How To Judge a Season

Gophergrandpa

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Over my time on GH, I have seen many attempts at devising a metric for a successful season. Some are kind of crazy for a team with our built-in recruiting limitations (recently made worse by NIL corruption). Others are realistic, in terms of win totals, but kind of neglect our strength of schedule for that year and which teams we actually beat.

The Gophers have a fine team this year and have played some really good football. They have also suffered a couple of losses that just don't seem fair or explicable. This year those would be Purdue and Iowa.

My personal test has come down to this (for ANY season): If we lose to both Wisconsin and Iowa, the season is not a success unless we achieve at least 9 wins overall. If we beat one of Iowa or Wisconsin and qualify for a bowl, the season is good/OK. If we beat Iowa and Wisconsin both (hasn't happened yet in the 21st Century), then the season is a great success, so long as we qualify for a bowl.

I believe that beating Iowa and Wisconsin would be as good an indicator as any of whether the team had a good or great season, and, if "great," would almost mean we had a high number of wins overall.

This might be why I have such a feeling of emptiness after this year's Iowa game. We really should have won. Even with Iowa's supposed defensive superiority (which Mo proved wrong) and with its ST's superiority, we still should have beaten them by a score or two. Iowa didn't beat us--we beat ourselves. This season, from early on, shaped up as the season we would trounce both Iowa and Wisconsin. Now, we head into Madison, with our daubers down, hoping to end the season on a happy note. It can still be a good/OK season ...
 
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MaxyJR1

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Purdue was without MO and Iowa was 3-4 plays that weren't made. People forget we took the lead in Illinois in the second half. MN, Purdue, Ill, Iowa and WI were all quarter flip games this year and we just didn't come out on the right side. The division is going to end up the way it is based on division games.
Barring Upsets
Iowa 5-1
Illinois 5-1
Purdue 4-2
WI/MN 2-4/3-3/4-2
Northwestern 1-5
Nebraska 0-6

Interesting that Illinois lost to Indiana and Michigan State. While Indiana beat both Michigan State and Illinois. Illinois has lost 3 straight. Talk about kicking yourselves.
 


MaxyJR1

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Here's the thing that sucks. We are a better team than Purdue, Iowa and Wisconsin. We have already lost to 2 of them, might even end up being three. It hurts...
Are we? I would say the proof is in the pudding. Purdue is the only team I think we are better than because Mo didn't play.
 

short ornery norwegian

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from the OP: The Gophers have a fine team this year and have played some really good football.

Boy, I just don't know about the "fine" team.

Granted, feelings could change quite a bit depending on the outcome of the Wisconsin game and the Bowl game.

If the Gophers finish 9-4 with a win over Wisconsin and winning a bowl game, that certainly makes things look better.

But - it is also possible that the Gophers could lose to Wisconsin, lose the bowl game and finish 7-6.
I would certainly not call that a "fine" performance.

I just don't think you can give this team a final grade until all of the work has been handed in. If they nail the final test, they can pull up their grade. If they turn in a bad term paper, the grade could drop. (says the guy who slept through his Spanish final as a college freshman.....)
 


Go Gophs

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Are we? I would say the proof is in the pudding. Purdue is the only team I think we are better than because Mo didn't play.
"Play em 10 times, we might win 9". But NOT this year LOL
 

Gophergrandpa

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Here is the salient point for me: slow starts. That is defining the Gophers. We were down 10-0 to Iowa and to Purdue at the end of the 1st Q. We were essentially down 10-0 to Illinois at the end of the 1st Q (though second score occurred at the beginning of the 2nd Q). It is a different game when you start off two scores down. We lose virtually all such games (one exception: Nebraska, 2022). We need to stop spotting toss-up opponents 10 points early. It is a defensive problem, but also an offensive problem. If we could open up a little in early drives and keep pace, our season might have been very different.
 

UpAndUnder43

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from the OP: The Gophers have a fine team this year and have played some really good football.

Boy, I just don't know about the "fine" team.

Granted, feelings could change quite a bit depending on the outcome of the Wisconsin game and the Bowl game.

If the Gophers finish 9-4 with a win over Wisconsin and winning a bowl game, that certainly makes things look better.

But - it is also possible that the Gophers could lose to Wisconsin, lose the bowl game and finish 7-6.
I would certainly not call that a "fine" performance.

I just don't think you can give this team a final grade until all of the work has been handed in. If they nail the final test, they can pull up their grade. If they turn in a bad term paper, the grade could drop. (says the guy who slept through his Spanish final as a college freshman.....)
I think 7-6 is my definition of fine. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It might leave you wanting more but you’re not disgusted by it. It’s a fine burger at a bar or a fine day at work. Just neutral.
 

Some guy

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I said in august anything short of a west title is disappointing anything 8 wins or more (5 big ten wins) is a successful season.

Lose to Wisconsin and we fail to meet that.


I’ll stand by that.
 



Rowthatboat

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I think 7-6 is my definition of fine. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It might leave you wanting more but you’re not disgusted by it. It’s a fine burger at a bar or a fine day at work. Just neutral.

If the Gophers finish 7-6 I can’t see how anyone could call that a fine season. That would mean not beating a single team with a winning record—that is not fine in the reality that I live in.
Now beating the Badgers for the axe and than winning a bowl game convincingly would qualify as a fine season —in my opinion
 


salzie

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Here's the thing that sucks. We are a better team than Purdue, Iowa and Wisconsin. We have already lost to 2 of them, might even end up being three. It hurts...
Purdue, I'd agree.

Iowa, about equal.our offense is better, their defense and special teams are better and Kirk owns PJ

Wisconsin I'd say we're about equal too.
 

Some guy

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Even if we beat Wisconsin, I don’t know anyone who will consider this season a success.
It’s east to not know anyone who considers it a success if you don’t have any friends
I know plenty of people who would think it a successful season. I also know plenty who think it’s disappointing

You should make more friends
 



salzie

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Even if we beat Wisconsin, I don’t know anyone who will consider this season a success.
It's semantics.

Season is disappointing.

If we beat Wisconsin I have hard time calling it failure. Lose to Wi and it's pretty gross.
 

gopherbadgerman

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Here's the thing that sucks. We are a better team than Purdue, Iowa and Wisconsin. We have already lost to 2 of them, might even end up being three. It hurts...
How do you say that. MN lost to both Iowa and Purdue. We are not better than them. Is Michigan State or Nebraska better than MN/
 

gopherbadgerman

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It’s east to not know anyone who considers it a success if you don’t have any friends
I know plenty of people who would think it a successful season. I also know plenty who think it’s disappointing

You should make more friends
8-4 for the Gophers is a successful season. What was the vegas over under on wins? 7 or something?
 


UpAndUnder43

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If the Gophers finish 7-6 I can’t see how anyone could call that a fine season. That would mean not beating a single team with a winning record—that is not fine in the reality that I live in.
Now beating the Badgers for the axe and than winning a bowl game convincingly would qualify as a fine season —in my opinion
Cool. I’m glad you shared that with me.

I don’t really look back 8 years ago and be like “ahh, nice season. Beat a couple teams with winning records. Completely changes my perception”

The record is 7-6. If we had lost all 3 non conference games but had wins over Penn St, Illinois and Purdue…but finished 7-6, would that really change your perception?
 

Some guy

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Cool. I’m glad you shared that with me.

I don’t really look back 8 years ago and be like “ahh, nice season. Beat a couple teams with winning records. Completely changes my perception”

The record is 7-6. If we had lost all 3 non conference games but had wins over Penn St, Illinois and Purdue…but finished 7-6, would that really change your perception?
It would, because he would be even more angry for losing to northwestern, Rutgers, and Colorado
 


Rowthatboat

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Cool. I’m glad you shared that with me.

I don’t really look back 8 years ago and be like “ahh, nice season. Beat a couple teams with winning records. Completely changes my perception”

The record is 7-6. If we had lost all 3 non conference games but had wins over Penn St, Illinois and Purdue…but finished 7-6, would that really change your perception?
Well yes—it would indeed change my perception. If we were 7-6 and beaten the likes of Penn State/Illinois/and Purdue and lost to much lesser teams -I would at least have the perception that we are a very quality team but screwed up tremendously in the losses. Losing to all the teams we have lost to I cannot come to that conclusion.
 

UpAndUnder43

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Well yes—it would indeed change my perception. If we were 7-6 and beaten the likes of Penn State/Illinois/and Purdue and lost to much lesser teams -I would at least have the perception that we are a very quality team but screwed up tremendously in the losses. Losing to all the teams we have lost to I cannot come to that conclusion.
Cool. Sorry you’d rather be 7-6 than 7-6
 



cjbfbp

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Well yes—it would indeed change my perception. If we were 7-6 and beaten the likes of Penn State/Illinois/and Purdue and lost to much lesser teams -I would at least have the perception that we are a very quality team but screwed up tremendously in the losses. Losing to all the teams we have lost to I cannot come to that conclusion.

I feel the same way (not about the 7-6 part) but about how the nature of the wins and losses factor into the overall evaluation of the season. Last year, I felt we had a good team because that team beat two 8-4 teams in our division and beat a 6-6 team easily that crushed an ACC opponent in its bowl. The losses to BG and IL I just chalked up to weird stumbles (of course, we didn't realize at the time that IL was one season away from being a much better team). It's a shame the team didn't get a better bowl assignment so it could have had a good opportunity to demonstrate its worth against a stronger opponent.

This season the best the Gophers can do in the regular season is to beat a Wisconsin team that would finish 6-6. It just doesn't feel that we have as good of a team this year. Oddly enough, though, this team might have a better chance to prove itself in a bowl against a stronger opponent. This season reminds me a bit of 2016. Had an 8-4 regular season but didn't beat anyone good until Washington State in the Holiday Bowl.
 
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Plato

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The reality is that the MN AD has the only opinion that counts.
The other reality is that the football gods and the stars were aligned before the season with an easy schedule and returning 5 and 6-year veteran starters that made the future look bright.
Next year there will be no divisions, the conference schedule will be far more difficult and the best running back will be gone no one in the depth chart looks close to him in talent.
 


COS Gopherfan

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Over my time on GH, I have seen many attempts at devising a metric for a successful season. Some are kind of crazy for a team with our built-in recruiting limitations (recently made worse by NIL corruption). Others are realistic, in terms of win totals, but kind of neglect our strength of schedule for that year and which teams we actually beat.

The Gophers have a fine team this year and have played some really good football. They have also suffered a couple of losses that just don't seem fair or explicable. This year those would be Purdue and Iowa.

My personal test has come down to this (for ANY season): If we lose to both Wisconsin and Iowa, the season is not a success unless we achieve at least 9 wins overall. If we beat one of Iowa or Wisconsin and qualify for a bowl, the season is good/OK. If we beat Iowa and Wisconsin both (hasn't happened yet in the 21st Century), then the season is a great success, so long as we qualify for a bowl.

I believe that beating Iowa and Wisconsin would be as good an indicator as any of whether the team had a good or great season, and, if "great," would almost mean we had a high number of wins overall.

This might be why I have such a feeling of emptiness after this year's Iowa game. We really should have won. Even with Iowa's supposed defensive superiority (which Mo proved wrong) and with its ST's superiority, we still should have beaten them by a score or two. Iowa didn't beat us--we beat ourselves. This season, from early on, shaped up as the season we would trounce both Iowa and Wisconsin. Now, we head into Madison, with our daubers down, hoping to end the season on a happy note. It can still be a good/OK season ...
I flew in for the Iowa game last weekend from colorado.. I've had two "bucket list" items which have been to attend a home game against Wisconsin and Iowa...and hopefully experience wins with both. I achieved one last year and was on the field afterwards....truly one of my most amazing experiences. The second was last Saturday and the disappointment almost overshadows the first. I can respect losing to Wisconsin in the past but losing 9 straight to such a horrible offense as Iowa is disgusting...
 

COS Gopherfan

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After 37 years of watching Gopher football, I have finally succumbed to the realization I've been hearing for years.... this program has a ceiling and I believe we reached it in 2019. I don't think that conference title is now attainable, as you stated, with the limitations of NIL and never competing with the 4/5 star recruits that Michigan and Ohio St pulls in... this is it.. it won't get better regardless of who's coaching.
 

disco

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After 37 years of watching Gopher football, I have finally succumbed to the realization I've been hearing for years.... this program has a ceiling and I believe we reached it in 2019. I don't think that conference title is now attainable, as you stated, with the limitations of NIL and never competing with the 4/5 star recruits that Michigan and Ohio St pulls in... this is it.. it won't get better regardless of who's coaching.
You and I have been fans for just about the same amount of time, and I think you're probably right. The unfortunate thing is that we never had that one season where the stars aligned like it did for Purdue in the Brees era. We're not the only program that will likely suffer under the NIL era though. I think all the teams that aren't Michigan and Ohio St. will just tend to shuffle amongst themselves going forward.
 




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