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Gophers football placed third in Big Ten West behind Iowa and Wisconsin – Twin Cities

Gophers football placed third in Big Ten West behind Iowa and Wisconsin – Twin Cities


The Gophers football program continues to look up to its arch-rivals entering the final season of the Big Ten division.

The annual Big Ten preseason poll ranks Minnesota behind Wisconsin and Iowa in the West Division. The overall results of 37 voters were released Tuesday ahead of Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis this week.

The U, which has never won a division championship, finished third with 176 votes and one first place. Iowa placed second on 232 and 16 picks for first place. Wisconsin and new head coach Luke Fickell were first with 233 total votes and 20 for first place.

In the East, Michigan edged Ohio State for the first place in four years. The defending Big Ten champion Wolverines had 248 overall votes and 27 for first place; the Buckeyes had 226 and eight; Penn State placed third with 192 and two.

Big Ten reporters’ poll results mirror some other national outlets.

Phil Steele’s 2023 College Football Preview predicts Minnesota will finish tied for third in the West, with Illinois also trailing Iowa and division winner Wisconsin.

Athlon picks up Minnesota to go 7-5 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten to finish third, also behind Wisconsin and Iowa. Lindys has the same pecking order.

Minny is a legitimate contender in the West but has a heavy schedule, Steele wrote. He said the US list is 71 places tougher than a year ago and he pointed to a tough race on the road in Iowa on Oct. 21.

ESPN has tied the Gophers schedule as the second hardest in the country due to matchups with Ohio State, Michigan and a non-conference Power Five game in North Carolina in September. The Tar Heels could be a Top 25 team when the U travels to Chapel Hill, NC

Everyone wants us to be afraid of this scheme we have, Tyler Nubin, Gopher’s defense attorney, said on July 12. Everyone wants us to retire to the teams we’re going to play against, and we don’t see it that way.

The Gophers thought it was an opportunistic scheme, with multiple players using that description during their internal media day earlier this month.

We have a lot of competitive, hard-working guys on this team and we see that schedule as an opportunity to really do something special here at the University of Minnesota, Nubin added. I think it will be successful if you have that mindset and go into that challenge with that mindset.

Nubin was the only Gopher to receive a vote for Big Ten Offensive or Defensive Player of the Year in the table. The senior security got one vote. Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean was selected as the preseason defensive player of the year, and Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was the clear preseason offensive player of the year.

For the third time in the past four seasons, the Gophers will open the season with a Big Ten opponent when Nebraska comes to Huntington Bank Stadium on August 31.

Once we get to the end of fall camp, we’ll start gearing up for Nebraska, the resident of Orono, Minn., said July 12. It’s the first game. It’s Game 1. We’ll focus on them when the time comes, but every first game is exciting when you’ve been without football for nine months. It doesn’t matter who ties up against you. It’s an exciting experience and everyone can’t wait.

By the numbers

Breakdown of the Gophers’ projected finish in the Big Ten West, according to the 37 voters in the poll:

First place 1
Second 5
Third 17
Fourth 12
Fifth 2
Sixth 0
Seventh 0




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