Gophers have a final chance to impress bowl reps

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 30, 2013 - 3:01 AM

A win in finale would put an elite Jan. 1 game in play.


– Rick Catlett has been the Gator Bowl’s executive director for 21 years, and he views the Gophers as an intriguing possibility for that New Year’s Day game in Jacksonville, Fla.

“I think any time a team does as well as they have, it certainly gets people’s attention,” Catlett said. “We started paying closer attention to them at midseason.”

At 8-3, the Gophers are having their best season since they finished 10-3 in 2003. They know they are heading to a bowl, but it’s still hard to pinpoint where. They have one more chance to make an impression on Catlett and other bowl officials Saturday, when they play at No. 11 Michigan State.

“The bowl thing — nobody can predict that,” Gophers coach Jerry Kill said. “But that’s not what’s important to us right now. Our focus is on Michigan State.”

The bowls don’t have to pick teams based on won-loss records, but an upset Saturday would improve Minnesota’s résumé. To put it differently, it could save the Gophers from falling to the bottom of the Big Ten’s bowl pecking order.

Historically, Gophers fans have not traveled as well to bowls as have fans of the other Big Ten teams jostling with them for position this weekend, including Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan.

Iowa’s win over Nebraska on Friday left both teams at 8-4, and even if Michigan falls to 7-5 with a loss to Ohio State on Saturday, the Wolverines could get picked ahead of the Gophers.

The bowl matchups will be set Dec. 8, and here’s how it works:

• First the BCS bowl pairings are set, and the big question here is how many of those 10 slots the Big Ten will fill. Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin are all in the running, and many of the latest projections have two Big Ten teams making it.

• The Capital One Bowl picks next, followed by the Outback Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Gator Bowl, Texas Bowl and Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Many of the national projections have the Gophers landing in the Texas Bowl. That’s the same Houston bowl that the Gophers played in last year, when it was called the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

If the Big Ten fails to land a second team in a BCS bowl — beyond its Rose Bowl representative — the Gophers could end up in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

That’s a New Year’s Day game, and the Gophers haven’t played a Jan. 1 bowl game since they defeated UCLA 21-3 in the 1962 Rose Bowl. But the Heart of Dallas Bowl tends to get lost in the shuffle for most football fans. It’s played at 11 a.m., on ESPNU, against a team from Conference USA.

Last year, the Gophers athletics department lobbied hard to get to Houston, and wound up being picked over a 6-6 Purdue team, which ended up in Dallas.

The Gophers sold an announced 3,163 tickets through the university, far short of their 12,000-seat allotment but more than they’d sold in three previous bowl trips, all to the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.

“I think we’ve got a long way to go to develop a profile where bowls are going to be confident that our fans are going to show up in numbers that they would be excited about,” Gophers deputy athletics director David Benedict said. “In all honesty, it’s because we haven’t been successful enough [in recent years] to where we’ve really had the chance to develop that profile.”

Benedict believes that’s changing. He said it’s a testament to the work Kill has done improving the program and selling the program around the state.

  • related content

  • The Call: Gophers vs. Michigan State

    Friday November 29, 2013

    THE OPPONENTMichigan State is 7-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1966 and will meet Ohio State...

  • College Football Insider: Plenty at stake in final Big Ten week

    Thursday November 28, 2013

    Even though the Dec. 7 Big Ten championship matchup is set — Ohio State vs. Michigan State — there’s still plenty at stake this week. A closer look:

  • Report: Gophers get football commitment from Alabama athlete

    Friday November 29, 2013

    Gibson could play wide receiver, tight end, running back or perhaps even defense in college.

  • Minnesota Gophers vs. Penn State. Minnesota won 24-10. Minnesota defen...

  • Gophers officials hope that fans who bundled up last Saturday for the Wisconsin game would warm up to traveling to a Jan. 1 bowl game in a more favorable climate in, say, Texas or Florida.

  • gophers at (11) michigan state

    11 a.m. today • TV: BTN (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 2nd Qtr 5:50
Rice 16
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Gophers Football 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 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon




question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question