The Golden Gophers Head to The Big Apple for the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl

The Golden Gophers Head to The Big Apple for the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl

Joshua Klopp, Managing Editor

After an acceptable 8-4 season, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Football team has been invited to the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl. The Gophers will square off with the Syracuse Orange at 2:00 pm on December 29, 2022, in New York City. Yankee Stadium will play host to this year’s battle for the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy.

This will be Minnesota’s first time playing in the Pinstripe Bowl and their fourth bowl game overall under P.J. Fleck. The Gophers’ triumph over Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl last year brought his record to 3-0 in such games. The Gophers are looking to extend their five-game bowl game winning streak that dates back to before Fleck’s time. Coach Fleck appears excited to receive the invitation. In his reactionary press conference he exclaimed,

There is no place in the world like New York City, and I am looking forward to our team experiencing its vibrancy, culture and history. I am also excited for our team to compete against the Orange in Yankee Stadium, which is one of the most iconic and well-known sporting venues in the world.

— P.J. Fleck

Minnesota and Syracuse have played in a bowl game before. They faced off in the Texas Bowl in 2013. This season the Gophers went 3-0 in non-conference games. In the Fleck era, the Gophers are 17-1 in non-conference games. History is in Minnesota’s favor given Syracuse resides in the ACC. Apart from Syracuse being 2-0 in their Pinstripe Bowl history. The Gophers are seven-point favorites to win the game.

Even with the new NIL rules, the Gophers do not garner the big-money expectations of the New York Yankees. However, with P.J. Fleck’s new seven-year $42 million contract, Gophers fans can get a taste of big market stars. Other big names coming from the Minnesota sideline are Mohamed Ibrahim, John Michael Schmitz, and Tyler Nubin. Both Ibrahim and Schmitz were named to the 2022 All-Big Ten first team. Ibrahim shares his spot with Blake Corum from Michigan. Schmitz is the only center on the media team but shares his spot with the Wolverines’ Olusegun Oluwatimi. Other offensive lineman honored on the third team are guards Axel Ruschmeyer and Chuck Filiaga. Tyler Nubin was voted onto the All-Big Ten second team for defensive backs. His teammate, linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin, is the last of the Gophers who were honored.

After a 6-0 start to the season, the Orange finished the year with a 7-5 record. They’re coached by Dino Barbers, who is 1-0 in bowl games. Syracuse has five players that were selected to the All-ACC Team. Their tight end, Oronde Gadsden II, was selected to the first team. Their running back, although he’s no Mo Ibrahim, collected 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year and was selected to the second team along with offensive tackle Mattew Bergeron. Syracuse’s lone defensive selection is linebacker Mikel Jones.

An interesting note regarding this matchup is that Minnesota’s Athletic Director, Mark Coyle, served as the AD at Syracuse before leaving to come to Minnesota. He worked at Syracuse for only 311 days. He is the person who hired their current head coach. Coyle also hired P.J. Fleck. Several Syracuse newspapers have dubbed this game the “Mark Coyle Bowl”.

The Pinstripe Bowl originated in 2010. It currently selects teams from the Big Ten and ACC. This partnership will run through 2025. Before this, the bowl game was between the Big 12 and Big East. The Big 10 has had no lack of success in recent years. Last year, Maryland beat Virginia Tech by 44 points. In 2018, Wisconsin toppled Miami 35-3.

It may not be a sunny vacation spot like 2018’s Outback Bowl, but Gophers fans will surely make their way to the big apple to support their squad. Those who don’t should tune in at 2:00 pm on December 29 to admire the frigid affair.