This is the 12th in a 12-week Friday series looking at the Wisconsin football team's 2014 opponents.
Minnesota's football program is on the rise in coach Jerry Kill's fourth season with the team. The question as it pertains to Wisconsin, however, is this: Are the Gophers good enough to challenge for Paul Bunyan's Axe, or is the gap between the two programs still too wide?
Minnesota finished last season 8-5, which marked the first time the Gophers won at least eight games since 2003. The Gophers also won four straight Big Ten games for the first time since 1973, including victories against Nebraska and Penn State. In nearly every way, the season was deemed a success.
But if you're looking for reasons to call last season something short of special, here are two of them: A 20-7 loss against Wisconsin at TCF Bank Stadium and a 21-17 loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl. Wisconsin won its 10th consecutive game in the border series and has won six of those contests by ...