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Gophers move up in USA Today poll after bye week, make BCS appearance

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Despite not playing Saturday, the Gopher football team continued to make strides in the USA Today Coaches' Poll released today, moving up two spots to No. 23.

You can thank losses by Miami (FL), who were last week's 23rd ranked team, and Texas, who were No. 24 and got smoked by No. 12 Oklahoma State, for Minnesota's bump in the Week 13 rankings.

In the BCS standings released Sunday night, the Gophers made their first appearance of the season at No. 25, sitting four percentage points behind Ole Miss.

In the AP poll, Minnesota is still on the outside looking in, sitting just one spot outside the ranked clubs after being hopped by Duke, who beat the aforementioned Miami Hurricanes Saturday.

The Gophers are just 17 points behind the Blue Devils for the final spot in the AP poll, and have a chance to make a statement by beating No. 16 Wisconsin this coming Saturday in their stiffest test of the year.

The Badgers throttled Indiana 51-3 yesterday, a team Minnesota struggled with three weeks ago, and the Badgers two losses have come by a combined nine points.

Saturday will mark the first of a two-week stretch of tough football for the Gophers, as they close their regular season two days after Thanksgiving by facing Michigan State, who boast the nation's top defense. The Spartans are up to 13th in the land according to the AP after their road victory against Nebraska.

Should Minnesota pull the upset of Wisconsin and Michigan State lose to Northwestern this Saturday, the Gophers' season finale against the Spartans would be for a spot in the Big Ten Championship game.

The Gophers have to get by the Badgers first though, a contest that will be nationally televised this Saturday, a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.

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