With the Gophers finishing the regular season with a 10-2 record and a co-Big Ten West title, there are many different situations and scenarios that Minnesota could end up in, depending a lot on what happens during Championship Week. While the Rose Bowl seems out of reach (or is it?), let’s take a look at where the Gophers might end up for the thirteenth and final game of the 2019 season.
Citrus Bowl: The Citrus Bowl very well might be the landing spot for the Gophers. The Citrus Bowl is played on January 1st at 12 p.m. Central Time, the perfect way to ring in the New Year if the Gophers don’t get the (now unlikely) bid to Pasadena. The Citrus Bowl would still allow fans to travel to a warm climate in the depths of winter, one of the main draws of the bowl season for Minnesota fans who are stuck in sub-zero temperatures from December-February. The Wolverines of Michigan might be the other team the committee is looking at for the Citrus Bowl, with opponents like Auburn, Alabama and Tennessee most likely to represent the SEC.
Outback Bowl: Also played in Florida, the Outback Bowl is becoming the trendy pick for many analysts as a landing spot for the maroon and gold. Played at Raymond James Stadium, this game, and the Citrus Bowl will be played at the same time with the Citrus Bowl on ABC and the Outback Bowl on ESPN. ESPN experts Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach both have the Gophers in the Outback Bowl with Bonagura selecting Alabama as Minnesota’s opponent and Schlabach selecting Tennessee as the rival. The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel also picked the Gophers in the Outback Bowl in his latest rankings with Auburn being the SEC opponent.
Gator Bowl: Played in Jacksonville, Florida on Jan. 2, the Gator Bowl is another potential landing spot for the Gophers depending on where the committee ends sliding other teams in the process. Mandel currently has Indiana in the Gator Bowl representing the Big Ten while both ESPN analysts have Wisconsin playing at TIAA Bank Field. Many fans to the East would be disappointed in this result for Bucky, especially considering the fact that they made it to the Big Ten Championship vs. Ohio State.
Rose Bowl: The dream isn’t 100% dead yet but it would take a miracle for the Gophers to be selected over Ohio State (if they lose to Wisconsin and don’t go to the CFB Playoff), Wisconsin, or Penn State. With Penn State having a better resume than the Badgers, the Rose Bowl would most likely pick the Nittany Lions over the Badgers unless Wisconsin pulls the unlikely victory over the Buckeyes. Yes, the Gophers beat Penn State and the storylines around this year’s Gophers teams are some of the best in the country. Still, the Rose Bowl might cause a riot if they go rogue and select Minnesota. One can hope, but I wouldn’t be making plans for Pasadena to ring in the New Year. If you want to have any hope, take a look at this tweet which suggests there is still the smallest of chances for the Gophers.
Prediction: Outback Bowl vs. Tennessee