For the first time since 2009, the University of Minnesota football team will be making a postseason appearance. The Gophers, who finished off the season with a 6-6 record, accepted an invitation to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas and will be playing Texas Tech on Dec. 28. The Gophers are three seasons removed from their last bowl appearance, in which they lost 14-13 to Iowa State.
Despite a mediocre record and no shortage of controversy, it seems the Gophers have made considerable improvements from last year’s 3-9 season. However, after considering the $1.1 million the University paid in order to schedule games against a number of lower-tier teams, this year’s triumphs begin to feel hollow. While it’s a common practice for Big Ten schools to spend large sums of money to secure a certain number of wins, the Gophers also finished with the same poor conference record as they did in 2011, which is a more accurate tool of measurement for the team’s progress. And while all Gophers fans should cheer on their team when they take on Texas Tech at the end of the month, it’s worth mentioning that the University may end up gaining little revenue as a result of this year’s bowl appearance. According to an article published in the Minnesota Daily on Dec. 4, the Gophers were required to buy 12,000 tickets for the bowl game. The Gophers may not end up selling all of the purchased tickets, which was the case in 2009 when the Gophers played in the Insight Bowl.
Head coach Jerry Kill and his team should be proud of their achievements this year as they prepare for their postseason matchup. However, we can only hope that next season’s victories won’t come at a financial cost to the University.