This comes from the category of “words I never expected to type this season”:
A college football game in Minneapolis on the second Saturday in November has Big Ten championship implications for the home team.
Minnesota (7-2, 3-2) can still claim the Legends Division title if it gets some help and wins its final three games, starting Saturday at 11 a.m. when it hosts Penn State (5-3, 2-2).
The Gophers already have clinched their first winning season since 2008 (7-6). One more win would be the most since a Glen Mason team went 10-3 in 2003. Also, a victory over Penn State would be the fourth Big Ten win a row — something that hasn't happened in 40 years.
These high marks seemed implausible when head coach Jerry Kill suffered more seizure problems due to epilepsy early in the season, and after the Gophers were drubbed 23-7 at home by Iowa and 42-13 on the road against Michigan.
But wins over Northwestern, Nebraska and Indiana have sparked new confidence in Minnesota.
“You can say you're turning the corner and making progress all you want,'' Kill said. “But until you have a little success, it's hard to believe in that.
“We've had blind faith for a while. Now, people are starting to really believe.''
Kill has been working from the press box during this winning streak while acting head coach Tracy Claeys, the defensive coordinator, is in charge on the field.
For now, Kill considers himself “the CEO'' of football as he continues work on his health.
“Me in the box is what's best for this football team right now and for me,'' he said. “If there is a difficult situation and I need to come down, I'll do what's best.
“We just need to find a way to win. Why fix something that's not broken? My ego isn't that big.''
Penn State has given up 44 and 63 points in two league road games. For Minnesota, sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson has found a groove during the winning streak, with six touchdown passes, no interceptions and a 59 percent completion rate.
My pick: Minnesota 28, Penn State 17
Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) at Michigan (6-2, 2-2), 2:30 p.m., ABC
Entering the season, this looked like the premier matchup in the Legends Division. Now, neither team is ranked, both have two losses and the winner here does nothing more than fend off championship elimination for seven more days. In big games, look at the quarterbacks. Michigan's fourth-year junior, Devin Gardner, is 20th nationally in total offense. Nebraska redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong, in the past two games, has six interceptions, one touchdown pass and a 44.7 percent completion rate. Michigan 35, Nebraska 20
Iowa (5-4, 2-3) at Purdue (1-7, 0-4), 11 a.m., BTN
This might be the first scoreless tie of the season. Purdue never snapped the ball in the red zone in the month of October. The Boilermakers' only touchdown in the past three games was at the end of a 44-7 loss to Nebraska. Iowa, in five Big Ten games, has one second-half touchdown and 16 second-half points. If you're going to this one — tickets were selling on Stubhub for 25 cents (not dollars) — make sure your phone is charged. Iowa 12, Purdue 6
Illinois (3-5, 0-4) at Indiana (3-5, 1-3), 2:30 p.m., BTN
This is the opposite of Iowa vs. Purdue. Neither team can stop anyone. Indiana is 115th in scoring defense. Illinois is 97th. The scoreboard operator will need treatment after this one. Indiana 59, Illinois 42
BYU (6-2) at No. 21 Wisconsin (6-2), 2:30 p.m., ESPN
The Badgers still have a shot to play in a BCS game as an at-large pick, though not if they fail to focus on this game. UW coach Gary Andersen, formerly at Utah State, has faced BYU before and should get the message across. Wisconsin 27, BYU 21