1960 Minnesota
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The last time the Minnesota Golden Gophers won the national championship…

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Things could be trending in a positive direction for Minnesota under the energetic leadership of P.J. Fleck. After a long string of years of up-and-down seasons ranging from poor to mediocre to the high of a nine-win season in 2016, Fleck and the Gophers surprised a few people in 2018 by pulling together a seven-win season highlighted by a long-awaited victory over Wisconsin and capped by a season-ending bowl victory in the Quick Lane Bowl. The bar is being raised a bit for the boat-rowing Gophers in 2019. The chance to compete for a national championship is still at the end of a great journey for the program, but that doesn’t mean those in the program can’t dream about being the ones to capture the first football national title for the school since 1960.

Minnesota, coached by the coach of the year Murray Warmath and led in the trenches by Outland Trophy winner Tom Brown, split the Big Ten championship with Iowa, although a 27-10 victory over the No. 1 Hawkeyes on Nov. 5, 1960 catapulted the No. 3 Gophers to the top spot in the AP poll. But the very next week, Minnesota was upset by Purdue, 23-14, and Minnesota dropped to No. 4 in the AP poll as a result heading into their final game of the regular season. Minnesota moved back up in the polls with a win against the rival Badgers and No. 1 Missouri being upset at home by Kansas, 23-7. As Big Ten champion, Minnesota traveled west to the play in the Rose Bowl, and they arrived in Pasadena as the No. 1 team in the AP poll as they prepared to face No. 6 Washington, champion of the Athletic Association of Western Universities (which would, of course, later evolve to the Pac-12 we know and love today). Despite already being declared the national champion for the 1960 season, Minnesota was upended by the Huskies, 17-7. Ole Miss would stake their claim to the national title following a 14-6 victory for the No. 2 Rebels over Rice in the Sugar Bowl (Ole Miss would be crowned national champion by the Football Writers Association of America).

Last National Title Season: 1960 (58 years and counting)

Who was President?

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President of the United States the last time Minnesota claimed a national championship season, although 1960 was a time for change in the country in the United States. Perhaps one of the most famous presidential elections of all-time went down in the fall of 1960. Richard Nixon was taken down by Democrat John F. Kennedy.

As for the current Commander-In-Chief, Donald J. Trump was fresh into his teenage years in 1960 and was enrolled at New York Military Academy.

What was on TV?

1960 brought some classic television shows to the TV sets in a growing number of homes. Classics such as “Lassie,” “Dennis the Menace,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Jack Benny Show,” “Candid Camera,” “My Three Sons,” were among the programs across the three networks at the time (NBC, ABC, and CBS). “The Price is Right” was airing on NBC, although the show would later evolve a bit to become the game show you are more likely familiar with today.

Long before “The Simpsons,” it was “The Flinstones” ruling the ratings as a primetime animated show. Bugs Bunny also made a primetime appearance before making the move to Saturday mornings for the next four decades. And Shirley Temple and Glenn Miler had their own television shows at the time as well.

One show that finished its historic run on the airwaves was “I Love Lucy,” as stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz divorced after the final episode of the season in 1960.

What movies were hot?

Ben-Hur was an international winner as the top box office leader in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. But this was a year after the movie was released in the United States. State-side, it was Spartacus dominating the box office as the top movie of the year. Kirk Douglas had everyone shouting “I’m Spartacus!”

But this was also the year for the horror genre with the release of Psycho, directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. The Rat Pack also took to the big screen in the original Ocean’s 11, with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy David Jr., Joey Bishop and more.

What else happened in 1960?

Navy running back Joe Bellino is named the Heisman Trophy winner for the 1960 season. Bellino rushed for 834 yards and caught 17 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns for the Midshipmen in the 1960 season, leading Navy to a 9-2 record and No. 4 in the final AP poll of the season.

Aside from Minnesota and Iowa splitting the Big Ten crown, other conference winners in 1960 included Ole Miss (SEC), Arkansas (Southwest), Missouri (Big Eight), Utah State and Wyoming (Skyline Conference), New Mexico State (Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association), Yale (Ivy League) and Duke (ACC).

Current Minnesota head coach Fleck wasn’t born for another 20 years. Michigan coaching legend Bo Schembechler was an assistant coach for Woody Hayes at Ohio State. Former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno was an assistant coach with the Nittany Lions, still five years from becoming the head coach of the program. Nick Saban was seven years old.

The Minnesota Twins were still a year away from playing their first baseball game in franchise history and the Lakers were just moving west to Los Angeles from Minneapolis.

The AFL launched its league in 1960, with the Houston Oilers capturing the first league championship with a 24-16 victory in the AFL championship against the Los Angeles Chargers. In the NFL, it was the Philadelphia Eagles taking down Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers in the NFL championship game.

Bill Mazeroski clinches the World Series championship for the Pittsburgh Pirates with a walk-off home-run in Game 7 against the New York Yankees. The Boston Celtics won the NBA title against the St. Louis Hawks, and the Montreal Canadiens hoisted the Stanley Cup above their heads after a sweep of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Young rising boxer Cassius Clay wins the gold medal in boxing at the Olympics in Rome, and Arnold Palmer won the Masters and U.S. Open for a couple of major tournament victories.

Outside of sports, 1960 was a significant year for the United States with the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Eisenhower.

Elvis Presley was killing the music charts with the two top singles of 1960 with “It’s Now or Never” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Chubby Checker came in at No. 3 with “The Twist.”

Has time passed Minnesota by?

time has certainly flown by since Minnesota’s glory days. Since the 1960 season, the Gophers have managed to win eight games or more in a season just a handful of times. One came in the 1961 season, which ended with a Rose Bowl victory. the most recent one came in 2016, with three eight-win seasons in a four-year stretch. It is the best stretch of seasons over a four-year period for the Gophers since winning it all in 1960. The question is if it is possible for Minnesota to climb back to the top of that mountain ever again. While nothing should ever be considered truly impossible, the history and trends would seem to suggest it will be a very steep climb for the program.

The Big Ten has grown, literally, over the years by adding members and some members have created some buffer in how money is brought in and spent to improve their various programs. For Minnesota, keeping up with programs like Ohio State and Michigan is far more difficult to do today than it used to be even with resources like the Big Ten Network. But could Minnesota capture a Big Ten title and get back to the Rose Bowl? If the Big Ten sticks to a division structure and fields a conference championship game the way it is currently constructed, of course, it remains a possibility for Minnesota. It may not happen in 2019, although the Big Ten West could be up for grabs, but the Gophers could become a program that could strike lightning every now and then to reach the Big Ten championship game at the end of the season.

Minnesota hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl since 1961, so Gopher fans have been waiting quite some time to book that trip to Pasadena again.

NC State LB Brock Miller announces transfer to Boise State

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The Boise State football team is the latest to see the beneficial side of the portal.

Earlier this month, Brock Miller entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  Two weeks later, the NC State linebacker announced on Twitter that he will be transferring into the Boise State football program.

As of yet, the Broncos have not announced Miller’s official addition to the roster.

Miller, a three-star 2016 signee, played in 31 games during his time with the Wolfpack. He started 13 of those appearances, including 11 in 2019.

This past season, his seven tackles for loss were tied for third on the team. He had 40 total tackles, which were good for eighth.

Miller is leaving the Wolfpack as a graduate transfer. Next season will be the Florida native’s final year of eligibility.

Four-star 2018 signee Kukea Emmsley of Boise State is in transfer portal

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In December of 2017, Kukea Emmsley posted on Twitter that he dreamt of being a Boise State football player.  A little over two years later, the dream is over.  Or, it’s on its way to being over.

According to 247Sports.com, Emmsley has entered himself into the NCAA transfer database.  The move to the portal by the redshirt defensive end would be the first step in leaving the Boise State football team.  Emmsley could, though, pull his name and remain with the Broncos.

Conversely, the Boise State football program could pull his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

A four-star 2018 signee, Emmsley was rated as the No. 4 player regardless of position in the state of Hawaii.  He was also the No. 25 outside linebacker in that class.  Of the 25 recruits signed by Boise State football that year, only one on the defensive side of the ball, Chris Mitchell, was rated higher than Emmsley.

Despite that pedigree, Emmsley failed to live up to the pre-career billing.

As a true freshman in 2019, Emmsley took a redshirt.  This past season, Emmsley made his Boise State debut in an Oct. 19 loss to BYU.  As it turns out, that was Emmsley’s lone appearance.

Emmsley will likely have to sit out the 2020 season if he follows through on a transfer and moves to another FBS school.  That would leave him with two years of eligibility beginning in 2021.

Virginia OC Robert Anae withdraws name from Hawaii coaching search

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We don’t know yet who will be the head coach of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team.  We do, though, now who it won’t be.

In days after Nick Rolovich left to replace Mike Leach at Washington State, Robert Anae‘s name has been mentioned prominently as a potential successor.  Tuesday, however, the Virginia offensive coordinator announced in a statement that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors head coach.

“After careful consideration, I am withdrawing my application for the University of Hawaii head football coach position,” the statement began. “I have been overwhelmed with the commitment by Coach [Bronco] Mendenhall and the leadership of [athletic director] Carla Williams. I am excited and energized to close out our recruiting class as we continue our quest for the conference championship.”

The 61-year-old Anae, who played his college football at BYU, was born in Hawaii and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team.  Anae just completed his fourth season as Virginia’s coordinator.  He also coaches the team’s wide receivers.

With Anae out of the picture, Hawaii could stay in-house for its new head coach. Craig Stutzmann, UH’s quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator and Mark Banker, UH’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach, have been mentioned as possibilities.  The offensive line coach at Syracuse, Mike Cavanaugh, has been floated as a possibility as well.

Penn State DE Daniel Joseph hurtles into the portal

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Count the Penn State football program as the next FBS school facing a potential personnel loss.

First reported by the SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic, defensive end Daniel Joseph has taken the first step in leaving the Penn State football team by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report.

A four-star 2016 signee, Joseph was rated as the No. 12 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 3 player regardless of position in the state of Illinois.

Joseph took a redshirt as a true freshman.  The next three seasons, Joseph appeared in 33 games.  A dozen of those appearances came during the 2019 campaign.

In those three seasons, the defensive lineman was credited with 29 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss, five sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

On the last depth chart of the 2019 season, Joseph was listed No. 3 behind starter Yetur Gross-Matos and backup Shane Simmons.  Gross-Matos confirmed in early December that he will be leaving the Nittany Lions early for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Joseph is the second Nittany Lion to hit the portal this offseason.  Earlier this month, offensive lineman Hunter Kelly entered his name into the transfer database.  Both Kelly and Joseph will be leaving the Penn State football team as graduate transfers.