10. Maroonstruck. In the spring of 1880, University of Minnesota President William Watts Folwell asked an English instructor, Mrs. Augusta Smith, to select proper colors to use for graduation ribbons and other occasions. She chose maroon and gold. As the years passed and without any kind of formal action, maroon and gold became the official school colors. In other words, Minnesota doesn't need process, procedure or formality. Expect Iowa to get crushed by the weight of its tedious, pedantic, exceedingly tactical approach to preparation while Minnesota spontaneously kicks the living shit out of the Stuckeyes.
9. Achievement Gap. The Minnesota Gophers own six National Championships, 18 Big Ten Championships and have played in 14 bowl games. Iowa meanwhile owns a highly disputed National Championship that, at present, is only recognized by a guy named Booger in Keokuk, 11 Big Ten Championships and has played in 24 bowl games. On the surface that would suggest the programs are somewhat equal. And that's the point, as Iowans believe playing an extra game in Jacksonville in late December is just as good as being declared the best team in the land. On Saturday expect Minnesota to remind Iowa that winning isn't everything, it's the only thing.
8. Root of it all. One of the most visible traditions in sports was born more than 100 years ago at the University of Minnesota. In the fall of 1898, student Johnny Campbell offered to lead organized cheers at football games. This offer came after three straight losses, and a subsequent editorial in the school paper that said, "Any plan that would stir up enthusiasm for athletics would be helpful." Campbell had a plan, and he began to lead organized cheers at the home game against Northwestern. Minnesota won 17-6, and much of the credit went to Campbell and his "yell leaders." History now shows it was that late-season game where the tradition of cheerleading was born. Prepare for this week's organized cheer from the Gopher faithful to be, "O-VER-A-TED."
7. Bank On It. Twin City Federal Bank Stadium is the University of Minnesota's new on-campus football stadium. In the move to "The Bank" Minnesota abandons the distinction of being the only Big Ten team without its own dedicated on-campus football stadium--however they're now the only school to
whore out sell the naming rights of their stadium. This year will be Iowa's first visit to the cute little field which is challenging Northwestern to be the Big Ten's most formidable home field disadvantage. Don't be surprised if Iowa feels pressured to use a silent snap count so as to not disturb the peaceful surroundings of TCF Bank Stadium, as they make a huge deposit into the Gopher's "win" account.
6. Due Date. It has been eight quarters and three ball drops in Times Square since the Gophers have found a way to score a point against the Hawkeyes. According to renowned statistician Professor Al Jebra of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the odds of Minnesota going scoreless in this game are roughly equal to a Pre-season Top 10 team losing four games in the final 4-minutes in the same season--which of course, is impossible.
5. Apocalypse Now. Resignation in the face of some future event or events which are thought to be inevitable is known as fatalism. And Kirk Ferentz has become a textbook case. At his Tuesday press conference he said, "Coaches, maybe not all coaches, tend to always think the worst. (I've) got that black cloud on my head on certain things." Ferentz went on to say that on Saturday he is resigned to the sky falling and the world coming to an end. On Saturday expect The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to do a halftime show at the Bank as Iowa concludes it's end of days.
4. Burn Notice. Iowa has shown an inability to stop, much less contain experienced quarterbacks this season. In each of Iowa four losses and its one close shave, the opposing QB has either owned years of experience as a starting Big Ten QB or direct experience playing against Iowa's fixed defensive scheme. Now comes along Adam Weber, a four year starter and the Gopher's first and only three time captain. He owns Minnesota record for nearly every career and single season passing statistic. He recently passed Chuck Long to rank 3rd in Big Ten history for career passing yards and is only the 5th to exceed 10,000 yards. Weber will tie the Big Ten record for most career starts as a quarterback and finish only 1 start behind Philip Rivers for the NCAA record for most career starts (51) this Saturday. Expect Weber's experience to grill the Hawkeyes this Saturday. .
3. Smell A Rat? Minnesota became known as the 'Gopher State' in 1857, the result of a political cartoon ridiculing the $5 million Railroad Loan which helped open up the West. The first University of Minnesota yearbook bearing the name "Gopher Annual" appeared in 1887. Shortly thereafter Minnesota's athletic teams became widely known as the "Gophers." It is an odd mascot to be sure, but it is a fitting one nevertheless. Gophers are known to dig tunnels and subterranean chambers, and are associated with the rodent order, Rodentia. The underground activities of the Gopher disrupt human plans like commercial agriculture, garden plots, landscaping, and football seasons. Hawkeye fans are staggered by the chasm between pre-season expectations heaped upon this team and their in-season results. Expect Minnesota to dig the Hawkeyes into an even deeper hole on Saturday.
2. Pink Floyd. Since 2006 Iowa's football program has enjoyed the company of a bronze pig named Floyd. Rivals.com has called Floyd of Rosedale the best rivalry trophy in all of college football and it seemed a near certainty that it would remain in Hawkeyes' possession this year. But since taking over, new interim Gopher coach Jeff Horton has beaten Illinois as his leadership has led to statistical improvements in all phases of the game. So while Minnesota is playing with much more confidence and the program feels as if a cloud has been lifted, the Hawkeyes are on the dark side of the moon. Expect this Saturday an Iowa loss to be another brick in the...
1. MarQueis Gray. Need I say more?