The Minnesota Gophers haven’t played any games yet this college football season and that won’t change for another 13 days. Don’t tell that to the media members or coaches who vote in the Associated Press or USA Today Top-25 polls, though.
After another weekend of (non-Big Ten) football games, the Associated Press and USA Today released their latest versions of the two long-standing CFB ranking systems. In the latest versions (released today), Minnesota jumped back into the Coaches poll for the first time since September 20 and moved up one spot (from 25 to 24) in the AP.
— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) October 11, 2020
In today's new AP Poll, the Gophers climb from #25 to #24. They debuted here at #19 in week 1 and fell out in week 2, before re-emerging last weekend. pic.twitter.com/ecPRracLOo— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) October 11, 2020
There’s a lot to sort through here, and while none of it really matters until the Minnesota Gophers start playing football games next weekend, there were still a couple of things that hit me immediately.
Death, Taxes and USC football being overrated to start a season
I laugh everytime I see USC in an early-season top-25. If it weren’t the “football school” of Southern California then I’m not sure they’d ever bust through the top-25. The poll voters are trying to resurrect the 2000’s USC dynasty, back when Pete Carroll won double-digit games for seven-straight seasons (’02-’08), including FOUR Rose Bowls and a National Championship in 2004.
Unfortunately for West Coast football fans, those days are long gone… The Trojans have only hit 10+ wins four times since 2008 (Carroll’s last season) and they haven’t put two digits in the win column, more recently, since 2017.
Michigan ranks just ahead of Minnesota
Minnesota’s week 1 opponent, the Michigan Wolverines, are ranked #19 in both the AP and Coaches poll. Since neither team will play before they kickoff at TCF Bank Stadium in two weeks, one can assume Michigan will remain about 5 spots ahead of the Gophers, entering that matchup.
Much like USC, early poll rankings rarely reflect how good of a team Michigan has. They have lost a lot of their weapons on both sides of the field and this is a very gettable game for PJ Fleck and Co, if they can come ready to play from the drop of the first coin at midfield.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan