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The Gophers will be rocking new threads in 2012-13
Zach Clark (9:24 am)

Team: 

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Head Coach:

Jerry Kill (2nd Year at Minnesota)
2011 Record: 3-9 (2-6 Conference)
Overall Head Coaching Record: 130-82 

Schedule Preview:

The Golden Gophers look to shake the 2-year streak of 3-win seasons this fall when they open 2012 with their first four games at UNLV, vs. New Hampshire, vs. Western Michigan and vs. Syracuse.  Ideally, Coach Kill and senior QB MarQueis Gray hope to start undefeated, but I would certainly bet against that.  Due to the fact that Minnesota has not gone undefeated in non-conference since 2008 and have scheduled two tough tests at UNLV and vs. respectable MAC squad Western Michigan, I expect a 2-2 start for the Gophers.  Looking at the B1G slate, the only possible wins I see are at Iowa and at Purdue.  Even then, snagging two Big Ten road wins seems a daunting task for Coach Kill.  Last week, I predicted the Boilermakers to choke one up in their season finale to in-state rival Indiana, and unfortunately for Coach Danny Hope, I expect Purdue to “Boiler Down” yet again at home in week 9 vs. Minnesota.  I anticipate the Gophers to finish the B1G slate with another 2-6 conference record with narrow victories at Iowa and at Purdue.  Who knows, maybe a 3rd straight year of Iowa losing to Minny will finally be enough to put the untouchable Coach Ferentz actually on the hot seat.  See highlights of the 2011 Gophers fighting to keep the “The Battle for Floyd of Rosedale” here:

Incoming Players:

According to Rivals.com, the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ 2012 recruiting class is ranked 72nd in the nation and dead last (12th) in the B1G.  Consistent between Scout.com and Rivals.com, their 27 commitments consist entirely of 2-star and 3-star recruits.  A handful of freshmen have cracked the 2-deep roster, but one freshman to watch is WR Andre McDonald.  McDonald is listed as a 2nd string receiver on the depth chart and hails from Minnetonka, MN.  At 6’3” 210 lbs. and supposedly possessing 4.47 40-yard speed, he impressed many schools across the nation during the recruiting process and is looking to make an impact this fall. 

Vital Departures:

Minnesota returns only 4 starters on offense and 5 starters on defense in 2012.  One departure surely to affect MarQueis Gray and the offensive production is WR Da’Jon McKnight.  McKnight’s statistics were not all that impressive, but he was Gray’s go-to receiver on offense.  Aside from eligibility departures, a horrible occurrence this off-season left the Gophers without LB Gary Tinsley.  Tinsley passed away in April due an enlarged heart.  It was a sad, sad moment for college football and Gopher fans across the nation.  Please keep Gary's family in your thoughts and prayers.

Zach’s Interesting Tidbit Related to the Golden Gophers 

On a lighter note, I would like to share something that typical “season previews” do not.  About 3 or 4 years ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Big Ten Conference Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago with my father.  After the lunch, my father and I were waiting in a line to catch a cab and happened to be behind ex-Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster.  For the 2 or 3 minutes we had, we naturally talked of the upcoming college football season and, needless to say, my father and I were unnaturally complimentary and accepting of his beloved Gophers.  The key takeaway of the conversation was that Coach Brewster had proceeded to inform my father and I that, “Actually, I think MarQueis Gray is a better passer than Terrelle Pryor.”  My dad and I somewhat awkwardly looked at each other and said to Brewster, “Oh really?”  Needless to say, the entire cab ride was filled with uncontrollable laughter due to Brewster’s insightful comments.  Guess it pays to be a Buckeye fan, and it pays to have a little bias…

Predictions:

Overall Record: 4-8
Conference Record: 2-6
Offensive Team MVP: MarQueis Gray
Defensive Team MVP: Troy Stoudermire
 


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