Gophers ranked No. 19 in AP preseason football poll despite Big Ten postponing season

First time ranked in preseason poll since 2004

The Associated Press released its first 2020 preseason college football poll on Monday, and the University of Minnesota is on it despite the Big Ten postponing the fall season.

The Gophers enter the poll at No. 19, and are one of six Big Ten teams in the first poll of the season. It’s the first time Minnesota has been ranked in a preseason poll since 2004, under then head coach Glen Mason.

The poll will be adjusted once play starts to include only teams who are playing this fall. Minnesota, entering its fourth season under P.J. Fleck, is coming off its best season in 115 years. The Gophers finished 11-2 after beating Auburn 31-24 in the Outback Bowl.

Minnesota’s only losses last season were at Iowa after a 9-0 start, and to Wisconsin in the regular season finale with the Big Ten West title on the line and with ESPN’s College GameDay in Minneapolis. The Gophers finished the 2019 season ranked No. 10 in the AP poll, their highest spot since 1962.

In addition to the Gophers, Ohio State was ranked No. 2, Penn State entered at No. 7, Wisconsin is at No. 12, Michigan at No. 16 and Iowa at No. 24.

The next time the Gophers do take the field, they’ll have eight starters back on offense, but one of them won’t be Rashod Bateman. The reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten pick opted out of the 2020 season, due to COVID-19 concerns with having asthma. Bateman is preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft, and could be a top-10 pick.

The Gophers came in at No. 19 in the AP poll despite not having Bateman in the picture.

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