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2012 Bowl Projections: Minnesota could be headed to Texas

The bowl-eligible Minnesota Golden Gophers may face a Big 12 team this postseason.

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Minnesota Golden Gophers became bowl eligible on Saturday with a win over the Illinois Fighting Illini, and bowl projections see the team heading to Texas. ESPN's most recent projections place the Gophers in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas facing a Big 12 team like the West Virginia Mountaineers or TCU Horned Frogs.

The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas is held in Reliant Stadium in Houston on Dec. 28. In last year's game, the Texas A&M Aggies defeated the Northwestern Wildcats. The Gophers haven't reached a bowl since 2009, when they defeated the Iowa State Cyclones in the Insight Bowl.

The Meineke Bowl has the sixth selection of Big 10 teams, though only five teams in the conference are currently bowl eligible thanks to postseason bans on the Ohio St. Buckeyes and Penn St. Nittany Lions. Minnesota's status within the bowl hierarchy will be affected by the results of their final two games against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Michigan State Spartans.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.