2013 Minnesota Gophers
Odds and Schedule
The Gophers made it to a bowl Game last year, so many would think they had a decent season. That’s not entirely the case as the only Conference wins they had were over Purdue and Illinois. They were blown out by most other opponents, including an 18-point loss to Iowa. Beating Syracuse in non-Conference play was nice, but that’s about all you can say. The good news for Minnesota is that improvement will be likely with 18 returning starters.
But we won’t kid Ourselves. Minnesota has no shot of being in the mix as far as the BCS picture goes and the oddsmakers and betting public would agree. They are listed at odds of 850 to 1 at 5 Dimes Sportsbook to win the BCS Title and are a 40 to 1 shot to win the Big 10.
10 of those starters will be on the offensive end where they really struggled last year scoring just 22 points per Game. Philip Nelson is the favorite at quarterback, but he doesn’t exactly have the job locked down over Mitch Leidner. Nelson started the last seven Games of 2012 and completed just 49.3 percent of his passes. It doesn’t help that the receiving corps is young and unproven. No one on this year’s squad had more than 19 catches last year. Granted, last year’s leader had only 30 receptions. Minnesota’s run Game is what you can call their strong suit after averaging 150 yards per Game last year, but it’s still a bit behind. Their leading running back Donnell Kirkwood averaged just 4.2 yards per carry on his way to 926 yards and six TDs. Rodrick Williams Jr. provides some power as the backup and had 60 yards and a TD in the bowl Game. With every starter back on the offensive line, the rushing Game has to improve.
When head coach Jerry Kill came in two years ago, his first priority was figuring out the defense. That desired improvement was found last year as the Gophers only allowed 24.7 points per Game, well below their numbers in 2011. With seven returning starters and their main studs back including Ra’Shede Hageman (six sacks), even more improvement should be expected. However, they are losing two of their starting LBs which will be their main focus early on.
2013 Minnesota Gophers Football Schedule
Aug. 29 vs. UNLV
Sept. 7 at New Mexico State
Sept. 14 vs. Western Illinois
Sept. 21 vs. San Jose State
Sept. 28 vs. Iowa
Oct. 5 at Michigan
Oct. 19 at Northwestern
Oct. 26 vs. Nebraska
Nov. 2 at Indiana
Nov. 9 vs. Penn State
Nov. 23 vs. Wisconsin
Nov. 29 at Michigan State
The Gophers could once again be 4-0 entering Big Ten play with the ease of their out-of-Conference Games. Their toughest task will be San Jose State who finished with 11 wins last year. They have their QB returning, but have plenty other important pieces leaving.
Minnesota’s Big Ten opener is their easiest Conference Game of the year as they get Iowa at home. This Game could easily decide who gets last in the Leaders division. From there, things get rough for the Gophers playing at Michigan and Northwestern and then home to Nebraska.
A road Game at Indiana may be their best chance at getting that second Conference win, but it won’t be easy. The two teams haven’t played since 2008. Minnesota’s defense will have to show up big against the high-scoring Hoosiers.
To finish out the season, home Games versus Penn State and Wisconsin await followed by a road trip to Michigan State. While improvement should be made for the Gophers, it’s going to be very hard to improve on last year’s record unless they can get some big upsets.