COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Sure, unbeaten Minnesota is better. Just how much better might be determined in a three-hour span Saturday.
Grade cards might be issued shortly after the Golden Gophers' game at No. 14 Ohio State in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Second-year coach Tim Brewster was asked if his team matches up favorably with the Buckeyes (3-1).
``It's pretty optimistic to say we match up 'well' with them,'' he said. ``We're starting two redshirt freshmen and three redshirt sophomores on the offensive line - and I think Ohio State might have the best defensive front I've seen. They're extremely active and tough and physical. I'm not ready to say we match up well with Ohio State.''
ion of a lot of other people.
Maybe it's just pregame back-patting, but Ohio State coach Jim Tressel talks as if he really thinks the Gophers have turned a corner.
``Anytime you have a successful out-of-conference schedule, then the next measuring stick is how do you do in your league?'' he said. ``They've played with great enthusiasm, they've improved, they understand the expectations of their (coaching) staff. That's a normal transitional growth. They've done it well.''
The last time the Gophers were unbeaten this late in the season when they played the Buckeyes was 1945.
Ohio State will welcome back tailback Chris ``Beanie'' Wells, out the past three weeks after injuring his foot in the opener against Youngstown State. A lot has changed in the backfield since he left. Terrelle Pryor, the promising QB recruit of last spring, is now the starting signal-caller, replacing the guy who took the Buckeyes to the national championship game last season, Todd Boeckman.
All Pryor did in his first start last week against Troy was toss four TD passes.
Still, with Wells gone, the offense has looked sluggish and downright tired most of the time.
Maybe the onset of another goal - the Buckeyes are trying to become the first school to ever win three consecutive outright Big Ten titles in a row - will shake them out of that lethargy.
ying to us, 'This is the Big Ten. There's no more messin' around,''' Ohio State offensive tackle Alex Boone said. ``We can't take games for granted. It just feels like this team is ready to explode.''
The Buckeyes have lost to Minnesota only once - in 2000 - in the last 22 meetings, dating all the way back to 1982. But apparently the Gophers haven't been reading up on the series history.
``They've got some studs on that team,'' quarterback Adam Weber said. ``That's what Ohio State's going to bring every single year. That's a challenge and that's the great part of this game. You know you're going against some of the best guys in the nation.
``But, you know, we're not too bad, either. We're on scholarship, too. We're going to bring our best and we'll see what the score says at the end.''
A year ago, Ohio State went to the Twin Cities and dropped a 30-7 beating on the Gophers. But to hear Tressel tell it, the game wasn't nearly so one-sided.
``If you went back and dissected our game, it was not a 30-7 game,'' he said.
Brewster knows his Minnesota team has improved. He's eager to find out just how much.
``We just continue to develop as a team across the board,'' he said. ``Each week our defense is gaining more confidence. This is going to be a tremendous challenge for us to go into a place like Ohio State and see where we're at. Hopefully, we'll be up to the challenge.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

Public buries sports books on Tue, Jan 2017 by Timmy1961
Pick Wiz Play 1/15 on Mon, Jan 2017 by Michael Cash
2nd half play ne/hou on Mon, Jan 2017 by Strakey
NFL Championship Betting News and Notes on Mon, Jan 2017 by Blade
NFL WKEND SIDES &OV/UN 8-0 on Mon, Jan 2017 by armyranger

NCAAF Headlines

  • MINNEAPOLIS (AP) New Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck has hired nine coaches for his staff, including offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca and defensive coordinator Robb Smith.
    The Golden Gophers a...
  • The University of Oregon has suspended football strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde one month without pay after three players were hospitalized following a series of intense workouts las...
  • (STATS) - Furman will open the Clay Hendrix coaching era with a Sept. 2 trip to its oldest rival, Wofford.
    The opener is part of an 11-game schedule announced Tuesday.
    Furman and fellow S...
  • (STATS) - Southeastern Louisiana will seek to build on a successful season in its 11-game 2017 schedule that was announced Tuesday.
    The Lions, under coach Ron Roberts, reversed a 4-7 record in...
  • (STATS) - Wyoming secondary coach Curt Mallory is expected to be named Indiana State's new coach, according to reports.
    Mallory, 47, has never been a head coach. He is the son of former Indian...
Advertisement

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail 2018 National Championship Odds Despite losing to Clemson on Monday night, Alabama has opened as the favorites to win the 2018 College Football National Championship.
Thumbnail Title Game Spread Holding Steady After some initial movement, tonight’s college football playoff national championship point spread is holding steady hours before kickoff.
Thumbnail Clemson vs. Alabama Prediction Will Alabama cover tonight against Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship or will the Tigers pull off the upset?
Thumbnail Watson/Hurts Championship Props Which impact player will step up tonight in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game? Here’s some notable player prop odds for Clemson and...
Thumbnail CFB Championship Injury Report Will No. 1 Alabamaand No. 2 Clemsoncome into tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championshiphealthy? Here is the latest on the injury report.

NCAAF Team Pages