Minnesota Golden Gophers 2021 College Football Preview
Created August 17, 2021
Record – 3-4
ATS – 4-3
Things didn’t start very well as they lost three of their first four contests and even managed to lose to something called Maryland (L 45-44 OT) as three-TD favorites. We give them credit for hanging in there by winning two of their final three games, and they even took the Badgers to OT in the season finale (L 20-17 OT). Not a complete disaster all things considered, yo.
Minnesota Golden Gophers 2021 Outlook
The Gophers averaged a TD less per game in 2020 than they did in 2019 but it wasn’t the fault of ALL-MEGALOCKS TEAM member RB Mohamed Ibrahim who was in perpetual BEEEEST MODE (200-1,076, 15 TD). This dood is a treat to watch and one of the best RBs in college football. The THROW GAME took a step back LY and Tanner Morgan was MEH after booking an impressive 2019 campaign (7-5 TD to INT; 30-7 in 2019). They lose #1 NFL DC Rashod Bateman to the NFL but Chris Autman-Bell might be the next big thing (430, 19.5 TD LY). Depth at WR is a question mark as we approach press time. The OL looks to be in great shape with five returning starters and they are yuuuuge. Check out RT Daniel Faaele (6’9 400). There are 182 career starts returning if the great Phil Steele mag is to be believed. We’ll call for improved production in 2021.
The numbers took a big dive in many respects last year during the truncated scamdemic season. They allowed 109 (!) more YPG and allowed 207 YPG on the ground (#12 Big Ten) after giving up just 122 YPG during their excellent 2019 campaign. Ten starters are back as well as every player that recorded 10 tackles or more in 2020. Also recall that they were much better at the end of last season than they were are the start. The DL should be much better with the addition of Nyles Pinckney (Clemson) to a group that features excellent pass rusher Boye Mafe (4.5 sacks LY, 8 career). The LB is experienced and returns essentially everyone and they’ve gotta be JACKED to get Braelen Oliver back in the mix (3 sacks in 2019, DNP LY). We’re uncertain about the overall quality in the secondary and it’s a kick in the JACOBS to lose CB Benjamin St Juste to the NFL. This looks like an average group overall on paper, but the upside is much higher than the downside.
The Gophers made a yuuuge addition in bagging ace PK Matthew Trickett from Kent St (47-57 career FG made) (!) and have a small handful of good-looking options at punter to improve that aspect of their special teams. They could use some additional spice at PR and KR.
Overall – WHOA NELLIE. Things start with a bang as they host Ohio St in the season opener. They have a tricky trip to Colorado in non-conference play. The last three games are tough (at Iowa, at Indiana, Wisconsin).
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Miami Ohio (September 11th)
Tricky sandwich spot as this bad boy follows the Ohio St and Colorado games noted above.
Season Win Total
Per 5Dimes August 17
Over 7 -110
Under 7 -110
That looks about right. We’d lean ‘under 7.5’ and ‘over 6.5’ if those numbers pop up anywhere.
The battle for PAUL BUNYAN’S AXE (Minnesota / Wisconsin) is the most-played rivalry in the FBS. The axe replaced the first trophy, the SLAB OF BACON, after it disappeared. That’s a FACT CHECK TRUE.
This has the potential to be a fun season for Gophers fans. Unlike Purdue and CORN, these guys seem to actually have a successful rebuilding process in place. We like the offensive line and the triplets (QB1/WR1/RB1) but worry about the depth. If the defense can surprise there’s no reason to think they can’t be RIGHT THERE heading into the final three games. Let’s go!
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