Minnesota Golden Gophers College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
The PJ Fleck era seems so close to turning a corner into something a whole lot bigger, and this is the year to make that happen.
It’s not going to be easy.
It won two bowl games in Fleck’s first four years, had the puck on its stick to go do something special in 2019 before losing to Wisconsin, and despite all the craziness and disruptions, the 2020 3-4 season wasn’t all that horrible.
The Gophers are loaded with veterans on both sides of the ball, the lines should be as good if not better than anything the program has had in at least five years, and the coaching staff has had time to get its parts in place. So …
Will the 2021 Gophers be more like 2019 or 2020?
The 2019 team managed to fight through some very, very scary moments against mediocre teams early on to roll to an 11-win season.
The 2020 team gacked away a stunning loss to a bad Maryland team, got rolled by a lousy Michigan team, and should’ve lost to a mediocre Purdue team except for a questionable call. (However, give the Gophers a ton of credit for picking off the pass after the pass interference to close out the Boilermakers.)
This year’s team is better, it catches a few big schedule breaks, but it’s still going to be a fight to get to a winning season.
Set The Minnesota Golden Gophers Regular Season Win Total At … 6.5
There’s no Penn State, Michigan, or Michigan State, and the biggest games against Ohio State and Wisconsin are at home – that’s about as much as can be reasonably asked for in the Big Ten.
However, Minnesota has a massive Iowa problem – losing six straight in the series – and that’s on the road. Going to Northwestern is rough, and facing Indiana on the road between Iowa and Wisconsin is a disastrous scheduling quirk.
Throw in the road dates against Colorado and Purdue, and again, it’s not going to be easy.
But Minnesota will keep beating almost all of the teams it’s supposed to, it’ll manage to get by one team it probably shouldn’t beat, and Fleck will make it to a third bowl in his last four seasons.
It won’t be a corner-turning season, but everything will keep moving along.