All Sports B1G (or WCHA) Titles

bleedsmaroonandgold

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I've been getting more into some of the non-revenue sports the last few years. I just did a quick review of last year, and it looks like in terms of regular season or tournament titles across all sports, we only had three: women's indoor track and field, women's gymnastics tournament, men's hockey tournament. Given the number of sports we play, and how many of those have two chances to win a title (regular season and tournament), that feels like a pretty disappointing haul. So, do we think we can do better this year? If so, which do we think we can win?

I'm going to pick us to win regular season and tournament in men's hockey, tournament in women's hockey, and softball.
 

MRJ

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I've been getting more into some of the non-revenue sports the last few years. I just did a quick review of last year, and it looks like in terms of regular season or tournament titles across all sports, we only had three: women's indoor track and field, women's gymnastics tournament, men's hockey tournament. Given the number of sports we play, and how many of those have two chances to win a title (regular season and tournament), that feels like a pretty disappointing haul. So, do we think we can do better this year? If so, which do we think we can win?

I'm going to pick us to win regular season and tournament in men's hockey, tournament in women's hockey, and softball.
There's a whole lot of mediocrity across the board in gopher athletics at the moment. Women's hockey has taken about two or three steps back from where they were a few years back, women's volleyball is in the same boat and softball has also come back a bit. Baseball is just plain bad while women's basketball is decidedly mediocre as well. Not much chance of many (if any banners) coming from that group imo. Maybe women's gymnastics and cross country can carry the load for the moment, but there isn't a whole lot of exceptional teams on campus right now.
 

Hrothgar

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There's a whole lot of mediocrity across the board in gopher athletics at the moment. Women's hockey has taken about two or three steps back from where they were a few years back, women's volleyball is in the same boat and softball has also come back a bit. Baseball is just plain bad while women's basketball is decidedly mediocre as well. Not much chance of many (if any banners) coming from that group imo. Maybe women's gymnastics and cross country can carry the load for the moment, but there isn't a whole lot of exceptional teams on campus right now.
Tend to agree. Recruitment of really big-time talent seems absent. And snatching 2nd place out of the jaws of 1st place seems lately to be a habit in, for example, softball, volleyball, women's hockey. Even hiring a big name in MN basketball hasn't led to big-name recruits in women's basketball, as far as I know. Baseball went from a BIG title and a super regional to absolute disaster in only 2-3 years. Personally I find the slow-down in volleyball & softball successes to be the most sudden and surprising.
 

Ski U Mah Gopher

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Tend to agree. Recruitment of really big-time talent seems absent. And snatching 2nd place out of the jaws of 1st place seems lately to be a habit in, for example, softball, volleyball, women's hockey. Even hiring a big name in MN basketball hasn't led to big-name recruits in women's basketball, as far as I know. Baseball went from a BIG title and a super regional to absolute disaster in only 2-3 years. Personally I find the slow-down in volleyball & softball successes to be the most sudden and surprising.
Softball will be fine. I think not having fall ball against other teams and no early tournaments hurt them last season with a coaching change. Also, BB has has a great class of 22 with 3 top-100 recruits.
 

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MplsGopher

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Volleyball recruiting and team talent overall isn't bad. We play in a very difficult conference. Winning the conference is like winning the natty.


General comments:

The climate, and the relative geographical isolation, of Minnesota, are what they are.

It puts a statistical bias against the kids growing up in our state/metro to be great players in most outside sports, relative to warmer areas.

And for recruiting, it can be sometimes tough to convince a kid to "stay home" as opposed to getting to go some place else and getting away from mom & dad, seeing if the grass is greener elsewhere, etc. Likewise, the physical distance of Minnesota to the base of population in the East makes it sometimes a bit harder of a sell to get the out-of-state recruits here.


None of these are hard and fast, of course. That's why I'm saying just a (small) statistical bias against us.


And the conference is really tough, in a lot of these sports. Would take a guess that baseball and softball are the two where the conference is weakest. But again, probably the sports where Minnesota produces the least high-end talent, per population? (could be wrong about that)


Perhaps the proliferation of year-round elite club teams, that can practice at dedicated indoor facilities, makes some of the above hypothesis not as true. It's all interesting to me.
 

MplsGopher

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Granted, the huge outlier then is hockey. We should rightly be cleaning up, there.

Especially on the Men's side with the -- as I understand, relatively weak -- Big Ten conf. Winning that may not translate well to then winning national titles in the sport.


No idea about the women's, don't follow them much. I thought they were the elite program a few years ago. But I think Wisconsin is also really good? How many schools have a dedicated arena for women's hockey?
 

MRJ

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Granted, the huge outlier then is hockey. We should rightly be cleaning up, there.

Especially on the Men's side with the -- as I understand, relatively weak -- Big Ten conf. Winning that may not translate well to then winning national titles in the sport.


No idea about the women's, don't follow them much. I thought they were the elite program a few years ago. But I think Wisconsin is also really good? How many schools have a dedicated arena for women's hockey?
The women's hockey team is definitely the most disappointing of all of them. They're now regularly out hustled and out played by Ohio State and UMD, while getting beat every time they see Wisconsin. Didn't even make the NCAAs last year and don't look any better this year. Amazing how far they've fallen in a short space of time.
 

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The women's hockey team is definitely the most disappointing of all of them. They're now regularly out hustled and out played by Ohio State and UMD, while getting beat every time they see Wisconsin. Didn't even make the NCAAs last year and don't look any better this year. Amazing how far they've fallen in a short space of time.

With the kids exception of men’s and women’s hockey, the average Minnesota sports fan’s expectation for Gopher sports team’s elite level performance is way too high. Those expectations are too high for this reason stayed by MlpsGopher above: “The climate, and the relative geographical isolation, of Minnesota, are what they are.”

As a fan, we should expect that our Gophers should be good in all the sports. That is a good expectation for pretty much every sport in out athletic program. But national championships are just not going to happen. And that is fine. These programs can be entertaining by being competitive within our region of the nation; and sports, at bottom, is all about entertainment.
 



MRJ

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With the kids exception of men’s and women’s hockey, the average Minnesota sports fan’s expectation for Gopher sports team’s elite level performance is way too high. Those expectations are too high for this reason stayed by MlpsGopher above: “The climate, and the relative geographical isolation, of Minnesota, are what they are.”

As a fan, we should expect that our Gophers should be good in all the sports. That is a good expectation for pretty much every sport in out athletic program. But national championships are just not going to happen. And that is fine. These programs can be entertaining by being competitive within our region of the nation; and sports, at bottom, is all about entertainment.
If you say so. But trust me when I say this: there is NO excuse for women's hockey. None. As for those other programs, they're simply following the U's longstanding commitment to being utterly average (or below) on the actual field of competition.

If you want to cheer the idea of "they try hard," feel free. But this is a supposed power five athletic department that is utterly mediocre (or worse) across the board. Trust me when I say this: The vast majority of power five schools wouldn't accept the level of mediocrity this university regularly accepts.
 

From the Parkinglot

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With the exception of Steveson wrestling has taken a huge step back. Of course the coach looking the other way while kids were selling drugs may have hurt. They do have a really good recruiting class coming in next year. Hopefully things change cause they are way behind Iowa and Penn State right now.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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…they're simply following the U's longstanding commitment to being utterly average (or below) on the actual field of competition.

If you want to cheer the idea of "they try hard," feel free. But this is a supposed power five athletic department that is utterly mediocre (or worse) across the board. Trust me when I say this: The vast majority of power five schools wouldn't accept the level of mediocrity this university regularly accepts.

This is not true! Are you suggesting over the past couple years (let’s keep it current) you would trade overall athletic department performance (what, 23-24 teams) with the universities of Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan State, Northwestern, Nebraska, or Iowa - Average Big Ten teams? Maybe you would but I doubt I would. I mean, I would like our hockey teams and wrestling program to get a little better, but all told, we are doing pretty well. Compared the average overall athletic programs in our region, we are doing quite well. It has only been the basketball programs that have been cellar dwellers. That is not bad.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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With the exception of Steveson wrestling has taken a huge step back. Of course the coach looking the other way while kids were selling drugs may have hurt. They do have a really good recruiting class coming in next year. Hopefully things change cause they are way behind Iowa and Penn State right now.

I am sorry to tell you but so long as Cael Sanderson is coach at Penn State, we will NEVER out-recruit them. I mean come on, if a coach is going to close a deal at a dining room table for a top recruit, a 16-17 year old kid is always going to say to themselves and their parents “I’m going to wrestle for Cael”. Why would they not wrestle for the great man… the legend? Of course they would. You just can’t compete with that… so don’t. Our expectation as fans is that Gopher wrestling should be between third and sixth in the Big Ten year over year. Those are high level but realistic expectations.
 



From the Parkinglot

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I am sorry to tell you but so long as Cael Sanderson is coach at Penn State, we will NEVER out-recruit them. I mean come on, if a coach is going to close a deal at a dining room table for a top recruit, a 16-17 year old kid is always going to say to themselves and their parents “I’m going to wrestle for Cael”. Why would they not wrestle for the great man… the legend? Of course they would. You just can’t compete with that… so don’t. Our expectation as fans is that Gopher wrestling should be between third and sixth in the Big Ten year over year. Those are high level but realistic expectations.
Then just shut the program down and save the money. Should allow them to shut down the woman’s soccer team as well given the title IX implications.
 


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But I like watching those teams (wrestling and women’s soccer).
If the expectation is wrestling will be between 3rd and 6th on the big ten and maybe a top 20 team in the NCAA’s that disappointing to me. Especially given all the high end wrestling talent that is in Minnesota. It’s no different than hockey every year should be a national championship season.
I enjoy watching wrestling too I am just disappointed in how far they have fallen in the last 5-7 years.
 

MplsGopher

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With the exception of Steveson wrestling has taken a huge step back. Of course the coach looking the other way while kids were selling drugs may have hurt. They do have a really good recruiting class coming in next year. Hopefully things change cause they are way behind Iowa and Penn State right now.
Ah, wrestling is another good example where Minnesota actually does produce a lot of high-level talent per population. Forgot about that.

Sort've like the program has forgot about being nationally relevant, for some years now.
 

MplsGopher

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Volleyball is easily capable of winning a natty. Should've happened by now.

I simply don't trust that Hugh can get it done. This season and last season are absolutely going in the wrong direction.
 

From the Parkinglot

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Volleyball is easily capable of winning a natty. Should've happened by now.

I simply don't trust that Hugh can get it done. This season and last season are absolutely going in the wrong direction.
I don’t blame him for last season, but I really thought this season would be great. All the freshman last year were back after playing and they got Samedy back. I really though this would be a top 4 team all year and only lose 1-2 games in the big ten.
 

MRJ

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This is not true! Are you suggesting over the past couple years (let’s keep it current) you would trade overall athletic department performance (what, 23-24 teams) with the universities of Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan State, Northwestern, Nebraska, or Iowa - Average Big Ten teams? Maybe you would but I doubt I would. I mean, I would like our hockey teams and wrestling program to get a little better, but all told, we are doing pretty well. Compared the average overall athletic programs in our region, we are doing quite well. It has only been the basketball programs that have been cellar dwellers. That is not bad.
The point flew right over your head.

If you want to cherry pick the past few years as evidence the U has moved beyond the acceptance of mediocrity, go right ahead. But you really just proved my point for me in doing so. If it took until just the past few years for the U to begin to really compete at a high level, it points to an exception rather than the rule. And there's no doubt that the U has been a mediocre athletic department for the vast majority of its existence, regardless of what excuses and/or explanations they trot out. Right now, the department is filled with unremarkable teams that don't have odds of winning much. That's just how it is. It reflects the vast majority of the U's athletic history. And if we're being honest, there isn't much evidence to suggest any of the teams are going to improve much in the near future, which would also put them right there with the department's history.

I'm as big a Gopher fan as anybody. But I'm also not a blind homer and wouldn't brag about the department's commitment to excellence historically. Because it really doesn't match up with the facts. Can this group of teams move beyond that and get back to performing at a truly high level? We'll see, but I'm skeptical.
 

Hrothgar

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Volleyball is easily capable of winning a natty. Should've happened by now.

I simply don't trust that Hugh can get it done. This season and last season are absolutely going in the wrong direction.
Despite the hype about recruits, it seems the recruits the past 2-3 years have fallen off performancewise (the real high flyers other teams show seem absent or oft-injured if present). Plus transfers out and players leaving the program are a concern. Last night, PSU seemed beatable, but MN even more beatable: didn't show up for set 1; choked in set 2; led 21-20 in set 3. The result of it all?
 

Hrothgar

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Volleyball recruiting and team talent overall isn't bad. We play in a very difficult conference. Winning the conference is like winning the natty.


General comments:

The climate, and the relative geographical isolation, of Minnesota, are what they are.

It puts a statistical bias against the kids growing up in our state/metro to be great players in most outside sports, relative to warmer areas.

And for recruiting, it can be sometimes tough to convince a kid to "stay home" as opposed to getting to go some place else and getting away from mom & dad, seeing if the grass is greener elsewhere, etc. Likewise, the physical distance of Minnesota to the base of population in the East makes it sometimes a bit harder of a sell to get the out-of-state recruits here.


None of these are hard and fast, of course. That's why I'm saying just a (small) statistical bias against us.


And the conference is really tough, in a lot of these sports. Would take a guess that baseball and softball are the two where the conference is weakest. But again, probably the sports where Minnesota produces the least high-end talent, per population? (could be wrong about that)


Perhaps the proliferation of year-round elite club teams, that can practice at dedicated indoor facilities, makes some of the above hypothesis not as true. It's all interesting to me.
I respect your comments. However, if there is ample money for atheltic scholarships and salaries for outstanding coaches, the recruiting of great athletes can be done anywhere, including MN. As I understand the situation there have long been powerful faculty committees at the U that have dampened strong emphasis on varsity sports programs. In addition, Minnesotans seem to want big-time success for teams without paying big bucks to accomplish it. If you want great teams, you have to pay for them. Sad to say, but prove me wrong if I am....
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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The point flew right over your head.

If you want to cherry pick the past few years as evidence the U has moved beyond the acceptance of mediocrity, go right ahead. But you really just proved my point for me in doing so. If it took until just the past few years for the U to begin to really compete at a high level, it points to an exception rather than the rule. And there's no doubt that the U has been a mediocre athletic department for the vast majority of its existence, regardless of what excuses and/or explanations they trot out. Right now, the department is filled with unremarkable teams that don't have odds of winning much. That's just how it is. It reflects the vast majority of the U's athletic history. And if we're being honest, there isn't much evidence to suggest any of the teams are going to improve much in the near future, which would also put them right there with the department's history.

I'm as big a Gopher fan as anybody. But I'm also not a blind homer and wouldn't brag about the department's commitment to excellence historically. Because it really doesn't match up with the facts. Can this group of teams move beyond that and get back to performing at a truly high level? We'll see, but I'm skeptical.

Very simple question, as we sit here today, which one of the following athletic departments, meaning all sports in their departments combined, would you trade with: Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan State, Northwestern, Nebraska, or Iowa?

For me, maybe Nebraska, but other that I am pretty sure I would rather have the overall Gopher sports roster of athletes than any of the above similarly situated universities.
 

Hrothgar

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Very simple question, as we sit here today, which one of the following athletic departments, meaning all sports in their departments combined, would you trade with: Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan State, Northwestern, Nebraska, or Iowa?

For me, maybe Nebraska, but other that I am pretty sure I would rather have the overall Gopher sports roster of athletes than any of the above similarly situated universities.
If I'm counting right here, you're saying about 10 of the 14 BIG programs are kinda like mediocre? That leaves who? OSU, MI, PSU, and WI? Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the conference, but maybe right. (Not sure WI is so great either, except they seem to have great PR.)
 

MRJ

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Very simple question, as we sit here today, which one of the following athletic departments, meaning all sports in their departments combined, would you trade with: Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan State, Northwestern, Nebraska, or Iowa?

For me, maybe Nebraska, but other that I am pretty sure I would rather have the overall Gopher sports roster of athletes than any of the above similarly situated universities.
Again, it isn't about just today. It's about a longterm commitment to excellence. For years, the commitment to excellence was virtually nonexistent. A few good years doesn't undue years and years of mediocrity across the board. The bottom line is the athletic department is currently returning to its mean of mediocrity. And since we're into comparing of programs at the moment, most (if not all) of those programs have had better runs of success in either football, basketball or both historically. The facts speak for themselves in that regard.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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If I'm counting right here, you're saying about 10 of the 14 BIG programs are kinda like mediocre? That leaves who? OSU, MI, PSU, and WI? Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the conference, but maybe right. (Not sure WI is so great either, except they seem to have great PR.)
Again, it isn't about just today. It's about a longterm commitment to excellence. For years, the commitment to excellence was virtually nonexistent. A few good years doesn't undue years and years of mediocrity across the board. The bottom line is the athletic department is currently returning to its mean of mediocrity. And since we're into comparing of programs at the moment, most (if not all) of those programs have had better runs of success in either football, basketball or both historically. The facts speak for themselves in that regard.
I often go to the Big Ten website, and each sport has a “Record Book” page. If you look at all-time performance in all the sports Minnesota participates in besides Basketball and Football we are in the top half of the Big Ten in all time performer See Baseball, Softball, volleyball, Wrestling, Track and Field, Cross Country, Men’s Golf, Swimming, and even Soccer and we compare very well to the midpoint of all the other Big Ten teams in each and every one of those non-revenue team sports… not a dog a team, not a cellar-dweller, in the group. I don’t know of any other Big Ten universities that can say that.
 

MRJ

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What you just described is the definition of mediocrity. Carry on.
 


MplsGopher

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I respect your comments. However, if there is ample money for atheltic scholarships and salaries for outstanding coaches, the recruiting of great athletes can be done anywhere, including MN. As I understand the situation there have long been powerful faculty committees at the U that have dampened strong emphasis on varsity sports programs. In addition, Minnesotans seem to want big-time success for teams without paying big bucks to accomplish it. If you want great teams, you have to pay for them. Sad to say, but prove me wrong if I am....
Hugh and the vball team, at the least, are as well funded in every way (recruiting/travel budget included) as any team in the country.

Lot of our teams are like that, or closer to that than the other way, as well.


I don't deny that something like that may have been true in the past, to varying degrees. I don't think that's true anymore.
 

MplsGopher

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Gopher hockey 1-12-1 against Duluth. That’s not great Bob.
Still odd to me why a very top level hockey player from North America would rather go to a smaller, less well supported NCHC program, as opposed to a large, well supported Big Ten program.

North Dakota being the one exception, probably the largest arena/fanbase of any college hockey team in the country.


But even Duluth? Yeah, great tradition, very nice arena and fanbase ... but only what 3-4k max per game? In a small town, small school? Same for St Cloud.

I don't know. Doesn't make sense to me.


Or do NCHC teams just manage to win more with "lower" level recruits? More Canadians opposed to Americans? Or maybe European players? Taking wild stabs in the dark here.
 




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