The Gophers dropped their regular-season finale to the Wisconsin Badgers 28-14 on Saturday. Minnesota finishes the regular season with a 5-7. 5 wins is just short of the mark for bowl eligibility. Through Saturday’s slate, there aren’t enough six win teams to fill all of the bowl games. The next metric to determine the last bowl participant is academic progress rate, which the Gophers are the highest in the 5-win category. So, the Gophers will be playing in a bowl game.
Thank You, Hawaii!!
Huge shoutout to the Rainbow Warriors for beating Colorado State on Saturday night (or Sunday morning depending on where you are at). Colorado State had a chance to get their sixth win with a victory over Hawaii. This may be the most exciting thing to happen to the Gopher football team this November and it wasn’t even during a Gopher game. Is it ideal to be relying on Hawaii to kick a last-second field goal to determine your bowl eligibility? No. Will I take it? Absolutely, I will!
What does this mean for PJ Fleck’s Legacy?
The latest projection shows the Gophers playing in the New Mexico Bowl against New Mexico State. If you are big into narratives, that would be a rematch between Fleck and former Gophers coach Jerry Kill. That’s some high-profile bowl action. The Gophers destroyed the Aggies 38-0 to open the 2022 season. New Mexico State has made some strides since and will be competing in the Conference USA championship game next weekend against undefeated Liberty. After watching this Gopher team for the last month, it’s clear this team needs the extra practice leading up to a bowl game. All jokes aside, Minnesota has been beaten up with injuries and is playing their third and fourth-string options in some cases. It’s worth noting that PJ Fleck is 4-0 in bowl games at Minnesota. The three coaches previous to Fleck only combined for two bowl wins since 2007. So take that Fleck haters!
It’s not the way most had hoped the Gophers would be participating in a bowl game this season, but if you are frustrated with this season it’s not all bad. It’s good that 5-7 is a disappointment these days. I remember sitting in then named TCF Bank Stadium in 2011, watching the Gophers lose to the Badgers 42-13 and dropping to a record of 2-7. The Gophers finished 3-9 that year and it looked like there were no signs of improvement coming. The expectations have elevated, but I wouldn’t throw it all away after one bad year. In the Kill and Fleck eras, there have been significant strides toward consistent bowl action and competitiveness. If you want anything more out of this program, I highly suggest you support Dinkytown Athletes and go buy some Duck Duck Beer.
Parlay engineer with Twitter fingers.