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Michigan game becomes program-definer for Minnesota Gophers

Saturday we may have seen the final nail in the coffin for Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke, but it also spoke volumes for the Minnesota Gophers football program. In fact, the past few games for the Little Brown Jug have represented what both of these teams have become over the last two years.

Last season’s game may have been a lopsided 42-13 win for the Wolverines, taking the Little Brown Jug for the sixth year in a row, but these two teams have gone in very different directions since that time.

Minnesota is 5-2 in Big Ten play since that loss, one where it dealt with a head coach who didn’t make the trip at the last-minute with a seizure. Packed in that 5-2 record are wins over Nebraska, Penn State and now Michigan once again.

Michigan has gone 2-6 since that time, including the loss this past weekend. In fact, the Wolverines are the owners of a three-game losing streak in Big Ten play.

Further, adding to the problem for the Wolverines is the fact that the only wins in the Big Ten in the past nine games have come against Indiana and Northwestern.

Oh, and did we mention that this is the first time in the 135-year history of Michigan football that they’ve lost three games before October?

If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about the state of these two programs, what will?

Ironically, it wasn’t Jerry Kill or Brady Hoke or anyone playing in either of the last two games between that put what those two games meant in to proper perspective. Instead it was Gophers’ head coach Jerry Kill’s wife that gave us all the prospective needed.

The Gophers have won all but Pau Bunyan’s Axe under Kill, having lifted Floyd of Rosedale and now the Little Brown Jug.

Don’t be shocked to see Kill’s Gophers find a way to win that trophy sooner than later. Kill’s teams have gone from bad to respectable to now a team that other coaches in the Big Ten don’t want to face:

Talk about two teams having gone in different directions in just a year’s time, huh?

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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