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Feature

Football player.

The Gopher football team has emerged from the Big Ten pack with a bid to the Music City Bowl in Nashville on December 31.

Gopher teams hit the road

U volleyball team gets No. 1 regional seed; football team bound for Nashville

Originally published on November 30, 2004

The University of Minnesota women's volleyball team, which has hovered near the top of the national rankings all year long, has been rewarded with its first-ever No. 1 regional seed in the 2004 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. The tournament field was announced on November 28.

The Gophers (28-4) are the top-rated team in the Minneapolis, Minnesota Regional and will travel to New Haven, Connecticut, for first- and second-round matches. They will open against Long Island University (32-6) in the first round on December 2 at 4:30 p.m. CST. If they prevail, the Gophers would play the next day at 6 p.m. against the winner of the Albany-Yale match. The regional semifinals and final are scheduled for December 10-11 at the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion.

The Gophers received a No. 4 overall seed, behind only Nebraska, Hawaii, and Penn State--the top teams of the other three regions. Three Big Ten teams were among the top five overall seeds (Ohio State is No. 5), and seven conference teams were selected to the 64-team field.

"I think it says a lot about the Big Ten that the conference had three of the top five seeds in the NCAA tournament," said Gophers head coach Mike Hebert. "In the rankings this season and in attendance figures our conference has been performing as well as any in the nation."

Minnesota, which finished tied for second in the Big Ten behind Penn State, will be making its 10th NCAA tournament appearance in school history, and its eighth under Hebert. The Gophers have advanced to the "Sweet Sixteen" in four of the last five seasons, and last year made it to the Final Four for the first time.

All of the U's NCAA tournament matches will be broadcast on WMGT radio (1220 AM). Tickets for the regional semifinals and final can be purchased over the phone by calling 1-800-UGOPHER or online at Gophersports.

Nashville, here we come!

Also on Sunday, the Gopher football team's 2004 bowl destiny was decided.

After waiting more than two weeks to know if the team and its fans would be spending their post-holiday time in chilly Michigan (Detroit's Motor City Bowl) or not-so-chilly Tennessee, Athletics Director Joel Maturi's phone finally rang. It was going to be Nashville for the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl presented by Bridgestone.

The Gophers will face an opponent from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) on Friday, December 31, at 11 a.m. (CST) at The Coliseum in Nashville. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN. Minnesota's SEC opponent will be announced at a later date.

This season will mark the third consecutive time the Golden Gophers have gone to a bowl game and the fifth in the past six years; both bowl records are unprecedented in school history.

The Music City Bowl debuted in 1998 and Minnesota will be its first repeat team. In 2002, the Gophers beat then-25th-ranked Arkansas 29-14 in Nashville. (Last year, the Gophers defeated Oregon 31-30 in the Sun Bowl.)

The University of Minnesota athletics department and alumni association are sponsoring the official bowl tour and are working with Creative Charters to organize air, hotel, and activity packages. Information on travel packages is available at Gophersports, or by calling 651-748-0080 or 1-888-612-0323.

Tickets for the Music City Bowl went on sale Monday, November 29. Football season ticket holders will have until Friday, December 10, to place orders for priority seating. All ticket orders will be accepted at the athletics ticket office (4 Oak Street, Minneapolis) in person from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by calling 612-624-8080 or 1-800-U-GOPHER. Tickets may also be ordered online at Gophersports.

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