Friday, June 26, 2009

To booze or not to booze, THAT is the question

Booze, definitely booze. I think we can all agree on that, yes? Okay, now that we have that settled, we can move on to the question as it pertains to the various incarnations of our Golden Gophers sports teams.

So there won't be any boozin' at Gopher football games this fall (or any fall for that matter), not even for the super rich folks. In a way, this is comforting to me. I mean, they already get to sit in their plush heated rooms with excellent food... something which I won't get to do. But if they also got to imbibe while the rest of the poor folks didn't... well that just wouldn't be very American now would it?

But I digress.

Buck Bravo also makes a great point. Really, it's been too easy for too long for U of M students to be drunk at football games. There's nothing difficult about being drunk for an 11am football game if you can just walk into the stadium, plop down a $20, and slam two Dome beers from cups adorned with images of Joe Mauer (!?!?!?!). Cripes, you might not even have to show up to the stadium until 10:55, and you could be hammered by the time you get to your seat in time for kickoff.

This generation already has it too easy. Seriously... Easy Mac? Twist off wine caps? The internet? Sliced bread? Give me a break!

There's just no commitment to pre-game rituals anymore, especially for the early games. As far as I'm concerned tailgating is a 3 hour undertaking... MINIMUM! If you aren't going to bother being at the lot by 8am then you might as well stay home and listen to Dave Lee butcher the play-by-play while you drink OJ out of your sippy cup YOU BUNCH OF PATSIES!!!


I wish Brunnicks would have just said, "Look, we know that being drunk at football games is a rite of passage for college students. We get it! But these spoiled brats have it too easy. Well NO MORE! We're going to bring a little midwest work ethic to this social scene! So no booze at the games, unless you are resourceful. You punks better start practicing your 7am wake up calls and pre-Cheerios beer bongs or next fall you'll be nothing but a stain on the road with a crew cut!!!" (I don't know what that last part means, or why Brunnicks would say it.)

... or something like that.

I think this shows good judgement by the University. No more special privilages for the rich, and no more smooth road to puking in the bathroom at the games for the students!

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Gopher Football Stadium Will be Booze-Free

Not that this will effect me anytime soon (or possibly ever), but looks like the rich folks in the club seats and suites at the U's new football stadium won't be able to booze it up. Or at any other Gopher sporting event. Yep thanks to our Governor and the legislature, the bill they passed that says The U must sell beer to everyone or no one at sporting events means University President Robert Bruininks has decided to sell it to no one. Pawlenty said the policy, which many schools across the country share, is elitist and not fair to Joe Average Fan. While perhaps true, there's very few NCAA schools that sell beer to anyone of age (the Pioneer Press article mentions Syracuse and the U of Cincinnati), so you had to figure that by passing this it would mean the Gophers would ban booze for everybody.

That's just not good business. As I said, I'm never going to be able to afford the expensive seats where I could drink beer at a U sporting event, but that's not the point. The point is this is very likely to take money out of the pockets of the athletic department because you have to think rich folks are going to be less likely to pony up big dollars for suites or club seats if they can't booze it up. And in this economic climate, athletic departments need all the money they can get.

Well actually I guess that's not THE point but simply a smaller point that we might as well focus on because the bigger point, which is banning booze at stadiums does not deter minors from still getting drunk, won't be addressed. Sure, we COULD drop the pretentious idea that NOT selling beer in the general concourse means we're going to keep underaged college students from getting drunk. Because as Fox 9 showed us with their groundbreaking story on how underaged hockey players at the U drink quite regularily (I'm anxiously awaiting Fox 9's next shocking expose- despite being under age, high school kids smoke! Who knew? The shocking details tonight at 9!!) , if college kids between the ages of 18-20 want alcohol, there's a good chance they're going to get it.

I could broaden this further and ask why oh why don't we put the drinking age back down to 19, but since that seems to fall on deaf ears (and honestly and without sarcasm- what's the argument against lowering the drinking age? Please, I'm listening. What is it? At 19 you're old enough to vote, or join the Army and put your life on the line, but you can't have a beer? Really? That makes sense? Please explain). So instead I'll ask why the policies at the Metrodome, Target Center, and the Xcel Center (and any pro stadium across the country) can't work for University sports. If you want to buy a beer, you need to show a valid ID. While not 100% fool proof, it seems to be pretty effective in keeping brewskies out of the hands of minors- or just as effective as not selling it all.

Why this policy wouldn't work for Gopher sporting events is beyond me, but hey, the NCAA are the same folks who continue to tell us that football and men's basketball is NOT the biggest monopoly this side of OPEC and are simply students playing athletic events for the love of the game. So getting them to concede that barring beer sales from a stadium will bar minors from getting hammered before kick-off is probably not going to happen either.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Matt Hayes HATES the Gophers

Actually that's not true at all. Hayes is an excellent college football writer for the Sporting News, and I doubt he loves or hates or has any emotional attachment either way with Golden Gopher football. In his latest article on the sporting news website about five college football teams in line for a decline in 09 (Hayes is a pro because he can come up with fancy rhyming headlines!) he lists your Minnesota Golden Gophers football team as one of those teams headed for a decline, believing they're going to win three less games than last year- from 7 in 2008 down to just 4 for 2009!

Do I agree with Hayes' prediction for the Gophs? Of course not. Do I think he hates them and is a "Gopher Hater"? Of course not. Perhaps we'd get more traffic for this blog if Jer and I ranted and raved and called Hayes and any other national media person who has the audacity to not pick the Gophers to win the national title AND Big Ten title AND call them nothing short of the greatest program in the history of the universe a "Hater" and an idiot and having Non-Big-Ten-Bias and everything else under the sun.

But personally, that's one of my least favorite, or most hated if you will (and I will), things about the internet/24 news and sports channel cycle we currently live in- there is no such thing as perspective anymore. Everything is about extremes. Everything that happens either has to be the best or worst thing that has ever happened in the history of humanity. Every media member either loves or hates a team or player. If an anaylst or writer says one bad thing about your team or school- even if it's TRUE- then that person is automatically a "Hater" and an "Idiot" and a bunch of other things that aren't fit for print. It seems like according to the over-reacters, every team is either overexposed and gets too much attention (in the case of the Red Sox, Yankees, Cowboys, Notre Dame and anything Brett Favre does or doesn't do I'd say it's true) or gets no love/respect/attention. HATERS! HATERS! HATERS!

Well I hate the people who hate the haters! Got it? That's who I hate! God forbid we have a little perspective on things these days, and actually look at things rationally. Maybe that should be our new blog slogan: "Staying rational in an irrational world"

Except if you've read us at all or are one of the seven people who have listened to the podcast, you know we're not exactly rational about our Golden Gophers. But more so about our team than most are about theirs. At least I hope so.

ANYWAY, I bring up Hayes' prediction not only because it gave me the chance to get on my soapbox (I'm stepping off now), but just to show how little the national media, and even those around the Big Ten, think of Coach Tim Brewster and your 2009 Golden Gopher football team. And I'm not saying they're necessarily wrong. The Gophers fell apart down the stretch last year, and their schedule this season is brutal- I'm just saying that despite the good work Brewster has done in his two seasons on campus so far, this program is still flying way, way, WAY under the radar nationally. And personally I think that's a good thing.

Jer's been one of those people who has said and will continue saying that the 2009 Gophers should be better than the 2008 team, yet might not have a better record to show for it because of how much tougher the schedule is this year. And I can't help but agree. I'm still downright giddy about this year after the spring game experience, my man crush on MarQueis, the incoming freshmen like Heyo Carpenter and Michael Carter, all the returning talent he have coming back and everything else, but there's no doubt getting back to seven wins is going to be tough sledding. I'm sure Hayes probably thinks Brewster is doing a good job here, but just look at the schedule:

- Penn State and Michigan State- two teams ranked in every preseason Top 25 prediction I've seen- are back on the schedule, and conference road games include trips to Happy Valley, Ohio State and Iowa, which only happen to be the three toughest places to play in the Big Ten right now.

- While I love- repeat LOVE- Brewster's commitment to tougher non-conference scheduling, that also means the Maroon & Gold are no longer guaranteed four victories OOC. I like the Gophers chances to beat Syracuse on the road and Air Force and SDSU at home, but those first two certainly aren't gimmes (although if they can't beat Syracuse, who just cut 14 scholarship players from last year!!!, then we'll be lucky to hit Hayes prediction of 4 wins), and the home game against California will be a (Golden) "Bear" (ohhh see what I did there? See it? Fine don't laugh! HATERS! My total, obvious and undeniable genius is lost on you people!! HATERS I SAY!).

So if we give Minnesota three of four OOC wins, that still means we have to find four Big Ten victories to equal last season's win total of seven, and that is not easy to see. Indiana and Michigan are off the schedule, which means Purdue at home October 10th is the only gimme game I can see. The Gophs SHOULD win at Northwestern (speaking of hatred have I mentioned lately how much I hate Mike Kafka and Northwestern after their upset last year? Have I? A 59-0 Gopher win in Evansville STILL won't erase the bad taste in my mouth from last year's game, but it would sure help) which gets them to five wins, but we still need to find two more wins coming from home games against Wisconsin (Oct 3), Michigan State (Halloween!!!) and Illinois (November 7), and the previously mentioned roadies against the JoePa's (Oct 17), Sweatervests (Oct 24), and Jail Birds (Nov 21).

That, folks, is not easy sledding, and you can see why Hayes and every other preseason publication and prognosticator I've seen or read predicts the Gophs no better than 8th in the Big Ten this year.

Of course we Gopher fans know better (or at least hope better!), but as you can see, if the Gophers can get back to seven wins this year, it'll be so much more impressive than last season's seven wins were. And it'll give us the chance to point at those would be pundits and so-called experts and say "Haters! Haters! Haters! You never believed in our team! How do you like us NOW?" Or not. I think it's good for the program that its flying under the national radar because Brew can build this thing right without the national spotlight and unrealistic expectations. If the Gophs get back to seven wins or better they'll be a great story in 2009- if they're below that, then hey they're exactly where the experts thought they'd be, and while it would look like a step back, barring an 1-11 or 2-12 nightmare, Brewster will still be taking this program in the right direction with better things ahead.

Personally I think anything less than six wins and a bowl trip would be disappointing in Brew's third year, but as long as they're playing hard and competitive, I suppose I won't complain too much. That doesn't make ME a Hater does it? DOES IT?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Breathe Easy Gopher Fans- Eric Decker WILL Play Football

Dennis Brackin has a short Q&A with Eric Decker in the Strib today, where he confirms two or three different times that no matter where he gets drafted in the MLB draft (which starts 44 minutes from now), or how much money they offer in signing bonuses, he WILL be finishing his football career as a Gopher this fall. Decker was a 39th rd selection of the BrewCrew last year, and Decker has been much improved this spring, to the point it seems some folks were worried Decker would take the baseball money and skip his senior year at The U- and more importantly for us, the Gopher football season. Take heart and breathe easy, come hell or high water Decker swears he'll don the pads and his #7 this fall to finish out his playing career in the brand new TCF Bank Stadium. Good news for a team that needs to keep all the talent it can get right now, especially at WR where sophomore Broderick Smith has already exited stage left.