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Minnesota Football vs. Washington State: Holiday Bowl Preview

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There’s a football game happening today. Here’s some key info.

NCAA Football: California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Thoughts

This is the least excited I’ve been to write a preview, possibly ever. The Holiday Bowl is a good bowl game, a worthy destination for the Gophers after going 8-4. It’s a game I should be disappointed that I’m missing because San Diego is awesome. But ultimately, I’m just not that psyched up.

Writing has always been an outlet for me. Something I do for fun but more importantly something I’ve come to enjoy because it helps me organize the jumbled emotions of being a fan and turn it into something constructive. Even losing can be fun(ish) if you can find the right gallows humor for the situation.

But that’s not what we’ve been dealing with recently. The non-game related news for the past two weeks has been about important, difficult, and sad/angry things. I’ve been very careful to keep my opinions to myself for the most part because I don’t think my opinion really matters here. The result of holding some stuff in (which is still the best course of action IMO) is that that the ugly sadness of all of the non-game related news has weighed me down. You’ll see that in the preview being much less fun than I usually shoot for and I apologize for it in advance.

Frankly, that’s the worst opening for any blog post ever but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Gnome #TAKES

The gnomes send Happy Holidays greetings to all and kindly ask that everyone keep being good to each other in the comments, on the Twitters, etc. While they will continue to hope for a win, they do not see a Gophers victory as likely.

When/Where

Date: Tuesday, December 27th

Kickoff Time: 6pm CT

Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Watch/Listen

TV: ESPN

Streaming Video: WatchESPN (or the WatchESPN app for your mobile device)

Radio: KFAN (100.3 in the Twin Cities) and the Gopher Radio Network (Radio Affiliates).

Streaming Audio: Locate KFAN on IHeartRadio (or the IHeartRadio app for your mobile device)

Satellite Radio: SiriusXM 80; Sirius 80; XM 80

Odds

Spread: Washington State by 8.5 to 9.5, depending on site.

Over/Under: 60 to 61, depending on site.

Bill C:

Fancy #MATHS

S&P+ Projection Margin Win Prob. S&P+ Pick (ATS) Wtd. S&P+ Proj Margin Win Prob Wtd. S&P+ Pick (ATS) DIFF? F/+ Projection F/+ Pick (ATS)
S&P+ Projection Margin Win Prob. S&P+ Pick (ATS) Wtd. S&P+ Proj Margin Win Prob Wtd. S&P+ Pick (ATS) DIFF? F/+ Projection F/+ Pick (ATS)
Washington State (29.9-29.4) 0.5 51.10% Minnesota Minnesota (29.0-26.9) 2 54.70% Minnesota Washington State by 3.2 Minnesota

IMPORTANT NOTE: These were posted by Bill on 12/14. Not that it matters because his math can’t account for Minnesota having no secondary all of a sudden.

Weather Forecast

It’s San Diego. As Lewis Black once said:

“What’s the weather going to be like Lou?”

“NICE! Back to you...”

The Enemy

Where are they from? Pullman, WA

All Time Series: Wazzu leads the series 3-2.

Last Game: 1988, when Wazzu stomped the Gophers 41-9.

SB Nation Blog: Coug Center

This Season: 8-4 (7-2 Pac-12)

Head Coach: Mike Leach, 5th Season, 29-33 overall (20-25 Pac-12)

Important Things (via GopherNation):

Key Players on Offense

OG - consensus All-American guard. Notable that he was a backup on last year’s team and blossomed to become an NFL prospect

WR - Gabe Marks - back-to-back All-Pac 12 honors. Second in Pac 12 with 85 receptions, 13 of which were touchdowns.

QB - Luke Falk - second team All-Pac 12. Second in passing yardage per game, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the season.

Key Players on Defense

DB - Shalom Luani - 1st team All-Pac 12, 4 picks and 9 passes defended this season

DL - Hercules Mata’afa - 2nd team All-Pac 12, 12.5 TFLs

LB - Peyton Pelluer - 7th in Pac 12 in tackles and was honorable mention All-Pac 12

Offensively this is a very good football team, particularly dangerous through the air. A very good receiving corp, a talented quarterback and a good offensive line. We all know how the Gopher’s secondary depth is going to be for this game, and with a talented passing offense this could get ugly.

Keys To The Game

Don’t get totally torched by Wazzu’s passing attack. Eric Amoako is the backup for both CB spots in the depth chart. Wazzu is 25th is passing per S&P+. This is not favorable to Minnesota. Stopping the Cougars is a false hope. I’m settling for hoping we don’t get beaten too badly.

Success running the ball. The Gophers won’t win if they can’t have a good (well, arguably great) day running the ball.

Mitch. Last year Mitch capped off a tough year with a great bowl performance against Central Michigan. For Minnesota to win tonight he’ll need to shake off the ghosts of the Wisconsin game. The Gophers cannot win tonight if we see too much Bad Mitch.

How Afraid Am I?

No Brews, no fear. At long last this tumultous and agonizing season is going to be over. Win or lose, for me that is a relief.

Prediction

I don’t see it going all that well honestly. Wazzu goes off in the passing game, Mitch and the running game can’t keep up, and Minnesota loses by just over 2 scores.

Washington State 31, Minnesota 14