School name: The University of Minnesota: Twin Cities
Location: Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota
Mascot/nickname: Goldy Gopher/the Golden Gophers
School colors: Maroon and gold
Distance from College Park: 926.4 miles
Enrollment: 51,853 (30,375 undergraduate)
B1G Member since: 1896
Notable achievements: Seven football national championships (most recently 1960), three men's basketball national championships (most recently 1919), seven men's ice hockey national championships (most recently 2003), five women's ice hockey national championships (most recently 2013), three baseball national championships (most recently 1964), one men's golf national championship (2002), one men's outdoor track and field national championship (1948), three wrestling national championships (most recently 2007).
We've been in the ACC since forever. Tell us which ACC school this is most similar to and why.
Minnesota ranks 69th in the U.S. News' 2014 rankings, tied with Virginia Tech and a few spots below Clemson, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Maryland. The Gophers haven't won a Big Ten football title since 1967, so that rules out Virginia Tech and Clemson. We'll go with Pittsburgh, even though they won a Big East football title semi-recently -- the Gophers are a traditional football school that have had a resurgence on the basketball side of things (not as drastically as Pitt, but comparably), leading to a confusion of culture of sorts.
The football team plays at TCF Bank Stadium (also known as "The Bank"), a new on-campus stadium built in 2009 that will also house the Minnesota Vikings for the next two seasons. It holds 50,805 fans and is the newest power conference football stadium in the country -- it's probably worth checking out if you can take the road trip.
Basketball plays at Williams Arena (also known as "The Barn"), originally built in 1928 and since renovated a few times. It holds 14,625 fans, and at one point had the highest capacity of any college basketball arena in the nation.
Ice hockey, both men's and women's, is the big thing for the Gophers -- something Maryland is completely unfamiliar with. Volleyball and wrestling are also strengths, but Minnesota also has solid swimming, track, women's basketball and baseball programs.
Food, beer, & Town:
Minneapolis is quite possibly my favorite city in the nation -- I used to visit family friends there as a kid, and went back a few times in college. It's big without being too big, and there's plenty of stuff to do while still maintaining a friendly atmosphere.
From our friends at the Daily Gopher, some Minnesota terms to know:
A quick explanation of a few key University of Minnesota terms:
- Golden-I: An offensive formation in which three running backs stand in line behind the quarterback. It fits well within the smash-mouth brand of football the B1G is famous for. Formerly known as the Maryland-I until Jerry Kill adopted it his own. And no, Maryland, you don't get to have it back. I'm pretty sure you signed the rights away in exchange for some of Emperor Delany's sweet, sweet TV monies.
- Goldy Gopher: Minnesota's mascot. His ability to spin his head and his superior eye for colors sets him apart from the popcorn box-clad skunk from Madison.
- Minnesota Nice: Phrase used to praise Minnesotans for being really nice people. In reality it just means we're really passive-aggressive. Having a football team that gut punches your fandom repeatedly adds a fun layer of frustration to the psyche of many Gopher fans. Will you notice it? You betcha!
- Ski-U-Mah: Phrase used at Minnesota since 1894. Created by a rugby player as an interpretation of a Sioux battle cry (that would rhyme with rah).
- The U: How Gopher fans refer to the University. Some other school in a mosquito-infested swamp state also claims this moniker, but we attribute that to malaria-induced ramblings.
How likely is Maryland to develop a rivalry with this school?
Not very. Different football divisions, for starters, but it's quite a ways away from the Terps, with plenty of potential rivalry schools in between. Wrestling and volleyball could see some interesting clashes, and the athletic departments are at a pretty similar spot with regards to the big revenue programs, but it's hard to see Minnesota turning into a legitimate rival.