The odds are unknown, but the Gophers still have a chance at being invited to a bowl game this season.
Minnesota wrapped up a five-win regular season with a loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. The next day, Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys took an axe – not the same axe the Badgers maintained with their 11th consecutive win over the Gophers – to a couple of his offensive coaches, firing offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowksi.
But even as the season seems to have fallen into the dark abyss of the college football offseason, Minnesota might not be done.
As it stands now, only 75 of the 80 teams needed to fill bowl games have the necessary six wins to be considered bowl eligible. More teams could be needed if a trio of five-win teams – Kansas State, Georgia State and South Alabama – fail to win Saturday.
ESPN says the five-win teams that receive invitations to bowl games this year could be decided by where they rank in the NCAA's APR (Academic Progress Rate). The most recent APR rankings list the Gophers fourth (among five-win teams) overall behind Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas State.
However, because this is "uncharted territory," the selection committee could avoid the APR all together and select teams via a different method, ESPN notes.
"If there is, they can send me a message," Claeys said Saturday when asked about their chances of going bowling, according to the Pioneer Press.
Only three teams ever with a losing record have played in a bowl game.