It is getting perilously close to the start of the Golden Gophers basketball season. Practice starts tomorrow. The first game isn’t much more than a month away. It might snow a bit this weekend. Things are getting real, as kids once said. Here is a wishlist for the upcoming season, with items both reasonable and unrealistic.

1. #doubleDREgon should be the season’s official hashtag.

#Hollinsanity was fun, but we are down to one Hollins. Luckily we have two Dre’s for commentators to stumble over. We should embrace this, because if #doubleDREgon isn’t the best thing ever, I don’t know what is.

2. Create a young alumni section

The University of Minnesota is blessed to be a part of a thriving metropolitan area, which means a lot of new graduates find jobs, find an apartment, and stick around.  There tends to be  a few empty seats in the upper deck above the student section. Why not reserve those seats for anyone who has graduated in the last four years, and offer them tickets at a modest discount? Offering a bridge for former students between The Barnyard and adulthood should make The Barn tougher for opponents, and should lead to more season ticket holders in the future,

3. More Prince!

I might sound like a broken record, but the pep band should really drop the songs from the early 2000s (sorry Bosstones) and embrace the early 1980s. Prince is Minneapolis, and “Let’s Go Crazy”  would be perfect before the tip-off.  In a more perfect world, the pep band would also play “Little Red Corvette” after opponent turnovers.

“Baby, you’re much too fast
Little Red Corvette
You need a love that’s gonna last”

But that’s just being greedy.

4.  More animals!

Pigs and sheep and cows are fine. However, there will be a goose and a squirrel on the court, and there should be several of each in The Barnyard.

5. Little ‘dre needs to dunk

The Barn has a brand new roof, which should ensure everyone’s safety if Deandre Mathieu decides to do this in a game.

6. Better cardboard cut-outs in the Barnyard.

Yes, I realize I am probably beating a dead mythical giant blue ox at this point, but don’t you think the cardboard cut outs in the student section are a bit generic. There is so much iconic giant random crap in Minnesota, and some of that should be represented in the student section.  The Barnyard could start easy, with Paul Bunyan or maybe a giant ball of twine, and work their way up to a giant prairie chicken, Rocky Taconite, or even St. Urho the grasshopper chaser. I can’t say that I’ve ever shot a free-throw in front of a few thousand people who are trying to distract me, but I can imagine that a fake Finnish saint stabbing  a giant grass hopper with a pitch-fork wouldn’t make it any easier.