College Football Top 25: 10 non-ranked teams who could crack the late-season polls

5 of 11

Oct 25, 2014; Champaign, IL, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Jerry Kill watches from the sideline in the game against the Illinios Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Illinois beat Minnesota 28 to 24. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7: Minnesota Golden Gophers

2014 Finish: 8-5, 5-3 Big Ten

If you hadn’t noticed, there’s something special happening in Minneapolis, and slowly but surely, Jerry Kill is starting to make believers out of his counterparts in the Big Ten.

Of their four regular season losses in 2014 (including an inexplicable loss to lowly Illinois), the Gophers were in every game other than the 30-7 loss to TCU. A few breaks or few more properly executed plays and not only is Minnesota in the Big Ten championship race last season, but Ohio State may not even even been in the playoffs.

Defense isn’t the problem for Kill’s Gophers, they need to be able to move and score better than they did in 2014. Minnesota finished 69th in scoring offense, putting up only 28.5 points per game, and passing the ball was the big weakness.

If the Gophers can up that passing game from last year’s pitiful 121st national ranking and 142 yards per game, there are few blockades that stand in their way this year. Although they may still have a ways to go before anyone talks playoff, this is certainly a possible top 25 team.

Next: Marshall