There are a lot of words one could use when describing the Gophers' 2007 football season: Horrible. Dismal. Pathetic. Nauseating. Bewildering. Shameful. Any word that conveys a feeling of utter disappointment and disgust works. The maroon and gold finished the year with a 1-11 record and not much hope for the 2008 season. Then a funny thing happened: Minnesota won its first four games. The team can officially take Jesse Ventura's "We shocked the world!" battle cry as its own. By contemporary Minnesota football standards, this season has already been a rousing success. But the Gophers' early victories must be tempered by an analysis of their opponents. They won against non-conference teams that were relative pushovers. The Big Ten is no joke this year, as the Gophers discovered last week against the Ohio State juggernaut. After taking on unranked Indiana this week, the U plays the much tougher Illinois and, later on, a very sharp Wisconsin squad. Just as their battering by OSU proved that the Gophers are not nearly ready to play with the top-level teams, if they beat the Hoosiers it should show other Big Ten opponents that Minnesota is a decent team and that last season's 1-11 record was a fluke—not this season's 4-0 start.
Sat., Oct. 4, 11 a.m., 2008