By now, we've all recognized this is a goofy college football season that's only going to get goofier.
We will refrain from calling it a season (and anything else except The Masters) "like no other" because that phrase is currently No. 1 on the most-overused list in sports journalism.
Normally, though, the Gophers would be halfway through their schedule at this point of the season and we would be taking seriously their prospects for a bowl game.
because ifs a season like no other it seems truly bizarre that bowl match-up are being predicted after the Gophers are one highly unsuccessful game into their season, and a number of conferences outside of the Big Ten are also just starting up their schedules. There are also schools that have been idle as often as they've played because of COVID-related issues and others (BYU and Army come to mind) that are playing hastily reconfigured and odd schedules to get in their normal number of games.
Army has already accepted an invitation to play in the Independence Bowl against a Pac-12 opponent, a conference that doesn't start play until the first weekend of November.
All of that being said, here's where the bowl prognosticators have the Gophers going -- with eight games remaining on their schedule, if all goes well.
Keep in mind three things: (1) Few people were expecting a New Year's Day match-up for Minnesota one game into the 2019 season. (2) Are you really going to be making travel plans to go to a bowl game this year? (3) Before thinking about the betting line on a game, think about the betting line on whether the game will be played.
At ESPN.com,which gets two picks, Mark Schlabach, has the Gophers going to Nashville to play in the Music City Bowl while Kyle Bonagura has then going to Phoenix to play West Virginia in the Guaranteed rate Bowl.
The Sporting News also has a Minnesota-West Virginia match-up in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
At CBSsports.com, Jerry Palm has Minnesota in the Music City Bowl, but playing Arkansas.
College Football News has Minnesota playing North Carolina State in Charlotte in the Duke's Mayo Bowl. You've never heard of the Duke's Mayo Bowl? Until last year, it was the Belk Bowl. You've never hard of Duke's Mayo? We can help with that. Athlon Sports also has this match-up for now.
247sports.com has Minnesota and North Carolina State meeting, but at Yankee Stadium in the Pinstripe Bowl. (Better chance of really being played: Duke's Mayo Bowl vs. Pinstripe Bowl? Who has odds on that?)
USA Today's most recent predictions were made before Saturday's loss to Michigan, and the new ones should be out later this week. It'll be worth a look to see what happens to the Gophers because, before they'd taken the field, USA Today had a return to the Outback Bowl for the Gophers to play LSU.
Two more things to keep in mind. Three bowl games have already been called off for this year" The Bahamas Bowl, the Hawaii Bowl and the Redbox Bowl. Don't be surprised if others follow.
And when you look at the complete bowl schedule, bowl games aside from the New Year's Day games and the College Football Playoff games are all listed with dates to be announced.
Our takeaway: This is a somewhat fun, somewhat unnerving and somewhat abstract exercise for now. With that in mind, we'll do our best not to repeat it for another few weeks.