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Minnesota Football: NCAA Football Preseason S&P+ Projections Are Out

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Let's take an early look at how the 2016 season might play out under Bill Connelly's model.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It's never to early to start talking about the 2016 NCAA Football season. I mean, what are we supposed to discuss, basketball?  You've heard it said before, but Minnesota's 2016 schedule lightens considerably (on paper). Up until now, any discussion of that easier schedule was partially anecdotal and based on all of our own observations combined with the 2015 performance of our upcoming opponents.

SBN's Bill Connelly has published his S&P+ projections (you can find the full list here), which means we now have a new objective measure to add to the discussion of "what kind of season will Minnesota have in 2016?" Because after all, the first think we care about when projections like this come out is where do the Gophers stack up in the Big Ten West and what kind of results should we expect based on the rankings?

You can see below that based on the three factors of returning production, recent success and recruiting impact; Nebraska is projected to finish atop the Big Ten West this year.  Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Northwestern are grouped in the middle with Purdue and Illinois unsurprisingly toiling at the bottom. Beneath that I've included Minnesota's Big Ten East opponents and at the bottom you'll find the non-conference opponents.

Overall Rank

Recruiting Impact

Returning Production

Weighted 5-Year

Projected S&P+

Nebraska

26

29

28

32

11.6

Wisconsin

37

33

60

15

8.3

Iowa

38

49

32

48

8.1

Minnesota

42

53

34

55

7

Northwestern

46

46

58

61

5.1

Illinois

76

67

76

73

0.4

Purdue

88

71

86

82

-3.1

Penn State

28

17

39

29

11.3

Maryland

62

47

65

77

2.9

Rutgers

87

60

93

84

-3.1

Oregon State

86

52

102

57

-2.9

Indiana State

n/a

FCS

Colorado State

96

76

97

96

-6.3

Just based on S&P+ ranking the Gophers are projected to have an 8-4 record.  Winning all three non-conference games and then going 5-3 5-4 in conference.  Not taking into account home/road and of course they play the games for a reason.  But It makes for something to look at during the offseason.  College Football ended in January and it turns out that basketball and hockey did too...so we need something to talk about right?