Gophers accept Quik Lane Bowl invitation

Published 9:10 am Monday, December 7, 2015

Minnesota, Nebraska and San Jose State are being rewarded for their work in the classroom, not for what they did on the football field.

They were the three 5-7 teams needed to fill out the record 80 bowl slots, and they found out their destinations Sunday.

Minnesota is matched against Central Michigan (7-5) in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 28 in Detroit.

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Nebraska will play UCLA (8-4) in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 26 in Santa Clara, California.

San Jose State goes across the country to meet Georgia State (6-6) in the Cure Bowl on Dec. 19 in Orlando, Florida.

From 2001 through 2014, a total of four teams went to bowls with losing records.

But this year only 77 teams had at least six victories and a .500 record — the minimum to be eligible for a bowl — so the three 5-7s received bids.

The NCAA approved a plan last week to fill the open slots with five-win teams based on their Academic Progress Ratings for 2013-14, the most recent scores available. Nebraska (985) was tops among those teams and was eager to get a chance to play another game.

Missouri (976) was second in line, but it announced earlier in the week it would not accept a bid at 5-7. Minnesota was next up at 975, tied with San Jose State.

The Foster Farms is among three teams in the second tier of Big Ten bowls and was the last of those to choose. Nebraska got the edge over Minnesota.

By going to the Quick Lane, Minnesota is in a bowl for the fourth straight year. The Gophers will be playing their fifth game under Tracy Claeys.