Gophers picked first in Big Ten

The Gophers got more love from the national press when a Sports Illustrated writer projected Minnesota No. 1 in the Big Ten on the cnnsi web site.

Stewart Mandel of projects the Gophers to finish 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten ahead of perennial powers Ohio State and Michigan.

His analysis is that Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa have to replace some top players while the Gophers return relatively intact with a ferocious running game.

For the first time in years the Gophers are getting love from the press before the season starts. More common in recent years the Gophers have been the sleeper pick or the team to watch out for. This year they have been ranked in the top 25 in almost every poll or publication ranking that has been put out.

They are being talked about as a legitimate contender for the Big Ten title and a berth in the Rose Bowl.

Minnesota has done well in the role of underdog, now we'll see if they can adjust to the role of favorite.

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