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Minnesota Football: The Gophers are headed to the Outback Bowl

This will be the Gophers’ first New Year’s Day bowl game since 2015

Wisconsin v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

It’s official: The Minnesota Golden Gophers will ring in the New Year in the Sunshine State! The No. 18-ranked Gophers (10-2) have a date with the No. 11-ranked Auburn Tigers (9-3) in the Outback Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, in Tampa, Florida. This will be the program’s first trip to the Outback Bowl, and the first ever meeting between the Gophers and the Tigers.

The game will kickoff at noon on New Year’s Day and be televised on ESPN.

In Guz Malzahn’s seventh year at the helm, Auburn started the season 5-0 before losing three of their next five games, with losses coming against Florida, LSU, and Georgia. But the Tigers saved their best for last, upsetting in-state rival and then No. 5-ranked Alabama at home in a 48-45 shocker that effectively knocked the Crimson Tide out of playoff contention.

Head coach P.J. Fleck, in his third year in the Twin Cities, led the Gophers to their first 10-win regular season since 1905. Minnesota dropped games to No. 16-ranked Iowa and No. 8-ranked Wisconsin to tie for first in the Big Ten West, with the Badgers holding the tiebreaker.