The Minnesota Gophers are coming off of 2 weeks-worth of canceled football games, due to a COVID-19 outbreak. PJ Fleck told media earlier this week that 20+ players would be out for Saturday’s game vs the (2-4) Nebraska Cornhuskers.
We still don’t know who those players are but Tanner Morgan, Chris Autman-Bell, Mohamed Ibrahim, Phillip Howard and Mariano Sori-Marin all met with media via Zoom this week.
Meanwhile, are you a gambling man or woman? If so, have you checked the betting spread on tomorrow’s game? Even if the above players weren’t going to play, these odds might knock you off your chair.
Yes, this seems to be a lesser version of the Nebraska team Minnesota beat last season by a score of 34-7… but in most books, the (2-3) Gophers are +10.5 point underdogs in Lincoln (with no crowd).
I'm not laughing you're laughing. pic.twitter.com/xIxvn4Z0ll— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) December 11, 2020
Every year is different, I understand that, but this isn’t a Huskers team who has pulled a Northwestern-style 180 in 2020. They hold a 2-4 record and one of those losses came vs Illinois, who the Gophers stomped. Their wins are vs Purdue, who Minnesota also beat right before COVID shut things down, and a 2-5 Penn State team.
Rashod Bateman opting back out amidst the COVID outbreak that shut down the football program to close November, is factoring into the Vegas odds, but don’t let that tip your scale. Bateman isn’t overhyped, and the Gophers will miss him, but the young depth at wide receiver is being underplayed and so is Chris Autman-Bell.
In Bateman’s absence, we’ll see more of Daniel Jackson, Mike Brown-Stephens and possibly a bevy of others. But what I really want to see, is Chris Autman-Bell run his hype train into the clouds. Every time CRAB touches the ball, big plays happen.
Rashod Bateman caught a lot of passes this season but he was also targeted A LOT more than any of his teammates. Nobody, however, made better catches than Autman-Bell, even with limited opportunities.
Chris Autman-Bell, though 🦀 pic.twitter.com/fG6yVfv01V— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) November 21, 2020
Even if you don’t think Minnesota wins…
Neither of these teams are very good, especially with a depleted Minnesota roster, but the Gophers still win this game because PJ Fleck is 172x the coach Scott Frost is. But even if you think Nebraska climbs over the Gophers, can you honestly say it will be by more than a touchdown + FG?
If so, you’re lying or delusional.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan