Hole Poll: What grade would you give the Gophers 2021 football season?

Hole Poll: What grade would you give the Gophers 2021 football season?

  • A

    Votes: 8 4.4%
  • B

    Votes: 129 70.5%
  • C

    Votes: 45 24.6%
  • D

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • F

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    183

GopherHole Staff

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8-4
4 game BT winning streak
Beat wisconsin convincingly
Finished season on 2 game BT winning streak
Lost to Bowling Green and Illinois at home
Missed opportunity to win the Big Ten West
Overcame injuries to backfield
Failed to make adjustments with passing game

What grade would you give the Gophers 2021 football season?
 

Go4

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8-4 with a win over bucky, that's a b in my book. absolutely two miserable games and we missed a huge opportunity to win the division.
 


skyman31

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Beat Wisconsin. Played competitive against Iowa and Ohio State, beat a good Purdue team.
Split the games against Illinois and bowling green and you’re 9-3, potentially with a double digit win season after the bowl.

A very bittersweet B- for me. Not a bad year, but every time they were close to turning it into a great season, they found a way to blow any momentum they had.
 

discochris

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Made it to B, since we won the axe.
The two bad losses to Illinois and Bowling Green were ultimately meaningless in the end. We still would not have won the division so in that case, looking at an 8-4 record is still very good.
 


BilldGopher

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Went with B for "Beating Bucky" at The Bank!

Not sure where the grade would have gone if we lost to Wisconsin badly. Didn't happen so don't have to grade on it, Thank the Lord.
 

MNVCGUY

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Not surprised to see B taking a commanding lead. That being said the 2021 season isn't actually over yet as we still have one more game.

B was the easy grade here after the Wisconsin Win. Would have needed to win the West for an A, losing to the Badgers probably drops it to a C. But winning the Axe takes away a lot of sting from some of the missed opportunities and overall tough to be real upset with 8-4 even though the chance for more was definitely there.
 





wdgold

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Beat a ranked Wisconsin team to take the axe at home since 2003 and prevent them from winning the west and go 8-4, definitely an A
 

DelawareGopher

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I don’t have a clue how anyone who’s watched this team for more than 3 years can say this is anything less than a B.

Saturday was the 7th time we’ve won the axe in my lifetime. I’m 31. And we did it while winning 8 games and keeping Wisky out of the B1G championship game.
 

Five for fighting

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With the expectations I had at the beginning of the season (and the light schedule), finishing 8-4 would've gotten a D grade. However, the ability to overcome the huge injuries at RB got them a bump to a C by midday Saturday. Beating Bucky for the Axe whilst knocking them out of the Big 10 Championship game gets an instant bump to B.
 

SonjayLarrick

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I had big dreams of playing in Indianapolis this year. I'm not expecting us to beat the likes of OSU or even Michigan but given the offense this year and the improvements, I really did have high expectations. I'm going with C+ and winning the Axe helped. But I really want to see the Gophers take that next step.
 



Some Day...Maybe

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Can’t be higher than a C with home losses to Bowling Green and Illinois, and another loss to Iowa. It’s a D with a loss to Wisconsin. Fleck has raised the bar, and that’s a great thing!
 


FLgopherfan

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B- trending towards B.
Bad losses to BG and Illinois hurt the grade
Did great job overcoming injuries to RB, a positive, but lack of imagination (for lack of a better work) on offence a negative
 

BilldGopher

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When Fleck said it’s his most talented team and they left wins on the table, it’s a C for me.
If Mo were still playing all the way through it would be a C and maybe a D.

Losing Mo was huge. Period. Not challenging the point at all. It WAS Coach's most talented team into the 3rd Quarter in Game 1. Talent level started dropping precipitously for the next 3-4 games until if finally stabilized. Throw in a hobbled CrAB for those first games, and the youth at WRs behind him...and maybe a poor OC...just added to the problem.

And yes, we'll have to wait for the inside expose on exactly what went wrong with BG and the Illini. Definitely a mystery for the ages that talent or not remains inexplicable.
 


JWG

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I was in the C train, the realized that the difference between 8-4 and 10-2, assuming a loss to Iowa, is 0. They’d still win the west and we’d still be in 2nd. Gave them a B for overcoming injuries and Sanford.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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B+ = beating Badgers, like acing your final pushes us up a whole grade from C+
 
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Breakin' The Plane

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B-. It's an above average season, but part of that is because "average" hasn't been real good. Lost two games you had no business losing, told a coordinator to take a hike. The RB position was decimated, but the bottom of the depth chart came through like gangbusters. WRs were dinged early, but other than that, every other position group was about as healthy as you can hope for.
 

Hates Monikers

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In the context of where we are as a program today: C.

With this experienced offensive line, a four-year starter at quarterback and an unexpectedly good defense, this was the year to make hay. Maybe you can have a hiccup and lose to a team like Illinois. But you can't do that and also lose to Bowling Green and call it better than average with these assets.

I'm glad that we're at a point where an eight-win season, 6-3 record in the conference, is a disappointment. That's major progress. Over the course of my lifetime as a fan, this was an A or B.
 

Stan

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Solid B. Was hoping for an A season and we had our chances. We avoided a C season on Saturday.
 

nitramnaed

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C. Can’t get past those 2 home loses. You all know which ones.
 

Triple D

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B.......overcame the loss of our Top 3 RB's, beat Wisconsin........but also lost again to Iowa and lost as a 30 point favorite to BG which renders B as the top grade available considering that.
 


Gophers09

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I think that the majority have voted for B is fair and rational and a sign that the program has risen as others have pointed out.

I've had season tickets for more than 20 years and do not ever recall going into a single game feeling as though the entire feeling of the season was riding on it more so than on Saturday. A loss to Wisconsin would have made 7-5,0-2 against rivals again, and a home loss to an atrocious team in Bowling Green, with what in IMO was the co-best roster (with Wisconsin) in the Big Ten West. That is depressing to even type out, and I recall how depressing things were following the Iowa game.

On the other hand, with the win, it is objectively the second to fourth best season MN has had since '03 at 8-4/6-3, with its key moment obviously the win over a solid Wisconsin team ending the grotesquely long home losing streak to the program's 1a rival.

And thank goodness they won, because it was a top fan moment, but also because it has certainly allowed for a more positive and rational evaluation of the season.

Of course I was very frustrated during/after the BGSU/ILL/IA games for many of the reasons discussed here, however, the more I've thought now about 2021 compared to 2019, the more similar I think they actually were, with the team having generally positive luck (or breaks if you prefer that term) in 2019 and generally negative in 2021.

The 2019 team had pretty good injury luck overall on both sides of the ball and avoided a lot of narrow misses early to grow into the season. The Gophers absolutely did a lot of winning things against SDSU, Fresno State, Georgia Southern and Penn State that helped their cause, but I also think it's fair to say they got generally positive breaks in each game that were important to the outcome. The publicized run of opponent back up QB's in October was also factual, even if MN won by margins in those games that made the point moot. I don't recall feeling like we'd been unlucky to lose either of the two losses that year (only that we'd played poorly).

Conversely, in 2021 the offense had bad injury luck in the RB room to historic levels, but the WR room as well. In all four losses, the team certainly did a lot of losing things, but one can also point to significant negative breaks in all 4 that were important to the outcome. To my recollection, I don't remember any of the 8 wins being reasonably attributable to lucky breaks.

It's interesting to think how different the general feelings would be if the two years had been flipped, creating a nicer/linear progression for the program. Anyhow, that's my take a few days removed - grateful for a wonderful moment to end the season - thanks for reading.

TLDR Version: It's amazing how different 10-2 and 8-4 can feel but how similar they can actually be from a team/performance perspective. The more I've thought about it, the more similar the 2019 and 2021 seasons feel to me. Grateful for the great ending to an up/down season. I'm certainly excited about the future of the program.
 

gopher8

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This is tough for me. I gave us a "B" -- yet strangely if one additional event (Neb over Iowa) would've transpired I would've awarded our season an A.

My true feeling is B+

I genuinely do think this was the best team PJ has fielded at the U talent wise. I think we were hindered by poor play calling on offense and some significant injuries. Neither of those issues were experienced in '19.
 

Seany

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I rate this season as being a solid B. It's crazy how much the win over Wisconsin changed things for me, as prior to that victory, I was feeling mightily disappointed with this season such that I'd have graded it at about a very low C or even D level.

But that win, oh my God, what a breath of fresh air. Seriously. It blew away all that fricken stank of the painful, painful loss to Iowa, the emotionally numbing loss to Illinois, and the unthinkable and inconceivable loss to Bowling Green.

Wow. To beat Wisconsin is just like a salve for the soul, and it really, really helped redeem this season so far as I'm concerned.
 

bleedsmaroonandgold

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I went with a B. Was wavering between B and C. This Wisconsin game was obviously huge. A 7-5 season with no trophies is a very unimpressive season (especially if you don't win any trophies). 7-5 was matched or exceeded by Mason in 3 of his last 5 years before being fired, matched by Brewster in a 3.5 year tenure that was thought to be one of the worst in recent memory, and exceeded in 3 of the 4 years before Fleck took over. Being 8-4 and having one of those wins be Wisconsin makes it feel a lot better, but the fact that we were two awful performances at home against bad teams away from being 10-2, it's definitely closer to a C than an A.

You can say that this was better than a lot of recent seasons, but I'll note that 8 wins or better has been our regular season record in 5 of our last 9 seasons (5 of our last 8 if you exclude the COVID year where we didn't even play 8 games). For me to give an A, we would have needed to be packing for a trip to Indy, hold both Floyd and the Axe, or have a 10 wins season where we get edged for Indy (like 2019). Going back to 2006 when I started college, this team has seen a lot of Cs, Ds, and Fs, and the only A in that stretch was 2019.
 




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