Gophers finally close regular season laden with disappointment

The Gophers football regular season is mercifully over, and it can be stated unequivocally that the campaign was a pig.

That’s the extent of it. They won a bronze pig for the first time in forever. After that, meh. A real dud.

Given a chance to salvage at least a modicum of positive vibes Saturday, they drop-kicked that into the frigid air by relinquishing Paul Bunyan’s Axe to the Wisconsin Badgers in a 28-14 loss at Huntington Bank Stadium.

The ledger for the season is a 5-7 record, Floyd of Rosedale in the trophy case after a win over Iowa and four consecutive losses to close the season.

The Gophers have not defeated their two biggest rivals in the same season since 1990. That streak continued after a performance that exposed all the flaws and issues that doomed P.J. Fleck’s seventh season at the helm.

The offense was predictable and unreliable. The defense cratered beneath missed tackles and explosive plays. And Fleck stayed in his rut of relying on ultra-conservative game management.

“I named it the readjustment year,” Fleck said. “There are a lot of things to adjust moving forward. A lot of things to evaluate. But there are a lot of things outside our control.”

Readjustment year? That sounds an awful lot like Year Zero.

Fleck then rattled off a list of injuries on defense.

“Nobody cares about that,” he said.

He’s right. Every team deals with injuries. His team isn’t unique in that regard. A coach bemoaning depth in year seven of his tenure won’t find many sympathetic ears.

A season this underwhelming should compel Fleck to take a long, hard look at every facet of his program, starting with his own philosophical approach. He is fooling himself if he believes injuries and youth are the primary culprits for posting a losing record in a division that was weaker than soggy toilet paper.

The Big Ten is doing away with divisions…


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