Jules Perlt was the public address announcer for Gophers football at Memorial Stadium, and for Gophers basketball and the one-class state high school basketball tournament at Williams Arena.
The deep, authoritative voice resonated through the Barn, yet it was across the street at the football yard where Perlt was at his best.
When encountering Perlt in all of his sternness, you would not consider him a candidate for a mischievous streak, but he had one.
There would be several football games in the Big Ten and around the country that held the interest of Memorial Stadium attendees on Saturday afternoons, and if there was a surprise, Perlt could not resist:
“At the half,” his voice would boom, “Michigan 14, Indiana … SEVENTEEN.”
And we would all gasp in surprise and then laugh at Perlt’s small prank.
There is no Gophers game this week, but I’ve been imagining that if there was, and someone came to Perlt and told him to announce the scores for Georgia State-Georgia Southern and Appalachian State-South Alabama, the irascible Jules would throw that person out of the booth.
It has come to this: a greater embarrassment than losing 84-13 in 1983 to Nebraska, a greater embarrassment than losing a 41-38 shootout in 2010 to South Dakota (a team that went 2-6 vs. FCS competition).
We have arrived at the most wretched, humiliating moment in the 40-plus years of many wretched, humiliating performances from the football teams sponsored by the University of Minnesota.
We have lost so much pride and have become so deluded as to what level of production is worthy of a reward that the Maroon Wearing Zanies (MWZs) will be monitoring their smartphones and tablets Saturday to make sure Georgia State and South Alabama are losing, as anticipated.
Yes, the 2015 Golden Gophers, the descendants of Bud Grant and Paul Giel and Bobby Lee Bell and Sandy Stephens, are in all probability headed for a bowl game — and in all certainty, if only those tradition-laden football programs from Georgia State and South Alabama succumb as large underdogs.
Let’s not get overconfident, MWZs.
Georgia State showed from the start of its football program in 2010, with its 41-7 victory over Shorter, that it could never be discounted. And South Alabama did the same in 2009, when the Jaguars launched their football program with a 30-13 victory over Hargrave Military Academy.
Imagine Jules Perlt intoning: “At the half, Georgia State 10, Georgia Southern … 38.” Hip, hip … “And at the half, South Alabama 14, Appalachian State 35” … Hooray.
Jules would not be a party to such nonsense, that his once-proud Gophers would now have the audacity to covet an appearance in a fifth-rate, money-losing bowl game with a 5-7 record.
Actually, I’m contemplating putting in a call to Stew Thornley, an expert on grave sites of famous Minnesotans, and asking if he knows where Perlt might be entombed. I’d like to drop by and apologize to Jules in advance for any positive sentence that is written or uttered in the Twin Cities sports media (of which I’m a member) regarding this impending bowl appearance.
You know we’re going to see and hear it: “It’s a reward for our kids … they worked so hard.”
The Gophers went 2-6 in the Big Ten. They had a chance to reach the watered-down bowl standard of 6-6 with a victory over an underwhelming Wisconsin team Saturday, and the rodents — with their purportedly beloved, retired coach on the sideline — responded by tossing their cookies.
College football players everywhere, even at Georgia State and South Alabama, work long hours to prepare. They are in the workout room and in practice and in meetings endlessly, all for one reason:
To produce results.
You cannot say, “Our kids worked so hard; they deserve a bowl game,” when the work produces completely negative results.
Everyone involved with the Gophers should be embarrassed — no, humiliated — to accept a “reward” for winning five of 12, for winning two of eight (over Illinois 2-6 and Purdue 1-7) in the conference.
Yeah, but how about our fine seniors? Those lads got their justified reward last season with the Citrus Bowl, after winning eight of 12, and going 5-3 in the Big Ten.
Football’s fair, even if life isn’t. You play better, you win 95 percent of the time.
When you go backward severely, as the Gophers did in 2015, there is zero justification for being rewarded in any manner, other than with a firm handshake.
Addendum: Go ahead. Tell me about all the great things that can be accomplished with those extra practices for a bowl game. Meantime, I’ll go back and find some similar quotes on the subject from Tim Brewster in December 2009.
Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. email@example.com