Early Big Ten Football Predictions for 2023 (Big Ten West: 3. Minnesota)

BleedGopher

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per Athlon:

3. Minnesota
The Golden Gophers have won at least nine games in each of the last three full seasons of play and have tied for second in the West Division in back-to-back years. Getting over the hump and playing for a conference title might hinge on how well new play-caller Matt Simon elevates quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis in his first full season as the starter. The addition of Sean Tyler from Western Michigan to team with Trey Potts and Bryce Williams boosts a backfield losing standout Mohamed Ibrahim (1,665 yards). John Michael Schmitz leaves big shoes to fill at center. A stingy defense (13.8 points a game allowed) isn't likely to drastically slip on the stat sheet, but there are significant departures in the form of linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin, end Thomas Rush and defensive backs Terrell Smith and Jordan Howden.


Go Gophers!!
 

gophernut1

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I am amazed at how WI is getting so much love from the predictions. They don't have a WR, the OL was suspect last year and they while QB will be better, they are losing a ton on defense. I realize Fickell will be adding a lot of transfer, but getting them to gel in year 0 is hard. I don't think people realize how far WI has fallen (no longer head and shoulders above the rest in West).
 


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I am amazed at how WI is getting so much love from the predictions. They don't have a WR, the OL was suspect last year and they while QB will be better, they are losing a ton on defense. I realize Fickell will be adding a lot of transfer, but getting them to gel in year 0 is hard. I don't think people realize how far WI has fallen (no longer head and shoulders above the rest in West).
They're bringing in a lot of once highly-rated transfers. It will all just depend how the transfers gel and how the previous players adapt to the new offense and defense. I think they might be one of the hardest teams to predict just because of all of the changes. They could be a lot better but could also take a step back for a year or two.
 

fmlizard

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I am amazed at how WI is getting so much love from the predictions. They don't have a WR, the OL was suspect last year and they while QB will be better, they are losing a ton on defense. I realize Fickell will be adding a lot of transfer, but getting them to gel in year 0 is hard. I don't think people realize how far WI has fallen (no longer head and shoulders above the rest in West).
If Minnesota hired an Air Raid coaching staff and brought in a couple transfer QBs the predictions would all be for a huge drop-off and finishing last.

There's a lot of inertia in the minds of casual writers that insists wisconsin is the best team in the West, much like it took almost a decade for these same writers to finally realize nebraska is no longer a contender.
 


MNVCGUY

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I am amazed at how WI is getting so much love from the predictions. They don't have a WR, the OL was suspect last year and they while QB will be better, they are losing a ton on defense. I realize Fickell will be adding a lot of transfer, but getting them to gel in year 0 is hard. I don't think people realize how far WI has fallen (no longer head and shoulders above the rest in West).
In the article when they get to #4 Illinois they say there is very little separating Illinois from Wisconsin meaning they basically see the top 4 spots as a tossup.

Wisconsin is still the team people on the outside looking in assume is the top team in the West even though they really haven't been for multiple years now.

In what may well be the final year of the West division the parity in the division continues to be very strong with the likely champ probably coming from the Wisconsin/Iowa/Minnesota/Illinois quartet.

Will be interesting to see what Wisconsin, Purdue, and Nebraska look like with new coaches. And there are also going to be a lot of new QBs under center. I mean how crazy is it that in terms of experience with their current team, Athan is near the top of the list with maybe just Casey Thompson above him.
 

Off-GridTNgopher

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I am amazed at how WI is getting so much love from the predictions. They don't have a WR, the OL was suspect last year and they while QB will be better, they are losing a ton on defense. I realize Fickell will be adding a lot of transfer, but getting them to gel in year 0 is hard. I don't think people realize how far WI has fallen (no longer head and shoulders above the rest in West).
Wi has a monster wr commitment from the portal...
 

I'm A Maroon 2!

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Wi has a monster wr commitment from the portal...
I'm not sure if you're serious, but Wisconsin has only one relatively proven WR from the portal in Green from OSU. Williams from USC was highly rated, but unproven. The two Cincy guys are likely role players, at best. Dike and Bell are probably going to be the top 4 with Williams and Green. Formidable group, but there's only so many balls to go around AND they have to keep Allen happy with carries.

Wisconsin is improved on paper and they have better depth everywhere except RB. However, it all has to gel. Their defense didn't seem too far off last year with young guys. They're only losing 2 true difference makers on defense. Depending on scheme there, they should better.
 

MNVCGUY

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Wi has a monster wr commitment from the portal...
Assume you mean Williams who had a very similar rating to Dylan Wright out of high school. So yeah, he might be great for them or he might have been over rated.
 




Plato

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I realize that it is downtime for college football fans but to take seriously or even feel disrespected by a poll predicting the fate of college football teams a year from now is an exercise in futility.
 

cjbfbp

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In the article when they get to #4 Illinois they say there is very little separating Illinois from Wisconsin meaning they basically see the top 4 spots as a tossup.

Wisconsin is still the team people on the outside looking in assume is the top team in the West even though they really haven't been for multiple years now.

Yes, this article hedged its bets more than the other "way too early prediction" articles so far and they acknowledged that you have to consider a Fleck team as a contender just based on recent history. The reputations of Wisconsin and Fickell are driving the Badgers into the default top pick among these early publications but at least this article is expressing that these rankings are very uncertain.
 

MNVCGUY

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Yes, this article hedged its bets more than the other "way too early prediction" articles so far and they acknowledged that you have to consider a Fleck team as a contender just based on recent history. The reputations of Wisconsin and Fickell are driving the Badgers into the default top pick among these early publications but at least this article is expressing that these rankings are very uncertain.
At this point I don't know how anyone can accurately predict the West. Just look at the last 5 years.

2018 - Northwestern manages to lose to Duke and Akron yet somehow goes 8-1 in the Big Ten to win the West.

2019 - Wisconsin and Minnesota tie for the top spot but Wisconsin wins the head to head battle

2020 - Northwestern once again comes out on top in the Covid craziness

2021 - Iowa comes out on top

2022 - Purdue finds its way to the top of the heap in a year where nobody seemed to want to win the division.

So 4 different champs in 5 years and the only repeat champion in that bunch has been a dumpster fire the past 2 years.

Looking at 2023 - Purdue, Wisconsin, and Nebraska are all under new head coaches. Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and probably Northwestern will have new QBs, many of whom were playing for different teams last year. I really don't know how anyone could pick a favorite to win the division in 2023.
 



DelawareGopher

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Trying to rank the Big West teams like this is a fool’s errand at this point. It’s some mix of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, maybe Illinois, and then the others.
 



gopherbadgerman

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Fair assessment. New QB, new OC, new RB, lots returning in defense.

If MN goes 5-4 in B10 and finishes 3rd that’s not horrible by any means
 

cheeseheadgophfan

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Wi has a monster wr commitment from the portal...
My Badger buds are all fired up about the Williams transfer from USC....they hate it when I point out that he had a total of 4 catches last year on a team that throws the ball a ton. A little too early to predict on that one (if that's who you are referring to).
 

jonnyganas

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My Badger buds are all fired up about the Williams transfer from USC....they hate it when I point out that he had a total of 4 catches last year on a team that throws the ball a ton. A little too early to predict on that one (if that's who you are referring to).
WI got Keontez Lewis, a similarly rated WR transfer from PAC12 (UCLA) last year.
He played 5 games, had 20 catches for the Badgers last season.

I know its not apples-to-apples, especially with a different QB/OC/HC etc.
 

Gophergrandpa

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Confused. At this point, isn’t it typical to predict that Nebraska will win the West, probably also win the B1G, and perhaps sneak off with a natty?
 

die hard gopher

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I am amazed at how WI is getting so much love from the predictions. They don't have a WR, the OL was suspect last year and they while QB will be better, they are losing a ton on defense. I realize Fickell will be adding a lot of transfer, but getting them to gel in year 0 is hard. I don't think people realize how far WI has fallen (no longer head and shoulders above the rest in West).
They landed two very nice WR transfers in Blaine Green and CJ Williams. I like the gophers better for next year, at least before you factor in the schedule but the badgers have added some nice talent.
 

btowngopher

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They landed two very nice WR transfers in Blaine Green and CJ Williams. I like the gophers better for next year, at least before you factor in the schedule but the badgers have added some nice talent.
We know Green can probably be plugged in and produce as a B1G wr. Not sure Williams can, nice high school rating, but hasn’t proven anything yet at this level. Not every four star is a plug and play, I think a guy like Crooms has a much higher floor and ceiling for this year. Of course down the road Williams may have a higher ceiling.
 

btowngopher

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To predict the West I think once again it all depends heavily on who draws who from the East.
 

MaxyJR1

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They're bringing in a lot of once highly-rated transfers. It will all just depend how the transfers gel and how the previous players adapt to the new offense and defense. I think they might be one of the hardest teams to predict just because of all of the changes. They could be a lot better but could also take a step back for a year or two.
Our transfers are on average rated higher than WI's on 247. Our LB has yet to get his transfer grade.


MN= 88.60 Missing Selig's transfer grade
IA= 88.0 all 4 are graded
NE= 87.50 missing 4 grades
WI= 87.38 All 13 are graded. Kicker is 2*
 

short ornery norwegian

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as noted above - 3 of the 7 teams with new coaches. MN with a new OC. lots of personnel changes all across the division.

so who the bleep knows? Until I see evidence to the contrary, I put NW 7th and for the top 6, you could put the names in a hat and draw, and probably be as accurate as any of these pre-season predictions.

now, after Spring ball, when we get to see at least some indication of what these teams will look like, then you can maybe have a better sense of how the teams could rank.
 

MNVCGUY

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To predict the West I think once again it all depends heavily on who draws who from the East.
Yes and no. Every team in the West plays at least one of the big 3 in the East (PSU, OSU, MICH), and nobody plays more than 2 of those three.

Purdue - OSU, Mich
Minnesota - OSU, Mich
Wisconsin - OSU
Iowa - PSU
Illinois - PSU
Nebraska - Mich
Northwestern - PSU

So while Minnesota and Purdue drew the short straws in terms of East matchups they can still very much contend in the West it just puts a premium on winning their division games knowing they have less margin for error in terms of their crossovers.
 

MNVCGUY

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as noted above - 3 of the 7 teams with new coaches. MN with a new OC. lots of personnel changes all across the division.

so who the bleep knows? Until I see evidence to the contrary, I put NW 7th and for the top 6, you could put the names in a hat and draw, and probably be as accurate as any of these pre-season predictions.

now, after Spring ball, when we get to see at least some indication of what these teams will look like, then you can maybe have a better sense of how the teams could rank.

I think Purdue is a pretty safe bet to take a step back as well but yeah it is next to impossible to accurately predict what the West is going to be like next season. Way too much unknown across the division.
 


RowTheBoatUrah

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Our transfers are on average rated higher than WI's on 247. Our LB has yet to get his transfer grade.


MN= 88.60 Missing Selig's transfer grade
IA= 88.0 all 4 are graded
NE= 87.50 missing 4 grades
WI= 87.38 All 13 are graded. Kicker is 2*

Um - Wisconsin has one of the top transfer classes in the nation (couldn't even squeeze the All-American kicker and first-team all-conference OL transfers on there). Minnesota is....70th (per On3).

Not really comparable my friend.


Screen Shot 2023-01-17 at 3.02.54 PM.png Screen Shot 2023-01-17 at 3.05.27 PM.png
 





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