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Minnesota Golden Gophers Program, Fair-Weather Fans Not Worthy of New Stadium

Jon AltenaCorrespondent INovember 24, 2008

After having attended the Minnesota Golden Gophers' last game in the Metrodome Saturday, there a few things that need to be discussed.

The Gophers' going-away party was crashed by their bitter out-of-state rival, Iowa. The Hawkeyes left Minnesota with a 55-0 win, marking the second-most lopsided victory in the history of the rivalry.

So, what’s my problem with Minnesota? The University of Minnesota is opening a new stadium beginning in the fall of 2009.  But a beautiful stadium, with a beautiful view, is about to be spoiled by a horrific fanbase.

This stadium is expected to be a key proponent in the turnaround of this program.

First off, the Metrodome was completely full Saturday night with over 68,000 fans. How is that a horrific fanbase one might ask? Well, considering there were probably 30,000 Hawks fans there, that is rather pathetic.

Gopher fans were everywhere selling their tickets outside of the Metrodome, while their college team inside was fighting for its bowl lives. So, instead of going in to cheer on their team, they sell their tickets to the rival fans and allow Iowa to fill half the stadium.

Secondly, it’s a rivalry. It was my assumption that Gopher fans would be rocking and rolling after their loss in Iowa City last year. Once again, I was completely wrong.

As the Gophers ran out, I am confident in saying I have heard a Division III football game get louder than the ovation the Gophers received.

On the other hand, the Hawkeye fans didn’t disappoint. It sounded like they were going for a Big Ten title on the road.

Third, this program that I have heard so much about the last 12 weeks in terms of progress and potential has completely been flushed. The Gophers have lost four in a row and have no momentum going into bowl season (should they make an appearance).

They have one win over a team with a winning record.  And that team plays in the MAC.

Finally, what does this have to do with the future of Gopher football? I have lost all faith in the future of this program.

The student section was half full at a rivalry game with major bowl implications. The stadium had about 32,000 fans left after the third quarter, 30,000 of which were Iowa fans.

How is a program going to build off a new stadium if there is no real base as far as a following goes?

Gopher Nation needs to understand that it all starts now. It needs to support the football team no matter what its record is, or how poorly it's doing.

That being said, maybe the fans should take a lesson from their neighbors to the south, whose team crushed the Gophers on Saturday. Or maybe they could continue doing what they’re doing and be content with 6-6 record and a bowl game every other year.

The choice is theirs.

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