Looks like college football coaches are a little bit higher on the Gophers than media members.
The Associated Press released its college football preseason Top 25 on Monday, and Minnesota did not receive a vote. In the USA Today preseason poll released Aug. 3, the Gophers received six votes, good for a tie for 50th with Troy.
Both the AP and coaches polls had the same top six: 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Florida State, 4. USC, 5. Clemson and 6. Penn State. Among other Big Ten teams in the AP poll, Wisconsin is No. 9 and Michigan is No. 11.
While the Gophers aren't in the Top 25, there is a reasonable path for them to get there: Win early before the schedule toughens later.
First, their nonconference schedule -- vs. Buffalo, at Oregon State, vs. Middle Tennessee -- is conducive for a 3-0 start. There's no powerhouse like TCU or USC on the nonconference schedule, as in recent years.
Then, they open the Big Ten schedule with home games in three of the first four weeks -- vs. Maryland, at Purdue, vs. Michigan State and vs. Illinois. Those teams were a combined 7-29 in Big Ten play last year. Should the Gophers get to 5-0, there would be a case for them to be in the Top 25. If they get to 7-0, that should cement a ranking. Of course, those are big "ifs'' for a team under a new coach with a platoon system at quarterback.
After those first four Big Ten games, the schedule stiffens considerably. Back-to-back trips to Iowa and Michigan precede a home game against Nebraska, a visit to Northwestern and the season finale at home against Wisconsin.