You may remember that when we played Kansas State earlier this season, the Kansas State blog posted Q&As with some of our rivals to gauge their thoughts and feelings on the Tigers. I decided to replicate that for the bowl game and reached out to a number of Wisconsin's B1G rivals. I'll be posting the responses that I received over the next three days. Here is the next up, our friends over at The Daily Gopher, the SB Nation Minnesota site. Finally, some real visceral HAAAAATE!
1) Tell us your best and worst memory of playing Wisconsin.
There are an awful lot of memorable Wisconsin/Minnesota games. For Gopher fans the good memories are tucked away in the back of our minds somewhere as the Badgers have won this rivalry game 11 years in a row. I do remember that 2003 win Ryhs Lloyd hit a 35-yard FG as time expired to give the Gophers the win and then Lloyd was the first to sprint to Paul Bunyan's Axe and reclaim it for Minnesota.
There are plenty more forgettable memories. Due to the fact that I really enjoy the rivalry and having a little fuel thrown on the fire every once in a while, I really enjoyed the time when Brett Beilema went for two while up 41-17 in the fourth quarter. This did not sit well with head coach Tim Brewster who proceeded to do nothing about it in his tenure.
But the worst memory, probably for all Gopher fans was the home loss in 2005. The Gophers held a 10-point lead with about 2 minutes remaining. Minnesota could not get first downs (on 2 possessions) and ultimately just needed a punt to virtually ensure victory. But the punt was blocked, Wisconsin won, hearts broken.
2) How about just your opinion of Wisconsin in general?
I hate Wisconsin. Bucky is a skunk in a popcorn box, their fans are drunken idiots and Camp Randall is the most overrated venue in college football. I want the Big Ten to do well in this bowl season. I will be cheering for all Big Ten teams with the exception of Wisconsin and Iowa.
3) What are your impressions about us down in the Loveliest Village? Don't worry about being tactful if you think we're horrendous, we've heard it all before. We live in Alabama, after all.
I know that I am programmed to hate the SEC as being a conference full of weak academics, evil cheating-conniving cheaters and really fast. But Auburn is not near the top of my list of least favorite SEC teams and I can handle rooting for them to beat Wisconsin.
4) What do y'all think of Barry Alvarez coaching another "last game?" Will that help or hurt Wisconsin?
I don't think Alvarez coaching is anything really. He'll be on the sidelines, he will be the one who maybe has some input into the overall gameplan but in my opinion his primary job is to give a good pre-game speech. He will have little impact on the game either way.
5) What do you think of this Wisconsin team? Depending on how much you know about us down here at Auburn, what weaknesses of ours do you think they're particularly suited to exploit? What strengths of ours set up well against them?
I do not know a ton about Auburn. My limited knowledge is that the Tigers have a similar offensive philosophy to Minnesota's which is run the ball well and use that to set up the pass. The primary difference is you have more talented players at QB and WR to take advantage of the passing game. Wisconsin is very good defensively, particularly in their front-seven. But Minnesota's power-run game was able to rush for 177 (David Cobb was over 100) at Camp Randall. Their offense is pretty straight forward in that Melvin Gordon and their offensive line is really, really good. When Stave is on point and throwing accurately their offense becomes pretty good. This is an intriguing matchup really.
6) What are your thoughts on how this game plays out?
I think that Auburn will be strong enough up front and have skill position players talented enough that they will be able to move the ball on Wisconsin. Not at will, but they'll be able to move the ball and score some points. I think Wisconsin is pretty good and will also put up points but this game is Auburn's to lose in my opinion. I wouldn't be sad to see 59-0 but a Badger loss of any sort will do just fine.