CBS Sports sets Gophers football over/under 2021 win total at 7

Maroon beat Gold 24-17 in the Gophers football Spring Game on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium to win Goldy's Cup. ((credit: University of Minnesota Athletics))

The University of Minnesota football team is 73 days away from kicking off the 2021 season against Ohio State at TCF Bank Stadium.

There will be plenty of build-up to arguably the biggest game of Minnesota’s season, right out of the game. The Buckeyes are coming off losing to Alabama in the College Football Playoff national title game, and Gophers officials announced Tuesday they expect to have athletic venues at full capacity when the fall seasons start.

That means there should be more than 50,000 football fans on the Minnesota campus when the two teams meet in primetime, under the lights and it’s a game you can watch on Fox 9.

The Gophers are coming off a 3-4 season in 2020, complicated by injuries and COVID-19 issues. They have all but two starters back from last season, so expectations are high for 2021. But at least one national expert isn’t sold on Minnesota for 2021. Tom Fornelli with CBS Sports put together over/under win totals for the Big Ten season.

He put Minnesota at 7-5 mark for 2021. Just two years ago, the Gophers got a historic win over a top-five team in Penn State and were a win over Wisconsin away from playing for a Big Ten title. But P.J. Fleck is also a combined 1-7 against Iowa and Wisconsin.

Fleck and the Gophers currently are in the middle of summer workouts before taking a break leading into fall training camp in August.

Fornelli has the Gophers beating Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green and getting one Big Ten road win, at Purdue. He also has the Gophers winning four of their five Big Ten home games: Nebraska, Maryland, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Fornelli has Minnesota losing its opener to Ohio State, losing at Colorado in non-conference action and suffering Big Ten road losses at Northwestern, at Iowa and at Indiana.

Miami (Ohio) went 2-1 in 2020, beating Ball State and Akron and having other games canceled due to COVID-19 issues. Bowling Green went 0-5, and Colorado went 4-2, beating UCLA, Stanford, San Diego State and Arizona. Indiana was the surprise of the Big Ten last year, going 6-1 in the regular season with its only loss to Ohio State before falling to Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl.

The Gophers start with three of their first four at TCF Bank Stadium, but get a great litmus test with the Buckeyes on opening night. Fleck is entering his fifth season at Minnesota. He’s 23-15 overall, including 15-19 in Big Ten play.