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October 4, 2013We've done the Caddyshack gopher thing here too many times over the last decade during Minnesota game week, and we've even switched gears to The Love Boat's loveable Gopher character played by Fred Grandy for our veteran subscribers.
Turns out there are only so many ways you can spin a gopher story. But there are a number of ways to beat 11 at a time wearing maroon and gold. Over the years, and with little exception, one has been "by showing up."
Someone should have told that to three California janitors last year, though, who tried to kill a gopher that a student had found on the school grounds and brought to them. They reportedly took the varmint into the utility room of the elementary school, sprayed the rodent with several cans of a "freezing solvent used to clean gum and wax off floors" - and one then lit a cigarette (for him, we guess, and not the blindfolded gopher).
The resulting blast blew all three out of the room. All apparently came out okay, as did the 16 pupils who were treated for minor injuries.
As for the gopher? He was later released in a nearby field.
The moral of the story: it's better to try to beat gophers by limiting turnovers and with good offensive line play than with flammable solvents. So the Wolverines had best try employing that strategy after taking a few weeks off.
Congratulations to our crack staff for whiffing on the UConn predictions (two straight weeks guys). We apologize to those of you who bet based on our picks and remind you this is for entertainment purposes only (specifically, so you can laugh at us).
This week's winner receives the Caddyshack dancing gopher and dinner with a Carl Spackler lookalike (you'll have to sign a waiver, however).
Chris Balas: This is equipment manager Jon Falk's last Little Brown Jug game, and it's unfathomable his final memory would be to hand it over, never to see it again. He's been the Jug's best friend over the last several decades, and goodbyes will come on his terms.
Michigan 31, Minnesota 13
John Borton: This sounds like a dangerous situation. You've got a team with a dozen turnovers in four games, an 11-decades-old jug, and a strong likelihood that the home team gets to keep it. Either the bye week produced the steps forward demanded, or equipment manager Jon Falk bubble wraps the old gem.
Michigan 31, Minnesota 17
Michael Spath: A week ago, I would have said that Michigan should be on upset alert when Minnesota arrives in town. Then I saw the Gophers play against Iowa and get completely dominated up front. We've also heard good things this week from behind the walls of Fort Schembechler, and after two lackluster showings, I'm confident U-M is ready for a solid 60-minute effort.
Put those two together, and you have a big, satisfying win.
Michigan 38, Minnesota 14
Andy Reid: "A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril. " - Winston Churchill
If ever there was an hour of peril in Michigan football history (and, let's be honest, for the most part, it's been a pretty smooth ride, history-wise, for this program), it would have been during the fourth quarter two weeks ago, when the Wolverines were staring at the brink of a terrible loss to Connecticut, members of The Fort were staring at the message board through the bottom of an empty glass and Chris and J.B. were staring at the unenviable task of an 8 a.m. flight after a night game.
So, embrace tradition - something every Michigan Man has gladly done, with a hint of nostalgia twinkling in his eye, ever since Fielding H. Yost built this thing into a juggernaut - to get yourself through these uneasy times.
And there's nothing more traditional than The Little Brown Jug - one of my personal favorite traditions in Michigan football history - and the great stories it has created over the years?
Get pumped about The Jug, and get pumped about Michigan being 5-0 and one step closer to a spot in Indianapolis.
Michigan 24, Minnesota 6
Tim Sullivan: Michigan's struggles in recent games are well documented by this point. The Wolverines' coaching staff made changes up front because they think a new lineup gives them a better chance to run the offense they want, but the switch won't be a magic bullet, either. As long as the hogs up front can keep Devin Gardner's jersey clean, he'll eliminate some of the mistakes from his game with the bye week to rest and recharge, and the U-M defense will be strong as usual.
Michigan 27, Minnesota 10