Minnesota has had some ups and downs to start the season. A close loss to Ohio State, followed by a close to win against Miami-OH is what was expected, by not how it was expected to happen. That was followed by a blow out victory over Colorado.
Basically, things have both gone exactly as expected and completely off the rails at the same time. That's not ideal. A lot of that has to do with the loss of Mohamed Ibrahim. A second straight dominant win, this time over Bowling Green, could go a long way to alleviating any concerns headed into the teeth of the Big 10 conference schedule.
Oddsmakers understandably love Minnesota this weekend. They're 31 point favorites heading into the game. As great as that is, that spread alone equals the most points Minnesota has scored this year. On the flip side though, they did just beat Colorado by 30.
Point is, the expectation this week, just like it was against Miami-OH, is not to just win but to dominate. Anything else would be seen as a red flag for the rest of the reason.
Minnesota and Bowling Green have met just 3 times in their history. Minnesota has won 2 of those games.
The first matchup of the teams came in 1986. Minnesota dominated 31-7. They wouldn't meet again until 2007. Bowling Green edged that game out, taking home a 32-31 victory. That loss was the beginning of a 1-11 season for the Gophers. The two teams met up again the next year and Minnesota got their revenge with a 42-17 thumping.
Minnesota is in need of some momentum heading into the Big 10 schedule. Back to back blowout victories would provide just that. On the flip side, a close game with Bowling Green could be damaging even if they win it, especially after Miami-OH played them so close.
This is a game Minnesota needs to win big if they want any hope of competing for a potential Big 10 title. Their confidence may just depend on it.