Big Ten football returns next weekend, a month after the SEC began play, and six weeks after the ACC and Big 12. ESPN is celebrating the occasion, by sending College GameDay up to Minnesota.
It feels like another lifetime, but Minnesota football was one of the great stories of the 2019 season. The Golden Gophers went 11-2 on the year, and beat Auburn in the Outback Bowl, 31-24. It was a great breakout season for P.J. Fleck’s program.
Minnesota hosts Michigan to open its season, a matchup between two of the conference’s best teams. Both teams can make a big statement to open their seasons.
College GameDay made the announcement moments ago. It is actually the second straight home game before which Minnesota will host the beloved ESPN pregame show.
ROW THE BOAT … TO MINNESOTA 🛶
See you next week for our first Big Ten showdown of the season: Michigan vs. Minnesota 👀 pic.twitter.com/2bzNOd0Oge
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 18, 2020
GameDay made its first trip to Minnesota for last year’s regular season finale. It wound up being a tough day for the 10-1 Gophers, who lost to rival Wisconsin 38-17.
Fleck’s program will look to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke, while Jim Harbaugh can obviously use a big win against one of the league’s best teams, something that has been a struggle during his Michigan tenure. It won’t be an Ohio State or Penn State win, but starting 0-1 would not be good for the embattled Wolverines coach.
Michigan finished 9-4 last season, getting handled by Ohio State and then Alabama in the Citrus Bowl to close the year.
The Wolverines won the last matchup between the two teams in 2017, 33-10. They’ve won eight of nine games in the series, and 16-of-18 dating back to the late 1980s. They lead the all-time series 75-25-3.