GopherQuest: The Garbage Times Are Killing Us

Submitted by Brian on October 24th, 2011 at 11:57 AM


LAST TIME ON GOPHERQUEST: We laid out the somewhat silly ground rules for Worst Big Ten Team ever, which are:

  1. Lose all your conference games
  2. Score the lowest percentage of points in your conference games
  3. Have existed after 1930

A quick recap of history indicated the Gophers were off to a stirring start. Two games in they were the worst Big Ten team in 50 years.



The Gophers played Nebraska, one-time annihilator of the Big 12, and lost 41-14. The noon window on Saturday was so bad that I watched the last ten minutes of this game, screaming at Nebraska's second-string defense not to allow second garbage-time touchdown. They did.

Our status:




The '81 Northwestern Wildcats had scoring percentage of 15%.

At the end of the season I think we're going to look at these two weeks as a massive missed opportunity. Nebraska was up 34-0 at the half. Braves and Birds on what Nebraska does to teams they are up 34-0 against:

Bo Pelini, the vintage Nebraska teams would not have allowed a 34-0 halftime lead over an overmatched opponent turn into a 41-14 final.  Tom Osborne would have beaten Minnesota by at least 65-3.

Alas, they don't make blowouts like they used to.

If Gray doesn't punch one in with two minutes left against Nebraska and Purdue doesn't give up a kick return touchdown, Minnesota's hovering around 10%, well within shouting distance of Harry Kipke's worst-ever 1934 Wolverines.


The Gophers had their bye week before Nebraska and face this season-closing gauntlet: Iowa, @ Michigan State, Wisconsin, @ Northwestern, Illinois. Purdue easily beating Illinois gives Minnesota some hope that they might be vaguely competitive—like into the second quarter—against the kind of teams that lose to Purdue, but Iowa's defense can hold Minnesota's best hope may be the Northwestern secondary.

Quest fans, meanwhile, are eyeing that Wisconsin game as an opportunity for the 83-0 drubbing it's going to take to push the Gophers into all-time territory.

Sagarin predicts the following:

  1. Iowa: 12-point loss
  2. @ Michigan State: 32-point loss
  3. Wisconsin: 31-point loss
  4. @ Northwestern: 13 point loss
  5. Illinois: 16 point loss

That's not going to get it done, but I don't think Sagarin's computer is able to process how extreme of an outlier this Gopher team is.



[protip: hit escape to stop gif animation]



October 24th, 2011 at 12:06 PM ^

The final score ended up being a great example of why beating some poor group of souls 70-10 is overrated (looking at you, Wisconsin).  There was no doubt after a short time that Nebraska was the superior team by a huge margin.  I applaud them for not running up the score. 


October 24th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

But the key to GopherQuest isn't so much running up the score, but rather preventing Minnesota from scoring. Consider that 35-3 (a solid blowout, but generally not considered to be particularly unsportsmanlike) is the same as 70-6 (laying it on just to be an ass) are both exactly the same in the all-important scoring percentage metric.

Hardware Sushi

October 24th, 2011 at 12:27 PM ^

I'd like to moderate that Bo Pelini pic as Underrated. I've never seen it before and is epic.

I'm pretty sure Pelini uses that instead of a standard resume when interviewing for jobs.


October 24th, 2011 at 12:34 PM ^

ALONE! After all they've been through! Their coach has had seizures, their starting QB has been injured.. and all you guys do is poke fun at a team going through a hard time.. you.. bastards!!!!