The Northwestern game: How important?

RememberMurray

Well-known member
With Tanner Morgan in concussion protocol, and with the West championship now almost certainly coming down to our head-to-head matchup the following week vs. Wisconsin...

... how much importance does the Northwestern game really carry?

Obviously, our CFP hopes (whatever they are at this point) can't afford to take another hit. But, beyond that...?
 

UpAndUnder43

Well-known member
I think beating Northwestern is extremely important. 10 regular season wins guaranteed. We never play well @ Evanston. Need to prove we can win without Morgan, against a weak opponent. And ultimately I think Rose Bowl is a good goal. You need to beat Northwestern and wisconsin to have a shot at it.
 

Go Gophers Rah

Section 238 Row 21
How many of us gave the Illini a chance at beating wisconsin?
If we were to beat NU and then the Boilers beat the badgers later in the day, we would be outright BigTen West Champs.
 

tmvander

Active member
It's still huge. It plays no importance in the West race, but for bowl consideration etc. it is still very important. It's also going to be watched by a lot of people and will keep interest and perception high for both fans and recruits.
 

Hotdish

Member
I think beating Northwestern is extremely important. 10 regular season wins guaranteed. We never play well @ Evanston. Need to prove we can win without Morgan, against a weak opponent. And ultimately I think Rose Bowl is a good goal. You need to beat Northwestern and wisconsin to have a shot at it.
I agree. This has been the most successful season the gophers have had in eons and I will take any win we can get. I really hope the boys do not overlook this one.
 

MaxyJR1

Active member
Must win to keep best season alive. Lose and doubt starts to seep in. Lose and beat Wisconsin and lose in B1G Title Game might not get invited to Rose Bowl.
 
two sides of this coin - 1) the high probability is that whatever the result the Wisconsin game will be for all the marbles but 2) this is very important not only for the 10th win but also we need to avenge 37-0. I have not forgotten that 37-0 beat down in Evanston two years ago. On top of that I did happen to see Fitzgerald's BIG weekly media presser earlier today. It was a bit interesting, when asked about Minnesota's success this year he referred to "Kirk" doing a great job with the offense and "Joe" doing a great job with the defense. Absolutely no mention of PJ. He also showed a lot of love to "Tanner". I found the lack of PJ mention telling (seems there may be something there? or just gamesmanship?). We need a rebound statement game this weekend and send "Pat" a big message. Do not forget 37-0...hammer NW this weekend
 

OldBob53

Member
10 wins will be great if you ask me. I doubt many people would have been disappointed with that prospect start of season. So its a big game and very important. And who knows, maybe they can knock off Wisconsin too.

I'm wary of NW though. They were quite highly touted preseason, very good last year, and no doubt eager to upset the 9-1 Gophers.
 

die hard gopher

Well-known member
It is just as important as any other game as it is an opportunity for us to get another win and finish at least 10-2 instead of 9-3.

IMO, if your going to get killed in the Big Ten championship game then total wins is more important than winning the west. I’d rather be 10-2 and second in the west then 8-4 and West champs.
 

metrolax

Well-known member
One game at a time. Win this game, and we have at least clinched a tie for the BIG 10 West title. That's what's
on the line Saturday. That and a 10-win season. That's plenty of motivation. I expect NU to give us their very
best shot.
 

Go Gophers Rah

Section 238 Row 21
One game at a time. Win this game, and we have at least clinched a tie for the BIG 10 West title. That's what's
on the line Saturday. That and a 10-win season. That's plenty of motivation. I expect NU to give us their very
best shot.
I know people recoil at this. But I think there is value in being tied as Division Champion even if we were to be the loser of the head-to-head and not play in Indy. Our 1967 Big Ten Championship season is no lesser the accomplishment even though we tied and lost a game to another co-champion (Purdue) in the season. A Co-Division Champion would be tangible evidence that there are measurable improvements. I, for one, would love to see a Division Champion banner in TCF Bank Stadium regardless of whether we play in Indy this year.
 

stocker08

Active member
I think beating Northwestern is extremely important. 10 regular season wins guaranteed. We never play well @ Evanston. Need to prove we can win without Morgan, against a weak opponent. And ultimately I think Rose Bowl is a good goal. You need to beat Northwestern and wisconsin to have a shot at it.
This. First ten win season since 2003 with the potential to pick up several more wins still. Sure....unless Purdue beats Wisconsin....it will have no bearing on the West....but record wise and ranking wise....you don't want to drop this game. The Gophers could finish HIGH in the ranking this year and go into next year with some national hype surrounding the team considering that we should be bringing back a lot of talent.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

Well-known member
PJ doesn't belive in "momentum" and I think I get his reasoning why.

I'll just say for "morale" this win is required going into Wisc.
 

RodentRampage

Active member
I know people recoil at this. But I think there is value in being tied as Division Champion even if we were to be the loser of the head-to-head and not play in Indy. Our 1967 Big Ten Championship season is no lesser the accomplishment even though we tied and lost a game to another co-champion (Purdue) in the season. A Co-Division Champion would be tangible evidence that there are measurable improvements. I, for one, would love to see a Division Champion banner in TCF Bank Stadium regardless of whether we play in Indy this year.
What's at stake this Saturday is 10 wins, clinching a share of the division title, getting to 7 Big Ten wins. The last time we had 6 Big Ten wins was 1973. That's enough for one weekend as far as I'm concerned.
 

60's Guy

Well-known member
The idea it’s not important can’t be a question inside the culture. If there is any thought it doesn’t matter that much and our focus is already on Wisconsin...that likely wouldn’t result in anything but a 9 and 3 regular season.
 

Ope3

Active member
I know people recoil at this. But I think there is value in being tied as Division Champion even if we were to be the loser of the head-to-head and not play in Indy. Our 1967 Big Ten Championship season is no lesser the accomplishment even though we tied and lost a game to another co-champion (Purdue) in the season. A Co-Division Champion would be tangible evidence that there are measurable improvements. I, for one, would love to see a Division Champion banner in TCF Bank Stadium regardless of whether we play in Indy this year.
Do other Big 10 schools recognize Co-Division Championships that do not result in a trip to Indy?

I get the recognition for 1967 which was actual Tri-Champions (with Indiana & Purdue) but since Division play, IMO you either are Champion (go to BT Title game) or you're not.
 

Go Gophers Rah

Section 238 Row 21
Do other Big 10 schools recognize Co-Division Championships that do not result in a trip to Indy?

I get the recognition for 1967 which was actual Tri-Champions (with Indiana & Purdue) but since Division play, IMO you either are Champion (go to BT Title game) or you're not.
Yes. There are 3 examples.
2011 Penn State (tied w/ wisconsin in Leaders Division, but lost the head-to-head)
2015 Ohio State (tied w/Michigan State but lost the head-to-head)
2016 Ohio State (tied w/Penn State but lost the head-to-head)

In each of these cases the team that lost the head-to-head and did not play in the Conference Championship Game is still recognized as Division Champion.
 
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MaxyJR1

Active member
It is just as important as any other game as it is an opportunity for us to get another win and finish at least 10-2 instead of 9-3.

IMO, if your going to get killed in the Big Ten championship game then total wins is more important than winning the west. I’d rather be 10-2 and second in the west then 8-4 and West champs.
That makes no sense. You want us sitting home on championship Saturday and miss out on national exposure and chance to win a one game playoff for a conference championship. We haven't gotten killed by anyone this year or in the last calendar year.
 

Great Plains Gopher

Well-known member
It's a must win - for West standings, for polls, for bowl considerations, and as a comeback from Iowa. Obviously, the Gophers have to beat Wisconsin for all the marbles, including the Rose Bowl (assuming a loss to Ohio State). But 10-1 by Saturday night will look very good to the voters and bowl selectors, and we will all feel good about it.
 

Ope3

Active member
Yes. As an example, the 2015 Ohio State team was co-divisional champion (according to their webpage and wikipedia) even though they tied with Michigan State, but lost to Michigan State in head-to-head and did not play in the title game. I believe there are other examples and may edit this post as I find them.
Ok, thanks. Good enough for me.
 

RememberMurray

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies, everyone. Lots of good, thought-provoking answers to the question. I really like the (winning) attitude here!
 

Veritas

Active member
It is just as important as any other game as it is an opportunity for us to get another win and finish at least 10-2 instead of 9-3.

IMO, if your going to get killed in the Big Ten championship game then total wins is more important than winning the west. I’d rather be 10-2 and second in the west then 8-4 and West champs.
No, disagree totally. Take the banner.
 

Face The Facts

Fleck Superfan
We are 0-0 in the Northwestern Championship Season.

How important is it to be a Champion to you?

If you want to win the Northwestern Season Championship, they have to win this week.
We haven't won the Northwestern Championship in years.
 

Veritas

Active member
I know people recoil at this. But I think there is value in being tied as Division Champion even if we were to be the loser of the head-to-head and not play in Indy. Our 1967 Big Ten Championship season is no lesser the accomplishment even though we tied and lost a game to another co-champion (Purdue) in the season. A Co-Division Champion would be tangible evidence that there are measurable improvements. I, for one, would love to see a Division Champion banner in TCF Bank Stadium regardless of whether we play in Indy this year.
Allow me to be a bit picky here. In 1967 we were champions of the Big Ten along with Indiana and Purdue. We had neither won nor lost any sort of tie breakers or anything else. Yes we had lost to Purdue but we had beaten Indiana, if my memory is right. Indiana only went to the Rose Bowl because we had been there more recently. We went to no bowl game because that is the way it was back then, Rose Bowl or nothing. Today there are official tie breakers, in 67 there were not other than in regard to the Rose Bowl.
 

die hard gopher

Well-known member
No, disagree totally. Take the banner.
You only get a banner if you win the conference, not the division. A first place division finish only matters in that it is one more step for winning the conference. Otherwise it has little importance and total wins is a better measure of a successful season.
 
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lmh839

Member
Just like Iowa City, Evanston has not been very friendly to Minnesota in recent years. It's usually an 11am game with a sparse crowd and just not a good college gameday atmosphere.

2017 - NU 39 Minnesota 0

2015 - NU 27 Minnesota 0

2013 - NU 17 Minnesota 20

While Ryan Field has not been as hostile as Kinnick Stadium, this is a very tough place to play. NW has a great defense and always plays Minnesota tough.

Minnesota needs to re-set and focus on their 0-0 Northwestern Championship season. If they can get a lead up to 10 points, I like their chances due to NW's struggling offense. However, they can't afford to play a soft defense. They need to be aggressive and attack NW's biggest weakness which is their offense.
 
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