Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gophs Still in the Discussion for the Alamo Bowl

Jer emailed me this Strib link yesterday to a story about how the Alamo Bowl says the Gophers are still in consideration, along with Michigan State. At first, I laughed, as it sounded like PR BS to build suspense and get attention for their bowl, knowing full well they were taking Michigan State all along. But after reading about the alleged on-campus assault in East Lansing, and the very real possibility this whole thing gets uglier before it gets better, I'm no longer laughing at the Gophers redefining the phrase "backing into a bowl game."

Not that I'm complaining. The Alamo Bowl has been a mini-goal of mine and Jer for the Gophs for years, a prestigious bowl against a good Big 12 team that's not quite New Year's Day bowl quality, but in my mind is light years better than the Insight/Music City/Sun bowl variety we're used to seeing Minnesota go to. And obviously it's a wee bit better than the Little Caesar's Bowl in Detroit- although I think even a game in Fargo or Winnipeg would be better than Detroit. But that's just me.

Still, if the Gophers were to get selected to play in San Antonio, regardless of the reasons, I'd be more than happy to see it. But if there's any chance of it happening, the findings in the alleged assault are going to have to be enough to scare away bowl officials, because unfortunately the Gophs have done a great job of scaring away bowl suitors with their on-field play.

If you're judging these two teams by on-field results, and really by anything not associated with the alleged assault, it's tough to find a reason to choose Minnesota over Michigan State other than the fact we beat them in an exciting shootout. If that Gopher offense had shown up for any of the 11 other games, we'd have an argument for being selected, but MSU was much more consistent and exciting offensively, and had a better conference record. I'm also pretty sure the fans of the Green and White travel as well or better than we do. Put it all together, and it's tough to make an argument that the Alamo Bowl would make more money (which is, of course, what it's all about) by selecting the Gophers over the Spartans.

But then there's the whole post-team banquet scuffle. If you haven't heard, this little incident makes all of the Gopher football off-season incidents this year seem tame. "Allegedly" (I learned from my short time in broadcasting to always use this word when talking about legal matters that have not yet been resolved) at least 10 players on the Spartans team had a score to settle with some guys in a frat on campus. After their team banquet, they decided it'd be a super swell idea to don ski masks (because really, 10 massive guys on a college campus- with ski masks or not- couldn't possibly be mistaken for football players) and go over to the frat and rough up a few guys. Of course, not everyone decided to wear ski masks but they went anyway and that's when the alleged assault took place. According to one witness, as many as 15-20 football players were there, although the involvement of any of them is still being determined.

As Adam Rittenburg said in a post last night, no arrests have been made, but well just look at the evidence...

The Spartans dismissed two players and suspended eight others in the wake of a Nov. 22 fight at a residence hall. Michigan State police have identified 10 suspects -- the school isn't calling the players suspects, only confirming they were present during the fight -- and still are trying to identify five more.

So while the school isn't calling them suspects, 10 players have admitted to being at the fight, the police have 10 suspects, and all 10 players present at the fight have been suspended (8) or booted off the team (2). Hmmmmm as Rittenburg said in an earlier post "you do the math."

I doubt this will be enough to keep the Alamo from inviting MSU, but if the official report comes out before the bowl announcement Sunday and the findings look bad, it's possible the folks in San Antonio could tag the Gophers instead of the Spartans. Still, the question comes down to would you rather have a team with some players who allegedly assaulted someone off the field, or a team with no national exposure whose offense on the field could quite possibly assault the eyes of all the viewers of their bowl game? Decisions, decisions.


skinsfan63 said...

I know this is a little late, but I think that the Gophers are going to be a force in the Big 10 in the near future. They have a beautiful new facility, and some of the best fans in the country. A couple good years in a row, and i think the recruits will start flowwing in.

Jeff said...

Late? I'd say you're early for talking about next year and beyond, but I like your positive attitude. We need more of that around here.

As I said in an earlier long, rambling post there's no reason we shouldn't be able to win at Minnesota to the same level that Wisconsin and Iowa does. We just have to get that big season where we win 10 games and get people excited to get the ball rolling on things. I'm hoping/praying that year is next year. Then again, with Gopher football, it seems to ALWAYS be next year.

Also, you're a Skins fan AND a Gopher fan? Football season is a rough time for you, my friend.

GopherTicketHolder said...

Interesting take from a Michigan (albeit Ann Arbor) paper. One writer believes the the incident may not have cost the just the Alamo bowl bid (which he thinks was a far cry already), but may have cost them the Insight Bowl bid, only to leave them in the Little Ceaser's bowl. Of course, this isn't really possible, unless the BigTen for some reason doesn't get 2 BCS teams.