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Minnesota Football: Gophers ranked No. 10 in final AP Top 25

The Gophers' Outback Bowl victory made an impression

Outback Bowl - Minnesota v Auburn Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Respect was hard to come by for the Minnesota Golden Gophers through much of the regular season, but a 31-24 victory over Auburn in the Outback Bowl seems to have put to rest any doubts. The Gophers moved up six spots in the AP Top 25 to end the season ranked No. 10, marking the program's best finish since 1962.

Minnesota finished ahead of Wisconsin (No. 11), Iowa (No. 15), and Michigan (No. 18), trailing only Penn State (No. 9) and Ohio State (No. 3) among Big Ten teams.

The Gophers' strong finish bodes well for a preseason Top 25 ranking next fall, in spite of losing two playmakers on offense and a host of starters on defense.