P.J. Fleck's very first season together Minnesota Gophers head coach is decidedly split up right into two sections. The an initial half of the season sees Minnesota play a decidedly simpler schedule when compared to the 2nd half. However you deserve to only play who is on the 12-game perform in the continuous season and also thus us take a crack at ranking the Gophers' enemies from those that Minnesota have to row the boat over to some who can be, challenge we say, elite. With that in mind, here's the FOX sports North ranking of Minnesota's 2017 games.

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Gophers basketball head coach Richard Pitino could be city hall this video game closely, as Minnesota looks come avenge the season-ending loss the Blue Raiders handed the Gophers basketball team in March. Middle Tennessee had actually a 8-5 document last year, finished third in Conference USA East and also lost to Hawaii 52-35 Hawaii Bowl. Small Brent Stockstill is a well-regarded quarterback who is on numerous preseason watch lists. Despite missing three games last season with a broken collarbone, that passed for 3,233 yards v 31 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Receiver Richie James, likewise a junior, to be the key beneficiary, capturing 105 passes because that 1,625 yards and also 12 TDs. MTSU did permit 35.8 points and 449.5 yards per game in 2016 (hence a new defensive coordinator in 2017), so this one might be a shootout.

Senior defensive lineman Jesse Aniebonam finished 4th in the huge Ten critical season through nine sacks. Their defense ranked third-to-last, yet had a hard team rushing attack in 2016. Ty Johnson was a 1,000-yard rusher critical season behind a strong offensive line

After 3 straight seasons of double-digit victories, the Spartans surprised anyone last season with a 3-9 overall record and a 1-8 mark in the conference. Mark Dantonio’s squad can only enhance on the number in 2017. The matchup versus the Gophers wraps up an incredibly difficult four-game stretch for Michigan State. The Spartans organize Notre Dame and also Iowa in so late September, climate visit Michigan and Minnesota to launch their October schedule.

Minnesota’s own JD Spielman, boy of Vikings general manager stack Spielman and graduate that Eden Prairie High School, is expected to have a prominent duty in the Cornhuskers’ assault as a wide receiver and kick returner in 2017. Spielman redshirted critical season and also won the reconnaissance team’s attack MVP award. Nebraska is intended to contend for a division title in a West division that functions much more depth 보다 star-powered teams. If the Gophers desire to play because that a large Ten championship and also win the West, a house win against the rival Cornhuskers is a must.

Wildcats running ago Justin Jackson led the huge Ten v 1,524 rushing yards. He’s a favorite to contend for the rushing location again this year alongside Gophers running back Rodney Smith. NU has experience top top both your offensive and defensive lines, while both the receiving and also defensive earlier corps return almost completely intact.

Gophers fans room still smiling around their last win over Iowa, a 51-14 victory in 2014 the featured three touchdown receptions from tight end Maxx Williams. Minnesota has actually lost come Iowa the previous two years in one-possession games, 40-35 in 2015 and also 14-7 critical season. The Hawkeyes will choose between junior Tyler Wiegers and sophomore Nathan Stanley to take over at quarterback for CJ Beathard, who was drafted by the 49ers in the 3rd round that the NFL draft. Minnesota is 4-12 against the Hawkeyes since 2001.

Taking top top the Wolverines in front of 100,000 pan at the big House is never basic task. Throw in head coach Jim Harbaugh and his khaki pants, and it gets even tougher. The Gophers travel to Michigan stadion for the very first time in the Harbaugh era and face the Wolverines for the an initial time because Mitch Leidner to be stuffed at the goal line as time expired in the 29-26 loss at TCF bank Stadium in 2015. Michigan looks to build on back-to-back 10-win seasons and also be a legitimate competitor for the university Football Playoff, yet it shed a many talent from critical season. The Wolverines saw a program-high 11 players selected in the 2017 NFL draft. Castle lost vital contributors on defense favor safety Jabrill Peppers and linebacker Ben Gedeon – now on the Vikings -- and their top three receivers and starting running earlier from 2016. A top-tier recruiting course for Harbaugh should have the ability to fill in the gaps and also prove to it is in the Gophers’ toughest road test of the year.

New year, same storyline. The Gophers can not use swung Paul Bunyan’s Axe since beating Wisconsin on a last-second ar goal at the Metrodome in 2003. That’s 13 right losses come they-who-shall-not-be named. Thirteen! Wisconsin is the favorite to victory the West this season, despite losing beginning inside linebacker Jack Cichy to a season-ending ACL injury. No issue how numerous wins the Gophers collect in 2017, taking under the Badgers would certainly be the biggest success of the year for Fleck. The time to trade in those oars for axes.

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