Saturday morning, ESPN's College GameDay previewed some of the biggest rivalry games in college football, doing so from Minnesota. The home of the Golden Gophers served as the host city based on an upcoming matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers. To help set the stage, former Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Eric Decker was on hand to the delight of many fans.
As a video showed, the now-retired Decker has fully embraced the "row the boat" mantra of his alma mater and head coach P.J. Fleck. He was on hand with a winter hat and a massive boat oar. As expected, Decker said that Minnesota would take care of business and secure its spot in the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State University.
Of course, Decker was also tasked with picking the outcome of the Civil War in Oregon, the Iron Bowl in Alabama, and other top rivalry games. His choices prompted some fans to give him props for having knowledge of these matchups. "Unlike a lot of GameDay guest pickers, it actually seems like Eric Decker has watched some football games this year! Props to him," one user wrote.
There's room on the boat for Coach Corso 🛶 pic.twitter.com/UTw1PFHZ3Y— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 30, 2019
As an example of what was described as football acumen, Decker mentioned that there were similarities between the two teams, especially at quarterback. However, he gave the edge to Alabama based on the strength of the entire roster instead of at just one position.
There were also many Decker supporters in the crowd on Saturday, holding signs that said the former Minnesota receiver was their hero. Others simply swooned on social media.
A four-year receiver for the Minnesota Golden Gophers (2006-09), Decker caught 227 passes for 3,119 yards (averaging 13.7 per reception) and 24 touchdowns in 45 career games. He left as the school's all-time leader in receptions, single-season receptions (84 in 2008), and receiving yards. He is fourth in touchdowns with 24. Although there was an expectation that Tyler Johnson would be breaking the yards record against Wisconsin.
Following his stint with the Golden Gophers, Decker entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the Denver Broncos. He spent eight years in the league, bringing in 439 receptions for 5,816 yards (13.2 average) and 53 touchdowns in 111 games (83 starts). He also helped the Tennessee Titans pull off a comeback and defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2017 seasons.
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