It was a head scratcher this week when the University of Minnesota paid North Carolina $800,000 to buy out of a home-and-home contract with the Tar Heels. Wow, times must be good when you can pay 800k to get out of a couple of games with a team better known for basketball. I have to wonder what the Gopher season ticket holder is thinking; I’m going to shell out some bucks to watch a bunch of mediocre nonconference teams for the next few years.
The Gophers also announced they are playing South Dakota State in 2019. Their future schedule includes the Jackrabbits in 2015 and Indiana State in 2016. Would NDSU fit in 2017 or 2018? Do the Gophers even want to play the Bison after dropping the last two?
It’s a no-win situation for Minnesota in the fact you’re always going to have to fight that recruit-overlooked factor, but I suppose SDSU has kids who can claim that also. I would guess Minneapolis bar and hotel owners would encourage a Bison-Gopher game every year. Even so, here’s the main point: if the Gophers are confident they’re on the right track to building their program, then a quality Big Ten team scheduling NDSU by 2017 or 2018 should be not a question. If not, then we’ve reached another historic level: who would have thought 10 years ago that Minnesota would be evading little ol’ NDSU?
LATE UPDATE: Star Tribune reporting that Minnesota has replaced the open dates created by buying out North Carolina with New Mexico State, one of the worst FBS programs currently. NMSU along with Idaho, will be without a conference home next season when the WAC folds, and much like the Vandals, does not want to drop down to FCS, so they need to schedule 12 independent games. New Mexico State beat Minnesota last year at TCF, the Gophers will travel to Las Cruces in 2013, with a return trip in 2014. There was already a scheduled game between the two set for 2016, meaning New Mexico State will come to Minneapolis three times in six years, that’s more than FIVE teams in the Big Ten. Problem with non-confernece scheduling in my mind.