Before the Gophers face Ohio State at 7 p.m. in football on Saturday night at the Bank, another U of M sports team hopes to attract some fans to the nearby Sports Pavilion.

The Gophers wrestling team will host an hour-long open practice starting at 4:30 p.m. The event is being called the Minnesota Wrestling Kick-Off.

Coach J Robinson should have another strong wrestling team. InterMat rated the Gophers No. 5 in its preseason ratings behind No. 1 Cornell, No. 2 Boise State, No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Wisconsin.

Minnesota is No. 4 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association/USA Today preseason poll, this time following Cornell, Boise State and Oklahoma State.

Cornell was second in the NCAA tournament last season and has three returning all-americans -- top eight finishers -- as does Oklahoma State and the Gophers.

In the individual ratings, InterMat has four Gophers rated in the top six at their weight:

* 125 pounds; Zach Sanders is No. 4. Five Big Ten wrestlers are in top seven, including No. 1 Matt McDonagh of Iowa.

* 141: Mike Thorn is No. 6, behind wrestlers from Illinois and Michigan who are No. 2 and 4.

* 197: Sonny Yohn is No. 6. A wrestler from Wisconsin is No. 2, and another from Michigan is No. 5.

* Hwt.: Ben Berhow is No. 5. No other Big Ten wrestler is ahead of him.

Other top 20 Gophers are:

* David Thorn, Mike's younger brother, is No. 18 at 133 while Cody Yohn, Sonny's younger brother, is No. 9 at 165.

* Jake Deitchler, who was ineligible last season because he took prize money in international tournaments, is No. 10 at 157. Four Big Ten wrestlers are ahead of him at this weight.

* Scott Glasser is No. 9 at 174; Illinois had the No. 3 wrestler at this weight.

The Gophers do not have a rated wrestler at 149 or 184. Mario Mason, a former Gophers, is now at Rutgers and is rated No. 14 at 149.

Only two Big Ten wrestlers are rated No. 1, McDonough at 125 and Andrew Howe of Wisconsin at 165.

MORE ON TEAM RATINGS

Seems strange to have Cornell and Boise State 1-2 in two major preseason national polls. ... Big Ten teams dominate the bottom of the top 10 in InterMat's ratings. Wisconsin is No. 4 and Minnesota No. 5 followed by No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Iowa and No. 10 (tie) Illinois. Could be quite a conference battle.

InterMat's other rated Big Ten teams are No. 13 Michigan, No. 14 (tie) Ohio State, No. 17 (tie) Northwestern and No. 23 (tie) Purdue. That's nine Big Ten teams in the top 25.

The MWCA/USA Today poll has nine Big Ten teams in its top 20. Behind the No. 4 Gophers are No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Iowa, No. 10 Illinois, No. 12 Ohio State, No. 18 Michigan, No. 19 Northwestern and No. 20 Purdue.

FRESHMEN HIGHLY RANKED

InterMat rated the Gophers' freshman class the fourth best in Division I.
 
Its made up of Joel Bauman, Brandon Bigelbach, Chris Dardanes, Nick Dardanes, Randy Hanson, Corey Hodowanic, Jacob Kaufman, Seth Lange, Drew Lexvold, Dylan Ness and Scott Schiller. Ness is the younger brother of Jayson Ness, who won an NCAA title last season as a senior.
  
Four of the Gophers recruits rank in the top six of their weight class among incoming freshmen.
 
Minnesota opens its season at the Bison Open on Nov. 13 in Fargo, N.D.