A bowl game is not in the cards for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but their improved play over the past three games has built excitement for the future. Their upset of Iowa and near upset of Michigan State has shown that coach Jerry Kill has the program building toward something bigger in 2012.
The Gophers have another chance to take a positive step this weekend when they play their final road game of the season at Northwestern. The Wildcats need one more win to become bowl eligible and they are one of the hottest teams in the conference with three straight victories. Their last conference game was a stunning victory at Nebraska, which threw the Legends Division race into chaos. With division-leading Michigan State coming to town next week, Northwestern views Minnesota as their best chance for that critical sixth win.
The Daily Gopher knows that Minnesota can still build on last week's loss to Wisconsin:
What I saw on Saturday in a 29-point loss to Wisconsin, wasn't a football team that didn't know what it was doing and that was making a lot of costly mistakes, but instead a team that is still immature that was beaten by a team with superior talent that executed nearly flawlessly for 4 quarters.
In other words, this game, and the 29-point difference in score, had more to do with how good and disciplined Wisconsin is, not how bad and undisciplined the Gophers are.
Minnesota finishes the season next week at home against Illinois.