Last week’s loss at Iowa snapped the Gophers’ winning streak but didn’t derail the team’s ultimate goals. Here’s a look at what needs to happen for the Gophers to accomplish them:
The Gophers will make the Big Ten Championship Game if …
* They beat both Northwestern and Wisconsin.
* They beat Northwestern, and Wisconsin loses to Purdue on Saturday.
* They lose to Northwestern but defeat Wisconsin.
The Gophers can still make the Rose Bowl if …
They beat both Northwestern and Wisconsin. In fact, if that happens, they will have a strong chance of reaching Pasadena, even if they lose the Big Ten championship game.
The Rose Bowl is not part of the College Football Playoff this season. If a Big Ten team makes the four-team playoff, the Rose Bowl guidelines say it will pick another Big Ten team. It might help if Ohio State stays undefeated with wins over Penn State and Michigan the final two weeks. A Nittany Lions’ upset over the Buckeyes could muddy Minnesota’s Rose Bowl chances. Yes, the Gophers already have a win over Penn State, but the No. 8 Nittany Lions still moved ahead of No. 10 Minnesota in the latest CFP rankings.
Note: If the Gophers strangely lose to Northwestern before beating Wisconsin and winning the Big Ten championship game, that might turn into a Rose Bowl berth, too.
The Gophers can still make the College Football Playoff if …
They defeat Northwestern and Wisconsin and go on to shock the world at the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 7 in Indianapolis. There would be no guarantee of making the playoff, but Minnesota would be hard to keep out at that point with wins over Penn State, Wisconsin and potentially Ohio State (No. 2 right now), and a close loss at Iowa. A potential Minnesota upset would look even better if it’s against an undefeated Ohio State team.