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Following Gophers football year-round, Big Ten action and more

TCU coach: Gophers played Ohio State as well as anybody last year

TCU coach Gary Patterson had plenty of praise for the Gophers in Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference. A sampling:

"I look at Minnesota a little bit like what we were a year ago -- really a good football team but probably didn’t get as much credit as what they deserved," Patterson said. "They were a really good football team when we played them. And then I really watched them at the end of the year, and they probably played Ohio State as well as anybody did, even better than anybody did in the playoffs.

"We know we’ll probably even play a better Minnesota team than we watched on film at the end of the season because of recruiting and guys growing up."

The Gophers will get a chance to prove it when they open their season against Patterson's No. 2-ranked squad on Thursday at 8 p.m.

Five Big Ten West storylines

The Gophers are six days from their season opener against TCU, and we’re ramping up our coverage at StarTribune.com. This week, as an added feature, Chip Scoggins and I are unveiling a series of Top Five lists, looking at the Gophers and the national college landscape.

Check out Chip’s latest entries here. I’ve done “Five keys to the Gophers’ season,” “The Gophers’ five most indispensable players,” "The Gophers' five most unsung players," and "Five potential breakout stars for the Gophers." Today, I'm going to swing this around the conference a bit with a look at five Big Ten West storylines:

1. Circle these games

The de facto Big Ten East championship game will be Nov. 27, when Michigan State visits Ohio State. If the West turns into a three-team race between Wisconsin, Nebraska and the Gophers, as many predict, these are the key matchups: Wisconsin at Nebraska (Oct. 10), Nebraska at Gophers (Oct. 17) and Wisconsin at Gophers (Nov. 28).

2. Searching for old mojo

Some picked Iowa to win the West last year (guilty, right here), but the Hawkeyes stumbled to 4-4. Kirk Ferentz can’t afford another year of mediocrity. Fans are restless. And Northwestern has two 5-7 seasons since its promising 10-3 finish in 2013. Like Ferentz, Pat Fitzgerald needs to rediscover his magic touch.

3. West meets East

Overall Big Ten record determines the division champion, but the interdivision challenges are strikingly different. The list: Gophers (vs. Michigan, at Ohio State), Wisconsin (vs. Rutgers, at Maryland), Nebraska (vs. Michigan State, at Rutgers), Iowa (vs. Maryland, at Indiana), Illinois (at Penn State, vs. Ohio State), Northwestern (at Michigan, vs. Penn State), Purdue (at Michigan State, vs. Indiana).

4. Quarterback battles

Purdue had an open competition but stuck with junior Austin Appleby, who passed for three touchdowns in last year’s 39-38 loss to the Gophers. Northwestern named redshirt freshman Clayton Thorson as its starter this week, and the former four-star recruit looks the part, at 6-4 with mobility and a big arm.

5. Disruptive forces

Nebraska junior DT Maliek Collins is a first-round NFL prospect after notching 10.5 tackles for a loss last year. Other returning defenders who lived in opposing backfields last year include Wisconsin LB Vince Biegel (16.5 TFL last year), Wisconsin LB Joe Schobert (13.5), Iowa DE Drew Ott (12.0) and Purdue DT Jake Replogle (11.0). Gophers senior DE Theiren Cockran (7.0) hopes to pick up his production, and the team expects big things from DE Hank Ekpe now that he's healthy.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Gary at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Chicago White Sox at Twins

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Indy at Minnesota United FC

    7pm on Ch. 45

  • Gary at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Chicago White Sox at Twins

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Chicago White Sox at Twins

    12:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Live racing

    6:30pm

  • Vikings at Tennessee

    7pm on 100.3/1130

  • Gary at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Live racing

    6:30pm

  • Indiana at Lynx

    7pm on 106.1-FM

  • Gary at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Twins at Houston

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Live racing

    12:45pm

  • Twins at Houston

    6:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • New Jersey at Saints

    7:05pm on 105.1-FM

  • Live racing

    12:45pm

  • Twins at Houston

    1:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Minnesota United FC at Edmonton

    3pm

  • New Jersey at Saints

    5:05pm on 1220-AM

  • New York at Lynx

    6pm on FSN, 106.1-FM

  • New Jersey at Saints

    11:05am on 1220-AM

  • Live racing

    12:45pm

  • Twins at Kansas City

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

Today's Scoreboard

< >
  • Tampa Bay

    Baltimore

     

    - F

    6

    3

  • Cleveland

    Toronto

     

    - F

    4

    2

  • Miami

    Atlanta

     

    - F

    4

    0

  • NY Yankees

    Boston

     

    - F

    3

    4

  • Philadelphia

    NY Mets

     

    - F

    1

    3

  • Cincinnati

    Chicago Cubs

     

    - Top 9th

    7

    5

  • Seattle

    Houston

     

    - Top 9th

    1

    8

  • Washington

    St. Louis

     

    - Top 8th

    5

    8

  • Arizona

    Colorado

     

    - Top 7th

    4

    1

  • LA Angels

    Oakland

     

    - Top 3rd

    2

    0

  • San Francisco

    LA Dodgers

     

    - Top 3rd

    0

    1

  • Texas

    San Diego

     

    - Bot 3rd

    0

    1

No games for WNBA

No games for MLS