In exactly 29 days, the maroon and gold warriors will take on N.C. State in the tantalizing, TBS-aired Micronpc.com bowl.
The reality of playing in back-to-back bowl games has not been lost on the part of the team, fans or the media, mostly because this feat hasn’t happened in a decade.
So in the interest of pouncing on this postseason run of mediocrity, permanently-declared men’s athletic director Tom Moe declared the Gophers ready for their own stadium.
“Thousands of people can remember what we had [with Memorial Stadium],” Moe told the Star Tribune on Nov. 16. “But I worry with each passing year, the number of people who can relate to that experience decreases. And, at some point, it will be all second and third-hand information.
“I kind of look at it as maybe it’s now or never.”
Coincidentally, the Twins and Vikings have, and will continue to, beg and plead for their own stadiums for the past four years.
Let’s see, Tom, you want a new 55,000-seat, open-air stadium to restore interest in Gopher football and its traditions on a campus with no space and a tradition that died inside the Metrodome in 1982?
Okay, then here’s what you do:
Burn two-thirds of the Twin Cities metropolitan area and all its amenities. Create region-wide interest for the Gophers by eliminating all interest and accessibility to anything else. Minneapolis could turn into Madison, West Lafayette, Ann Arbor and Iowa City.
College football and its stadiums thrive in remote locations where people have nothing else to do within 150 miles. Is there any other reason Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and Camp Randall in Madison hold almost 100,000?
Let’s face it: This is Vikings country, which Red McCombs is riding like a Texas bull. Purple Pride has been Big Red’s key to fueling enough public desperation that Minnesotans will do anything to keep football.
Even if it means doing everything taxpayers wouldn’t do for the Twins.
It’s all there for you, Tom. The Vikings are willing to share a new stadium with you, at least Vice President Mike Kelly said so.
“We would love to work with the Gophers because we think we solve two problems for the price of one,” Kelly told the Star Tribune. The Vikings keep all naming rights and Sunday revenues. The Gophers keep the rest.
I know you would rather go alone, but a town already being bullied by professional baseball and football isn’t going to tolerate any more talk about bonds, taxes and revenues.
But if your department still defies all reasonable logic, then your only other option is to do nothing.
Don’t do jack.
Sit around and wait for everyone else to win or lose their stadium battles, then pick up the scraps. It’s brilliant. And what better place to read about it than from yours truly?
If the Vikings don’t get approval for a new stadium in the next three years, they’re gone.
And if baseball’s economics don’t change, or the Twins don’t get a new owner or stadium, eventually they’re gone.
So when both teams leave or get their own stadiums — assuming your claims of inferior competition and resources against the rest of the Big Ten are correct — then you just take over the Metrodome, and all that revenue is yours.
What a concept. No crappy stadium jargon. No flimsy promises. No manipulation. The Metrodome could be all yours. The Superbowl and Final Four could be under your roof and your roof alone.
Save your energy, or at least transfer that energy (have you seen the stadium John Anderson and his baseball team play in?). Don’t let Glen Mason tell you how desperate they are for a new facility.
After all, Mason went into the storied Horseshoe on October 14th and whipped the Buckeyes in front of 95,000 home-team souls.
“The choice is, will you enable yourself to compete at a high level or be willing to settle for an uncompetitive program?” Moe said. “To me, the choice is easy. You should strive to be the best.”
Tom, all the boosters and maroon and gold-wearers would love another outdoor stadium.
Forget it. It’s all a dream, a wonderful, wonderful pipedream.
Mark Heller is the assistant sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]