Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rittenberg on Gophers Rose Bowl chances...

If you aren't already reading Adam Rittenberg's Big Ten Blog on ESPN, you really should be. The guy posts about 90 times a day and it's always really good and relevant stuff.

Here is what Rittenberg had to say today about the Gophers chances of making it to the Rose Bowl:
"My sense is that Minnesota would go to the Capital One or Outback bowl, even at 11-1. The problem is the schedule. Unless Iowa gets ranked by Nov. 22, Minnesota will have no victories against ranked opponents and only a handful against winning teams. The Gophers currently have only one victory against a winning team (Northern Illinois). Even though Illinois went to the Rose Bowl with three losses last year, the Illini had beaten the nation's No. 1 team (Ohio State). I could be wrong, but it seems like Minnesota would be penalized for its soft scheduling stemming from previous coaches and administrators. The good thing is that coach Tim Brewster has beefed up the non-league schedule in future seasons."
Unfortunately, Rittenberg is right on the money. Even if the Gophers win all of their remaining games, they'd need some help in the form of a few SEC and Big 12 schools losing.

In this case the Gophers are the victim of a few things in this case. Rittenberg points out "soft scheduling stemming from previous coaches and administrators." I'm not going to touch that one today. But the soft schedule for the Gophers doesn't just have to do with the non-conference schedule, it also has to do with how their Big Ten schedule fell this year, something that they do not have control over.

But the other thing that the Gophers are a victim of is perception. And while the Big Ten has earned a reputation the last couple of years based almost solely on how Ohio State has performed on the national stage, that perception is reality. And no matter what happens the rest of this season, that reality is going to keep the Gophers out of Pasadena this year.

As Gopher fans we have a lot to look forward to, and I believe that a Rose Bowl is certainly one of them. But, through no fault of their own, this isn't going to be the year.

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