There's been plenty of talk about how challenging the schedule is this season for the Golden Gophers, but the depth of difficulty goes farther than playing the first- and- second-ranked teams in the country, Ohio State and TCU.
Sure, Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover is on record saying TCU will hang 70 points on them if they're not sharp in that Sept. 3 season opener at TCF Bank Stadium, and, sure, Ohio State is the favorite to win the national championship again, but the schedule is loaded with other tough competition.
"With our schedule, we’re going to have to win some close games,” head coach Jerry Kill said, according to the Star Tribune. “That’s why the kicker and the punter and all that stuff is important. We’ve got to stay healthy. Maybe the toughest game we have is at Colorado State.”
Wait, what? Colorado State?
The Rams went 10-3 last season but have a new head coach and quarterback, so time will tell if they'll be as explosive as last season, when they had a more dominating passing attack than Oregon, which lost to the Buckeyes in the national title game.
A big reason Minnesota's Week 2 game at Colorado State is difficult is because they'll have to slow down Rashard Higgins, who led the nation with 1,750 yards and 17 touchdown receptions, the Coloradoan reports.
Weeks 3 and 4 should be wins against Kent State and Ohio, but then things get difficult with Big Ten games that are equally as tough as home as on the road.
Minnesota should be favored at Northwestern and Purdue, but road games at Ohio State and Iowa are daunting. The home schedule includes conference powers Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin, although the middle two aren't as fear-inducing as the Cornhuskers and Badgers.
Gophers 2015 Schedule
- Sept. 3 vs. TCU – 8 p.m.
- Sept. 12 at Colorado State – 2:30 p.m.
- Sept. 19 vs. Kent State – 11 a.m.
- Sept. 26 vs. Ohio (Homecoming) – 2:30 p.m.
- Oct. 3 at Northwestern – TBA
- Oct. 10 at Purdue – TBA
- Oct. 17 vs. Nebraska – TBA
- Oct. 31 vs. Michigan – 7 p.m.
- Nov. 7 at Ohio State – TBA
- Nov. 14 at Iowa – 7 p.m.
- Nov. 21 vs. Illinois – TBA
- Nov. 28 vs. Wisconsin – TBA