This Weekend, We Stan With Michigan

Photo: Tony Ding (AP Photo)
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It could be a big weekend for the Minnesota Gopher Football Team… and they don’t even play. Pressure is off, which is nice after losing months on my life in weeks 1-3. I’m still trying to figure out how we are 3-0… but then again, the rest of the Big Ten West hasn’t faired any better…

except for Wisconsin. They have put up 110 of their own points and….. have given up ZERO to their opponents. Yes, like 0 + 0 = 0.

2 games…. 0 points and a 110-point differential. I’m almost impressed at how little I have heard from Wisconsin fans, through this 2-game run. I wouldn’t even have known they’ve been dominating at this level, had I not started looking into their chances vs the Wolverines this weekend. Who would have thought that Nebraska fans coming into the Big Ten could make Badger fans…. well, not smell quite as bad.

Instead of smelling like the city-issued, rolling trash bin, that’s in your hot garage the day before they pick it up; Wisconsin fans now smell more like your kitchen trash that’s overdue to go out, to that bin in the garage. Sure, there are still a couple of dirty diapers in there and maybe some raw meat, that you didn’t want to put down your disposal on Sunday afternoon (it’s now Tuesday), but at least you don’t gag every time you walk past it… you just catch that weird whiff every once in a while, that eventually forces you to get it out of the house.

I don’t care who you’ve played (and the Badger opponents — USF, CMU — haven’t been terrible), those are some impressive numbers. Maybe the Gopher opponents have been better so far but, after watching all three of our games VERY closely, I can promise you that we wouldn’t have beaten either of the Wisconsin opponents by the margins that the Badgers did.

But this weekend, Michigan comes to Madison and Jim Harbaugh’s job is probably on the line. Losing to Wisconsin wouldn’t put it in immediate jeopardy (unless it’s an utter embarrassment) but they barely snuck one out in double-OT vs Army the last time they took the field and the tires are hitting the rumble strips HARD right now in Ann Arbor. Plus, they still have Ohio State (6), Iowa (18), Penn State (13), Notre Dame (7), and Michigan State on the schedule, after this weekend… It’s a gauntlet.

Meanwhile, I’ve already documented Wisconsin’s dominance so far. They look better than the Gophers early, but we’ve already seen that PJ Fleck’s teams get better as the year goes on. Nobody would have seen the gophers’ upset in Camp Randall coming at the end of last year, had you taken a poll around this same time, back then. Plus, the Badgers’ remaining schedule isn’t a cakewalk, so I don’t know how much that game will even matter, if the Gophers can win the games they will be favored in all season, before we get there.

After Saturday vs Michigan (11), our smelly neighbor’s college football team still has Iowa (18), Michigan State, and Ohio State (6) on the schedule. They’ll have a Nebraska bye, just like we do, but the Gophers don’t have Michigan, Michigan State, or Ohio State left on the schedule. We have Iowa and them (Wisconsin)… and that’s it.

So, a Michigan win this weekend would be nearly as big for the Gophers, as it is for Jim Harbaugh. If Wisconsin does lose, they’d have a REALLY difficult road to toe, for a team that probably couldn’t afford two more losses through the rest of their schedule, if they want to stand on top of the West when the last regular season whistle blows…

So, grab your navy blue sweatshirt, khaki pants, and trade your block-style “M” for a pointed one, just for this weekend… because we’re Michigan fans, baby.

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Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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