I'm going to be honest, I have nothing bad to say about Minnesota.
I think the Gophers are a fine and fun football team coached by a pleasant fellow who spent time at Ohio State and had nothing but kind things to say about Jim Tressel or his experience in Columbus. He's even wearing a tie during the game to pay homage to his mentor.
The fans are incredibly kind, their mascot is a fun cartoon Gopher named Goldy, their coaching staff literally eats Dilly Bars on the sideline in the snow during the game, and they're a true underdog story with a true freshman walk on quarterback and a 6-9, 400-pound tackle who's been playing competitive football less than two years.
Maybe I'd feel differently if the Gophers were the least bit threatening, but they aren't. Minnesota hasn't beaten Ohio State in Columbus since
1949 2000 (I was lied to) and have won the matchup just twice overall in the past 50 years.
Minnesota doesn't expect to win this game. They're just going to stroll in, try their best, and have a pleasant autumn afternoon in Columbus.
To be honest, I just feel bad that the Buckeyes have to hang 50+ on them today and send them packing back to Arendelle to face the endless winter.
Goldy, I wish this didn't have to hurt, but it's gonna.
|TIME (ET)||MATCHUP||FAVORITE||TV CHANNEL|
|12:00||MINNESOTA @ #3 OHIO STATE||OSU (-29.5)||FS1|
|12:00||TENNESSEE @ #21 AUBURN||AUB (-15)||SECN|
|12:00||#14 FLORIDA @ VANDERBILT||UF (-7.5)||ESPN|
|2:30||PITTSBURGH @ #5 NOTRE DAME||ND (-21.5)||NBC|
|3:30||MICHIGAN STATE @ #8 PENN STATE||PSU (-13)||BTN|
|3:30||#22 TEXAS A&M @ SOUTH CAROLINA||TEX A&M (-2.5)||SECN|
|3:30||#2 GEORGIA @ #13 LSU||UGA (-7)||CBS|
|3:30||#10 UCF @ MEMPHIS||UCF (-4.5)||ESPN2|
|3:30||BAYLOR @ #9 TEXAS||TEX (-14)||ESPN|
|3:30||#7 WASHINGTON @ #17 OREGON||WASH (-3.5)||ABC|
|7:00||#16 MIAMI @ VIRGINIA||MIAMI (-7)||ESPN2|
|7:00||MISSOURI @ #1 ALABAMA||BAMA (-28)||ESPN|
|7:00||#6 WEST VIRGINIA @ IOWA STATE||WVU (-6.5)||FS1|
|7:30||#15 WISCONSIN @ #12 MICHIGAN||MICH (-10)||ABC|
|10:30||#19 COLORADO @ USC||USC (-7)||FS1|
Word of the Day: Eviscerate.
THAT 11W PREGAME FIX.
- Game Preview.
- Q&A With Minnesota beat writer Randy Johnson.
- 10 Reasons to hate.
- Game Poster.
- Game Trailer.
- Our picks against the spread.
- A look back at the 1968 team that will be honored on Saturday.
- Meet Minnesota's mammoth 6-9, 400 lb. offensive tackle making his first college start.
“IT'S NOT A COINCIDENCE THEY PLAY FOR AN AX”. Folks, I think they got me.
just spent the first half of this Skull Session typing away at how pleasant, kind and absolutely unhatable Minnesota is. And then I remembered that was actually the premise for Minnesota's Big Ten promotional video ahead of last season.
The ad featured a bunch of smiling Minnesotans harmlessly saying kind things at the camera before implying that those sweet people would murder you and grind your body in a wood chipper.
I can't find the incredibly murdery promotional video anywhere as it seems like Fox has scrubbed all evidence of those advertisements – probably for good reason – but the official caption for it was literally "It's not a coincidence they play for an ax."
Thankfully, Doug Lesmerises' review of the promotion is still alive and well over at Cleveland.com:
They are going to smile at you and then PUT YOU IN A WOOD CHIPPER. Some fans on Twitter complained that this was modeled on the movie Fargo, and the city of Fargo is in North Dakota. But to be fair, most of the movie is set in Minnesota. And I'm sure people in Minnesota never ... get ... tired ... of ... that ... reference.
It switched. While they still have my respect, the Golden Gophers do not have my trust.
THE GOPHER GOLIATH, THE MINNESOTA MAMMOTH, ETC. This has already been mentioned quite a few times this week but I don't think we can possibly talk enough about the 6-foot-9, 400 lb. offensive tackle, Daniel Faalele, making his first college start against the Buckeyes today.
Imagine a 6-foot-9, 400 pound offensive lineman coming downhill at you. @GopherFootball opponents won't have to imagine it this year, as Australian freshman @DanielFaalele_ has arrived: pic.twitter.com/ydtMpgnRTq— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) August 16, 2018
Here's the terrifying thing: that 400 pounds is definitely not fat. Faalele is from Australia where he played Australian rules football before coming to the United States.
If you're unfamiliar with Aussie football, it's extremely fast paced with lots of running – meaning Faalele had to be in shape and can definitely move.
"We were telling our defensive ends yesterday, you can't get locked up with him. Because he's so strong," Larry Johnson said of Faalele earlier this week. "He is a big guy, so we're going to make him move his feet."
I'm not sure this week is going to go in his favor, having to block Chase Young and Jonathan Cooper in his first college start, but I'd be shocked if we don't see Faalele playing on Sundays in the future.
FIVE FIRST ROUND PICKS? Remember when Ohio State had five first-round picks following the 2015 season and the entire first day of the draft was basically an advertisement for Buckeye football?
Get ready for round two.
Bleacher Report Draft Analyst Matt Miller has five Buckeyes going in the first round of the NFL Draft. No. 1 Nick Bosa, No. 12 Dre'Mont Jones, No. 16 Dwayne Haskins, No. 21 Damon Arnette, and No. 30 Kendall Sheffield.
Those first three have been discussed widely already, but the two cornerbacks thrown in there at the end might raise a few eyebrows. But Miller is confident, at least in Arnette.
The cornerback class could be loaded, and a big part of that will be Ohio State's Damon Arnette. As with Mullen, teams love his size (6'0", 195 lbs) and toughness at the line of scrimmage. Agents and scouts are already lining up to watch Arnette and feel he's a first-round talent.
No disrespect to Arnette and Sheffield, but I would love to know what more Jordan Fuller has to do to stand out when Miller and NFL scouts seem to think he's the third best player in Ohio State's defensive backfield.
FIVE QUICK WINNERS. I went 2-3 last week in large part because Ohio State decided to knee it out instead of cover when in the red zone at the end of the game, for the second time this year. Someone needs to tell Urban Meyer that good teams win, great teams cover. I'm now 13-17 on the season, which is bad, but still fixable!
UCF -4.5 against Memphis
This line absolutely terrifies me, because there's no reason it should be so narrow. UCF has absolutely drilled every team its played, putting up over 48 points a game. Meanwhile, Memphis has two losses to Navy and Tulane and allowed 35 points to South Alabama. I don't think UCF is as good as last year, but they're at least a touchdown better than Memphis, even on the road. Preseason, I would have believed this line. After watching both teams play this year, this is just absurd.
Buffalo -11.5 against Akron
Buffalo is a legitimately good football team. The Bulls have a dominant pass-rushing defensive line, a top-five offensive line country according to Pro Football Focus, and a huge, athletic playmaker at quarterback. The Zips, meanwhile, are not great. I know they beat Northwestern, but they needed two defensive scores and a fluke long touchdown to do it, and their only other win is against Morgan State. I think Buffalo wins this game by at least 20.
Oregon +3.5 against Washington
I picked against Oregon against Stanford and was absolutely wrong, but the Ducks gifted the Cardinal – and me – the victory with atrocious clock management. That said, I'm not going to be wrong twice. Oregon looked legitimately good in that game, owned the line of scrimmage, and lit it up offensively, they just made dumb mistakes to keep Stanford in the game. Washington is undefeated, but just has never really looked like it's put it all together even against inferior teams. I think Oregon wins outright at home.
Virginia Tech and North Carolina Under 59 Points
There's just nothing I've seen from either of these two offenses that convinces me they can average a point a minute in this game. Legitimately the only thing that worries me about this total is Virginia Tech creating a few back-breaking defensive scores. Otherwise, I think we're looking at a close, low-scoring game.
Pitt +22 against Notre Dame
This is the classic Notre Dame letdown game. The Irish are coming off of two huge wins against Stanford and Virginia Tech and now should be able to cruise against far lesser opponents. Pitt is just talented enough to do some damage in that situation. I'm not saying the Panthers are going to win, but it's absolutely going to be closer than three touchdowns.
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