At 3-4 and exhausted from a stressful season, the Gophers opted out of college football's annual bowl season and turned their focus to 2021. Let's do the same here. The Gophers' next game will come in late summer, 2021, and it'll be a doozy: a primetime, national television date with the Big Ten champs, Ohio State. Star Tribune beat writer Megan Ryan looks ahead to the dozen games on the docket for the 2021 Gophers:

Sept. 2 (Thu.) vs. Ohio State

What a way to kick off the new season, against the reigning four-time Big Ten champion Buckeyes who are currently 6-0 heading into the College Football Playoff.

Sept. 11 vs. Miami (Ohio)

The RedHawks went 2-1 in 2020 after having three games canceled because of COVID-19.

Sept. 18 at Colorado

First-year head coach Karl Dorrell was the PAC-12 Coach of the Year in taking the Buffaloes to 4-1 and the Alamo Bowl.

Sept. 25 vs. Bowling Green

The Mid-American Conference team was 0-5 in 2020 allowing 475.8 yards per game.

Oct. 2 at Purdue

The Boilermakers looked promising to start the season but ended it at 2-4.

Oct. 9 vs. Wisconsin

The Gophers' two consecutive losses to the Badgers to the end past two seasons have added more fuel to the rivalry.

Oct. 23 at Northwestern

The Big Ten West-winning Wildcats had the fourth-best red-zone defense in the nation this year.

Oct. 30 vs. Maryland

Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa showed his dual-threat talent and rattled the Gophers' defense in a 45-44 overtime victory this season.

Nov. 6 vs. Illinois

The Gophers will play the Bret Bielema-led Illini for the first time after Lovie Smith's firing.

Nov. 13 at Iowa

The Hawkeyes accomplished their longest win streak in the rivalry at six after toppling the Gophers 35-7 in 2020.

Nov. 20 at Indiana

Tom Allen won Big Ten Coach of the Year honors for leading the Hoosiers to 6-1 and finishing just behind Ohio State in the East.

Nov. 26 (Fri.) vs. Nebraska

Even down 33 players from injuries and COVID-19, the Gophers still beat the Cornhuskers in Lincoln 24-17 this year.