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Gophers headed to Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day

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The Minnesota Gophers will play in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando against Missouri, according to the Star Tribune.

"It's a great thing for all of us," said head coach Jerry Kill Sunday evening.

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It’s the first time the Gophers (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) have played in a New Year’s Day bowl game since 1962, when they defeated UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

Missouri (10-3) won the SEC East but lost 42-13 to Alabama in Saturday's SEC title game.

The university has posted ticket information here.

Earlier in the day it appeared Minnesota might not be selected for a Jan. 1 bowl game. But that changed when Mississippi State jumped ahead of Michigan State in the final College Football Playoff rankings.

The Star Tribune explains that the Big Ten or SEC team with the highest ranking – that didn't make the four-team national championship playoff – would go to the Orange Bowl. That would have been Michigan State based on last week’s rankings, but it wound up being Mississippi State.

If the Big Ten team had gone to the Orange Bowl, the conference wouldn’t have been able to send a team to the Citrus Bowl.

Michigan State will play in the Cotton Bowl against Baylor.

The Citrus Bowl was called the Capital One Bowl from 2003 to 2014.

The Gophers' last bowl victory was in 2004, when they beat Alabama 20-16 in the Music City Bowl.

As for the national playoffs, the Big Ten's Ohio State will play Alabama at the Sugar Bowl, and Oregon will face Florida State at the Rose Bowl, both on Jan. 1.

The winners will advance to the national championship game Jan. 12 at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas.

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