CBS: What to watch for at Big Ten Media Day (Penn State and Minnesota's expectations)

BleedGopher

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per CBS:

Penn State and Minnesota's expectations​

Penn State coach James Franklin and Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck each face a choice entering their Big Ten Media Days appearances after disappointing 2020 seasons: how hard do they push in pumping up their 2021 squads?

Both the Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers finished with losing records last year after each reached 11 wins in 2019, and the unforeseen dips for both programs appear to have recalibrated expectations. While both are expected to return to winning records and play in bowls, neither are necessarily expected to compete for a division title.

Penn State must contend with clear-cut league favorite Ohio State in the East Division while playing at Iowa and at Wisconsin out of the West in addition to hosting Auburn in nonconference play. Minnesota must also contend with Iowa and Wisconsin in the West, and Fleck is just 1-7 against those two so far in an otherwise solid tenure. Plus, the Gophers open with Ohio State and play at Colorado in a nonconference game.

Given the disappointing results of last season and the measured expectations around both programs this year, it feels like Franklin and Fleck both have an opportunity to skate by with 7-8 regular season wins without catching too much flack. But both are incredibly proud coaches who could be prone to push back on those middling expectations and project a sense of bravado. Are their teams ready for a return to their 2019 levels? How they decide to play it in front of the cameras could go a long way for setting the fan expectations around both teams.


Go Gophers!!
 

WriterGoph

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Didn't realize Penn State hosts Auburn this year. That's pretty sweet. Hopefully they roll the Tigers
 

swingman

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Dumb question. It won't be bravado, but confidence in the Row The Boat culture's impact in year five. A team with the most returning experience and production in NCAA history means PJ definitely pushes back on low expectations at Media Days. PJ has a Nekton Mentality, always attacking. He attacks at a Prefontaine Pace, running hard and fast from the gun. He has a Farmers Alliance philosophy, setting anything but the highest goals would mean sowing seeds of doubt. The Compass points to the top!
 

BTChamp

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Didn't realize Penn State hosts Auburn this year. That's pretty sweet. Hopefully they roll the Tigers
That could be 3 straight losses to BIG teams. The Original U, Northwestern, and State Pen. That could be some good media fodder.
 

Jordekorn

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Dumb question. It won't be bravado, but confidence in the Row The Boat culture's impact in year five. A team with the most returning experience and production in NCAA history means PJ definitely pushes back on low expectations at Media Days. PJ has a Nekton Mentality, always attacking. He attacks at a Prefontaine Pace, running hard and fast from the gun. He has a Farmers Alliance philosophy, setting anything but the highest goals would mean sowing seeds of doubt. The Compass points to the top!
I like pj, but he definitely does not have an "always attack" mentality. Our game plan with the smallest of leads is so conservative it would make Rush Limbaugh blush.
 


denguegopher

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I don't think that too much should be made of the 2020 season. I doubt that last year will be predictive of what happens in 2021. Go Gophers!
 

cjbfbp

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I don't think that too much should be made of the 2020 season. I doubt that last year will be predictive of what happens in 2021. Go Gophers!

Agreed. The big concern about Minnesota in the mind of the media will be the defense. However, Fleck produced a very quick defensive turnaround in the 2018 season when the defense was terrible for the first part of the Big Ten season but was substantially improved over the last four games of the year. If that could be done within the same season without significant player personnel adjustments, I'm fairly confident that the defense could be better with offseason player personnel adjustments and additional maturity a season later. The defense already was significantly improved by the end of last season.
 




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