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The Pig Revisited

My brief note about the return of Floyd of Rosedale to it's rightful home in Minneapolis attracted a few comments, along with a note from my boss that Iowa is now wine country so it no longer needs a bronze pig.

Minnesota football is traditionally mediocre at best, and the Golden Gophers usually can't fight their way out of a paper bag. This year was no different, the Gophers were heading for a losing record until they won their last 3 Big 10 games. Back in the day, 3 Big 10 wins and 6th place was a poor season. These days it's good enough for a bowl game.

'The U' is unique for big public colleges in that it's in the middle of the city, a stone's throw from downtown Minneapolis, and thus school spirit is at a level more fitting for a community college than the Big 10. To make things worse, for the past 20 years home football games are played off campus in a sterile concrete bunker with a plastic roof (the Metrodome). That's been a failure, the University has started constructing a new outdoor stadium on campus. It's too bad they tore down the old one. I distinctly remember the last Gopher football game I saw at the Metrodome. Nebraska came to town, and held the Gophers scoreless. The Cornhuskers scored 3 touchdowns... in each and every quarter. That 84-0, for those who are math challenged.

On the other hand, when Iowa comes to town it's different. In Minnesota we tend to think of Iowa as our less-cultured southern neighbor, and when 30000 Iowa football fans come to the big city with pigs on their heads and mud (or worse) on their shoes, it only reinforces the stereotype. They outdo the Gopher fans in numbers, enthusiasm and volume, so it's like another home game for them. And Iowa usually wins, but not this year.

The story of Floyd of Rosedale recalls a day when things were different, when college football mattered in Minnesota and the Gophers were a national powerhouse. It's also likely the first anti-racism trophy in sports.

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