A good way to gear up for a tough Big 10 schedule is to schedule at least one ranked non-conference opponent. The Gophers non-conference schedule is once again weak next season. Is it time to make things a little more difficult schedule wise in the coming years?
The answer to that question is yes.
Next season, the Gophers open up with Eastern Illinois. This should be an easy win to start off the season. Winning is a good thing, but it’s even better when you beat a quality opponent.
I’d like for Athletic Director Norwood Teague to spice things up a little bit and bring a team like Alabama to TCF bank stadium to open the season. What better way to measure your play against great teams than opening up the season against one of the best?
Sure, it’d cost a lot of money for the Gophers to get a big name opponent to travel to Minnesota, but they did it a few years back with USC and even though they lost that game, they competed at a higher level for the rest of the season. A much higher level than in the previous years.
The Gophers finally have a team that is respectable in the Big 10 and they need to start proving early on that they are going to be a force.
The basketball team enters a major non-conference tournament each year and after play their best stretch of basketball after competing against solid teams.
The football team will not be battle tested heading into Big 10 play and that’s typically not a good thing. They were destroyed early on by Michigan and I truly believe the outcome of that game would have been different if they had been tested early on.
Even competing against a great team would be a good start.
It’s all about seeing what you’ve got in your team before entering a brutal Big 10 schedule. You can’t tell me that beating Eastern Illinois is going to say a lot about next year’s Gopher football team.