Thursday, December 7, 2017

Emptying the Notebook

If you aren't listening to the Taken All Wrong Podcast, you should be. (Available at https://soundcloud.com/taken-all-wrong and on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.)

Last night while recording, I mentioned that I've tried several times over the last couple of weeks to write some #content for this website so that we could get our hands on somea dem sweet sweet #hitz. But due to depression over the ending of the Gopher football season (I'll leave it to you to guess the reason for the depression), I haven't been able to come up with anything that I felt was of value.

So today, I'm going to do a bit of a "notebook dump," if you will. Here now, are partial blog posts that I've tried to write over the previous couple of weeks that turned into... well, they have now turned into this blog post.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings

Well, that B1G/ACC challenge was the ass-kicking we all saw coming. Clearly, even some teams that we thought would be near the top of the conference are underperforming to this point in the season (thanks for nothing, nerds). The Gophers have acquitted themselves well - if you think the loss to Miami the other night was anything less than acceptable you can go ahead and hit the little x in the top right corner - but much of the rest of the league has not looked great. Since unpacking the State of the Conference looks pretty favorable for us to this point, and since conference play for some reason starts this weekend (for two games before taking a 3.5 week break for more cupcakes, the holiday break, and Jim Delany counting his Ea$t Coa$t Ca$h), let's do POWER RANKINGS! Note: this is a talent ranking - essentially where I expect each team to land this year, NOT what their resume has said so far.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Iago's Vengence

Song parody time again! 

This week I'm getting us into the Christmas spirit by riffing off of the best seasonal song of all time, NewSong's "Christmas Shoes." Important context if you're unfamiliar with the Chad Alvarez/Parrot story.

___

It was almost Axe game time, there I stood for the fifteenth time
Wearin’ all my gold gear and maroon, waitin’ for booze to change my mood
Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing 'round, his hands a knot
And Jesus, in them was a dead parrot
It was dead for a while, crispy and black, it had been fried
When it came time for teams to play
I couldn't believe what I heard him say

Barry, why’d Chad nuke this bird? ‘Twas a felony
His name’s Iago, he really liked to fly
You’re the AD, Bare, and you raised a psychopath
Horseshoe been up your ass for a while
I know it’d make Iago smile
Want microwaved bird wild and free if the Gophers beat your team tonight

He held that parrot up by the ears
Security said, “son, you can’t bring that here.”
He searched fans’ faces frantically
Only Badgers did he see
He said, “How you people stand up for Barry?”
Badger backs all suck in the League.
Tell me, what are we s’posed to do?
Could have shared a mistress with Bo Ryan too.

So he laid Iago down, a charred wing fell to the ground
And I'll never forget the look on his face when he said
Don’t forget these eyes of hate

Barry, why’d Chad nuke this bird? ‘Twas a felony
His name’s Iago, he really liked to fly
You’re the AD, Bare, and you raised a psychopath
Horseshoe been up your ass for a while
I know it’d make Iago smile
Want microwaved bird wild and free if the Gophers beat your team tonight

I knew I'd caught a glimpse of Iago’s love
He descended in flames from above
I knew that God had sent that little boy
Iago’s geist to inflame Badger fans and boil

Barry, why’d Chad nuke this bird? ‘Twas a felony
His name’s Iago, he really liked to fly
You’re the AD, Bare, and you raised a psychopath
Horseshoe been up your ass for a while
I know it’d make Iago smile
Want microwaved bird wild and free if the Gophers beat your team tonight

I want him to be wild and free so he can exact vengeance tonight

Fleck Could Use Hair Extensions but Got a Different Kind Instead

Good morning, Gopher fans. Things sure are astir on the Twittersphere and Gophertronz with the news of Coach Fleck’s contract extension. It’s a one-year extension, team, so I have zero idea why people are freaking out about this. First, extending him through the end of January 2023 gives Fleck the opportunity to tell recruits that he’s contracted to be their coach through their entire tenure as students (of course, given the dynamics of the carousel of college football coaching, that assurance is worth less than the cumulative lifetime ad revenue generated by SGH, but that’s a discussion for a different day). 

This addresses the question of why do it now, after getting pantsed by the Nerds and likely getting pureed by the team from the East: you can pretty safely bet Fleck will have the plane gassed up and on the runway for recruiting visits within 90 minutes of helping the team re-atomize themselves after being reduced to quarks on Saturday. It may not be a big deal to me or you, but optically it’s an important selling point Fleck can take on the road with him now that wouldn’t be there but for today’s announcement. And we need all the selling points we can get at this point. The timing of this is hugely important given the new early signing period – the less reason our top recruits have to bail, the better. AND, he can make many of the same assurances to the 2019 class (hey, Hank!), the recruiting of which will begin in earnest next week (yo, Max!). 

Monday, November 20, 2017

So...yeah

Not great, huh? After Nebraska it kinda, sorta felt like we might have a workable approach on offense. Yeah, we didn't pass the ball much, but the Hydra of Croft, Smith, Kobe and Brooks could generate enough rushing yards to mitigate the flaccidity of our abilities to put the ball in the air.

Not so much. I'm not going to spend a ton of time breaking down what happened against Northwestern, because it can be summed up with any of "ignominious defeat of the highest order," "straight up trash panda" or "I'd rather drink gasoline and stick a flaming sword in my belly, so my insides shoot out my back like I was a Roman candle." It was one of the worst games I've ever watched in every facet.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Bowl Hope's Alive"

Sung to the tune of Pearl Jam's "Alive"

Old dogs, I say
The team you thought was a loser
Might not be dead yet


While you were screamin’
Into the void and at your TV
Your point of view was dyin’


It’s time to start believin’
Or just stop with the talk


Oh I, oh, Bowl Hope’s Still Alive
Hey, hey, I, oh, Bowl Hope’s Still Alive
Hey I, oh, Bowl Hope’s Still Alive

"The Wreck of Coach Patrick Fitzgerald"

The following song is sung to the tune of Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." If you aren't an old and you need a frame of reference, you can find the original song on YouTube here.


The legend lives on from Kev Trahan on down
Of a head coach that is very yelly
The coach, it is said, even screams in his bed
When the fates of Northwestern turn gloomy
With a load of Wildcats, 85 fine purple hats
Seeds of anger Fitzgerald was sowing
But ol’ Patrick’s jaw was a bone to be chewed
When the Fleck of November came rowing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

It's never too early to overreact

Well, fellow shootyhoops fans (shootyball? hoopyball? I'll abide by whatever our good friends at Taken All Wrong podcast ultimately decide), here we are a full two games into the 2017-2018 Gophers basketball season. The great thing about overreaction is I'd be able to write this article whether we were 2-0 or (oh, dear God) 0-2. We already have Rothstein anointing Jordan Murphy the best PF in the Big Ten, and Seth Davis calling us "Final Four good" so we are actually a bit behind with the overreactions here at SGH. Well, no more - here we go with our thoughts on the 2-0 Golden Gophers.

Monday, November 13, 2017

PJ's Path to the Rose Bowl - A Still Got Hope? Analysis

Hello friends. First time, long time.

Fresh off the most satisfying win in the nascent P.J. Fleck era of Gopher football, it's worthwhile to pause and reflect on both where we are as a program, and where we want to be. The latter is simple: Pasadena, preferably accompanied by a near-dusk vista of the San Gabriel's.

As to the former, I'd contend we haven't really been close to winning the conference since 2003. 2014 was fun and all, but the secret sauce was a little too much generic Thousand Island dressing and not enough meat for that perfect B1G mac attack. There was something missing, the same two ingredients absent from the Gophers over the last 10+ seasons (saying nothing of the last 50 years) inherently present in successful conference champions. The elements weren't there last season (9 wins though), aren't currently available, and generally haven't been since Glen Mason stopped pining for the Ohio State job sometime early on in the previous decade.

Reaching the ultimate goal, a trip to the Rose Bowl, requires Fleck to address the two biggest issues holding this program back: boosting the talent level of the team, and developing a quarterback.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

2017-2018 Gophers – How we reach our ceiling, and how we could stumble

College sports are wildly unpredictable by nature. As Gopher fans, that’s often a very good thing. This is the year we will take back the axe! This is the season every major national publication has underrated our favorite team! The variance between best case and worst case outcomes, the exciting inconsistency in the performance of 18-22 year old student-athletes, is precisely the reason we Still Got Hope.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's Time to Make the Chair Legit

When the Gophers take the field against Nebraska this weekend, it may or may not be for the first trophy truly born in the 21st Century: The $5 Bits of Broken Chair. 

Yes, there are newer trophies, but none came to life purely through the passion and creativity of people from the Internet. A Twitter parody account, a college mascot and the denizens of Reddit joined forces in a way not possible when Floyd, the Jug and the Axe were conceived. People that had never met, and may still only know each other through message boards and other digital media, created something 

Technology facilitated its original birth and it lived for two seasons in real life before quietly disappearing a few years ago. The circumstances of its status are unknown, but it's fairly safe to say the administrations of neither Nebraska nor Minnesota approved and mutually decided to pretend it never existed in the first place.

But there has been a rebirth. Once again, a group of Internet people have come together out of passion and in the spirit of tradition and charity to give this trophy a second life. It celebrated its coming out party last week in Nebraska and will be unveiled to Minnesota fans this Thursday at my favorite campus haunt, Stub and Herbs (6PM - 9PM and I'm told there are door prizes too). 

One of the catalysts behind its resurrection was charity - to gain acceptance from the universities, it would need to serve the greater good. Thus the organizers have been fundraising for the Team Jack Foundation and the Univerity of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. As of today, they stand at $4,000 dollars raised out of a $5,000 goal. With a good push over the next few days and Saturday, there is no reason to believe they won't reach it. 

What remains in doubt is whether the trophy will be allowed on the field on Saturday. Both administrations have remained mum on the issue, but it's hard to believe it will be allowed in the stadium without explicit approval from the University of Minnesota at the least (alas, it's a bit too bulky to shove down one's pants with your trusty flask.)

I wonder why the schools have not embraced this. The trophy seems to embody everything that college football is supposed to be about. During his weekly radio show yesterday, Coach Fleck saw the trophy for the first time and summed up better than I can why this trophy is special: "I heard rivalry, I heard fundraising, charity, tradition...and I'm in."

You can't say that about many of the trophies in college football, particularly the newer ones. Here is one born of passion, oriented in tradition and founded on charitable intent. Fans did this because they care. Fans embrace it because they care. Fans want it to survive and be part of our program story for generations to come.

It's time to let the first trophy birthed from 21-Century technology live. It's time for both schools to make the Chair legitimate.

"Holdin' Back the Cheers"

The following song is sung to the tune of Steely Dan's "Reelin' In The Years." If you aren't an old and you need a frame of reference, you can find the original song on YouTube here.


"Holdin' Back the Cheers"

Your everlasting pessimism
You just won’t let it pass
You’re bitching about something
That you don’t think will last
But you wouldn't know a winner
If you held it in your hand
The things that make you angry
I can't understand

Are you holdin’ back the cheers?
Erecting a Claeys shrine?
Are you rippin’ through the beers?
Mixin’ Coke with turpentine?