At-a-glance: Minnesota’s Bowl Possibilities

Austin Cumblad

I don’t know about you, but the last couple weeks of the college football season (of which the Big Ten is never a part) make me antsy. As the SEC and Big XII gear up for conference championship games with BCS National Championship Game implications, all Big Ten fans can do is watch idly and wait for their team’s bowl destination to be announced on Sunday. But why not pass the time by taking a look at the Gophers possibilities? I’ll throw in my two cents at the end but first let’s consider the three options.

1) Champs Sports Bowl: Dec. 27 in Orlando, FL – It seems the head-to-head matchup would give Wisconsin the upper hand over Minnesota on this one, but there is speculation that the Badgers are shooting for the Insight Bowl after playing its postseason game in Florida for the past four seasons.

2) Insight Bowl: Dec. 31 in Tempe, AZ – As it stands right now, this seems to be the bowl the Gophers are slotted for, but as I just mentioned, Wisconsin may be aiming for a trip to Arizona instead of Florida.  Both scout.com and SI.com have Kansas as the Big Ten’s foe in this game.  Yes, the same Kansas that just knocked off No. 13 Missouri.

3) Motor City Bowl: Dec. 26 in Detroit, MI – Anyone hoping Minnesota would end up somewhere warm for its bowl should be thanking the Oregon Ducks profusely for knocking off Oregon State on Saturday.  A win by the Beavers would have sent them to the Rose Bowl, USC to an at-large BCS bid, and Ohio State to the Capital One Bowl instead of the Fiesta Bowl where it is projected to land now.  Not meaning to count my chickens too early, but with the Oregon State loss, USC should make the Rose Bowl after beating UCLA this Saturday.  Then, it is expected that the Fiest Bowl will take the 10-2 Buckeyes over undefeated Boise State; with two teams in BCS bowls, Minnesota should not be in Detroit the day after Christmas and will avoid a matchup with undefeated and 12th ranked Ball State.

Well, I hope that was thoroughly confusing.  Personally, I think the Gophers will end up right where records tell us they should – at the Insight Bowl.  I see no reason why Champs wouldn’t select Wisconsin; the Badgers’ fan base travels well to Florida, as evidenced by its last four trips there, and Wisconsin won the head-to-head meeting.  And, though nothing is guaranteed in college football (especially when it comes to the BCS), it looks at though Oregon State’s loss secured Minnesota a spot somewhere other than Detroit for its bowl.

OK, there’s my take on it.  What’s yours?