For middle-of-the-pack programs like Minnesota, the Big Ten schedule is always daunting.

Well, the Gophers have rarely seen a stretch like the one they're about to begin.

There are four Big Ten teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the Associated Press poll. Those four teams also happen to be Minnesota's next four opponents.

The Gophers play at No. 5 Michigan State on Saturday. They host No. 3 Ohio State next Thursday. They travel to No. 20 Iowa for a game on Jan. 19. They have No. 4 Wisconsin visiting on Jan. 22.

The last time Minnesota faced four straight conference foes ranked in the AP poll was 1996.