2021 Minnesota Golden Gophers Football Predictions: Season Win Total Picks
2020 Record: 7-6
2021 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.0
2021 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: ‘Over’
If you want a potential spoiler in the Big Ten this year, look no further than Minnesota.
I am bullish on the Golden Gophers this season. P.J. Fleck’s squad is one of the most experienced teams in the nation and just two years removed from an 11-2 campaign in 2019. Minnesota did slink back to a 3-4 season last fall. But they didn’t play poorly and weren’t nearly as big of a mess as other Big Ten underachievers like Wisconsin and Michigan last year.
In fact, two of Minnesota’s losses last fall came in overtime by a total of four points.
Doc’s Sports offers college football picks against the spread for every game on our college football predictions page.
The Gophers have 10 starters back on each side of the ball, and I am expecting some significant improvement. Quarterback Tanner Morgan regressed last season. But he showed some serious signs in excellent 2018 and 2019 campaigns. He will pair with stud running back Mohamed Ibrahim to give this offense a solid foundation to work around. They also have four three-year starters along the offensive line (including 6-9, 400-pound monster Daniel Faalele) to work with.
Minnesota has its top nine tacklers, and 15 of its top 16 back in the fold. They also added several transfers that should make an immediate impact, including former Clemson defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney. Minnesota needs to generate more big plays with their defense (they were dead last in tackles for loss per play).
The Golden Gophers drew the short straw and get to open the season on Thursday night at home against four-time defending Big Ten champion No. 4 Ohio State. However, they won’t face another team in the preseason Top 25 until mid-November when they close the regular season at Iowa, at Indiana and versus Wisconsin. That looks like a brutal finishing slate. But a lot can change between August and November.
Fleck is a blustery guy. He’s trying to elevate this fourth-tier program to new heights, and this might be the team to do it. This team is No. 1 in the country in returning experience. There are some grown-ass men on this team, and the core is the same group that won 11 games just two seasons ago. I think that this team is definitely undervalued, and I see them getting to seven wins before that final three-game stretch. Take the ‘over’.
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