Ranking Golden Gopher Football Seasons, 1970-2019

IceBoxGopher

Active member
Joined
Mar 9, 2011
Messages
998
Reaction score
71
Points
28
Just something I decided to research and put together for fun. It kind of got difficult to rank getting into the 7 and 6 win seasons.

1. 2019
Record: 11-2
Conference Record: 7-2
Ranking: 10/10
Bowl: Outback (New Year's Day)
Bowl Win: Yes
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Win
Michigan: NA
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

2. 2003
Record: 10-3
Conference Record: 5-3
Ranking: 20/17
Bowl: Sun Bowl
Bowl Win: Yes
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

3. 1999
Record: 8-4
Conference Record: 5-3
Ranking: 17/18
Bowl: Sun Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: NA
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

4. 2014
Record: 8-5
Conference Record: 5-3
Bowl: Citrus Bowl (New Year's Day)
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Win
Michigan: Win
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

5. 2016
Record: 9-4
Conference Record: 5-4
Bowl: Holiday Bowl
Bowl Win: Yes
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: NA
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

6. 2013
Record: 8-5
Conference Record: 4-4
Bowl: Texas Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Win
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

7. 2002
Record: 8-5
Conference Record: 3-5
Bowl: Music City Bowl
Bowl Win: Yes
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

8. 1973
Record: 7-4
Conference Record: 6-2
Bowl: None
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

9. 1977
Record: 7-5
Conference Record: 4-4
Bowl: Hall of Fame Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Win
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

10. 1985
Record: 7-5
Conference Record: 4-4
Bowl: Independence Bowl
Bowl Win: Yes
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

11. 2018
Record: 7-6
Conference Record: 3-6
Bowl: Quick Lane Bowl
Bowl Win: Yes
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: No
Michigan: NA
Iowa: No
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

12. 2004
Record: 7-5
Conference Record: 3-5
Bowl: Music City Bowl
Bowl Win: Yes
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

13. 2005
Record: 7-5
Conference Record: 4-4
Bowl: Music City Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Win
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

14. 2008
Record: 7-6
Conference Record: 3-5
Bowl: Insight Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

15. 1990
Record: 6-5
Conference Record: 5-3
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

16. 1989
Record: 6-5
Conference Record: 4-4
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

17. 1986
Record: 6-6
Conference Record: 5-3
Bowl: Liberty Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Win
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Conference Record: No

18. 1975
Record: 6-5
Conference Record: 3-5
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

19. 1987
Record: 6-5
Conference Record: 3-5
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

20. 1981
Record: 6-5
Conference Record: 4-5
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

21. 2000
Record: 6-6
Conference Record: 4-4
Bowl: Micron Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

22. 1976
Record: 6-5
Conference Record: 4-4
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

23. 2015
Record: 6-7
Conference Record: 2-6
Bowl: Quick Lane Bowl
Bowl Win: Yes
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

24. 2012
Record: 6-7
Conference Record: 2-6
Bowl: Car Care Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

25. 2006
Record: 6-7
Conference Record: 3-5
Bowl: Insight Bowl
Bowl Win: No
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

26. 2009
Record: 6-7
Conference Record: 3-5
Bowl: Insight Bowl
Bowl Win: Loss
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: NA
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

27. 1978
Record: 5-6
Conference Record: 4-4
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

28. 1998
Record: 5-6
Conference Record: 2-6
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

29. 2017
Record: 5-7
Conference Record: 2-7
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Win
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

30. 1980
Record: 5-6
Conference Record: 4-5
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Wisconsin: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

31. 1972
Record: 4-7
Conference Record: 4-4
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

32. 1971
Record: 4-7
Conference Record: 3-5
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

33. 1984
Record: 4-7
Conference Record: 3-6
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

34. 1993
Record: 4-7
Conference Record: 3-5
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

35. 1979
Record: 4-6-1
Conference Record: 3-6-1
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

36. 2001
Record: 4-7
Conference Record: 2-6
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

37. 1974
Record: 4-7
Conference Record: 2-6
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

38. 1996
Record: 4-7
Conference Record: 1-7
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

39. 2011
Record: 3-9
Conference Record: 2-6
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

40. 2010
Record: 3-9
Conference Record: 2-6
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: NA
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

41. 1994
Record: 3-8
Conference Record: 1-7
Wisconsin: Win
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

42. 1970
Record: 3-6-1
Conference Record: 2-4-1
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Tie
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

43. 1982
Record: 3-8
Conference Record: 1-8
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: Yes

44. 1995
Record: 3-8
Conference Record: 1-7
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa; Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

45. 1992
Record: 2-9
Conference Record: 2-6
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Win
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

46. 1988
Record: 2-7-2
Conference Record: 0-6-2
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

47. 1991
Record: 2-9
Conference Record: 1-7
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

48. 1983
Record: 1-10
Conference Record: 0-9
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: Loss
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No

49. 2007
Record: 1-11
Conference Record: 0-8
Wisconsin: Loss
Nebraska: NA
Michigan: Loss
Iowa: Loss
Undefeated Non-Conference: No
 

cemba99

Bruce Smith for Governor
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
536
Reaction score
33
Points
28
Largely agree with the rankings - however, many people may not remember how bad the 1983 gophers were. Salem's last year - have to be the worst gopher team of all time, not just the last 50 years. The average margin of loss in those 11 defeats was 31 points. Had Holtz not come along next year and breathed a little life into the program (I know he has his detractors), who knows where the program may have ended up. At the least the 2007 Gophers were competitive in several of those losses.
 

xyz1

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
57
Reaction score
4
Points
8
This might underrate 1973 - the four losses were to teams that finished the year ranked 2 (OSU), 6 (Mich), 7 (Neb), and 18 (Kansas). Minnesota was clearly the third-best team in the conference in what might have been the height of the Big 2/Little 8 era; give them a softer nonconference schedule like you often see today and they're probably 9-2.

And if you can somehow overlook the inexplicable loss to Pacific, at home, the 1986 team was the best team Gutekunst had - 5-3 in the Big Ten and the win at Michigan. I'd put them ahead of 89 and 90.
 

GopherDog1

Section 143
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
362
Reaction score
172
Points
43
This might underrate 1973 - the four losses were to teams that finished the year ranked 2 (OSU), 6 (Mich), 7 (Neb), and 18 (Kansas). Minnesota was clearly the third-best team in the conference in what might have been the height of the Big 2/Little 8 era; give them a softer nonconference schedule like you often see today and they're probably 9-2.
My first game at Memorial Stadium was that Nebraska game with my Dad and my hatred for the Huskers lives on. As a young Vikings fan back then, I was used to winning football games and going to Super Bowls so that was not easy to watch as I was only 11 years old. My father did somehow get tickets to that game and I was excited to go just as I am today. Those Cal Stoll teams were good teams but like you said Ohio State and Michigan were clearly the Big 2 back then. Fun to see this ranking and understand how the last year, 2019 ranked and where 1973 ranked and compare.
 

restovich

Active member
Joined
May 20, 2015
Messages
148
Reaction score
99
Points
28
Hard to quibble with this too much. I might put 1981, my senior undergrad year, up higher. Great wins over Iowa and over OSU (the Jay Carroll game!)
 

Iceland12

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2008
Messages
21,045
Reaction score
222
Points
63
"It's easier to win here than at ________"? Hardly anywhere.

Gophers have only won 8 or more games 7 times in those 49 years. 9 or more just 3 times. Hell they've only won 6 or more Conference games twice since 1974! There are very few FBS/ D-1A schools that have a worse record than that.

If Fleck can keep it going he's a hero.
 

IceBoxGopher

Active member
Joined
Mar 9, 2011
Messages
998
Reaction score
71
Points
28
Largely agree with the rankings - however, many people may not remember how bad the 1983 gophers were. Salem's last year - have to be the worst gopher team of all time, not just the last 50 years. The average margin of loss in those 11 defeats was 31 points. Had Holtz not come along next year and breathed a little life into the program (I know he has his detractors), who knows where the program may have ended up. At the least the 2007 Gophers were competitive in several of those losses.
Yeah I think putting the 2007 team at that spot probably had more to do with recency bias.

This might underrate 1973 - the four losses were to teams that finished the year ranked 2 (OSU), 6 (Mich), 7 (Neb), and 18 (Kansas). Minnesota was clearly the third-best team in the conference in what might have been the height of the Big 2/Little 8 era; give them a softer nonconference schedule like you often see today and they're probably 9-2.

And if you can somehow overlook the inexplicable loss to Pacific, at home, the 1986 team was the best team Gutekunst had - 5-3 in the Big Ten and the win at Michigan. I'd put them ahead of 89 and 90.
Good points! Yeah it gets a little tricky with those 6 and 7 win seasons. I certainly agree with the 1973 season. In a modern season we'd probably have another win with a 12th non-con game, likely against a G5 school to get 8 wins and a good bowl.

Brutal.

Please delete.
Haha, sorry. I just fell into the trap of browsing Minnesota seasons on Wikipedia and just killed time doing this.
 

Hates Monikers

Active member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
2,564
Reaction score
24
Points
38
This list basically covers my Gopher fandom (probably started more like '72 or '73). Not going to quibble with the details. But it seems clear to me that the past 20 years as a whole have been much better than the previous 30.
 

Some Day...Maybe

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2010
Messages
1,872
Reaction score
238
Points
63
4 of the top 6 in the last 7 years if you don’t count this year. Best era of Gopher football since the 1960’s.
 
Top Bottom