Last year it was a crap game.
Yup, this is pretty much it. We learn a little more about the team every week, but there are still a ton of question marks. The Illinois game will be another data point.This opponent not only upset them last year but embarrassed them. It is homecoming. The four wins to date against supposed lesser opponents have all been close. There basically is no reason to fall asleep on this opponent. If the Gophers take Illinois lightly, they are poorly coached.
If the Gophers lose, it won't be because this game was a trap. It will be because South Dakota State and Georgia Southern were signs this team just isn't that good yet.
I disagree.1,000 % percent this can be a trap game for the Gophers. Coaches can preach until they are exhausted about the things an opponent does well that you must stop etc. Players at any level choose not to listen, they in all their infinite wisdom know better.
If it was easy to discern it was happening you would remedy the symptoms. Pretty hard to know what exactly is going on in the minds of your players. Once you enter a game with an improper mindset it’s very difficult to reverse course during the game. For that to happen you need to be much more athletically talented than your opponent.
Very, very easy for the Gophers to overlook Illinois. “They ain’t very good” “We only lost last year because our defensive coordinator was clueless “ “it’s a home game” “it’s Homecoming” “We got this”
Pretty fine line to discern between confident and prepared and zero respect for your opponent.
How good you are or have been makes zero difference. Players have their own thoughts how good they are. At different times your players are not sure they could beat Carleton. Other times they want Alabama...”If they were on our schedule I know we’d beat em”. Fine line, all in cycles that are hard to predict. You try to pump them up and tell them how good they are. They don’t quite see it, but they do win and then at some point it skips to bring on Alabama and somebody like Illinois steals your lunch.
Usually when people throw out the words trap game, they are looking for excuses in case they lose. Hate the term also, speaks to people incapable of taking responsibility. If you lose, own it. But I don’t think the gophers lose this one, hopefully they are ready.
I was at that game. I remember one of their fans drunkenly yelling at us that MN was a disgrace to the B1G and should be kicked out. I thought that was awful rich for an INDIANA fan.I had to look this up. 2004 - Gophers were 6-2, coming off a 45-0 win over Illinois. Next game was against Indiana - and the Gophers lost 30-21. that might have been the trap game of all time. I was covering a HS playoff game that day, and as the Gopher scores were updated, nobody could believe it.
Gophs went in the tank after that and wound up regular season with a 7-5 record. (then beat some team named Alabama in the Music City Bowl...)
so, it can happen. hopefully, not this week.