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Gophers turn Victory Walk into 'Ski-U-March'; Fleck adds radio show

Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck wants to keep his program in the spotlight, and he’ll do that locally with a radio show and a TV show.

The Gophers announced that “Gopher Football Weekly with P.J. Fleck’’ will debut at 7 p.m. Monday on KFXN Radio (100.3-FM) and will air live on Tuesdays throughout the season. The first show will be taped, but the rest on Tuesdays will be live from noon to 1 p.m. at Joe Senser’s Sports Theater in Roseville. Fans are encouraged to attend.

Mike Grimm, the radio play-by-play announcer for the Gophers, will be the host, and Ch. 4 personality Mark Rosen will be the co-host.

The live Tuesday shows start Sept. 5 and run through Nov. 21, expect for Sept. 18, which is the Gophers’ bye week.

TV show, too

Earlier, the Gophers announced that “The P.J. Fleck Show’’ will debut on KSTP-TV (Ch. 9) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. After the debut show, the 30-minute program will air at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays on Ch. 9, with a repeat at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays on WFTC (Ch. 29).

Fleck will be joined by Ch. 9 sports anchor Hobie Artigue, Gophers and NFL wide receiver Ron Johnson and 100.3 radio's Justin Gaard.

Changes to game day

The Gophers last week announced some changes to the game day experience at TCF Bank Stadium.

A new Ski-U-March will take the place of the former Victory Walk. The team still will greet fans and enter the stadium along with the spirit squad and the band before the game. The Ski-U-March will be held at the same time as the Victory Walk, 2.5 hours prior to kickoff, but the route will now bring the team into TCF Bank Stadium through the Lake of the Woods entrance on the east (closed bowl) end of the stadium, off 23rd Ave. SE near the Gold and Gopher Lots and the student entrance at Gate C.

On Oak Street, the front plaza and lawn of 3M Arena at Mariucci will be host to a pregame celebration before every game, the Gopher Garden Pre-Game Fan Fest. The venue will open three hours before kickoff and feature entertainment for all ages. Food trucks will line up outside the front doors, with beverages available for sale inside the arena. Oak Street will remain closed to vehicle traffic before Gophers football games. The Gopher Garden also will host the Gopher Tailgate Radio Show, which is broadcast live on KFXN and the Gopher Radio Network.

In addition, four new food vendors will operate out of storefront shells in the West Plaza: Ike’s Restaurant, Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, Curds & Cakes, and Jax Café.

The changes will begin with the Aug. 31 season opener against Buffalo.

No votes for Gophers football team in AP preseason Top 25

Looks like college football coaches are a little bit higher on the Gophers than media members.

The Associated Press released its college football preseason Top 25 on Monday, and Minnesota did not receive a vote. In the USA Today preseason poll released Aug. 3, the Gophers received six votes, good for a tie for 50th with Troy.

Both the AP and coaches polls had the same top six: 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Florida State, 4. USC, 5. Clemson and 6. Penn State. Among other Big Ten teams in the AP poll, Wisconsin is No. 9 and Michigan is No. 11.

While the Gophers aren't in the Top 25, there is a reasonable path for them to get there: Win early before the schedule toughens later.

First, their nonconference schedule -- vs. Buffalo, at Oregon State, vs. Middle Tennessee -- is conducive for a 3-0 start. There's no powerhouse like TCU or USC on the nonconference schedule, as in recent years.

Then, they open the Big Ten schedule with home games in three of the first four weeks -- vs. Maryland, at Purdue, vs. Michigan State and vs. Illinois. Those teams were a combined 7-29 in Big Ten play last year. Should the Gophers get to 5-0, there would be a case for them to be in the Top 25. If they get to 7-0, that should cement a ranking. Of course, those are big "ifs'' for a team under a new coach with a platoon system at quarterback.

After those first four Big Ten games, the schedule stiffens considerably. Back-to-back trips to Iowa and Michigan precede a home game against Nebraska, a visit to Northwestern and the season finale at home against Wisconsin.

Here's the complete poll.

 

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