Welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers to the college football 77 in 77. We have our first Big Ten team on the list. Which places them 11th in the league. Illinois is obviously 12th, and I would have to rank about 90-95 teams this year if I were to include the Illini. One team that has owned Illinois lately is actually Minnesota. However, that clearly doesn’t mean they’re a good program. The 2012 Gophers were one of the worst bowl teams in college football history. And they’re going to take a step back this year.
Minnesota Golden Gophers football is a lot like the music of Prince; it’s been decades since either one has produced a tremendous amount of success.
Minnesota Golden Gophers last season: the picture of mediocrity, 6-7, 2-6 in a very very weak conference. They were dangerously close to dead last in college football in total offense. They could not pass the ball to save their lives. And there is uncertainty and not a whole lot of experience at the wide receiver position this year. QB Phillip Nelson may have talent, but he has no one to throw to. The Gophers only made their fourth tier bowl because they scheduled so soft. Just like they always do. UM got destroyed in Big Ten play.
Minnesota Golden Gophers reasons to get EXCITED! ALL CAPS! Uhm, maybe by looking ahead to 2014, 2015?? Six starters return on defense, and they were really good at stopping the pass (12th nationally) last year. Of course, that would matter much more in the pass happy Pac-12 or Big-12. The Big Ten is a run-first conference; for the most part. The offense returns nine starters which would be a good thing in most cases. But their offense is not such a case. Coach Jerry Kill made his big leap in his third season at both SIU and NIU. Will it happen again in Minneapolis?
Minnesota Golden Gophers reasons to get worried :( What exactly does this team do well? Did you watch last season? The offense needs to do something in order to keep their defense off the field. Donnell Kirkwood is a serviceable tailback, but he’s not like a Laurence Maroney, Thomas Tapeh, or all those other good Gopher tailbacks with legacy names: XYZ Jr., III, IV. And the punter was really terrible last year.
Key games: August 31st vs. UNLV, September 7th AT New Mexico State. Ok, the schedule is a total cupcake jokefest yet again this year. They could very easily go 4-0 out of the gates again. And then also loose all their league games. I know, you’ve heard this song before.
Minnesota Golden Gophers bottom line: With their pillow top mattress like soft schedule, 4-8 is your worst case. A bowl bid probably won’t happen. No matter how it goes, they’ll still be a pretty mediocre team. And no team in college football has a coach who so closely resembles his school’s mascot like the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Key & Peele East/West College Bowl Roster: TE Moses Alipate, DL Theiren Cockran, DB Cavonte Johnson, LB De’Niro Laster, CB Daletavious McGhee, DL Youshoub Timms, TE Maxx Williams
For the 2013 College Football rankings 1-77
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. (“Quasi-endorsed” by Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly) He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker