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#1 biggentleben

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:28 PM

Braxton Miller going down really changes the landscape for the Big Ten.  The hometown Gophers should hit the Big 10 schedule 3-1 at worst unless the season has really collapsed from underneath them.  A healthy Kill would make a huge difference, and .500 in the conference with a schedule that includes home contests with Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa, and Ohio State and away conference games with Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, and Wisconsin should be feasible, leaving the Gophers with a possible 7-5 season.  The talent on the team would allow them a chance to do even better if they come together, but it's also raw enough that 5-7 or even 4-8 wouldn't be outlandish if things go South in a hurry.

 

The first weekend has some good games - UCLA vs. Virginia, West Virginia and Alabama, Georgia and Clemson, Oklahoma State vs. Florida State, Wisconsin vs. LSU, and Miami vs. Louisville.

 

Football gets going this weekend.  Get reaaaaaaaaady!!!

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#2 JB_Iowa

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:17 PM

Too darn muggy to think about football today.  :)

 

But I'll put in a :) for my Hawkeyes.


#3 biggentleben

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:54 PM

Too darn muggy to think about football today.   :)

 

But I'll put in a :) for my Hawkeyes.

 

There are few things better than hoisting Floyd of Rosedale.  I love to win over Wisconsin, but I enjoy beating Iowa, no gentlemanly sportsmanship involved.  Unless you are a Hawkeye (or Iowa native), it is rare to cheer for the Hawkeyes because of the behavior of their fans.  It'd be an interesting rating, but I'd rate Iowa football fans as the worst traveling football fans in the conference and behind only Indiana basketball fans as the worst traveling fans of a Big Ten sports team.

 

That said, while there are some ranked that way, and I'm sure one will emerge, I just don't see an elite team in the Big Ten this year.  I don't think the Gophers match up well with teams like Wisconsin, Michigan, or Nebraska in their schedule (especially with all three on the road), but at the same time, I'd not be surprised at all if they beat one of those three in an upset, nor would I be surprised if the Gophers were beat by any Big Ten team on their schedule.

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#4 biggentleben

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:26 AM

Nice win for the Gophers last night, even though they were outproduced in every major statistical category other than TOs and scoreboard.  The first few drives looked putrid, but the offense did find a rhythm once they realized the existence of the forward pass to offset their running.  I was surprised how porous the defense was against an FCS competitor, though.  That needs to change before the conference season begins!!

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#5 ashburyjohn

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 09:37 AM

Quickest and easiest way for a smaller program to get better is on the offensive side - recruit half a dozen good players and one local stud and you can score some points even when moving up a little in class.  It's the defense that at the highest levels can't withstand fielding even one mediocre starter - every opponent will keep going after that position.  So the good news might be that the offense the Gophers faced wasn't too far below average.  The bad news, that a FCS defense probably isn't very good, also implies some things though.  Maybe the Gophers treated this game as an exhibition and chose to hone their own strengths rather than relentlessly try to exploit some gaping weakness.  We can hope.


#6 twinsnorth49

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 09:54 AM

I don't think the stats tell any real part of the story of that game. After the first quarter the Gophers moved the ball pretty efficiently and they were clearly working on passing the ball, Cobb only carried 14 times the entire game, very unlike last year. I thought the offense did a steady job and should only get better.

 

The defense was fine, a blocked punt for a TD and 3 turnovers is a good game against anyone. Couple that with 4 true freshmen playing on the D-line and all E Illinois points coming in garbage time, they were pretty dominant. No big plays and despite pilling up yardage E.I. were never much of a threat to score, the Gophers shut them down and made the plays when it mattered.


#7 biggentleben

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 10:02 AM

Beautiful Friday for football in the upper midwest.  I actually had to have a sweatshirt on for a game in September, and I'm a VERY warm person by nature, so that's pretty rare.  I loved those games when I was playing in high school ball, and my alma mater right now is the top ranked team in their level for the entire state, so it's good quality football as well.

 

Today's games will be interesting.  You have the inter-Iowa matchup, you have the Gophers playing their only real "challenge" of the non-conference schedule, and you have Georgia-South Carolina in what's already looking like a "must-win" for SC to stay afloat in the SEC East.  Some of the other highlight games include Notre Dame at Purdue, which should be a rout but does have some fun tradition, UCLA traveling to Texas in what should be a Bruin beatdown of the Longhorns - but who knows with road non-conference games, and a much-improved Tennessee team heading to Oklahoma.  Oklahoma is likely not going to be challenged too much, but I'll be interested to see how much fight Tennessee puts up as they've looked better than they have since the Lane Kiffin debacle.

 

In the B1G, it could be a rough weekend.  Maryland (still feels weird seeing them on a Big Ten scoreboard) hosts West Virginia in a tough game, Illinois travels to Washington, and Penn State travels to Rutgers, all three could end up as losses for Big Ten squads.  Add in some in-state match ups that often have a little more fire than an average non-conference game like the aforementioned Iowa state battle, the Purdue/Notre Dame matchup, and the Ohio State/Kent State game.  Add in the MAC matchups this weekend for Michigan and Indiana, where at least one Big Ten teams seems to get upset by that conference each year, and you could have yet another rough weekend for the Big Ten.  For those Gopher fans out there, winning this week could indicate a team with a chance to finish in the top half of the conference for the first time in a long time, and perhaps even play in a bowl game not sponsored by a brake alignment company!

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#8 biggentleben

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 12:50 PM

Ohio State taking out their frustrations from their first couple weeks on a weakened Kent State team.  Yowza!

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#9 biggentleben

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 05:21 PM

Not a pretty game for the Gophers, but they didn't break when they found themselves down 24-0 at half.  I had this one marked as the non-conference loss on first glance at the schedule, so I'm not horribly surprised by the result.

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#10 biggentleben

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 05:25 PM

Iowa State does go into Kinnick and upsets Iowa 20-17.  West Virginia beats Maryland 40-37, Bowling Green takes down Indiana 45-42, and Illinois is getting pounded by Washington.  Michigan beat Miami of Ohio and Ohio State trounced Kent State.  As I was worried, a tough day in the B1G.

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#11 biggentleben

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 05:29 PM

On the national front, the state of Virginia hosted a couple of upsets with Virginia beating Louisville at home and Virginia Tech getting beaten by East Carolina at home.

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#12 biggentleben

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 05:15 PM

The Gophers got the type of win a Jerry Kill team should get, controlling the lines of scrimmage, running the ball down the opponents throat, and taking advantage of opposition turnovers while limiting their own.  Feels very good to have the Little Brown Jug after a visit to the big house!

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#13 Pius Jefferson

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 08:06 PM

First time I can remember seeing an actual defense on the field for the Gophers. Granted Michigan is horrible but the Gophers have a secondary, and linebackers who can tackle and a front four with talent and depth. 


#14 biggentleben

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 08:43 PM

First time I can remember seeing an actual defense on the field for the Gophers. Granted Michigan is horrible but the Gophers have a secondary, and linebackers who can tackle and a front four with talent and depth. 

 

Best defense I've seen on the field since David Gibb left.

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#15 twinsnorth49

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 10:09 AM

Gophers!!!!!

Defense has been coming together for a couple of years now, 2013 was a significant year for them ranking 25th nationally in points allowed, first time since 2004 they allowed under 300 points.

Yes Michigan is struggling but let's make note that David Cobb and the O-line just trampled over what was previously the 9th ranked run defense in the country. Perhaps too high but still very notable.

#16 biggentleben

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 05:03 PM

So, word is now that Hoke was attempting to tank the game.  I don't care who you are, but if you watch that game, there's no way he was tanking a thing.  The Gophers dominated both lines in a way that's pretty hard to fake.

 

Someone brought up a name that bugged me the other day.  He mentioned Maxx Williams starting his receiving career so strong and as a redshirt sophomore could give him a chance to beat Ron Johnson's TE records.  I remember playing with and watching Ron, and I really was amazed that he couldn't get it done at the next level, so when I hear guys talk about him as one of the "obvious future NFL players" on the current roster, I'm hoping he achieves more than the last guy I saw with his receiving skills in a Gophers uniform (yes, even better than Eric Decker, who has had a nice NFL career so far).  That also brings up an interesting question - better Gopher WR pairing: Ron Johnson/Luke Leverson or Eric Decker/Ernie Wheelwright? 2007 Decker/Wheelwright put up better stats, but Johnson/Leverson in 1998/1999 with that offense might be the more impressive pairing...

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#17 twinsnorth49

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 07:45 PM

What? Where are you hearing this and why would that be the case?

Williams is impressive, he's going to become a central figure as the season goes on.

I'd still say Decker/Wheelright

#18 biggentleben

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 07:58 PM

So, word is now that Hoke was attempting to tank the game.  I don't care who you are, but if you watch that game, there's no way he was tanking a thing.  The Gophers dominated both lines in a way that's pretty hard to fake.

 

Someone brought up a name that bugged me the other day.  He mentioned Maxx Williams starting his receiving career so strong and as a redshirt sophomore could give him a chance to beat Ron Johnson's TE records.  I remember playing with and watching Ron, and I really was amazed that he couldn't get it done at the next level, so when I hear guys talk about him as one of the "obvious future NFL players" on the current roster, I'm hoping he achieves more than the last guy I saw with his receiving skills in a Gophers uniform (yes, even better than Eric Decker, who has had a nice NFL career so far).  That also brings up an interesting question - better Gopher WR pairing: Ron Johnson/Luke Leverson or Eric Decker/Ernie Wheelwright? 2007 Decker/Wheelwright put up better stats, but Johnson/Leverson in 1998/1999 with that offense might be the more impressive pairing...

 

Should read TD records.

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#19 biggentleben

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 08:01 PM

What? Where are you hearing this and why would that be the case?

Williams is impressive, he's going to become a central figure as the season goes on.

I'd still say Decker/Wheelright

 

Multiple message board sources were quoted, no one naming a source, but one Ball State forum quoted "a friend of Hoke", stating that he's not a fan of being at Michigan, but he loses significant money if he quits versus if he's fired.

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#20 twinsnorth49

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 04:26 PM

Big win for the Gophers today coming off the euphoric high of the Michigan win and the bye week.

It was tough sledding against an aggressive Northwestern front 7 but I thought the O line was full marks and Leidner was effective when using the play action. He's definitely looking more comfortable throwing the ball.

2-0 in B1G play with 3 winnable games ahead of them.

#21 biggentleben

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 07:04 PM

My worst game present as a spectator for the Gophers was the 2000 Northwestern game and that danged Hail Mary.  Their defeat of the Gophers in 2007 was right up there, and I can still remember Adam Weber dropping back on that 2-point conversion and seeing that there wasn't a man open and the Gophers were going to lose.

 

Today felt great.  The kick return immediately after that terrible roughing the passer call felt like redemption and finally football gods were smiling at the Gophers when facing Northwestern.  I was most impressed with the quality of the defense today.  They came up with pass deflection after pass deflection today and stifled the Northwestern spread option.

 

Kill's finally getting to see his first team that he built on the field, and it looks very good.  Especially as TCU continues to look like a better and better team that took out the Gophers in week 3.

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#22 twinsnorth49

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 10:07 AM

I was most impressed with the quality of the defense today.  They came up with pass deflection after pass deflection today and stifled the Northwestern spread option.

 

Agree 100%, the defense continues to impress, they gave up yardage but kept playing aggressively and dictated the play. Longest play from scrimmage by Northwestern was a measly 19 yards, secondary was outstanding. Front 7 could have used more pressure but they disrupted the pocket quite a bit. Kill, Limegrover and Claeys have done an outstanding job.


#23 biggentleben

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 11:30 AM

Frustrating first half to watch as a Gopher fan.  Very, very sloppy on offense and defense.

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#24 stringer bell

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 02:03 PM

Frustrating first half to watch as a Gopher fan.  Very, very sloppy on offense and defense.

Kinda made winning so sweet! Wow! What a game. The Gophers are my second favorite team and this was the most exciting game I've seen in a long time. So many heroes. I guess that shows there is some talent on this edition of the Golden Gophers.
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#25 TheLeviathan

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 02:28 PM

Kinda made winning so sweet! Wow! What a game. The Gophers are my second favorite team and this was the most exciting game I've seen in a long time. So many heroes. I guess that shows there is some talent on this edition of the Golden Gophers.

 

Especially since Purdue is better than most people think.

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#26 stringer bell

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 02:33 PM

Especially since Purdue is better than most people think.

They sure looked like it today.
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#27 USAFChief

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 03:56 PM

First bowl eligible BIG 10 team.

Ski-U-Mah!
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Go Twins!


#28 twinsnorth49

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 04:38 PM

That's two weeks in a row the Gophers win a game they would have typically lost. Kill has these guys believing in themselves and the resiliency gives them a valuable added dimension.

First place in the West and bowl eligible, as Chief points out.

And yes, Purdue is a much better team than people think, they held a good Notre Dame team close for 3 quarters before trailing off.

Go Gophers!

#29 biggentleben

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 04:39 PM

They'll be ranked this week, most likely, with Illinois next week.  Could certainly be 7-1, 4-0 heading into their November from heck that reads home vs. Iowa, home vs. Ohio State, then finishing at Nebraska and at Wisconsin.  If they can even go .500 in November, that'd put them at 9-3, 6-2 on the season, one of the best Big Ten finishes of my lifetime.

 

That said, their ball control was terrible today.  Purdue has made some excellent strides on offense, but their defense is still extremely porous, and without the Gophers shooting themselves in the foot, this game wouldn't have been close.  They can't have miscues like that against teams like the ones they face in November.  They luckily fell on most of their fumbles today, but the ball bounces the other way, and we're complaining about a homecoming loss to a team with one conference win since mid-2012.

Edited by biggentleben, 18 October 2014 - 04:40 PM.

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#30 twinsnorth49

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 04:48 PM

Definitely a sloppy game, hopefully a lesson to be learned in their progression. They still ran the ball effectively but uncharacteristically gave up the big play, not once but twice in today's game. I don't see that continuing, they've been very good at that all year.

I think Kill gets them back to taking care of the details.