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TDG Consensus Week-by-Week Picks for your 2011 Golden Gophers

We have done this each of the past two seasons (2010 and 2009). Those contributors to TDG who wish to participate each submit their predictions for all 12 Gopher games with some short commentary on why they they feel the Gophers will win or lose that particular game. That is the concept, no more introduction needed so off we go with 2011 predictions from JDMill, Jeffrick and myself.

This post gets really long so I'll put a jump in here. You have to make another click to get the expert picks.

JDMill predicts a 6-6 record and will play out as follows.

  • @USC - I remember sneaking a 12 pack of wine coolers for a girl I knew into a party once by putting all 12 bottles into an empty Busch Light box. She was worried that people would make fun of her for bringing wine coolers to a party. She was right. What I don't recall is why she didn't think that she'd get made fun of when she was actually drinking them. In any case, I like to think of that as my trojan horse moment. USC wins by two touchdowns. (0-1)
  • New Mexico State - Do you ever get those little inflamed tastebuds on your tongue? Cripes those hurt. I've been told that you're supposed to swish warm salt water around in your mouth to get rid of them, but it never seems to work. Gophers win their home opener by two touchdowns. (1-1)
  • Miami (Ohio) - I always used to think that the crow was the squirrel of the bird family, but really, they are probably more like the raccoon. They are big, kind of scary, and they are scavengers. Doesn't really sound like a squirrel does it? I don't have raccoons in my neighborhood, at least not that I know of, but I do have squirrels and crows. I despise them both. Kill knows how to win against MAC teams, and he wins this one by 10 points. (2-1)
  • North Dakota State - Have you ever had jicima? That's a good fruit. It sort of looks like a cross between a potato and a garlic bulb, and sort of has a texture somewhere between an apple and a potato. And it tastes something like delicious. Actually, now I'm questioning if jicima is a fruit or a vegetable. Doesn't fruit always have seeds? I'm not sure jicima has seeds. The Bison fall in their first trip to The Bank by a touchdown. (3-1)
  • @Michigan - One time when I was at a business conference in California a few co-worker and I took a cab back to our hotel after a night in Huntington Beach. It was a short cab ride. When we got back to out hotel, I asked the driver for a receipt. Typically they will give you a business card for the cab company with lines on the back to write in the details, and they almost never fill it out. This particular cabbie was out of those, so he grabs a credit card slip, the kind with mulitple sheets that make carbon copies, and writes simply "A Taxi" on it, then hands it over to me. "A Taxi." I never submitted it for reimbursement, but it still makes me laugh, so I have it on my bulletin board in my office. Gophers fall in The Big House by 17. (3-2)
  • @Purdue - I once at some instant mashed potatoes that were almost one year past their best-if-used-by date. My thought was that the ingredients I would be adding to them (milk, butter) were not expired, and it was just dehydrated potatoes, so what harm could there be. If I got sick I'd know not to eat them next time. I didn't get sick. When I told my then girlfriend (now wife) about this adventure, she was aghast. I tell you that story for one reason... so I can use the word aghast. Gophers beat Purdue by a field goal for their first road win.(4-2)
  • Nebraska - Speaking of eating things that are questionable, here's a story that at the time I made my wife swear she would never tell anyone. A promise which she did not even try to keep. After a few barley-pops out and about one night we stopped at Papa Murphy's for a take-and-bake pizza. Meat lovers was the order. We get home, fire up the oven, and I get the 'zza ready for the oven. But in my slightly (read: very) inebriated state, I dropped the entire uncooked pizza, topping side down, on our kitchen floor. So what did I do? I scooped up the toppings, put them right back on the pizza, and threw that bad boy in the oven. And you know something? It was delicious. Gophers get spanked by the Huskers by 2 1/2 TD's. (4-3)
  • Iowa - Remember that kid from "Jerry McGuire"? Jonathan Lipnicki. Funny kid. Seemed like he was absolutely destined for stardom. Turns out his career pretty much peeked with the line "the human head weighs 8 pounds," unless you're a big fan of the "Stuart Little" movies, and if you are, please leave this site now. He's still acting, but apparently it's all artsy, indie film BS that nobody really cares about except artsy, indie film types. Anyway, thought you'd want to get a quick update on the "you said f*%*" kid. Iowa avenges last year's loss at the bank winning on a late field goal.(4-4)
  • @Michigan State - "Archer" is a show that I just discovered and I quite enjoy it. Ever seen this show? Good stuff. MSU over the Gophs by a touchdown. (4-5)
  • Wisconsin - Being a garbage man isn't what it used to be. Just a big claw grabbing the garbage cans violently, dumping the can upside down, and (at least if you're my garbage man) slamming the can down to the ground so hard that it goes flying across the boulevard. Sad times we live in. Wisky wins by a dozen.(4-6)
  • @Northwestern - Jeffrick and I used to play this game called "Would you rather?" I'm sure a lot of people play this game, but we did two things differently. First, the "would you rather" was ALWAYS compared to watching a WNBA game on TV, so the question was always would you rather do "x" or watch a WNBA game on TV. And second, "death by killer bees" was always a viable, albeit last, option. You should try playing it this way sometime... really adds something to the game. The Gophs take care of the Wildcats winning by a fieldgoal. (5-6)
  • Illinois - I don't listen to Frank Sinatra nearly as much as I should, or nearly as much as I used to. I used to have a standing rule that I listened to Sinatra all day on New Year's Eve, but eventually when you get older you start realizing that New Year's Eve isn't as much fun as it used to be. In fact, my wife has taken to calling it amatuer night. In any case, the Sinatra all day tradition is one I think I should bring back. Gophs beat Chief Illiniwek's squad by a TD. (6-6)

Jeffrick predicts a 6-6 record, but his 6 wins are pretty different than JDMill's

  • @USC -Will Minnesota cover the 23 24 point spread? Yes. Can they actually win the game? A LOT will have to go right for that to happen. This is not the Pete Carroll-Era Trojans, but they're still pretty good. For the Gophers, how effectively they run the ball will tell the story- if they can run consistently this one could be very interesting, but if they can't, on a USC run defense that wasn't exactly stellar, it's going to be a long, long afternoon in the hot California sun. Defensively, the Gophs HAVE to get pressure on Matt Barkley. Minnesota keeps it close, but USC pulls away late. USC 27-Minnesota 17. (0-1)
  • New Mexico State - Home opener against an inferior opponent who the Gophers should thump. Still adjusting to a new offense, it's not a huge blowout, but Jerry Kill get his first win. Minnesota 32- NMSU 16. (1-1)
  • Miami (Ohio) - Revenge game for Kill and his staff after losing to the Red Hawks in last year's MAC championship? Nope, but it's an absolute must-win if Minnesota wants to go bowling. Both teams have brand new coaching staffs (Miami hired former Michigan State OC Don Treadwell), so there's not as much familiarity here as you'd think. Miami should be one of the MAC's best again, and this will be closer than we'd like. Much closer. Minnesota 24- Miami 20. (2-1)
  • North Dakota State - Not a revenge game for the coaches or many of the players, but this will be for me and any other Gopher fan who remembers the last time these two teams played in 2007. The 1-AA Dakota schools laugh at us for our recent record against them, but that ends here and now. Minnesota 184-NDSU -20. Ok, ok that's what I WANT the score to be. More like Minnesota 41-NDSU 13. (3-1)
  • @Michigan - The Gophers are going to pull off at least one Big Ten upset, but it won't happen here. Not that it won't be close- I think Michigan will take some time to transition from the spread to Brady Hoke's more conservative pro-style, "classic Michigan" offense, but it's the defense that will be much improved from last year. Much like how the Gophs' defense will be improved because someone other than Kevin Cosgrove is coaching them, the same goes for the Wolverines because someone other than Greg Robinson is coaching them. Two of the most exciting QB's in the B1G will duel, but the Maize and Blue comes out ahead. Michigan 23- Minnesota 17. (3-2)
  • @Purdue - This is the most winnable game on the conference schedule, and one they really have to win if they have any shot at a bowl game. Of course, Purdue is saying exactly the same thing. Minnesota 28- Purdue 20.(4-2)
  • Nebraska - Man, how I would love to see Minnesota upset Big Red. I would love to see it but it won't happen. Not this year, anyway. Nebraska 31- Minnesota 21. (4-3)
  • Iowa - Here's your upset. Kill gets off the schneid with his first Trophy Game win at home in late October. Yes Iowa will be ticked off about last year and they'll take the Gophers seriously, but home field will start to mean something in this rivalry again. Minnesota keeps Floyd where he belongs. Minnesota 23-Iowa 21. (5-3)
  • @Michigan State - Is Michigan State for real? Real enough to handle the Gophers at home. MSU 38- Minnesota 21. (5-4)
  • Wisconsin - The Badgers open the season by hanging 51 on UNLV. Are the Gophers better than UNLV? Yes, but not good enough to make this a game. I'm hopeful Coach Kill can make this rivalry competitive again soon, but this is not the year. Wisconsin 39-Minnesota 24 (5-5)
  • @Northwestern - I love the Gophers to steal one at half-full Ryan Field, and half of the half will be clad in maroon and gold. Can you say BOWL GAME? Minnesota 27-Northwestern 23. (6-5)
  • Illinois - Seven wins is not to be. Illinois could be sneaky good and have something to play for here- like a New Year's Day bowl. Then again with Ron Zook coaching, they could also be playing just to get bowl eligible. Either way, Illinois is just a bit better. Illinois 27- Minnesota 24. (6-6)

There's only 3 games on the schedule I think Minnesota will have a tough time with: the opener tomorrow against USC, and home games against Nebraska and Wisconsin. Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State and Illinois will be tough opponents, but those are winnable games. I like the Gophs' chances against Purdue, Northwestern, and Miami of Ohio, and they should beat New Mexico State and NDSU. Four to seven wins is plausible, but I'm picking Jerry Kill to take the Gophers bowling in his first season as coach, just like he did in his first year at Northern Illinois.

GopherNation predicts

  • @USC - On the road, at a helmet school for the first game of the season with a brand new coaching staff. This is going to be a loss but it might the game I am most anticipating to watch. What will the Kill era be like? The offense and the defense are both going to be brand new to the fans and just how disciplined and prepared the team plays will be fascinating to watch. Really looking forward to Saturday, hoping it will be close and actually expecting it will be closer than most anticipate. USC by 12. (0-1)
  • New Mexico State - Easiest game on the schedule. If we pull of a huge upset in week 1, it will be nice to play one of the worst teams in division 1. If we get creamed in week 1, it will be nice to get our feet under us with the Aggies. Gophers win by 24. (1-1)
  • Miami (Ohio) - Were this on the road, I might predict a Gopher loss just because I am expecting some up and down play early in the season. But it is home, Kill shouldn't be one to underestimate anyone, especially a MAC school. Miami (non-cheaters) has a good squad this year but Gophers win by 6. (2-1)
  • North Dakota State - The media jackals in this town love to think this is going to be another Bison upset. But the 2008 debacle was arguably the best Bison team in school history and arguably the worst Gopher team in school history. Gophers win and Gophers win by 17. (3-1)
  • @Michigan - Now the fun begins. I strongly believe the Gophers are underrated this year and I also think that Michigan is overrated. Michigan will be coming off a strange game with San Diego State and will be feeling confident opening the Big Ten season at home. I don't know how, I don't even have a great reason by but I think the Gophers win this game. Minnesota by 4. (4-1)
  • @Purdue - how about this, I'm going to pick back-to-back road wins for the Gophers. On paper Purdue isn't any better than we are. We played and lost down there last year playing our worst game of the year. This game is also sandwhiched between Notre Dame and Penn State for the Boilermakers. They look past us a little and we sneak out a win. (5-1)
  • Nebraska - We get two weeks to prepare for the Skurs and we are riding high just one win away from being bowl eligible. But I'm not that much of a homer, we lose this one and we lose it badly. (5-2)
  • Iowa - I would LOVE to pick this one as a win, but at this point in the year Iowa might be holding a 6-1 record with visions of stealing the Legends Division crown. They come prepared, they come angry and the leave with Floyd (for a year). (5-3)
  • @Michigan State - Michigan State is solid and this is on the road. We get them at a great time after they play Wisconsin and Nebraska the two weeks leading up to this game and then a trip to Iowa City the following week. If there is ever a trap game, this one might be it but I'm not going to go out on that far of a limb. (5-4)
  • Wisconsin - Another game I desperately want to win but getting the Axe back will have to wait a year (or two). If there is an injury or two for the Badgers, maybe we can hang around long enough to sneak out a win, but the Badgers are too good this year. (5-5)
  • @Northwestern - You see that I'm not a total Kill-aid blinded homer. I know I started the season 5-1, which is aggressive. But the Gophers fall in their 5th straight game. The trip to Northwestern is very winable, but I'm going with a Wildcat win. They get Rice the week before and they'll be ready to face MarQueis Gray. Gophers lose by 7. (5-6)
  • Illinois - So frustrating to be so close to bowl eligible so early and now we need a win in the last game of the year to earn that valuable 13th game. And the Gophers get it done. Ron Zook has already been fired by this point and the Gophers cruise to a 6th win. (6-6)

Six wins would be an outstanding season and great to build upon for 2012.

To make things easy here is a little table with our predictions, bookmark to make fun of us in December.

JDMill Jeffrick GopherNation
Miami (Ohio) W W W
@Michigan L L W
@Purdrue W W W
Nebraska L L L
Iowa L W L
Wisconsin L L L
@Northwestern W W L
Illinois W L W
(6-6) (6-6) (6-6)

For the record I was 11-1 in 2009 and 8-4 last year. JDMill was 7-5 last year and Jeffrick was 6-6.