July 19, 2010

TMI: the Minnesota edition

Week 7 of the Nittany Lions schedule will bring a trip to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers just a week before the big showdown with Michigan at Beaver Stadium. So that means this week is Golden Gophers week on Linebacker-u which brings us Too Much Information: the Minnesota edition.

About the University

Established in 1851, the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, or "The U" as it's know regionally*, is a public research university and has the fourth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 51,659 students in 2009-2010. Although it was established in 1851, Minnesota did not open its doors until 1867 because of the American Civil War and financial problems. It took a large loan from John Sargent Pillsbury, who was the recipient of a Morrill Land-Grant, for the university to get under way. The school was upgraded from a preparatory school to a college in 1869 and has buildings on both banks of the Mississippi River.

The campus of the University of Minnesot

Fun Facts: the Arboretum on the St. Paul Campus developed the state fruit: the honeycrisp apple. The University developed Gopher, which was a precursor to the World Wide Web and used hyperlinks to connect documents across computers on the internet.


The University of Minnesota college sports teams are known as the Golden Gophers after the state's nickname. Minnesota was dubbed the "Gopher State" in 1857 after a satirical political cartoon depicted nine Gophers with the heads of local politicians pulling a locomotive was published.

Here's the source of all things Gopher

The Gophers were not always "Golden," during the 1930s the Gophers wore gold jerseys and pants. Legendary radio announcer Halsey Hall coined the term "Golden Gophers" in reference to the team's all-gold attire on the field.

The team mascot is known as Goldy Gopher

Intimidating, no?

The Gopher mascot came to life in 1952 when assistant bandmaster Jerome Glass bought a fuzzy wool suit and asked technology junior Jim Anderson climb into it. Goldy was originally part of the band until 1992 when he was turned over to the Athletic department.

Football related data

Last Season: 6 – 7: lost to Iowa State in the Insight Bowl

Minnesota has won 6 national championships, the last coming in 1960, and 18 Big Ten championships the last coming in 67. They have five bowl victories including one Rose bowl in 14 bowl appearances. Of course Penn State and Minnesota play for the Governor's Victory Bell with the Nittany Lions owning the trophy 7 out of the 11 times the two teams have played since PSU joined the Big Ten in 1993.

Famous Alumni

Nine players from the University played on Herb Brooks' 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey team that beat the USSR and won the gold medal. There are 17 current players from Minnesota playing in the NFL. There are 6 former Gopher players in the Pro Football Hall of fame and 21 former players/coaches in the College football hall of fame.

Some famous athletes that called themselves "golden" were: Tony Dungy, Kevin McHale, Dave Winfield, Tom Lehman, Ric Flair and Brock Lesnar.

Given the choice I think I'd rather take on Ric Flair than have my face shoved up my ass by Lesnar

Playboy centerfolds and identical triplets Nicole, Erica and Jaclyn Dahm graduated from U of M.

Totally safe for work but feel free to Google them you'll get more interesting results.

Yanni was a Golden Gopher before he started annoying the hell out of people with his music. Peter Graves and Loni Anderson were Gopher alumi. Robert Ulrich CEO of Target and John Stumpf CEO of Wells Fargo Bank called Minnesota home. Former vice-presidents Hubert H. Humphrey and Walter Mondale went to Minnesota. 7 Nobel Laureates and 5 Pulitzer Prize winners graduated Gophers. Bob Dylan and Henry Fonda attended Minnesota but did not graduate.

*by "regionally" I mean the students and Alumni of Minnesota because no one outside of the university would ever call the University of Minnesota "the U", that moniker is reserved for Miami(of the Florida variety)

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  1. "So, Timmy, you ever seen a grown man naked?"

    - Peter Graves to Tim Brewster shortly before Brewster's first game as Minnesota's football coach.

  2. You don't know how hard it was to NOT make that kind of reference.

  3. Dude, you should've gone ahead and done it. I know I would, if I were writing this article...

  4. Some corrections to your trivia. The term Golden Gopher, is attributed to Grantland Rice, from his coverage of a Minnesota/Pittsburgh game in the 30's (32/33?). The Landscape Arboretum is a separate facility, it's located in Chaska MN, a SW suburb.

  5. Mike,
    You might be right about the Arboretum I can't find where I got that info from, but the Golden Gopher quote came right from the official site of Golden Gophers athletics: http://www.gophersports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=8400&KEY=&ATCLID=921093