, I really enjoy Gopher football. College football is simply the best. And I’m going to enjoy this season. There are a lot of wins available out there still for this season. There are some great personalities on this team and I’m going to enjoy watchign them play out their college careers. Racking up 8 or 9 wins is still going to be an impressive season. Beating Wisconsin and Iowa in the same season would be truly remarkable.
I am still optimistic that this team is still a solid team who will rattle off several wins to finish out the second half of the season.
There are reasons to still enjoy this season, even if we’re frustrated.