Most college football coaches who take over programs are wise to manage expectations in the early years, and Gophers coach P.J. Fleck is no exception.
The Gophers still are inexperienced at several key positions going into Fleck's second year, and any coaching change brings about a new way of doing things. Fleck's culture change, one would imagine, is more dramatic than most. Hence, the urging of fans to be patient.
But if you're looking for one area where the Gophers should have an edge over their Big Ten peers this season, it's in the slate of foes who will line up across from them. The Gophers' schedule looks objectively favorable, and CBS Sports has taken it a step further.
Using a methodology that includes the five-year history of teams, whether games are at home or on the road and whether teams are coming off bye weeks, the site says the Gophers' 2018 schedule is the easiest of all 14 Big Ten teams.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.