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Gophers in Jan. 1 bowl game? Sports Illustrated thinks so

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Three straight wins has taken the Gophers all the way to a realistic possibility of playing a New Year's Day bowl game.

Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel -- a heavy-hitter in college football circles -- released his bowl game projections today and he has the Gophers playing South Carolina in the Gator Bowl on January 1.

After losing at Michigan in early October, the Gophers have bookended a home win over Nebraska with road wins against Northwestern and Indiana. Now, with Penn State coming to TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, the Gophers are favored to win a fourth consecutive game, putting them closer to a potential Jan. 1 bowl.

The Gophers haven't won four straight Big Ten conference games in 40 years. Back in 1973 the Cal Stoll led Gophers to four in a row to finish off a 7-4 season.

A New Year's Day bowl game would be a historical accomplishment for the Gophers. Bowl appearances in the U of M's history, minus the Murray Warmath years in 1961 and 1962, are not very impressive.

  • 1961: Rose Bowl
  • 1962: Rose Bowl
  • 1977: Hall of Fame Bowl
  • 1985: Independence Bowl
  • 1986: Liberty Bowl
  • 1999: Sun Bowl
  • 2000: Bowl
  • 2002: Music City Bowl
  • 2003: Sun Bowl
  • 2004: Music City Bowl
  • 2005: Music City Bowl
  • 2006: Insight Bowl
  • 2008: Insight Bowl
  • 2009: Insight Bowl
  • 2012: Meineke Car Care Bowl

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