The big story this year for Gopher Football is the return to TCF Stadium. As I have blogged before, the stadium is beautiful and having a real collegiate atmosphere is something I've been railing about for years.
But how good will the Gophers be? In my opinion, the book is still out on Coach Brewster. His recruiting efforts have been Tremendous! but can he coach? I'm still not convinced, but have an open mind. Having Duane Bennett back as RB should be a big help, but the RB depth is pretty thin if he gets hurt again. Adam Weber is a JR, three-year starter at QB and Grey will be an exciting addition in some situations. Decker could be an All-American WR. I am still concerned that Weber looks to Decker for his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd option. If a team shuts down Decker, Weber can look lost. Finally the defense is improving but has a long way to go.
As opposed to past years, the Gophers actually have a tough schedule this year (and in future years, yea!). In fact I think their schedule is one of the 10 toughest in the country, throw in the obvious emotional lift the new stadium will bring and one could make a legitimate case for 4-8 or 8-4. I will be mildly optimistic and predict 7-5.
Gophers will beat Syracuse, Air Force, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, South Dakota State, and Iowa.
They will lose to California, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State.
I think Syracuse, Air Force, Wisconsin, and South Dakota State are locks for wins, California, Ohio State, and Penn State are locks for loses, the rest are up in the air.
While I hate moral victories, I won't be looking for a bunch of wins this year, but for competitiveness. No more 55-0 loses at home. Playing Ohio State tough on the road would be nice. Taking a bad team like Purdue and making it a no-contest by the 3rd quarter is a must. If that's the season we get, Gopher future looks good. If the team is sloppy and losing by big margins in its new stadium, Brewster will have to go.
How do you think the Gophers will do?