In the first week Big Ten teams were eligible for the AP Top 25 poll, the Gophers did not make the cut.
The Gophers had been No. 19 in the preseason iteration of the poll, though the conference deciding not to play this season during the coronavirus pandemic left them off subsequent lists. But the Big Ten reversed that call, giving voting media members the opportunity this week to rank teams who won't start playing until Oct. 24 against teams with seasons already underway.
Some 0-0 programs did break through, including No. 6 Ohio State, No. 10 Penn State, No. 14 Oregon (the Pac-12 begins play Nov. 6), No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 23 Michigan.
The Gophers did receive 110 votes, third most in the just-missed group; Iowa and Utah also got votes.
All of this made voting quite unusual. Some media members, including Brett McMurphy of Stadium, decided not to rank teams that hadn't played yet while others, such as Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, voted for SEC teams that started later than other conferences, so he did the same with Big Ten and Pac-12 teams now to be consistent.
At the top of the rankings this week, Clemson remained No. 1 with 55 first-place votes.
Further complicating voters' task this week: Two top-10 teams lost to unranked teams at home Saturday. No. 3 Oklahoma blew a big lead and fell to Kansas State. No. 6 and defending national champion LSU was upset by Mississippi State in coach Mike Leach's debut with the Bulldogs.
"I write my ballot out by hand in the same notepad every week," said Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times. "I've never crossed so many teams out as I did [Sunday]. It looks like something my 3-year-old would have done, just in black pen instead of crayon."
The Gophers will open the season Oct. 24 against Michigan at TCF Bank Stadium.
• Georgia State says the positive COVID-19 tests that caused Saturday's football game at Charlotte to be postponed were the result of errors in reading the test results on Thursday, just before the team's scheduled departure. The team will return to practice Monday.
• North Carolina State says safety Khalid Martin is being discharged from a Virginia hospital with no "radiographic abnormalities" after being examined for a possible spinal cord injury. Martin collided with teammate Tyler Baker-Williams while attempting to tackle a Virginia Tech player in the third quarter of a 45-24 loss Saturday.