Being in west is best for Gophers, at least for now

  • Updated: April 30, 2013 - 12:26 AM
hide

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill was all smiles during spring practice earlier this month, and probably is smiling over not being in the same division as Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State starting next year, thanks to Big Ten realignment.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Big Ten officially announced realignment starting in the 2014 football season, with teams divided into two seven-team divisions — East and West, mercifully replacing Legends and Leaders.

The general consensus is that the Gophers made out nicely in the new configuration, which places the two new Big Ten teams (Maryland and Rutgers) in the East with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Indiana. The Gophers get Nebraska, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois and Iowa in the West.

To get a sense of the relative strengths of those divisions as they relate to Minnesota, we took a look at what constitutes the “Golden Era” of modern Gophers football — 1999-2006, the final eight seasons under Glen Mason, when the Gophers went to bowl games seven times and defeated every other conference team at least once.

Keep in mind, this does not count Nebraska, which is certainly one of the power programs now in the West but was not part of the Big Ten back then. Here is how Minnesota did against these teams from 1999-2006:

New West: Illinois: 5-1; Iowa: 3-5; Northwestern: 4-2; Purdue: 1-5; Wisconsin: 2-6; Overall: 15-19.

New East: Indiana: 4-2; Michigan: 1-5; Michigan State: 4-2; Penn State: 4-2; Ohio State 1-5; Overall: 14-16.

Many of those programs are in much different places in 2013 than they were a decade ago. That’s why Gophers coach Jerry Kill has merit when he says it’s too early to say whether one division will be easier than the other. But historically speaking — and the Gophers’ golden era notwithstanding — the West should offer less resistance more consistently.

So what should be the realistic expectation for the Gophers starting in 2014? A good chance at going .500 against West foes almost every season … a chance once every few years, when the schedule breaks right, to contend within the division … and also the chance, when the team is young and the East crossover games are tough, to finish near the bottom.

Just remember when you get excited to see winnable games against Illinois, Iowa and Purdue on the schedule every year, those schools, at least for now, are thinking the same thing about Minnesota.

MICHAEL RAND

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox - WP: S. Carroll 6 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 2
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 11 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 6
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: C. Tillman 0
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 2 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: V. Black 5
Boston - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Fields 3
Minnesota - WP: K. Correia 9 FINAL
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 3
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 10
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 5 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
Washington 3 Top 10th Inning
Philadelphia 3
Pittsburgh 5 Bottom 10th Inning
Cincinnati 5
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 5 FINAL
Texas - LP: M. Mikolas 2
San Diego 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Los Angeles 0
Oakland 0 Top 3rd Inning
Seattle 1
Colorado 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Houston 2 FINAL
Toronto FC 4
Columbus 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Chicago 1 FINAL
New England 0
Sporting Kansas City 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
Chivas USA 0 1st Half 15:00
Vancouver FC 1
Real Salt Lake 0 1st Half 33:00
Los Angeles 0
Winnipeg 34 FINAL
Montreal 33
Ottawa 11 FINAL
Edmonton 27
Calgary 34 FINAL
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 11 1:32
Saskatchewan 13
Edmonton 7/17/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 7/18/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Hamilton 7/18/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Montreal 7/19/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Atlanta 93 FINAL
Indiana 74
Washington 91 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which upcoming event are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close