Same old tune for Gophers bowl game

For the third time in four years, Minnesota will play in the Music City Bowl.

Matt Perkins

College football’s bowl selection Sunday was neither shocking nor suspenseful for Minnesota’s football team.

It knew it would go to the Music City Bowl when Ohio State received an automatic bid from the Bowl Championship Series committee.

But it didn’t know anything about the team it would play Dec. 30 in Nashville, Tenn., a game scheduled for an 11 a.m. kickoff.

And when Virginia’s name scrolled across ESPN’s ticker, it wasn’t much help.

“I really don’t know much about Virginia,” coach Glen Mason said.

But Mason and the Gophers do know a lot about the Music City Bowl, as this will mark the third time in the past four years they have visited the capital of country music.

And for Minnesota Athletics Director Joel Maturi, the site never gets old.

“There are a lot of positives this year for this game, including the location, the date and the time of the game,” Maturi said. “I’m looking forward to going back to the Gaylord Music City Bowl where we’ve had a fabulous time.”

For Mason it was not as much about the location, the date or the time, but simply about being grateful to have another game to play.

“We were fortunate to be able to play another game because we played so poorly against Iowa,” Mason said.

Quarterback Bryan Cupito echoed those sentiments, but also felt the fact that the game falls between Christmas and New Year’s is an added bonus.

“Players really want to be home for Christmas,” Cupito said. “New Year’s isn’t really that bad, but you want to be home for Christmas to celebrate with your family.”

But foremost, the Gophers are looking to celebrate the holidays with a win over Virginia.

“It’s a reward for our student-athletes and our football program,” Maturi said. “We’re going to celebrate the 2005 season.”