Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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Norwood might be little fuzzy on his math

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: May 11, 2013 - 8:55 PM

There was a failed experiment here on Tuesday night: I tried to rush some information onto this blog site before the puck was dropped for the Wild and the Blackhawks. I did this by sending along a series of my Tweets on the topic of the changes in the Gophers' future non-conference football schedules.

What I discovered was that it's advisable to stick with the composition style taught by Laura Lemmerman, the great English teacher at Fulda [Minn.] High School, and not the 140-character format brought to the world by Jack Dorsey.

So, we'll give the topic another try, in English, not Twitterish:

On Tuesday, Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague proudly announced that he had scheduled a home-and-home series with Texas Christian for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Undeniably, a series with TCU will serve as a considerable upgrade to the non-conference schedules the Gophers previously had on the books.

According to Norwood, this also was going to more than wipe out the $800,000 the Gophers had paid to get out of a home-and-home series with North Carolina. That series had been scheduled to start this fall in Chapel Hill.

Teague announced the Gophers would receive $500,000 for traveling to Fort Worth to play TCU in 2014, and would be required to pay nothing for the return match in Minneapolis with the Horned Frogs in 2015. Plus, TCU was taking over the contract with South Dakota State for a game with the Gophers, thus relieving Minnesota of the $400,000 guarantee that S.D. State would receive.

The theory Teague wanted the media and the public to accept was that, thanks to his clever maneuvering, the athletic department had not only escaped from the North Carolina fiasco, but was going to wind up 100 grand to the good.

Even though basic math wasn't a problem in my Fulda days, this seemed more like calculus: There was an unknown somewhere inside the problem.

I kicked this around with some other occupants of  Xcel Energy Center's press box. We looked at the future schedules as they were before the North Carolina buyout, and after Norwood's boasting about his TCU coup earlier on Tuesday. We scratched our chins and said "mmmm'' a few times, and then realized this:

Norwood's ledger did not include the fact the Gophers still would be losing a home game in the 2013-15 cycle, from what it was supposed to be before the North Carolina buyout to what it has become with the addition of TCU. Here was the pre-buyout schedule:

http://www.gophersports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/040312aaa.html

Before the North Carolina buyout, the Gophers had 3 of 4 non-conference games at home in 2013, 4 of 4 at home in 2014 and 3 of 4 in 2015. Basic math: 10 of 12 non-conference games at home over the next three years.

After Tuesday's announcement of the TCU deal, the Gophers had the same 3 of 4 at home in 2013, still 3 of 4 at home in 2015, but also 3 of 4 at home in 2014. Basic math again: 9 of 12 non-conference games at home over the next three years.

New Mexico State was the series Minnesota scheduled after buying out North Carolina. The Gophers travel there this fall, and then the Aggies play a return game in Minneapolis in 2016.

So, the spin from Teague could be that the return match with New Mexico State in 2016 offsets the loss of a non-conference home game in 2014. Except, 2016 is the year that the Big Ten goes from eight conference games to nine.

If nothing changes, Teague and the Gophers will have to get out of a non-conference game in 2016 to make room for the extra Big Ten game. The schedule currently calls for New Mexico State, Colorado State and Indiana State at home, and a road game at Miami (Ohio).

The Gophers either can drop the FCS game with Indiana State, which the Big Ten would prefer, or try to buy their way out of the road game at Miami.

Whatever the solution, what will remain missing from Teague's claim to have recouped the North Carolina buyout is the sizable take from a fourth non-conference home game in 2014 -- a number that exceeds the $500,000 the Gophers will get for traveling to TCU.

Addendum: Sorry about offering up the compilation of Tweets on Tuesday. I was in a hurry. I didn't want to miss the Wild's first goal. 

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