Is a Clemson-Esque jump in store for Minnesota? Tony Dungy believes it's possible
Minnesota was undoubtedly the breakout story in the B1G last season, but at least one analyst believes the best is yet to come for the Gophers.
In 2019, head coach P.J. Fleck guided Minnesota to an 11-2 record and win over SEC foe Auburn in the Outback bowl. It was the first double-digit win season since 2003 and gave Fleck back-to-back winning seasons and back-to-back wins in bowl games.
Since that time, Fleck has continued to build off that run by putting in work on the recruiting trail. In fact, Tony Dungy believes everything could be building to a Clemson-Esque breakthrough for Fleck and the Gophers.
During a conversation with College Sports on SiriusXM, Dungy pointed out that we have seen teams come out of nowhere to reach national prominence. That list includes Northwestern’s recent trip to the Rose Bowl and Clemson turning into a National Title powerhouse under head coach Dabo Swinney.
While there’s still work to do, Dungy does believe something similar is possible for the Gophers:
“I was so proud of those guys last year because as alums, we’ve been waiting for that for 25 years,” Dungy said. “We saw it happen at other places. We saw Northwestern go to the Rose Bowl. When I was playing, Northwestern was one of those circled wins that you always marked down. We’re going to win that one. We might not win another game but were going to beat Northwestern. Suddenly they went to the Rose Bowl and Iowa was not a power franchise and they had a period of time where they were playing great football. It kind of revolved through and Minnesota never had that magical couple of years. I think coach Fleck has done a great job of getting it going. It can happen. I think that’s the great thing about college football right now.
“Clemson, I visited with Dabo Swinney a lot. It was not a place where you say automatically, hey if I take this Clemson job, we’re going to be national championship contenders in three years. It wasn’t looked at that way. The fact that it can happen at Clemson, the fact that it can happen at Minnesota, that makes college football great.”
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) July 16, 2020
Will Fleck and the Gophers follow up a strong 2019 season with a B1G West title season? Time will tell.