MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- If you'd like to point out to Minnesota football coach Glen Mason that his team needs to win its remaining three games to become eligible for a bowl game, don't.
Mason doesn't need any reminders that his team has a big hill to climb to get into a bowl for the third straight season.
"I've answered that question about a million times," Mason said Tuesday. "All of a sudden to think, 'Hey, fellas, do you realize you've got to win the last three games and you play Michigan (first)?' Is that going to help your preparation and make you try harder? No. If anything it's going to put more pressure on you. Just worry about the things you can control."
Minnesota won't be in control of anything if it doesn't beat Michigan on Saturday. At 3-5, the Gophers must finish 6-5 to have a shot at a bowl game. Minnesota has never been to three bowls in a row.
"With us being seniors and this being our final season, of course we're looking at that," safety Jack Brewer said. "At the same time we're focusing everything on Michigan -- they're one of the best teams in the country."
The Wolverines are ranked 12th in the nation and are coming off a 26-24, last-second loss to archrival Michigan State. The Gophers last beat the Wolverines in 1986, when Chip Lohmiller's last-second field goal gave Minnesota a 20-17 upset win in Ann Arbor.
Mason was quick to say a win there wouldn't be a momentous occasion for him.
"It would mean we beat Michigan," he said. "That we played better than them on a given day. I think people tend to make too much out of a particular win or a particular loss. It's how the whole thing comes together."
Things have not come together well this season for Minnesota. The Gophers lost their season opener at Toledo and have dropped three Big Ten games by seven points or less.
For the Gophers to become eligible for a bowl, they'll have to win at Michigan and Iowa, then beat Wisconsin at the Metrodome on Nov. 24. Cornerback Mike Lehan said while the Gophers realize they have a difficult task, their season won't be measured by whether they make it to a bowl.
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