Reusse: Another year without a bowl game caps 50 years of magnificent futility

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2011 - 9:26 AM

Since their last Rose Bowl appearance, the Gophers have by many measures ranked with the worst teams in major college football.

Former All-America quarterback Sandy Stephens was a star for the last Gophers football team to reach the Rose Bowl -- in 1962.

Photo: John Croft, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Wisconsin will be playing in a second consecutive Rose Bowl and its fifth in 19 years Monday. That will also mark the 50th anniversary of Minnesota's second and last appearance in the Rose Bowl.

On Jan. 2, 1962, the Gophers defeated UCLA 21-3 to make up partially for a loss to Washington a year earlier after Minnesota already had been voted as the 1960 national champion.

There are now 35 bowl games, including the five that make up the Bowl Championship Series -- Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange and the BCS title game.

The Bowl Coalition and the Bowl Alliance were forerunners to the BCS starting in 1992. The Rose Bowl, the Big Ten and the Pac-10 joined in 1998, giving the BCS authority over the four major bowls.

The BCS games are the top tier in bowls, obviously. There are four bowls in the $7 million (or higher) neighborhood for a payout that make up the second tier: Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, Cotton in Dallas, Capital One in Orlando and Outback in Tampa.

The Big Ten has a tie-in with the Capital One and the Outback. So, that's it if you want to talk Big Ten and prestigious bowl games: the Rose (and any other BCS game), the Capital One and the Outback.

The Gophers have played in a dozen bowl games since the victory in Pasadena on Jan. 2, 1962. They have been third tier or lower: one in Birmingham, one in Shreveport, La., one in Memphis, one in a nearly empty Dolphins stadium in Miami, two in El Paso, Texas, three in Nashville, and the past three in the Insight Bowl -- the backup game to the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix.

The BCS consists of 67 teams from the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Big East (including Notre Dame). That is an increase of one (Utah joining the Pac-12) over the 2010-11 bowl season.

What is the prestige for a BCS program in reaching a bowl game of any level? Consider: For the 2010 season, 46 of the 66 BCS teams played in a bowl game. That's 69.7 percent. For this season, 48 of the 67 BCS teams are in a bowl game. That's 71.6 percent.

Clearly, it's much more difficult for a BCS program to avoid a bowl game than to play in one.

Over the past two seasons, nine BCS teams have failed to reach a bowl game. One of those, Southern Cal, makes the list because of probation. The eight programs that have made the bowl-less list through on-field merit are Ole Miss, Duke, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon State, Washington State, Indiana and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Throw out Southern Cal and that's 12 percent of the BCS programs that have failed to reach a bowl in the past two seasons.

Earlier in this decade, there was a rule for bowl eligibility that required Division I teams (now FBS) to finish above .500. They also could count a victory over a Division 1-AA team (now FCS) only once every three years.

That was changed with the move to a 12-game schedule in 2006. You are bowl eligible with a .500 record and can count a victory over an FCS team every year.

The relaxation of that FCS rule has not helped the Gophers the past two seasons. They are 0-2 against FCS neighbors from South Dakota and North Dakota State. The Gophers are the only team among the 67 in the BCS to have losses to FCS teams in each of the past two seasons.

Admit it, Gopher zealots: These are magnificent accomplishments when it comes to futility.

The Big Ten put 10 of 12 teams in a bowl game this season and the Gophers aren't one of them. Fifty-eight of the 66 eligible BCS teams will have played in at least one bowl game in the past two seasons and the Gophers aren't one of them. BCS programs have seven losses to FCS teams in the past two seasons and the Gophers stand alone with two of them.

Oh, well. Look at the bright side:

As the Badgers run onto the Rose Bowl turf in front of a raucous mob of 40,000 of their fans again Monday, it will be a mere 50 years to the day that our beloved rodents did the same.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. preusse@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Chart: Big Ten and the BCS

    Wednesday December 28, 2011

    The BCS started determining participants in all four major bowl games -- Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta -- for the 1998-99 season. The national title game was played in those...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - J. Peavy 7:07 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 6:00 PM
Orlando
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Boston
Washington 6:30 PM
New York
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Atlanta 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Portland 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Phoenix 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close