Gophers bowl chances improve

by Ben Gotz

The Gophers finished their regular season with a losing record, but they still might be able to go bowling.

Only 75 teams have a record of 6-6 or better with 80 bowl game slots to fill, meaning between two and five 5-7 teams will play in a bowl game. Three teams still can reach 6-6 with games on Saturday: Kansas State, South Alabama and Georgia State.

The NCAA announced Monday any of the remaining slots those teams do not fill will go to teams based on their Academic Progress Rate. Among 5-7 teams, the Gophers are tied for fourth in the metric with San Jose State behind Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas State.

Nebraska and Kansas State should take up two of the remaining slots regardless of how the Wildcats perform Saturday, and Missouri athletics director Mack Rhoades said in a statement Monday the program will not seek a bowl bid.

South Alabama will play Appalachian State on Saturday, while Georgia State will play Georgia Southern. Both 5-7 teams are underdogs in their respetive games.

Tracy Claeys said on Monday the team would accept a bid if offered. Teams are allowed extra practices if they accept a bowl invitation, which would help the Gophers continue to develop many of their young players who contributed this season.

– Mike Hendrickson contributed to this report