The Gophers have an opportunity to crush Wisconsin's playoff dreams

Minnesota can do more than take Paul Bunyan's Axe back with a win over Wisconsin.
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The final week of the regular season not only pits the Gophers against the Badgers, but this version of the football border battle has more on the line than usual.

Minnesota is trying to win back Paul Bunyan's Axe for the first time in 13 years and win nine games for the first time since 2003 and just the second time in the last 110 years. The Badgers, meanwhile, are playing to secure a spot in the Big Ten championship game and a possible spot as one of the final four teams in this year's College Football Playoff.

"We know we have to beat Minnesota for all that stuff to (ring) true, so we’re going to make sure we go out and do that," Badgers running back Dare Ogunbowale said Saturday, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Minnesota could use the win to secure a better bowl game. The latest bowl projection from SB Nation has the Gophers in the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl against Washington State.

The Gophers can also tie for the Big Ten West division title if they upset the Badgers and Iowa beats Nebraska on Friday.

So it's not just a rivalry game this time around. For Minnesota, this meeting is about the Axe, securing a better bowl game, knocking Wisconsin out of the Big Ten title game and ending the Badgers' hopes of winning a national championship.

According to CBS Sports, Wisconsin's best chance to make it to the College Football Playoff is to beat Michigan or Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, but that won't be possible if Penn State wins the Big Ten East.

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