Big Ten Preview: Minnesota Gophers

The Minnesota Gophers probably wishes that Brett Favre could help their team as well. They had a decent year last season, but can they build on it or was it a flash in the pan? Joe Pasquali is back to discuss where Minnesota will finish in the Big Ten this season.

Finishing #9 in the Big Ten
Minnesota Gophers (Predicted finish 5-7)

Summary– Minnesota is one of those teams that looks really great on paper. All-Conference Quarterback in Adam Weber throwing to a pre-season All American in Eric Decker. Eight returning starters on defense and a schedule that has five games that Minnesota should definitely win. The problem with Gopher football is that Minnesota doesn’t win the games they should, and they’ll go 5-7.

Offense (C+)– The Weber and Decker show should be fun to watch this season, that’s if Minnesota’s offensive line can keep Weber on his feet. Senior Center Jeff Tow-Arnett is the lone starter to a line that allowed 90 sacks last season, second worst in the conference. Minnesota was 104th in the nation when it came to running the ball. Calling them one dimensional is a bit of an understatement. Unless you got Drew Brees back there, one dimensional won’t cut it this year.

Defense (C)– All conference corner Traye Simmons is the lone bright spot on a defense that was very subpar last season. They ranked 10th in the Big Ten last year in total defense, giving up 383 yards a game, 240 of those yards coming through the air. Lee Campbell (MLB) led the Gophers with 80 tackles last year and will have to improve on that if Minnesota is going to stop anyone.

Special teams (C-)– Minnesota did not have a kickoff or punt return for a touchdown last season. They have a brand new kicker and punter, though both are upper classmen. This is not a “special” special teams unit.
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