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Epping among 9 Gophers on Preseason All-Big Ten teams

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Two college football preview sites - Athlon Sports and Phil Steele's College Football Preview - have released their preseason All-Big Ten teams for the upcoming season, and nine Gophers were honored.

Each website came out with four preseason All-Big 10 teams. The Gophers did not have a player on either site's first team, but managed to have players appear on the second, third and fourth teams. Ohio State led all Big Ten teams with 11 players on Steele's list and 15 players on Athlon Sports list.

Gopher Guard Zac Epping made both sites' second team. Epping was Honorable Mention All-Big 10 last season and has started 34 straight games for the Gophers.

Defensive lineman Theiren Cockran joined Epping on Steele's All-Big Ten second team. Cockran appeared on Athlon Sports third team.

Running Back David Cobb, Tight End Maxx Williams and Cornerback Eric Murray were the other Gophers that made both sites' list. Kick returner Marcus Jones and Tackle Josh Campion appeared only on Steele's list, and Safety Cedric Thompson and Punter Peter Mortell only made Athlon's list.

To go along with their preseason all-conference teams, Athlon Sports also came out with predictions for the 2014 season. The website ranked and predicted records for all 125 FBS college football teams, as well as predicting conference standings. The Gophers came in at No. 52 on Athlon's national rankings, and are predicted to finish 6-6 this season, finishing fifth in the Big Ten's West Division.

If the website's prediction is correct, the Gophers will take a step back from last year, when the team finished with an 8-5 record. However, the team's schedule this year appears to be more difficult on paper. The Gophers will play at TCU, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin, and will play Big Ten favorite Ohio State for the first time since 2010.

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