P.J. Fleck is doing it again, publicly campaigning, flooding the airwaves with catchphrases.
Fleck is arguing that ESPN’s popular Saturday pregame show, “College GameDay,” should next week travel to Dinkytown for the Gophers’ game against Penn State.
Fleck wants “College GameDay” to ignore the latest epic SEC matchup, this one between Alabama and LSU in Tuscaloosa, down in the land where spring football is every school’s second-most-popular sport.
What’s Fleck drinking?
Probably herbal tea, which promotes mental clarity.
Fleck is right. “College GameDay” coming here would be mutually beneficial.
Alabama-LSU is a big game, but it’s just the latest big game between these powerhouses. That game does not require hype, and because Alabama and LSU schools are ultimately vying for national titles, this game is merely part of a process.
Minnesota is playing for a spot in the top 10 and a major bowl, as well as a still-possible undefeated season, which should be a bigger and more endearing story.
SEC games are such productions that “College GameDay” would just be another sideshow, another tent in the circus. On Minnesota’s campus, a “College GameDay” appearance would be historic, and celebrated like a Super Bowl.
This might be the biggest game ever to be played at TCF Bank Stadium and perhaps the Gophers’ biggest game since Murray Warmath was coaching.
Come to think of it, a “College GameDay” appearance would be far better than a Super Bowl.
We have proof. The latest Minneapolis Super Bowl was a mess. Temperatures were frigid. Two of America’s worst fan bases — the Patriots’ and Eagles’ — descended on our frozen towns, clogged our traffic and sadly failed to climb greased streetlights.
That event highlighted every sorry cliché about Minnesota — that we all ice fish and are dopey enough to live in a place where a walk around the block could cost you a toe.
The baseball and WNBA All-Star Games were better than the Super Bowl, but “College GameDay” coming to Minnesota in early November would be perfection.
That event would allow Minnesotans to reveal their true selves. Yes, it’s cold here, but not so cold that you can’t sit outside for a big football game or appreciate the beauty of our autumns.
And Minnesotans could spend the day proving a national media outlet that we are nice. Sure, Southern hospitality is impressive, what with all of the barbecue and sunshine, but Minnesota Nice is real.
We’re very accommodating. In small doses. As long as you don’t ask for much.
“College GameDay” could also prove just how popular the ESPN show is, given that the show might outdraw the actual game.
This will also be a rare chance to see the Gophers’ “Maroon Out.” This is a counterpoint to Penn State’s famous “White Out,” in which 110,000 fill Beaver Stadium wearing only white.
Gophers fans will be wearing their maroon under parkas, but it’s the thought that counts.
It’s time for ESPN to seize the moment. Instead of shilling for the Southeastern Conference. ESPN can capture James Franklin pushing Penn State toward a national championship and Fleck tugging Minnesota toward perhaps its best season in 60 years.
The Gophers are good. Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman are NFL-caliber stars. Fleck and his staff have improved the quality of play at offensive line and quarterback during the season, which isn’t easy.
Antoine Winfield is a remarkable player. And whatever you think of Fleck’s promotional ways, at least he doesn’t spend his time on the sideline cussing out players. He spends his time on the sideline cussing out officials.
It’s time for ESPN to choose endearing over enduring, quaint over epic, wild rice soup over brisket.
(Never mind: No one should ever choose wild rice soup over brisket.)
C’mon, ESPN. Bundle up, dress in layers and head to Minnesota in November, and embrace the local motto:
Geez, it’s not too bad out today.