Former Gophers football coach Glen Mason was fond of saying there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
Mason, now a Big Ten Network analyst, would probably have a field day with this one: The 3-0 Gophers have a 2% chance of reaching the College Football Playoff, according to FiveThirtyEight.com’s college football prediction model.
To play it out a little further: The Gophers are twice as likely (2%) to reach the CFP as the Twins are to blow the AL Central division lead (1%), both per FiveThirtyEight.
I’ll concede the Twins’ chances of giving up four games in 10 tries while they play AL Central bottom-feeders and Cleveland plays more reasonable competition are small.
But I’m also pretty sure there’s no way for FiveThirtyEight’s predictive models to visit the Twins’ training room or watch the manner in which the Gophers have achieved their undefeated record.
The Gophers among the top four at season’s end? In the country? Well … hold on. The schedule is favorable.
If Minnesota can win at Purdue and home vs. Illinois in its next two after this weekend’s bye, it would carry a 5-0 mark into a toss-up challenge at home vs. Nebraska. Then Rutgers and Maryland … you can squint and see 8-0. Win at Northwestern, sandwiched between at least a split of at Iowa/home vs. Wisconsin.
Wow. Maybe 2% is just a statistic and no worse than that.
And if the Gophers beat Purdue, the number goes up to 3%. So I’m telling you there’s a chance …