20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 18: Teams That Will Take A Wee Step Back

20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 18: Teams That Will Take A Wee Step Back

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20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 18: Teams That Will Take A Wee Step Back

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2. Minnesota Golden Gophers

2020 FInal Ranking
AP 10, Coaches 10
Final Record: 11-2

What Made 2019 Special? 

It was the best season of Minnesota football in over 50 years.

Okay, okay, so the Gophers got to roll on through a schedule full of light and fluffy clouds to get to 8-0, but with the world watching to see if they were for real, they came through with a win over Penn State.

They had everything there for the taking. They had Wisconsin in TCF Bank for a shot at Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. Win the last two, and the impossible would’ve happened with a trip to the College Football Playoff.

Instead, they got roasted by the Badgers in the snow, but a thrilling win over Auburn in a blast of an Outback Bowl capped a phenomenal year that defied expectations.

Why 2020 Will Be A Bit Worse: Returning Talent

There’s a lot to like about the returning Gopher team.

The offensive line should be the best in the Big Ten outside of the front fives put out in Columbus and Madison. QB Tanner Morgan is back along with gamebreaking WR Rashod Bateman, and the rest of the skill parts are strong.

There’s no replacing S Antoine Winfield Jr., and the front seven combination of Carter Coughlin and Kamal Martin will be missed. In all, seven starters are gone off the D, but that’s not the issue …

Why 2020 Will Be A Bit Worse: Schedule 
2020 Minnesota Football Schedule Analysis

Don’t gloss over the massive breaks Minnesota had last year in the schedule.

It survived three poor non-conference performances because it played three poor non-conference teams. This year, instead of South Dakota State, Fresno State and Georgia Southern, it plays BYU, Florida Atlantic and Tennessee Tech. That’s not much of an upgrade, but the Big Ten schedule is a whole lot more difficult.

There’s still no Ohio State, but the Gophers play Michigan and go to Michigan State, and they have to travel to Wisconsin and Nebraska.

Again, as the theme of the piece goes, all it takes is one extra loss to take a wee step back, and the same goes for …

NEXT: Good luck doing THAT again … ever

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