The last time the Gophers won at least a share of the Big Ten football title was 1967, and they finished in a three-way tie that year with Indiana and Purdue. All three teams had 6-1 conference records and went 1-1 against each other.
Indiana got the Rose Bowl berth after a vote of conference schools, with the logic being that the Hoosiers hadn’t been to Pasadena before, while Purdue had gone the previous year and the Gophers played in the 1961 and ’62 Rose Bowls.
This season, the Gophers still have a chance at finishing in a four-way tie for the Big Ten West title. That’s what will happen if Iowa beats Nebraska on Friday, with the Gophers also beating Wisconsin on Saturday. In that scenario all four teams would finish with 6-3 conference records. Wisconsin would still go to the Big Ten Championship Game. The only team besides Wisconsin that can still go to Indianapolis is Nebraska. If the Huskers beat Iowa and Minnesota wins the Axe, Nebraska would be 7-2, with Wisconsin and Minnesota at 6-3.
How the Big Ten would break a four-team tie
1. The records of the four tied teams will be compared against each other. (Wisconsin would be 2-1 against the other three teams tied for the title, as would Iowa. Minnesota and Nebraska would both be 1-2).
Note: If two teams are tied after any step, the winner of the head-to-head game would prevail. Wisconsin beat Iowa 17-9 on Oct. 22. Here are the next tiebreakers:
2. The records of the four tied teams will be compared within the division (Wisconsin is 5-0 against the West, Nebraska 4-1, Minnesota 3-2 and Iowa 3-2).
3. The records of the teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish (5 and 6).
4. The records of the teams will be compared against all common conference opponents.
5. The team with the best overall winning percentage (excluding exempted games) shall be the representative.
6. The representative will be chosen by random draw.
It’ll probably never get to a random draw, but boy, would that be a story!