How would a New Year's Day Gopher victory taste? Sweet as citrus fruit

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It's not as if the Gophers have never won a New Year's Day football game before.

It's just that no one younger than 52 was alive when it last happened.

In fact, ESPN noted this week that Minnesota's 21-3 victory over UCLA in the 1962 Rose Bowl was the first time a college football game was nationally televised in color.

Now University of Minnesota football fans are looking eastward to Orlando, Florida, where their Gophers will face Missouri in a game officially known as the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.

After several days of traveling, Disneying, practicing, media availabilites, pep rallies, and New Year's Eve, the Gophers and their fans will finally get down to the purpose of their Florida visit when they take the football field Thursday at noon central time, WCCO reports.

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Bowl games have not been very kind to the Gophers in recent years. The Associated Press points out Minnesota is winless in its last six appearances and is now 5-11 all time.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar showed her Gopher spirit by making a friendly wager with a Senate colleague from Missouri – albeit a low-stakes one.

If Minnesota comes up short, Klobuchar will have to deliver some of her trademark frozen dessert hotdish to Sen. Claire McCaskill. (FOX 9 says Klobuchar's hotdish tied for second in the annual contest held among Minnesota's Congressional delegation). A Gopher victory will bring Klobuchar a supply of Buck's Tiger Strip Ice Cream. All righty, then.

Bowl games feature plenty of pageantry – this one included a Citrus Bowl Parade through downtown Orlando Wednesday.

Gifts for the players have also become a traditional part of the spectacle. But Minnesota punter Peter Mortell broke from the norm last week when he used a gift card from Best Buy that was part of the Citrus Bowl swag. Instead of buying something for himself, Mortell purchased electronics he's giving to St. Joseph's Home for Children in Minneapolis.

So thousands of Gopher fans will start 2015 by cheering on the maroon and gold, whether it be in person or at gatherings here in Minnesota.

What happens if the Tigers of Missouri get the best of us?

Hey, we'll always have that '62 Rose Bowl win.

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