College Football Predictions – Minnesota Golden Gophers 2019 College Football Preview
Record – 7-6
ATS – 8-5
Row the boat, baby.
Year two of the PJ Fleck era was pretty successful as the Golden Gophers bagged seven wins and look to be building for the future. They started out 3-0 and then went into a funk losing the next four games in a row. They finished strong by kicking Wisconsin’s teeth in and doing the same thing to Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl. Those two wins came by a combined score of 71-25 (!). We did not see that coming. It was a job well done.
Minnesota is just 5-13 in Big Ten play in two seasons under PJ Fleck. Could this be the year they start to do some damage vs conference opponents?
2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating
West Division – #2
Big 10 – #6
Minnesota Golden Gophers 2019 Outlook
Minnesota looks to be in decent shape at QB with sophomore Tanner Morgan poised to take a step forward this year (58.6%, 9-6 TD to INT LY). Zack Annexstad also got some playing time as a freshman a season ago but it appears to be Morgan’s job to lose. The RB group just might be the best (!) in the Big Ten as they bring back Mohamed Ibrahim (1,160, 9 TD) who averaged a sweet 5.7 YPC last year as well as a LOT of depth. The offensive line returns three starters and a ton of size including a VIRTUAL CONTINENT at RT in Daniel Faalele (6-9 400) (!). The HITS KEEP COMING at WR with Tyler Johnson (78, 1,169, 12 TD) who is one of the most underrated receivers in college football. Fellow WR Rashod Bateman made a splash as a freshman (51, 704, 6 TD) and could be ready for even bigger things this year.
Minnesota increased their output from 22.1 PPG to 28.9 last year. We predict they get over the 30 PPG mark for the first time since 2005 (!).
The Gophers were decent on defense last season (#6 Big Ten) but were a bit soft vs the run (173 YPG, #9 Big Ten) and a bit lacking in the PENETRATION department (23 sacks, #9 Big Ten). There is reason for optimism as they played an improved brand of defense down the stretch and return seven starters to the equation. They lose their top-two tacklers from a season ago but have talent at all three levels of the defense. The DL features size on the interior and 2nd Team Big Ten honoree Carter Coughlin (9.5 sacks LY) at DE. Thomas Barber and Kamal Martin lead a very good LB corps and the secondary is in decent shape with a healthy Antoine Winfield.
The potential is here to improve significantly (26.5 PPG, #8 Big Ten LY) but they need to tighten up vs the run and do a better job of creating negative plays.
The Gophers have one of the best punters in the Big Ten in Jacob Herbers (41.0 net LY) and two men that took punts to the house in 2018. Demetrius Douglas is a solid KR and the belief is that new PK Grant Ryerse will be a good one.
Overall – It sets up very nicely for the Gophers. They avoid Ohio St and Michigan from the East division and could easily have six wins in the first eight games if they stay healthy. The final four games will be a test (Penn St, at Iowa, at Northwestern, Wisconsin).
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Northwestern (November 23)
This match-up follows a physical game at Iowa and comes before the big rivalry game with Wisconsin (see below).
Season Win Total
Over 7.5 -130
Under 7.5 +110
Lean to the over. The talent and schedule combo is sweet.
The Gophers played their first football game in 1882 and defeated something called Hamline University by a score of 4-0. Legend has it that even then, people were complaining on social media about the BAD BEATS they suffered on their wagering card. Poor babies.
With the exception of 1906, the Gophers and Badgers have played each other every year since 1890. Their 128 hard-fought games makes it is the most played rivalry in the FBS. All for Paul Bunyan’s Axe!
MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Positive
That escalated quickly.
Just when we thought the PJ Fleck experiment might take a turn for the worse, the Golden Gophers racked up eight wins with average QB play and a lot of youth on the roster. It seems to us that this team is poised to compete for the Big Ten West, as crazy as that might sound.
The Golden Gophers are 12-12-1 ATS under Fleck’s watch and they just might be able to bag another winning season vs the number (8-5 ATS last year). DEGENERATE NATION will more than likely sniff these guys out as a potential hot team but don’t let that bother you. Don’t be FADE GUY. Just keep them in mind more often than not when building your weekly wagering card.
Want more Golden Gophers football ?
Hashtags – #Gophers, #RTB
Accounts to follow