OK, OK. It's still not a very good bowl. It's certainly not the Rose Bowl, played on the same day. But it is interesting to note that ESPN projections show the Gophers going to the Heart of Dallas Bowl (they have it as the TicketCity Bowl, but it was recently renamed), played Jan. 1 in Dallas. Opponent: SMU.
It is interesting in that many fans, in joking about where squad might wind up if it finished with the minimum-eligibility 6-6 record (and they are still one win short after beating Purdue), figured the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in glamorous Detroit (on Dec. 26) would be the destination.
That game has a natural MAC-Big Ten tie-in, but both ESPN predictors have a MAC team facing a non-Big Ten team in that game. With Ohio State and Penn State not eligible to go to a bowl game, and Purdue, Indiana and Illinois outside the ESPN bowl projections, we presume the Big Ten could have a hard time filling all its slots.
That could mean a better bowl than the Gophers (should they make it) would have normally deserved -- and a more enticing trip for fans. New Year's in Texas vs. Christmas in Detroit? It's wouldn't be Pasadena, but it would be something.