College football: Minnesota could be in line for Citrus or Outback bowls
The Big Ten bowl committees, like the rest of the country, will be curious to see how the first year of the College Football Playoff plays out. But not having the ability to pick their teams is the really big change.
The Big Ten bowl committees, like the rest of the country, will be curious to see how the first year of the College Football Playoff plays out.
But not having the ability to pick their teams is the really big change.
Programs like the University of Minnesota, starving for the first New Year's Day bowl since the 1962 Rose Bowl, have fans more glued to the bowl selection process than in years past.
That's because the opportunity to play in a better bowl — not in Texas again — is realistic.
"You've got that first tier of Big Ten bowls (Citrus, Outback and Holiday), I would be surprised if Minnesota wasn't in that," Citrus Bowl representative Dave Korducki said Monday. "I think they are going to be right in the middle of that top three after the playoff."
The official announcements aren't until Sunday, but the Gophers (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) likely will be selected to play in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando, the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla., or the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 in San Diego.
If the Orange Bowl picks a Big Ten team (it's only allowed to select a non-champion), then the Citrus Bowl cannot pick a team from the Big Ten.
The bowl selection process isn't primarily based on fan travel or ticket sales anymore. It's more about getting the best matchups among the best teams available.
And the conferences do the choosing after getting a list of the top three favorites from each bowl and preferences from the schools.
"Minnesota's got a lot of good things going for it," Korducki said. "You have a coach who has a big backing in the football community. Everywhere Jerry Kill has gone, he's had success and has carried his assistants with him. Coach Kill is really doing something right to keep everybody together, which is almost unheard of. Then you have a team with a lot of history that dates back to the Sixties, but not a lot since then."
Korducki attended the Gophers' 34-24 loss at Wisconsin last week at Camp Randall Stadium that determined the winner of the West division and opponent for Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game Saturday.
He noticed that the Gophers' fans he talked to after the game were more excited about the program's future than they were depressed about falling short of a shot at their first Big Ten title since 1967.
"You wouldn't really know they lost a big game if you talked to them for a few minutes," Korducki said. "They weren't down on the team. They've gotten better every year under Jerry Kill. That's definitely how things look. Huge win over rival Iowa. Tough losses against TCU, Wisconsin and Ohio State. And only one bad loss (Illinois)."