In the Sagarin college football ratings, where strength of schedule is a factor in how teams are placed, the Gophers are 36th, ahead of Iowa, Purdue, Michigan State and Indiana.
The Gophers have lost two football commitments in defensive lineman Josh Allison of Lake Orion, Mich., and linebacker Ricardo Thompson of Cincinnati Withrow because at present they can't qualify scholastically. ... The Gophers are in need of linebackers but still they didn't offer scholarships to two from Class 5A state champion Eden Prairie: Blake Sorensen, who is going to Wisconsin, and Bryce McNaul, who is headed for Northwestern. Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant describes Sorensen as a multi-talented kid who he considered his best running back, best defensive back and best linebacker. "We tried to use him as many ways as we can, and he's been able to perform in that role for two years for us," Grant said.
The Vikings have only two sacks in their past three games after getting 21 in their first eight.
Matt Spaeth, the Gophers tight end who will miss the Insight Bowl because of shoulder surgery, was named to the Rivals.com All-America team.
Gophers men's hockey coach Don Lucia describes senior defenseman Mike Vannelli "as one of those who wasn't the most highly recruited player. He was a good player coming out of juniors, but I'll tell you what, in his four years, he's improved so much, and I can't say enough about him -- what a great job he's done as captain of this team. And it's not very often you can have a father-son combination of being a captain of a Gophers sports team [Tom Vannelli was a Gophers center from 1974 to '77]. Mike has not only been a great leader in the locker room but on the ice, and sometimes when you wear that 'C,' that might wear on you and maybe you don't perform as well on the ice because you're so worried about everything else, but Mike Vannelli has just been terrific on the ice as well as in the locker room leading our team."
The Gophers men's basketball team has signed a contract to play in a tournament in Las Vegas next season, similar to the tournament they played this year in Orlando.
Cretin-Derham Hall's Zach Weis has signed a letter of intent to join the Gophers men's swimming team, where he joins his brother, sophomore Adam Weis.
The Charlotte Bobcats have released former DeLaSalle and Michigan State basketball player Alan Anderson.
The Twins didn't keep Terry Tiffee on their 40-man roster, so the infielder signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Podcast twice a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. firstname.lastname@example.org