Best Teams PJ Fleck's Minnesota Program Faced

IceBoxGopher

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During today's press conference with Fleck, the coach was asked if this Michigan team will be the best one the Gophers have faced during his tenure. I looked back and I think the case can certainly be made. For reference, I went back and looked at some of the best teams the Gophers have faced since Fleck arrived.
  • 2017 Wisconsin, finished 13-1, ranked No. 7/6, won Orange Bowl
  • 2017 Northwestern, finished 10-3, ranked No. 17, won Music City Bowl
  • 2017 Michigan State, finished 10-3, ranked No. 16/15, won Holiday Bowl
  • 2018 Iowa, finished 9-4, ranked No. 25, won Outback Bowl
  • 2018 Northwestern, 9-5, ranked No. 21/19, won Holiday Bowl
  • 2018 Fresno State, finished 12-2, ranked No. 18, won Las Vegas Bowl*
  • 2018 Ohio State, finished 13-1, ranked No. 3, won Rose Bowl
  • 2019 Penn State, finished 11-2, ranked No. 9, won Cotton Bowl*
  • 2019 Iowa, finished 10-3, ranked No. 15, won Holiday Bowl
  • 2019 Wisconsin, finished 10-4, ranked No. 13/11, lost Rose Bowl
  • 2019 Auburn, finished 9-4, ranked No. 14, lost Outback Bowl*
  • 2020 Iowa, finished 6-2, ranked No. 16/15
  • 2021 Iowa, finished 10-4, ranked No. 23, lost Citrus Bowl
  • 2021 Ohio State, finished 11-2, ranked No. 6/5, won Rose Bowl
  • 2022 Penn State, finished 11-2, ranked No. 7, won Rose Bowl
Looking it over, I figure either the 2018 or 2021 Ohio State teams were probably the best the Gophers have played. Of those teams, Minnesota defeated three of them, including Fresno State, Penn State and Auburn.

To look at his career overall, here's the best teams he faced at Western Michigan
  • 2013 Michigan State, finished 13-1, ranked No. 3, won Rose Bowl
  • 2015 Michigan State, finished 12-2, ranked No. 6, lost CFP Semi Final
  • 2015 Ohio State, finished 12-1, ranked No. 4, won Fiesta Bowl
  • 2016 Wisconsin, finished 11-3, ranked No. 9, won Cotton Bowl
 

It could get ugly. Michigan gives up 6 points per game against their opponents so far. We struggle on offense or are inconsistent to be kind. Not a good resume going into the game for the Gophers.
Expecting us to score more than 14 is seemingly very unlikely.

Michigan has consistently scored 30 plus points per game. We somehow seem to have lost our defensive mojo. So, holding Michigan to 14 or less seems even less likely.

And unless we can somehow do both those things ... any other scenario is quite the outlier to victory but there is always hope.
Only gotta beat 'em once...at least regular season. It ain't best of 7.
 

He also gave a little push to buy burgers and beer for the NIL. Good for him.
 

I'll be surprised if this Michigan team doesn't win the natty.
 



It could get ugly. Michigan gives up 6 points per game against their opponents so far. We struggle on offense or are inconsistent to be kind. Not a good resume going into the game for the Gophers.
Expecting us to score more than 14 is seemingly very unlikely.

Michigan has consistently scored 30 plus points per game. We somehow seem to have lost our defensive mojo. So, holding Michigan to 14 or less seems even less likely.

And unless we can somehow do both those things ... any other scenario is quite the outlier to victory but there is always hope.
Only gotta beat 'em once...at least regular season. It ain't best of 7.
I like your thinking. Not much of an argument to predict a competitive game, but as you wrote, there is always hope.
 

2021 Ohio State. Stroud is legit. I'm a beer swilling, couch football analyst but I could tell that night he was going to excel in the NFL. Has the mobility but always had his head down field and has the soft touch passes. He was very close to being a national champion last year if not for a missed field goal
 


Gophers have a real shot to beat Michigan. Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, NO. Michigan's weakness is the coach. He is a quitters quitter.
Their weakness is a guy who has proven to be a top head coach at both the college and NFL level? Harbaugh is a wacky guy, but he’s a damn good coach.
 








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