It’s that time of the year where college football analysts are unveiling their predictions for the 2021 season. This afternoon, Seth Galina of Pro Football Focus named the most underrated team in each major conference.
There were plenty of teams to choose from in the Big Ten, but the title of “most underrated team” ended up going to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Minnesota shocked the entire country in 2019 by going 11-2 under head coach P.J. Fleck. That momentum didn’t carry over to the 2020 season though, as the Golden Gophers won just three games.
One of the main issues for the Golden Gophers last season is that they couldn’t defend. They surrendered 30.1 points per game and struggled to stop the run. Luckily for Fleck, he has a handful of veterans returning for the 2021 season, such as Boye Mafe, Mariano Sori-Marin and Tyler Nubin.
✍️ @pff_seth‘s most underrated power five teams
Who was left off the list? pic.twitter.com/7mVbrfrppN
— PFF College (@PFF_College) July 8, 2021
Another reason why Galina might be confident in Minnesota is because its offense has some really intriguing weapons on its depth chart heading into this fall.
For starters, Tanner Morgan is back under center for the 2021 season. In 2019, he completed 66.0 percent of his passes for 3,253 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He won’t have Rashod Bateman by his side anymore, but Chris Autman-Bell and Daniel Jackson should be a nice one-two punch at wide receiver this year.
Minnesota also has one of the best running backs in the nation in Mohamed Ibrahim. He had 1,132 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns last fall.
Unfortunately for Golden Gophers, their schedule won’t do them any favors. They’ll start the 2021 season at home against the Ohio State Buckeyes. It’ll be an early test for Fleck’s squad, that’s for sure.