Despite 5-7 record, Gophers still hope for bowl bid

Gophers coach Tracy Claeys talked to his players Sunday night about possibly playing in a bowl despite finishing the season 5-7.

"We are prepared for that," Claeys said Monday. "But at the same time, they know that there are some odds to getting that done."

Currently, 75 teams have won six or more games to qualify for the 80 spots in a record-high 40 bowl games. As many as five 5-7 teams or as few as two could make bowls. Three 5-6 teams — Kansas State, South Alabama and Georgia State — can qualify with wins Saturday.

Two ESPN analysts projected Monday the Gophers could play in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 28 in Detroit. ESPN lists the possible opponents as Central Michigan and California.

On Sunday, CBS Sports projected the Gophers will be playing North Carolina State in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 26 in New York.


The Gophers and 11 other teams finished the season with 5-7 records, including Nebraska, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri from Power Five conferences.

The NCAA football oversight committee will meet this week to determine guidelines on how to add 5-7 teams. The bowl lineup will be announced Sunday.

"We are going to continue to lift weights and condition and move that way, and hear in a week (about) our situation," Claeys said.

Claeys said a bowl game would be a benefit for his younger players in the long term, as well as give most of his seniors one last chance to suit up.

"I think it would be great news," Claeys said.


Former offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, who was fired Sunday along with quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski, said he's confident in the remaining coaching staff to succeed going forward.

"If the bowl game came up, the remaining guys on the staff would do a great job," Limegrover said of graduate assistants Trevor Olson for the offensive line and Adam Weber with the quarterbacks.


• Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill helped Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard talk through candidates for their vacant head coach position. The Cyclones announced the hiring of former Toledo coach Matt Campbell on Monday.

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