In the many years since that last national title was won, power in the conference shifted from Minnesota to schools such as Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. Minnesota’s fortunes, along with its play on the gridiron, took a back seat to the new “top dogs.”
In truth, the Golden Gophers endured far too many years of indifferent performances on the field and mediocre results that led to pedestrian and often losing records. But, as was true for this team when things went well, the bad times could not, and did not, last forever.
Under Head Coach Jerry Kill, in charge since 2010, the Golden Gophers rose up from what had long appeared to be “terminal mediocrity,” to finish the 2014 Season with an eye-opening Won-Loss record of 8-4. Included in that total was five wins against tough conference foes and only three losses.
Their winning record came with a reward. Minnesota’s on-the-rise football team received an invitation to the Citrus Bowl where it lost to a very capable squad from the University of Missouri.
The 2015 schedule has the Golden Gophers playing twelve games, seven of which will be on their home field. Interestingly, they will have to compete against three nationally-ranked squads, all of whom are conference foes.
However, the season and the home schedule starts on September 3rd when second-ranked Texas Christian University (TCU) travels to Minnesota. After that tough beginning, the Golden Gophers will host two non-conference opponents, Kent State University on September 19th and Ohio University on September 26th.
Conference foes, such as Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin help to fill out Minnesota’s home schedule. The Badgers of Wisconsin are ranked number twenty nationally.
When the Golden Gophers “hit the road” they may find it “filled with potholes.” That’s because they have a date with college football’s top ranked team, Ohio State, on November 7th. The cold weather squad is also scheduled to visit the Purdue Boilermakers on October 10th and the Iowa Hawkeyes on November 14th.
Colorado State is another destination, but may also be a game that the Golden Gophers can win. Of course, every road game is challenging and can be hard to win even when the visitor appears to be the stronger team.
Clearly, Minnesota is a team that is definitely trending upward. Good coaching and consistent performances should enable the Golden Gophers to win enough games so that they will receive an invitation to a bowl game for the second year in a row.
Courtesy of Gamedayr.com