It’s been a difficult and lonely couple of weeks in Gopher football land. The program has dealt with 47 positive COVID cases (21 students, 26 staff) and facilities have been closed for days. They’ve been forced to cancel two games (last Saturday vs Wisconsin and this weekend vs Northwestern), a Thanksgiving turkey drive and any meal plans with friends and family.
Fortunately, the Gophers who have tested positive for COVID-19 have only dealt with “very, very, very mild symptoms”, according to PJ Fleck in an interview with KFAN Radio (below)
There are still two weeks (keep reading) and one game left on the Minnesota schedule that haven’t been canceled yet. And contrary to what I’ve seen and heard speculated in the papers, on the radio and over the internet, the football team plans to play those weeks. PJ Fleck was asked by Paul Allen (KFAN) about the odds of playing in week 8 vs Nebraska.
Here’s what PJ had to say:
According to PJ Fleck (on @KFAN1003 w/PA): COVID positive #Gophers have had "very,very,very mild symptoms, if they do have it", and the team plans to play against Nebraska on December 12. pic.twitter.com/PEK5vBGm1o— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) December 1, 2020
PA: “What about that Nebraska game… care to venture a guess?”
PJ: “Well, you know, we plan on playing that. We’re going to return to practice when the medical experts say that it’s safe to do so and our goal is to play December 12 at Nebraska.
And we had a team meeting this morning, talked about it, talked about, you know, we’re already in a meeting on Nebraska. I think the players just want to be able to get back to working out, get back to conditioning, get back into the steps and protocols that take place before we can actually get back on the field in practice.”
The full interview between Paul Allen and PJ Fleck on KFAN Radio is available on HERE. I’d highly recommend you listen to the whole thing. Young college students being stuffed into their dorms for Thanksgiving is fucking depressing. I don’t care what you have to say about, “everybody is sacrificing”.
Cases have “dropped dramatically”
While PJ Fleck and the rest of the Minnesota Gopher football team impatiently waits to get back on the practice field, positive cases have been falling dramatically over the last couple of days, according to University Athletic Director, Mark Coyle.
“We’ve had a high number of positive cases over the past week,” Coyle said. “And fortunately over the past couple of days, those have dropped dramatically.”Star Tribune
What could week 9 bring?
Remember, there is a week 9 built into this Big Ten football season. The only game scheduled on that Saturday (for now) is the Big Ten Championship. However, the Big Ten was hoping to play week 9 off as a “Champions Week”.
Teams were to be seeded by record in each division from #1-7. Then, matching seeds from the East and West would line up against each other on that Saturday, all culminating in the Big Ten Championship game (West #1 vs East #1) that night.
As of now, the Big Ten still hopes to play more than just one game during week 9. Given the major cancellations that have now transpired, a rivalry game makeup week (of sorts) would be better. Instead of East vs West scrub games that nobody cares about, we could watch Minnesota battle Wisconsin for the Ax. Who says no?
There doesn’t seem to be any real reporting done on this topic yet… but I’m not the only one speculating.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan