• Coach P.J. Fleck and the Gophers will have a huge challenge opening the season with Michigan at TCF Bank Stadium next week, but Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Gophers as 2½-point favorites.
• Avante Dickerson of Omaha Westside is the top-ranked Gophers football recruit in the Class of 2021 and he showed why on Oct. 9 when he rushed for 212 yards on 11 carries, had two receptions for 63 yards and scored five touchdowns —including one on defense via a fumble recovery — in a 52-3 victory over Norfolk.
• Former Eden Prairie linebacker Jermaine Johnson was expected to play for No. 3 Georgia against No. 2 Alabama on Saturday night, according to Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart. Johnson had been dealing with injuries after recording two tackles in the season opener. Last year Johnson played in 14 games and posted 2½ sacks.
• Minnesota prep hoops will be on a big national stage when Gonzaga faces Baylor in Indianapolis on Dec. 5 in a game that will be the first CBS college basketball broadcast of the season. Minnehaha Academy’s Jalen Suggs is a freshman for Gonzaga, and Park Center’s Dain Dainja is a freshman for Baylor.
• Pro Football Focus said Kirk Cousins has posted a passing grade of 66.5 through the first three quarters this season, but the Vikings quarterback has a much better mark of 87.1 in the fourth quarter.
• PFF also has Detroit’s Frank Ragnow (Chanhassen) as the No. 6 center in the NFL and Washington’s Chase Roullier (Burnsville) as the No. 17 center.
• It’s possible there could be five former Gophers playing Major League Baseball next season: pitchers Max Meyer with the Marlins, Brett Schulze with the Phillies, Jake Stevenson with the Reds and D.J. Snelten with the Rays, and shortstop Terrin Vavra with the Orioles.