Thursday, September 28, 2017
Oh God NO! The Rose Bowl is a Playoff Game this Season
Look at that. I'm excited about the possibilities and it's not even October.
No, really, stop reading and look at that in its incandescent glory.
My goosebumps get turgid whenever I see that GIF. It's the promised land. A place I've always wanted to go, but won't unless it's to watch my own team play. To go, walk in and see emblazoned on the end zone: Minnesota.
So, here we sit in September and I'm trying to temper my excitement. Do we have a chance this season? Of course, there's always a chance. Look at Iowa in 2015 - they were a good, not great team, that ran the conference table and managed to get in despite losing the B1G championship game. Our schedule this season shakes out to be a bit more difficult than theirs that year, as, during conference play, they managed to avoid the two teams from Michigan.
There's one major difference between Iowa 2015 getting to the Rose Bowl and the 2017 Gophers doing the same: The Rose Bowl is a College Football Playoff game this year. That means we would likely need to complete conference play with no more than one loss and win the B1G championship game. The winner of that game will likely go to the playoffs - perhaps in the Rose Bowl - while the loser would end up in a New Years Six bowl game. Still an accomplishment for our beautiful rodents; but to do so well and still miss out on the Rose Bowl would kind of feel like a flub.
As I said here, according to 15 seconds of thought and deep insight into the game, the likelihood of the Gophers going undefeated through conference play and winning the B1GCG is about 50,000:1. The odds are somewhat less if they lose one game that isn't Wisconsin and win the B1GCG; but they're still not what I'd call great. Look, I want to believe - I DO believe - I just feel like it's my job to set realistic expectations with you.
Believing we get to the Rose Bowl this year is effectively believing we're going to the playoffs this year. It sucks, because in most other seasons, getting into the B1GCG 11-1 and losing would likely get us to the 'Dena and watching the sun set over the San Gabriel Mountains. Which brings me to my point: if we went 11-1, lost the B1GCG and weren't able to go to the Rose Bowl? Despondency? Anger?
I'm working on being a pretty positive guy these days, but it would be hard for me to believe I wouldn't spend a few months in depression having had that magical season we've waited 50 years for, only to be denied by the stupid playoff bowl rotation.
Anyway, that's where things stand. We don't just need a lucky or great season to get to the Rose Bowl. We'll need to be one of the top four teams in the country to get there. I'm telling you there's a chance and I believe like hell we can do it - I just hope it doesn't all end in sadness.