Is your five year outlook for Gopher football rosy?

CWCWCW

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
1,489
Reaction score
28
Points
48
I just watched an ESPN 60 feature where Bob Costas was featured. It was an interesting story about his ouster from NBC which he states was from him offering negative commentary on concussion protocol in the NFL.

We have seen concussions have a huge impact on our Gopher football team. Jimmy Gjere, Josh Campion and others were studs. Their football careers were snuffed out primarily due to concussions. Player body types have dramatically changed in the 20+ years of season tickets that I've had. I couldn't imagine a player built like Daniel F. 6'9" and 400 pounds would have seemed like comic book material.

I recently saw a Real Sports episode stating the participation in football is considerably down in youth programs. Their deductions was that parents just don't want to risk kids health.

I've complained about the inconsistency of targeting calls and cheered loudly when Blake Cashman planted the Wisconsin punt returner. I am hopeful with enough emphasis on equipment and rule changes, there can be less health concerns. But, these dudes are big, athletic and powerful.

My second concern is around the dollar bill. Of course, financially speaking, Minnesota is fortunate to have the Big 10 television contract. It allows our Gophers to have state of the art stadiums, equipment, training rooms, academic advisement, and even coaches.

Even with all of the money coming in, our Gophers still have trouble keeping up with the Joneses. What happens if the NCAA allows payments to players? Someone has to pay for that? Could it be ticket holders? We're close to a breaking point right now as fans have gone away in droves due to the current price structure. If another "donation" was added to cost, the stadium would be more full for Lance Armstrong motivational speech.

I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, so talk me off the ledge. In the short term, I'm hopeful P.J. can compete for a Big 10 West title. Will that be enough to help with the general long term health of Gopher football?

Please add your concerns and things that are being introduced to have positve effects on our Gophers.
 

Gophers_4life

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
6,215
Reaction score
2
Points
36
Either the NCAA will allow it, or the courts will force them to, or the courts would force a break-away P5 group to do it, though one of the main drivers for that break-would probably be so that they could pay players.

It's going to happen. Just start dealing with it now.


The West is going to be a very tough division. Everyone, other than Illinois it seems, is improving. Nebraska new coach, up in recruiting, Purdue, newish coach, up in recruiting, new practice facilities, NW does what it does, new practice facilities, Iowa and Wisconsin doing what they do.
 

RememberMurray

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,397
Points
113
I still believe winning solves almost everything.

When Kill had the the team playing hard and competing better against quality opponents, it seemed like fan interest went up accordingly. Wasn't the TCU game a few years back a sellout, or close to it?

Fleck appears to have the team on the same page, and he himself is very dynamic and energetic.

If it is indeed possible to wake this 'sleeping giant', I think we are be watching that happen right now.
 

Gophers_4life

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
6,215
Reaction score
2
Points
36
If it is indeed possible to wake this 'sleeping giant', I think we are be watching that happen right now.
I hope so!

Thing is ...... Purdue and Nebraska fans are saying exactly the same thing. NW fans are saying something similar too, with their new facilities. And then Iowa and Wisc fans are saying "we've owned this division for 10-15 years, that won't stop".


We can't all be right .........
 

RememberMurray

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,397
Points
113
I hope so!

Thing is ...... Purdue and Nebraska fans are saying exactly the same thing. NW fans are saying something similar too, with their new facilities. And then Iowa and Wisc fans are saying "we've owned this division for 10-15 years, that won't stop".


We can't all be right .........
Of course not!

It's high time Minnesota fans became more like Purdue, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa and Wisconsin fans and actually expect our team to do well!

But as a life-long Minnesotan, deep inside I know that's not going to happen. There's something in our water here, or in our Scandinavian heritage, that makes us incapable of showing much enthusiasm.
 

Gophers_4life

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
6,215
Reaction score
2
Points
36
Of course not!

It's high time Minnesota fans became more like Purdue, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa and Wisconsin fans and actually expect our team to do well!

But as a life-long Minnesotan, deep inside I know that's not going to happen. There's something in our water here, or in our Scandinavian heritage, that makes us incapable of showing much enthusiasm.
No it’s just humanity ... when you’ve been bitten this many times, you learn not to trust it, instead of being hurt again.
 

Gopherlife

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 24, 2018
Messages
1,015
Reaction score
129
Points
63
This seems like a two-part question:

1. Will football continue to exist in its current or a similar state? The game seems to be trending towards disaster. Instead of realizing there will always be risks that must be accepted by participants in the game, human nature is causing us to continually make stricter rules and regulations, which are harming and will continue to harm the fan experience (fans are ultimately the lifeblood of the sport). Unfortunately, these rules will not prevent the brain from moving around inside the skull. Athletes continue to get bigger, faster and stronger, which also leads to an increase in other injuries, aside from concussions.

2. Is your outlook for the Gophers rosy? YES. But, I also have blind optimism at times, which I believe is an important survival characteristic for Minnesota fans.
 

GoGophersUMN

Active member
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
971
Reaction score
177
Points
43
Paying players is eventually coming but I doubt that any time in the near future, programs with better finances will be allowed to win recruiting battles by paying players more. There will be a cap and that cap will be fairly low. I bet it will end up being a flat payment of something less than $20,000 a year for every athlete/every scholarship athlete. Athletic departments will need to make some budgeting changes but it won't be like baseball where the Yankees can outspend everyone. If anything it may level the playing field as I suspect many top teams are paying players under the table. Especially with poor athletes, small payments to help your family or to help you afford a car could make the difference in where you go.

I think the biggest issue will be geographics. The Gophers are farther away from where most talented players come from than the powerhouses or even many other Big 10 teams. Plus, even once they convince players to leave home, they need to convince them to live in the cold for 3-5 years. That's less of a concern now as Fleck can make improvements by doing better with local recruits and drawing in a few big names but to be one of the better teams long-term, you need to recruit a lot of talented players including a lot of talent from farther away.

I feel pretty good about the Gophers in the next 5 years. Playing a little bit better each year will help you recruit a little better each year which will help you play a little bit better the next year. Eventually that will stop working and schools will beat you on factors that it is harder for a coach to improve but that's more than 5 years out and if we get there, we'll be in a great position.
 

West Fargo Gopher Fan

Section 114 Row 2
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
3,218
Reaction score
81
Points
48
Extremely optimistic. Fleck should have been extended 10+ years already.

8 wins is a very fair and reasonable expectation THIS fall.

If we don't win 8 people have a right to get mad but thats a non issue because we will win 8.
 

RememberMurray

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,397
Points
113
My opinion: they cannot/must not lose games they are favored/expected to win.

When I look at the schedule, I think they should really be favorites in the first 8 games.

Yes, that's what I said: favored over their first 8 opponents — including against Purdue in East Lafayette and over the Cornhuskers at TCF. We curb-stomped the Boilers last season, and Nebraska, while improved, is one of the few B1G teams that failed to make a bowl appearance.

After those 8 games, you have:

Bye

Penn State at TCF

Iowa at Kinnick

Northwestern at Evanston

Wisconsin at TCF
 

RememberMurray

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,397
Points
113
No it’s just humanity ... when you’ve been bitten this many times, you learn not to trust it, instead of being hurt again.
Well, last time I checked I am definitely human — and I actually expect the Gophers to do very well this season.

I'm not too concerned about getting 'hurt'. I'm a big boy. I"m confident I'll survive any possible football-related disappointment.
 

Halsey Hall

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2009
Messages
2,212
Reaction score
45
Points
48
I'm always rosy except during the Gutey-Wacker years. This year I expect 9-10 wins.
 

tikited

Me
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
15,212
Reaction score
1,840
Points
113
More rosy than my outlook for the basketball and hockey teams.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2015
Messages
15,963
Reaction score
2,781
Points
113
Outside the most established programs, I think it is hard to know anything 5 years out... even guessing generally.
 

UpAndUnder43

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
6,822
Reaction score
2,420
Points
113
On a 1-10, I am a 10 for rosy-ness. Start expanding the seating now or else you'll lose fans because the stadium isn't big enough. 2:30pm kickoff means you need to plan for an extra 2 hours of travel due to traffic. Don't bother trying to get a beer at a nearby bar pre-game unless you plan on being there 4-5 hours before kickoff. Even then you're standing in a corner by a bathroom. Average ticket price will be well over $250 on the secondary market. You better hope your family has tickets. Biggest problem I see is how to accommodate College GameDay 3-4 times per season. Puts a lot of stress on the athletic department to plan for it.

If you're a soon to be college grad, pray you get hired in the ticket office. Selling 10,000 season tickets per day is going to be fun.
 

Gophers_4life

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
6,215
Reaction score
2
Points
36
My opinion: they cannot/must not lose games they are favored/expected to win.

When I look at the schedule, I think they should really be favorites in the first 8 games.

Yes, that's what I said: favored over their first 8 opponents — including against Purdue in East Lafayette and over the Cornhuskers at TCF. We curb-stomped the Boilers last season, and Nebraska, while improved, is one of the few B1G teams that failed to make a bowl appearance.

After those 8 games, you have:

Bye

Penn State at TCF

Iowa at Kinnick

Northwestern at Evanston

Wisconsin at TCF
If you were talking about Ohio St, you would have a great point. But teams like Minnesota, have historically found ways to lose games in which they were favored, every season. It basically just means that they're not an elite program that wins a vast majority of games each season.

Likely, statistically, we'll drop some of those first eight. I'm even only hopeful about 3-0 in nonconf, but would not be surprised at 2-1, and would be disappointed at 1-2.

For those first five Big Ten games ... hopeful for 3-2, would not be surprised at 2-3, would be disappointed at 1-4.


So would hope to be 6-2. That last four game stretch is brutal, would not be surprised at 1-3. That would give the 7-5 regular season finish that would still show signs of improvement to me and be an acceptable step for this season. Of course, the other big part of that is to have no bad losses. That is also important, be IN every game.
 

short ornery norwegian

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2011
Messages
10,543
Reaction score
2,141
Points
113
Long-range future of game: I don't think football will ever go away. My bet is that, over time, we will see all levels from HS to the pros continue to try and take head contact out of the game through rules and officiating. The current players 'learned' to try and make the big kill-shot. Now, players will have to un-learn starting from Junior high up. If rules are strictly enforced, in 20 years or so, you could take a lot of the objectionable head contact out of the game. I could see some kind of a sensor system in helmets - you make head contact with another player, the helmet lights up, and you get a penalty. eventually, get players back to making form tackles. It may be a less violent game, but it will still be entertaining.

Outlook for Gophers: at the current level of recruiting, I can see the Gophers become a fairly consistent 8-9 win team. But, to get to that 10-win level where you're in the top 20 and playing in New Year's Day bowl games, the recruiting will have to take another step, with classes at #30 or better on a consistent basis. As far as attendance, I think it will take one of those 10-win seasons or better to really move the needle.
 

RememberMurray

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,397
Points
113
If you were talking about Ohio St, you would have a great point. But teams like Minnesota, have historically found ways to lose games in which they were favored, every season. It basically just means that they're not an elite program that wins a vast majority of games each season.

Likely, statistically, we'll drop some of those first eight. I'm even only hopeful about 3-0 in nonconf, but would not be surprised at 2-1, and would be disappointed at 1-2.

For those first five Big Ten games ... hopeful for 3-2, would not be surprised at 2-3, would be disappointed at 1-4.


So would hope to be 6-2. That last four game stretch is brutal, would not be surprised at 1-3. That would give the 7-5 regular season finish that would still show signs of improvement to me and be an acceptable step for this season. Of course, the other big part of that is to have no bad losses. That is also important, be IN every game.
So, if I'm reading your take on the Fleck program so far, it is as follows: the program is not (yet) elite, but it might get there someday in the distant future.

In 2019, you're hoping for — maybe — a one game improvement from last season, to 7-5, despite the team's strong finish last year and a favorable upcoming schedule.

----

My main question to you — and the (many) other GHers like you — is, do you actually have higher expectations for this team going forward, or are you okay with 7-5? Do you expect the Gophers to eventually be "an elite program that wins a vast majority of games each season" under P. J. Fleck? If so, when do you see that happening?

I'm not picking on you personally, because your point of view seems to be the majority one on GH.

But if 7-5 is our expectation as fans, what's the point of the exercise? Surely it can't be much fun, year after year assuming in advance we'll be cheering for another also-ran Gopher squad.
 

Gophers_4life

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
6,215
Reaction score
2
Points
36
No one, myself included, is happy at 7-5 in perpetuity.

I dare say that no fan/alumni of P5 programs across the nation is happy with that. They're always striving for better, spending a lot $$$ hoping to make that happen. But, of course, they can't all succeed. There are a precious few programs that have made it to the very tip-top, and the sheer momentum of all the things, recruiting, coaching, facilities, etc. seems to be that getting to, and maintaining a top 10 program is almost impossible for any program that isn't already there.

Would we be happy finishing ranked in the top 25, but outside the top 15, every season over the next ten years, but never finishing higher than that?


This is a deep philosophical debate here ..... boiling down to essentially the question "what would allow you to die happy?" And the answer to that question is probably going to vary quite a bit, to each present day Gopher fan.
 

50PoundHead

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Messages
7,197
Reaction score
170
Points
63
I feel better about the program than I have since Mason arrived. It's going to be a bit of a slog and year-to-year may be uneven, but I think Fleck has his eyes affixed to a site higher than what previous coaches have (I don't count Brewster, who simply was out of his depth and had no business making the statements he made). Whether Fleck gets us there is the big question. He can be a "walking eagle" (so full of sh*t he can't fly) sometimes, but I believe he is an ardent student of both the on-field and off-field aspects of the game and he wants to emulate the best. Again, the proof as to whether he's successful or not remains to be seen.
 

UpAndUnder43

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
6,822
Reaction score
2,420
Points
113
This is how I feel about the Gophers. This kind of positivity is necessary from this fan base.

https://deadspin.com/man-applies-for-und-head-coach-job-cites-playing-madde-1481626884

highlight: We will put on an exciting brand of football, we will pack them into the Alerus Center night in and night out, go ahead and blow the roof off the place and add about 35,000 seats to that place.

But I would replace Alerus with TCF Bank Stadium
 

GoGoGopher12

Active member
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
265
Reaction score
33
Points
28
Paying players is eventually coming but I doubt that any time in the near future, programs with better finances will be allowed to win recruiting battles by paying players more. There will be a cap and that cap will be fairly low. I bet it will end up being a flat payment of something less than $20,000 a year for every athlete/every scholarship athlete. Athletic departments will need to make some budgeting changes but it won't be like baseball where the Yankees can outspend everyone. If anything it may level the playing field as I suspect many top teams are paying players under the table. Especially with poor athletes, small payments to help your family or to help you afford a car could make the difference in where you go.
Just to be clear, many, if not most, Division 1 schools already pay student athletes. It's called "Cost of Attendance" and it varies from school to school but all perfectly legal. So in addition to tuition, books, meals, living accommodations, student athletes receive a monthly stipend ranging from a few hundred dollars to $1,500+ per month (depending on the school). If the student athlete elects to live off campus, the stipend money is increased to allow for rent.

https://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/2015-09-03/cost-attendance-qa
 
Last edited:

Gophers_4life

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
6,215
Reaction score
2
Points
36
If that’s how you define “paying players”, then schools have been “paying” players for decades.

Easy example is living off-campus. They still give you the equivalent value of “room” in the scholarship. Just cut you a check for the difference.

FCOA just bumped up that difference a little bit more. But it was always happening, for any kind of positive difference in the student’s account.
 

RememberMurray

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,397
Points
113
No one, myself included, is happy at 7-5 in perpetuity.

I dare say that no fan/alumni of P5 programs across the nation is happy with that. They're always striving for better, spending a lot $$$ hoping to make that happen. But, of course, they can't all succeed. There are a precious few programs that have made it to the very tip-top, and the sheer momentum of all the things, recruiting, coaching, facilities, etc. seems to be that getting to, and maintaining a top 10 program is almost impossible for any program that isn't already there.

Would we be happy finishing ranked in the top 25, but outside the top 15, every season over the next ten years, but never finishing higher than that?


This is a deep philosophical debate here ..... boiling down to essentially the question "what would allow you to die happy?" And the answer to that question is probably going to vary quite a bit, to each present day Gopher fan.
Well said. Clearly every Gopher fan has his or her own expectations.

Maybe the question I should have asked is more like this:


Let's say Coyle and Fleck publicly stated that the goal for the program going forward was to be "ranked in the top 25, but outside the top 15, every season over the next ten years, but never finishing higher than that."

I'd be interested to hear how many GopherHolers would find the quote highlighted to be a satisfactory goal, and how many would be disappointed to hear Coyle and Fleck set that as the benchmark.

Count me as a person who would find it disappointing, or, as a fellow poster once eloquently put it, "kind of droopy".
 

GoGoGopher12

Active member
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
265
Reaction score
33
Points
28
If that’s how you define “paying players”, then schools have been “paying” players for decades.

Easy example is living off-campus. They still give you the equivalent value of “room” in the scholarship. Just cut you a check for the difference.

FCOA just bumped up that difference a little bit more. But it was always happening, for any kind of positive difference in the student’s account.
Since 2015 anyway. I don't know what else you'd call it other than "paying players".

Giving a player money for rent versus living in student housing is just reallocating the original scholarship. But the COA is over and above that original scholarship. It's a good thing and glad the NCAA agreed to it. I had guys on my team doing some pretty unscrupulous things to make a little spending cash like selling team issued shoes, selling game tickets, etc) back in the day.
 

Gophers_4life

Active member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
6,215
Reaction score
2
Points
36
Well said. Clearly every Gopher fan has his or her own expectations.

Maybe the question I should have asked is more like this:


Let's say Coyle and Fleck publicly stated that the goal for the program going forward was to be "ranked in the top 25, but outside the top 15, every season over the next ten years, but never finishing higher than that."

I'd be interested to hear how many GopherHolers would find the quote highlighted to be a satisfactory goal, and how many would be disappointed to hear Coyle and Fleck set that as the benchmark.

Count me as a person who would find it disappointing, or, as a fellow poster once eloquently put it, "kind of droopy".
No one would ever say that, though. That kind of language doesn't work. No one likes to be told that there is a ceiling. Instead, you would just say something like "we're going to try to be in the top 25 every year over the next ten years". That way it's still the same thing, but gives the illusion that there is no ceiling.


So let me ask you my man ...... what will allow you to die happy as a Gopher football fan?? I feel like, for better or for worse, given that it now much more symbolic than significant ..... but still, a lot of Gopher fans would die happy if we won a Rose Bowl.

And that kind of thing certainly can be done these days as a top 15 team. It can work roughly like this: win the West, perhaps going 10-2, 11-1 or something like that, and ranked say #12, playing say Ohio State as a top 5 ranked team in the Big Ten Championship game, lose the game, drop down to #15, but Ohio State goes to the CFP, which is not at the Rose Bowl that year, and so the Gophers go to the Rose Bowl as a runner up.

Easily possible.

Can we get there?? We're trying like hell ....
 

short ornery norwegian

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2011
Messages
10,543
Reaction score
2,141
Points
113
Look, if you held my feet to the fire, I guess I would say I don't ever see the Gophers as a top-10 type of team. If they could become a top-25 team on a regular basis - play in some New Year's Day bowls, and make it to the Rose Bowl, I would see that as the ceiling for the program.

I just don't see the U of MN making the commitment that it takes to be a top-10 program - commitment in terms of money, facilities, and (often) playing the 'don't ask, don't tell' game with the boosters. Of course, that assumes that the program would have boosters with fat wallets who were willing to open them up to benefit the program. when push comes to shove, the U of MN administration and faculty are just not willing to go that far for athletics.

Here's a different question - If the Gophers won a national title, but it turned out they violated NCAA rules to do it, would you be OK with that? Because that might be the only way a school like MN could win a championship.
 

MNVCGUY

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
9,439
Reaction score
2,179
Points
113
Well said. Clearly every Gopher fan has his or her own expectations.

Maybe the question I should have asked is more like this:


Let's say Coyle and Fleck publicly stated that the goal for the program going forward was to be "ranked in the top 25, but outside the top 15, every season over the next ten years, but never finishing higher than that."

I'd be interested to hear how many GopherHolers would find the quote highlighted to be a satisfactory goal, and how many would be disappointed to hear Coyle and Fleck set that as the benchmark.

Count me as a person who would find it disappointing, or, as a fellow poster once eloquently put it, "kind of droopy".
If they came out and said that, pretty much everyone would be disappointed and they would get destroyed for it. On the flip side if you asked Gopher fans if they would be ok with the team always being ranked in the top 25 but never cracking the top 15, I have to believe right now many of us would take that in a heartbeat. At some point people would get fed up with never cracking the big time but given our track record for a long time around here being in that 16-25 range every year would be a pretty massive accomplishment.
 

MNVCGUY

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
9,439
Reaction score
2,179
Points
113
Here's a different question - If the Gophers won a national title, but it turned out they violated NCAA rules to do it, would you be OK with that? Because that might be the only way a school like MN could win a championship.
Interesting question. I think it would be viewed similar to the final 4 team under Clem. Was a blast at the time, and disappointing later when it was discovered they were breaking the rules. I know I would be disappointed to find out they cheated to get to the top.
 
Top Bottom