Happy days are here again
It’s been a long time—can you say 1905? It’s a matter of time because time suddenly appears to be standing still.
After beating defending BIG West Champion Northwestern in Evanston Saturday, the Gophers are 7-1 in the BIG and have clinched at least a share of the BIG West. The last Gophers team to win the Big Ten was in 1967. That year, with Murray Warmath in his 14th season as head coach, the team grabbed Co-Big Ten Championship honors.
They were 8-2 and 6-1 in the BIG. But for some reason, the Gophers did not go to a bowl game.
The BIG Ten was just 10 teams then; now the conference has 14 teams. The 1967 Co-BIG Champions had ex-Gopher greats Ezell Jones, John Williams and McKinley Boston. This year’s team has exploded on the scene.
Third-year Head Coach P.J Fleck has captured lightning in a bottle. This team has scored 30 or more points eight times. The Gophers are 8-0 in those games.
Fleck has built a culture that his players have bought into. After starting 5-7 and 7-6 the first two years, Fleck now has a top-10 nationally ranked team.
“College Gameday,” the popular ABC/ESPN college pre-game show, will be here Saturday before the 2:30 pm kickoff of Wisconsin vs. Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium for a trip to the BIG Ten Championship game vs Ohio State.
P.J. Fleck has led the Gophers to victory in 12 of their last 14 games, including 11 wins in a row in 2018-2019, their longest consecutive win streak since 1939-42 when the Gophers won 18 in a row. He’s the first head coach since Glen Mason in 2003 to win 10 games. Only Henry Williams, Mason and Fleck have won 10 or more games at Minnesota.
Guard the borders—the Badgers are coming for Paul Bunyan’s axe. This is easily the biggest game in this rivalry, maybe ever, certainly since I’ve been covering sports in this town beginning in 1978. The Gophers are 10-1 and ranked number 9 by AP. Wisconsin at 9-2 is number 13. The winner gets number-two Ohio State, 11-0, in Indianapolis for the BIG Championship.