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Can Gophers football win the Big Ten West this year?

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It is starting to seem like the Minnesota Gophers are becoming the trendy pick to make some noise in Big Ten football this year.

The Big Ten Network has placed the Gophers at No. 5 in their preseason Big Ten Power Rankings.

Here's why, according to BTN's Tom Dienhart:

"If you wanna be Mr. Trendy and create headlines for yourself, pick the Gold Gophers to win the [Big Ten] West. Hey, it may happen. The schedule is kind. And this is a smart staff that maximizes its roster as well as any Big Ten program. But is this really a championship-caliber offense?"

By slotting the Gophers in at No. 5, Dienhart also ranks Minnesota second in the B1G West. While those picks seem optimistic for a Gophers squad that finished 6-7 last season it's not out of line with where others have picked Minnesota.

ESPN's Kurt Herbstreit made some news a few weeks ago when he picked the Gophers to win the West.

And while there are certainly some questions for the offense to answer this season, quarterback Mitch Leidner has said publicly he's comfortable in new offensive coordinator Jay Johnson's scheme.

Even Leidner himself is being hyped as one of the top quarterback's in next year's NFL Draft class.

So with a friendly schedule, a solid senior quarterback, a new offense and a strong defense – maybe the Gophers contending for the Big Ten Championship Game shouldn't be such a surprise.

Here are BTN's Big Ten Power Rankings.

  1. Ohio State
  2. Iowa
  3. Michigan State
  4. Michigan
  5. Minnesota
  6. Nebraska
  7. Northwestern
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Penn State
  10. Rutgers
  11. Indiana
  12. Illinois
  13. Maryland
  14. Purdue

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