It is unfortunate both ESPN and Sports Illustrated have Minnesota projected to play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas on Dec. 28 with three games left in the Gopher’s schedule and still a win shy of becoming bowl eligible.
Stuck at five wins after being knocked out by Michigan at home on Saturday, the Gophers are favorites to win on the road against the Fighting Illini this weekend, but as this season as shown, being favorited to win is still a long ways away from actually winning.
The Gophers were supposed to win against Iowa and are historically expected to beat Northwestern, but both games instead showed how erratic the team is on both sides of the ball.
But the Gophers are indeed favorites heading into Champaign to face a team still looking for their first conference win while trying to find a working strategy on defense.
The Illini have the worst offense and defense in the Big Ten, allowing on average more than 33 points per game, but while Gopher fans are expecting a victory (myself included), the Illini also know that this is their best shot at winning another game this season.
Playing on the road is always a challenge (even against the worst team in the Big Ten) and with Nebraska and Michigan State on the schedule following Illinois, it is a bowl or bust game.