There is going to be no football played between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers this year. 2020 will be the first year that is a true statement since 1906 which makes me incredibly sad. You’ll find linked below our answers to The Daily Gopher’s questions about Axe Week and we have Blake Ruane here to answer our questions! These were fun trips down memory lane and will hopefully fill some of the Axe Week content you missed this week.
How satisfying was winning the Axe in Madison two years ago?
Very satisfying. As much as I’m sure Badgers fans relished the 14-game winning streak, Gophers fans were tortured by it. It’s sort of insane for a bunch of people to be so emotionally invested in the outcome of a game over which they have no control, but that is sports fandom in a nutshell, I suppose. (If you’re reading this, get some help.)
But for Minnesota to snap the streak in Madison and do so with a comfortable margin of victory was cathartic. It’s critical for a number of reasons that the Gophers start to regularly land punches in this rivalry, and that game was the absolutely necessary first step to restoring balance to this rivalry.
On the other hand, how dissatisfying was it to lose the Axe, in Minneapolis, when the whole country was watching last year?
It felt really good. Thank you for bringing it up, actually! No, it sucked. It was a gut punch ending to a great season. Wisconsin earned it, though. Minnesota got outcoached and outplayed, plain and simple. But I have to tell you, regardless of the result, I loved that it was a high-stakes game on the national stage. You couldn’t ask for a better set-up. Remember when Michigan used to be competitive against Ohio State and the implications of The Game at season’s end? I’d love that for this rivalry. Give me a battle for the Axe and a trip to Indianapolis at the end of every season.
What does the rivalry mean to Minnesota fans? The Gophers have a lot of big rivalry games and trophies that they play for, so where do the Axe and Wisconsin stand?
It can be a bit ridiculous how much the Wisconsin and Iowa games mean to some Minnesota fans. There are seriously people who were disappointed with last season — the program’s first 11-win season since 1904, mind you — because the two losses were to Iowa and Wisconsin. And conversely I’m sure there are fans who would be forgiving of a 2-10 season if those two wins were over Iowa and Wisconsin.
The hatred runs deep. But I think a significant contributing factor to that is how lopsided those two rivalries have been in recent history. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and Floyd and the Axe are precious commodities at this point for Gopher fans. It’s the sad truth.
What is your favorite Axe game memory?
What a depressing question, if I’m being honest! Prior to the Gophers’ victory in 2018, I was 12 years old when Minnesota last won the Axe. So I don’t know if I have a favorite memory so much as I have plenty of traumatic memories. But rather than tap into that deep well of misery, I’ll simply say watching the 2018 game would have to be my favorite memory. What a sad answer to a question that, on the surface at least, seems completely innocuous. Well played, sir.
Have you ever been to Madison for a game? What was your favorite part of the city, if you’ve been, or what do you look forward to doing when you go there for the first time?
I’ve never been to Madison. My wife has extended family who live in Madison — and all of them are Badgers fans, unfortunately. So we’ve definitely talked about making the trip up there when we get a chance. As far as what I’m most looking forward to when that day does come, I can’t wait to sit in my seat between the third and fourth quarter.
On a scale of 1-10 who comfortable do you think Paul Chryst’s crewnecks are?
I’d probably go with an 8 or 9. I heard the interview he gave this fall in which he said it needs to be loose fitting, and he is correct. Too form-fitting can be uncomfortable. Breathing room is important. I do appreciate that people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have talked about wearing the same outfit every day so as not to waste brainpower on something so mundane, and then Paul Chryst says something along the lines of, “Whatever’s in the locker,” when asked about his crewneck sweatshirts.