Contrary to what they might believe, fans of the Michigan football team are actually quite spoiled.

Paul Wong
Minnesota lost the battle for the Little Brown Jug for the 13th straight time on Saturday. The loss ensured that the Golden Gophers will not make a bowl game.<br><br>DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily

Each year, Michigan”s fans are secure in the knowledge that the Wolverines will, at worst, have a decent football team. The last time Michigan had a losing record was 1968, the year before Bo Schembechler arrived in Ann Arbor.

Now, Michigan fans are probably saying to themselves,”Why should we be satisfied with trips to the Citrus Bowl, where we beat up on mediocre SEC teams like Auburn and Arkansas?”

The answer is quite simple all the Wolverines” supporters have to do is imagine what it would be like to root for a team like Minnesota.

Minnesota had suffered through almost two decades of losing before Glen Mason took over in 1997. Mason who resurrected awful programs at Kent State and Kansas was exactly what the Golden Gophers needed. After two losing seasons, Mason took Minnesota to back-to-back bowls in 1999 and 2000.

With nine starters returning on a high-powered offense including Ron Johnson, who was arguably the nation”s best receiver at the start of the season the Golden Gophers had high hopes for this year.

But those hopes have come crashing down in a blaze of futility. After Saturday”s 31-10 beating at the hands of Michigan, the Golden Gophers (1-5 Big Ten, 3-6 overall) will not be eligible for a bowl game this year.

“It”s very frustrating,” Minnesota quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq said. “It”s actually terrible to the football team”s spirit. To come out here and lose the season like we did today is just ridiculous.”

A big part of Minnesota”s problem this year has been its young, inexperienced defense. When the Golden Gophers were torn apart by Toledo, 38-7, in their first game of the season, it should have been an indication that this was going to be a rough season.

Sure enough, Minnesota”s defensive shortcomings have haunted the Golden Gophers in virtually every game they have played.

Against Michigan, Minnesota seemed completely incapable of stopping the run. The Wolverines” ground game which has been inconsistent all season racked up 300 yards against the Golden Gophers.

“Michigan”s hard to defend,” Mason said. “They”ve got a big offensive line, big running backs, and you knew they were going to try to establish the run going into this game they haven”t been happy with the way they”re running the ball.”

Following the loss, Johnson”s frustration exemplified the mood of the entire Minnesota team. Johnson is a Detroit native, but he was in the same high school senior class as David Terrell and Marquise Walker, who were generally regarded as the top two receiver recruits in the country.

So, while the Wolverines signed the aforementioned duo, Johnson went to Minnesota, where he established a reputation as one of the country”s elite wideouts.

With numerous family members in attendance, Johnson had been pointing to Saturday”s game as a chance to make a statement to the nation.

Instead, he caught only four passes for 73 yards, with one touchdown. After the game with his dreams of a third straight bowl trip dashed he only answered three questions before abruptly turning around and walking out of the interview room.

Going to a bowl game “is everybody”s goal,” Johnson said. “Some people are going to come up short, and we”re one of those teams right now.”

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