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Minnesota Golden Gophers 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Previews – (Big 10) – Gophers

It would be tough to find a coach who has gotten more out of less than Jerry Kill. Well Bill Snyder would fit the bill, but outside of Snyder I can’t think of anyone who fits any more than Jerry Kill.

Big Ten 2014-2015 College Football Preview – Minnesota Golden Gophers (Link)
Head Coach: Jerry Kill
2013 Record: 8-5
Minnesota Odds to win the National Championship: +35,000
Season Win Total: 6.5

The fact that Minnesota was able to get to eight wins last year with the lack of talent they had on their roster is absolutely amazing.

The Golden Gophers were an underdog in 7 of their 8 Big Ten games last season, but came out with 4-4 record in the conference. They’ve been a live dog ever since Coach Kill showed up. Jerry Kill has had significant health problems and he has really done a tremendous job leading this program through those battles.

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He has surrounded himself with great assistants too, including Tracy Claeys at defensive coordinator. Claeys did a great job leading the team when Kill was gone last year. Can this team continue to make progress in 2014?

Let’s take a closer look at this team.

Team Strengths:

The offensive line turned into a major strength for the team last year, and I don’t see any reason to believe that will change in 2014. Minnesota returns 129 starts in this offensive line group in 2014, which is fourth most of any team in the nation. There were times last year when this group would totally dominate, and I expect to see that even more often this season. Minnesota has some big guys who can really push people around.

Minnesota is in a much better spot at the running back position than they have been in recent years. David Cobb will likely get the most carries, but I expect four or five Golden Gophers to see action in the backfield this season. Donnell Kirkwood and Berkeley Edwards are solid runners who should get on the field plenty.

Keep an eye on Jeff Jones too. Expect Minnesota to run the ball early and often this season.

The entire coaching staff has done enough that I consider them one of the best staffs in the Big Ten at this point, and that’s a major compliment given how many good coaching staffs there are in the Big Ten.
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Team Weaknesses:

Will Minnesota be able to throw the ball? Mitch Leidner is the clear starter at quarterback after Nelson transferred in the offseason. Leidner is a quality runner, but he has yet to show he can consistently throw it effectively. As good as the ground game could be, to beat the best teams in the Big Ten you must have balance on offense.

It remains to be seen if Minnesota can have any balance offensively. This group of wide receivers is a question mark too. Minnesota will likely struggle against defenses that are great at stopping the run.

Minnesota’s defensive front has steadily improved in recent years, but they lost last year’s star to the NFL (Hageman), and he could be very tough to replace. Minnesota doesn’t have another run stuffing defensive linemen on the roster, and I expect opponents to be able to move it on the ground against the Gophers.

2014-2015 Minnesota Football Prediction: 5-7

Minnesota’s non-conference slate includes a tough trip to TCU, and their Big Ten conference slate is extremely difficult.

They draw both Ohio State and Michigan out of the Big Ten East. Minnesota must play Iowa and Ohio State at home in November, and then travel to Nebraska and Wisconsin to finish out the season. I like Minnesota’s offensive line and running game, but a one-dimensional offense without a strong defense will likely struggle against this very tough schedule.

I love the job this coaching staff does, but I don’t see them replicating last year’s success.

Minnesota Football Schedule

  • 8/28/14 7:00 PM ET EIU
  • 9/6/14 TBD MTU
  • 9/13/14 4:00 PM ET @TCU
  • 9/20/14 TBD SJSU
  • 9/27/14 TBD @MICH
  • 10/11/14 TBD NW
  • 10/18/14 12:00 PM ET PUR
  • 10/25/14 TBD @ILL
  • 11/8/14 TBD IOWA
  • 11/15/14 TBD OSU
  • 11/22/14 TBD @NEB
  • 11/29/14 TBD @WIS

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