Bowl Invitation Likely For Gophers, But Will They Accept?

Photo: Mike Ehrmann - Getty Images

The Minnesota Gophers walked into Camp Randall Stadium in Madison Wisconsin on Saturday as +12.5 point underdogs. After flushing a multitude of opportunities down the toilet in regulation, they finally lost grip in overtime and hung another “L” vs the Badgers.

It made for their 16th loss in the last 17 tries vs their border rival, by far the most one-sided stretch during the 130-year rivalry.

2020 bowl games are in flux?

There’s no such thing as “bowl eligible” in 2020 so a bowl invitation is certainly still plausible, especially with all of the uncertainty surrounding other teams around the nation.

The Minnesota Gophers are now 3-4 on the season and a bowl game seemed unlikely as recent as Saturday night. But it’s a weird year and, for now, most major media outlets have the Gophers going to a bowl game of one name or another (see below).

A few teams have preemptively opted out of the bowl season and more are expected to follow suit. That’s why the Gophers are projected to get an invitation, at the very least. But would PJ Fleck and Co accept?

Fleck talks bowl game invitations

PJ was asked that exact question after the loss to Wisconsin on Saturday and his answer was quite insightful. This isn’t a normal bowl year and he let us in on some of the decisions he, Mark Coyle, his team and other college programs are wrestling with.

I’ve seen other media outlets around Minnesota interpret PJ Fleck’s words in a different way than how I did. The Gophers want to play in a bowl game, according to PJ himself, but they also want to enjoy the experience of going.

If each player has to lock themselves in separate hotel rooms for two weeks, away from friends and family during the holidays, they’re probably not interested. If the invite comes from a bowl game hosted in a state that isn’t on COVID lockdown, it sounds like they’d be all in.

You know, somewhere pools/beaches, family, team dinners and freedom would be on the itinerary…

Possible Bowls Invitations

Selection Sunday is today so we will soon find out what possibilities could present themselves to the Minnesota Gophers. A surprise offering could be made during this weird year so bowl + conference affiliation may not play out as scheduled, especially if the entire PAC-12 opts out, which is a possibility.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl Projections

Chase Field – Phoenix, AZ | Dec. 26 – 9:15 PM (ESPN)
Media OutletTeam 1Team 2
247SportsNebraskaTexas Tech
ESPN 1MinnesotaTexas Tech
ESPN 2WisconsinTexas Tech
USA TodayWest VirginiaBoise State
Athlon SportsBaylorBoise State

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl Projections

Independence Stadium – Shreveport, LA | Dec. 26 – 6PM (ESPN)
Media OutletTeam 1Team 2
247SportsArmyArizona State
ESPN 1ArmyNebraska
ESPN 2ArmyNebraska
USA TodayArmyNebraska
Athlon SportsArmyMinnesota

Duke’s Mayo Bowl

Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC | Dec. 30 – 11AM (ESPN)
Media OutletTeam 1Team 2
247SportsWake ForestIowa
ESPN 1Wake ForestWisconsin
ESPN 2Wake ForestMinnesota
USA TodayWake ForestMinnesota
Athlon SportsWake ForestNorthwestern

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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