Minnesota Athletics

There are two P5 conferences with multiple undefeated teams, and only one with three – the Big Ten. Ohio State and Penn State’s records aren’t a huge shock – both the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions began the year ranked in the AP Top 15. The biggest surprise in the conference and nationwide has been Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers are 8-0 for the first time since 1941 and improve every week. Minnesota averages better than 38 points per game and nearly 430 yards of offense. Rodney Smith ranks third in the conference with 889 yards rushing. Quarterback Tanner Morgan has been a pleasant surprise with a 18/4 TD/INT ratio and ranks seventh nationally in passer rating. Defensively, corner Antoine Winfield, Jr. ranks second nationally with five interceptions.

The Golden Gophers begin a brutal stretch on Nov. 9 when they host No. 5 Penn State. The Nittany Lions visit third-ranked Ohio State on Nov. 23 for a contest that will decide the Big Ten’s East division. As a whole, the Big Ten is top heavy. Half of the conference’s 14 teams are already bowl-eligible – two more than any other Power 5 conference. Outside of those seven, no one else in the conference has a winning record.

Below is a rundown of the bowl-eligibility picture from each P5 conference:

ACC (2)

  • Bowl-Eligible Teams: Clemson (8-0), Wake Forest (6-1)
  • Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Virginia Tech (5-2), Louisville (5-3), Pittsburgh (5-3), Virginia (5-3), NC State (4-3), Boston College (4-4), Duke (4-4), Florida State (4-4), Miami (4-4), North Carolina (4-4)
  • On the Brink: Syracuse (3-5), Georgia Tech (2-5)
  • Eliminated: None
  • Overview: The ACC is one of three P5 conferences that only has two bowl-eligible teams. It also has the fewest number of teams with losing records of any P5 conference

Big 12 (2)

  • Bowl-Eligible Teams: Baylor (7-0), Oklahoma (7-1)
  • Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Kansas State (5-2), Iowa State (5-3), Oklahoma State (5-3), Texas (5-3), TCU (4-3)
  • On the Brink: West Virginia (3-4), Kansas (3-5), Texas Tech (3-5)
  • Eliminated: None
  • Overview: Kansas State and Oklahoma State will both have the opportunity to become bowl-eligible this week against weaker competition.

Big Ten (7)

  • Bowl-Eligible Teams: Minnesota (8-0), Ohio State (8-0), Penn State (8-0), Indiana (6-2), Iowa (6-2), Michigan (6-2), Wisconsin (6-2)
  • Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Illinois (4-4), Michigan State (4-4), Nebraska (4-4)
  • On the Brink: Maryland (3-5), Purdue (2-6), Rutgers (2-6), Northwestern (1-6)
  • Eliminated: None
  • Overview: The Big Ten has the most bowl-eligible teams so far. Rutgers and Northwestern could become the first Power 5 schools to be eliminated this week.

Pac-12 (2)

  • Bowl-Eligible Teams: Oregon (7-1), Utah (7-1)
  • Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Arizona State (5-3), Washington (5-3), USC (5-3), Arizona (4-4), California (4-4), Stanford (4-4), Washington State (4-4)
  • On the Brink: Oregon State (3-4), Colorado (3-5), UCLA (3-5)
  • Eliminated: None
  • Overview: The Pac-12 has the fewest number of teams with winning records (5) in the P5. Washington and USC hope to become bowl-eligible this week against Top 10 competition.

SEC (5)

  • Bowl-Eligible Teams: Alabama (8-0), LSU (8-0), Florida (7-1), Georgia (6-1), Auburn (6-2)
  • Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Missouri (5-3), Texas A&M (5-3), Kentucky (4-4)
  • On the Brink: Mississippi State (3-5), Ole Miss (3-5), South Carolina (3-5), Tennessee (3-5), Vanderbilt (2-5), Arkansas (2-6)
  • Eliminated: None
  • Overview: The SEC has five teams in the AP Top 11, but among Power 5 conferences, it currently has the most teams with losing records with six.


Mike Ferguson is a contributor for Fifth Quarter and the editor of The Daily Nole. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.