Minnesota Golden Gophers are up next on our tour of new Big Ten opponents for the Maryland Terrapins. The team has been known as the Gophers since they started playing sports, but the Golden part of it was added in the 1930s since the team wore all gold at home.
So far I have featured schools located in small towns (Iowa, Illinois, Penn State), or suburbs (Rutgers). But Minnesota is located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, with a combined population of around 700,000 people. The main campus is located in Minneapolis on the Mississippi River, and it is referred to either as either the East Bank or West Bank sections of campus. NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA sentiments are obvious with the Vikings, Twins, Wild and Timberwolves respectively. One of the most famous and successful independent baseball franchises, the St. Paul Saints, is located in St. Paul.
The men’s basketball team won the 2014 NIT championship and look to be on the rise under coach Richard Pitino. Football has been a good consistent team, although the continuing health issues of coach Jerry Kill is a concern. Men’s hockey is very strong and appeared in the 2014 Frozen Four in Philadelphia where they finished as the national runner-up. And don’t forget about the women as they also were in this year’s Frozen Four and won national championships in 2000 , 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2013. Women’s gymnastics, Women’s volleyball and the Dance Team (which is considered part of the athletic program) are also strong on campus.
Being in a big city, there are numerous options for food and drinks near campus. Popular food places are Al’s Breakfast, Big Ten Restaurant and Bar and Crescent Moon Pizza. The three main bar areas in the University area are Dinkytown, Stadium Village, and the Seven Corners area, with a place like Preston’s, in Seven Corners, standing out.