Johnson lifts No. 16 Minnesota over No. 9 Auburn in Outback

Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim (24) beats Auburn defensive back Roger McCreary (23) to the end zone during the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.

This week’s Next Caller features reader responses to two different columns. The first two address college football’s surprising struggles with attendance. It ‘s surprising given the seeming popular of the sport. and less surprising when considering the cost of taking the family to a Power 5 conference game.

The third harkens back to a column about whether or not the Tampa Bay Bucs will decide to stick with quarterback Jameis Winston, a potential free agent this offseason.

FIRST CALLER ...

I somewhat follow the Minnesota Gophers and when I saw that the tickets for the Outback Bowl were starting at $80, I stopped looking. Now had they been about $30, I might have bought a ticket went up there but $80..... no.

Ross Sorenson

The Outback Bowl, which was played at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, turned out to be a pretty competitive game between two nationally ranked teams as the Golden Gophers prevailed over Auburn, 31-24.

But with seats starting at $80 a pop, I could see why that didn’t row your boat. (Minnesota fans get the reference). Honestly, I can’t see spending that kind of money unless they were going to throw in a Bloomin’ Onion as well.

NEXT CALLER ...

Stay home or bar experience is 100% better! The dead (time) at games for commercial breaks cannot be hidden with replays, highlights and endless commercials. Today’s youth can no longer be manipulated into buying tickets for a lousy product.

Noelrod9@yahoo.com

Emailer Noelrod9 makes a point. Once the in-stadium experience became less fun then the at-home (or at your favorite sports bar) experience, college football had a problem. Why pay more for warm beer and cold food at a stadium when you can get cool beer and reasonably warm food at Buffalo Wild Wings or out of your own fridge?

FINAL CALLER ...

Super column on (Jameis) Winston. Fans want to fire a coach or dump a QB. You nailed it. Can you get someone who is better? OSU fans wanted John Cooper fired after he recruited Mike Vrabel, Eddie George, Orlando Pace, Shawn Springs and Antoine Winfield. Sports ‘experts’ (like me) thought (Joe) Flacco should have relieved (Lamar) Jackson last year (for the Ravens).

John Matheny

I appreciate the rare moments of positive feedback when I get them. John’s letter motivated me to go back and look at Cooper’s time at Ohio State. (Yes, you read that correctly, an actual letter that came via the U.S. mail crazy!)

Between Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer and the impressive work of Ryan Day for most of this season, I had kind of forgotten how well Cooper did for the Buckeyes. In his 13 seasons in Columbus, he compiled a 111-43-4 record and led OSU to three shared Big Ten titles (1993, 1996, and 1998). Unfortunately, he’s probably better remembered for his struggles against rival Michigan and his poor bowl record.

Email Sports Editor Scott Zucker at scott.zucker@yoursun.com and follow him on Twitter @scottzucker.

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