COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Trends emerging in Gophers' bowl projections

Minnesota's win over Nebraska guaranteed the team a chance at bowl game

Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck walks on the field before a Nov. 5, 2022, game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck walks on the field before a Nov. 5, 2022, game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Dylan Widger / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers are headed to a bowl game; that became a lock when Minnesota reached the required six wins with their 20-13 comeback victory over Nebraska on Saturday.

The uncertainty lies in where the Gophers will end up playing come late December or early January. That has shifted by the week, and sometimes wildly, as the St. Paul Pioneer Press tracked 10 projections since after Week 8’s games Oct. 25.

Ben Johnson has experienced winless droughts both as a player and assistant coach with the Gophers
The loss was the 2nd straight by a 35-point margin
And why shouldn’t she? Indiana brings a 20-1 record and No. 4 national ranking into Wednesday’s game at the Barn
The Gophers (9-12 overall, 2-8 Big Ten) led only once, 2-0, on a layup by Rose Micheaux in the game’s first 16 seconds.
After an 81-61 loss at Northwestern on Saturday, Minnesota is 1-9 in Big Ten play with 10 games remaining
Junior wing who led Minnesota in scoring last season has struggled offensively at times this season
With two more players unavailable Wednesday, the Gophers had roughly half that roster max against Indiana at Williams Arena.
Minnesota gave itself ‘a chance,’ coach Ben Johnson said, but foul trouble for leading scorer Dawson Garcia was an issue
Minnesota managed just 39 points against the Boilermakers
Illinois pulls away in 2nd half, outscoring Minnesota by 15 points

Among 10 national projections, the most-popular destination this week is Minnesota going to the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Five outlets picked that location (CBS, The Athletic, The Action Network, Athlon and USA Today).

The current runner-up pick after Week 10’s games is either the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Dec. 30 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte or the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. There were two picks apiece for those bowls: ESPN, which has two pickers, took Music City; Sporting News and 247 Sports each had Mayo.

Last week, Music City and Mayo were tied for the top selection, with three picks apiece.


Those weren’t the only shifts. After one pick in each of the past two weeks, no prognosticator is guessing the Gophers are headed to the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. If that holds up, few people wearing maroon and gold will be sad about that after appearances there in 2015 and 2018.

The only constant has been one pick for Minnesota to go to the ReliaQuest Bowl (formerly known as the Outback Bowl) on Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Gophers’ week-by-week bowl projections

The number of national projections for Minnesota to go to certain bowl games this winter:

Pinstripe Bowl: 4, 2, 5
Mayo Bowl: 4, 3, 2
Music City Bowl: 0, 3, 2
ReliaQuest Bowl: 1, 1, 1
Quick Lane Bowl: 1, 1, 0


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