Remember last week when I got a little salty about the Star Tribune featuring Anthony Barr Injuring Aaron Rodgers as “One of Their Top Sports Moments of the 2010 Decade?“ Well, in a career season that was put together by Head Coach P.J. Fleck and his Golden Gopher Football team, they accomplished just that by defeating a true blue-blood college football program in the Auburn Tigers in the popular early-New Year’s Day Bowl Game, the Outback Bowl.
In doing so, the Minnesota Gophers secured that offer of “Free Coconut Shrimp” since the Big Ten won the bowl game – a game that features a SEC opponent and a Big Ten opponent. This was the Auburn Tigers! The same team that ended up defeating Oregon & Alabama in the same season, under a young and promising gunslinger in Bo Nix.
The Gophers surely will take a hit on defense next season, with young studs like Antoine Winfield, Jr. & Carter Coughlin likely heading off to the sunset and the bright lights of the National Football League. The Gophers will also lose wideout Tyler Johnson on offense, a guy who brought it all home for the state of Minnesota – being born and raised in Minneapolis and setting the example of graduating with a degree from a Big Ten University and also cementing his case to be drafted high on boards come the NFL Draft.
The Gophers capped off this season with 11 wins, their highest win total since 1904. It will be interesting to determine whether or not P.J. Fleck can repeat and even improve upon this season, but the Gophers appear to be on the right track. Time to start making plans to build that bronze statue of P.J. Fleck in front of TCF Bank Stadium – Gopher Football is now where they’ve really haven’t been in quite a while – and that is… relevant. P.J. Fleck said it best: “To be a blue-blood, you need to beat a blue-blood.”