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2012 College Football Schedule: Minnesota looks for bowl eligibility against Illinois

While the game has no conference title aspirations, Minnesota's match-up against Illinois could leave the Golden Golphers bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009.

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The Minnesota Golden Gophers will have a chance to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2009 when they visit the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday afternoon. With a 5-4 overall record, Minnesota simply needs that sixth win in order to find itself in the postseason for the first time in the Jerry Kill era.

After a hot start to the season, Minnesota has stumbled in Big Ten play, but the Fighting Illini have actually fared even worse this season. With a 2-7 overall record and zero wins against conference opponents, Illinois is struggling to adjust to the new coaching staff headed by Tim Beckman this year.

Minnesota's final two games of the season are against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Michigan St. Spartans, so Illinois certainly constitutes the team's best shot at getting another win. If they can, they'll have a shot at winning their first bowl game since the 2004 Music City Bowl against Alabama.

Here's the full slate of Big Ten games this week:

Wisconsin Badgers at Indiana Hoosiers (12 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 24 Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Wolverines (12 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Purdue Boilermakers at Iowa Hawkeyes (12 p.m. ET, BTN)
Penn St. Nittany Lions at No. 16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2)
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Illinois Fighting Illini (3:30 p.m. ET, BTN)

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