Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
If Northwestern and Purdue can each win one of their final two games, 10 Big Ten teams will be bowl-eligible, and almost certainly headed somewhere for the postseason. All but Indiana and Minnesota, in other words.
That gives virtually every Gopher competitor the right to hold an extra 10 or so practices in December, not to mention play one more game. (In fact, if Syracuse and Western Michigan, both 5-5 right now, can qualify for and find bowl berths, and New Hampshire upsets Maine to capture a FCS at-large berth, 11 of the 12 teams on Minnesota's 2012 schedule might appear in the postseason.)
It's the sort of advantage that drives coaches -- the ones who don't get that advantage -- crazy. But Jerry Kill all but said during his Tuesday press conference that he's not so sure a bowl berth would be so valuable for his team right now.
"We need to get in the weight room and get stronger and faster anyway," Kill said. "Sometimes if you're 6-6, going to a bowl game ... well, right now, we need to be in the weight room [more]."
It's the first time since 2002 that Kill won't be coaching a football team in the postseason, either in a bowl game (three straight appearances with Northern Illinois), or in the FBC playoffs (his final five seasons at Southern Illinois). So what will he and his staff do with all that free time?
"We'll turn it into a positive. We'll be recruiting," Kill said. "We'll be farther along than we were last year," since he wasn't even hired until Dec. 7. "We'll have a good recruiting base. Our kids will be working. ... Nothing else we can do about it."
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