Minnesota Golden Gophers

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 5:  The Oklahoma State Cowboys enter the field before the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on November 5, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State 52-45.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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Starting center leaving Minnesota for Oklahoma State

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The interior of Oklahoma State’s offensive line the season after next has just gotten stronger, to the detriment of Minnesota’s.

Earlier this month, rumblings were bubbling that Tyler Moore was seriously leaning toward a transfer from the Gophers. That lean has since morphed into a full-blown departure, with the offensive lineman confirming on Twitter that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career with the Big 12 Cowboys.

Moore will be forced to sit out the 2017 season in order to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws. He’d then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

Before a back injury knocked him out the Holiday Bowl this season, Moore had started 20 straight games at center for the Gophers. He started the final eight of his true freshman season in 2015, then all 12 in the regular season this past year.

Moore’s decision comes less than two weeks after Tracy Claeys was involuntarily shown the door and subsequently replaced as head coach by Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck.

P.J. Fleck still working on taking ‘Row the Boat’ to Minnesota

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 02:  P.J. Fleck, head coach of the Western Michigan Broncos looks on during the 81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between Western Michigan and Wisconsin at AT&T Stadium on January 2, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
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Will P.J. Fleck keep rowing the boat in the Twin Cities? The new Minnesota head coach certainly would like to.

Fleck told ESPN on Thursday that he is working with his old school Western Michigan about bringing the trademark phrase with him to the Gophers after making the mantra key to his turnaround in Kalamazoo.

“It comes from a very personal, personal tragedy in my life and that’s where ‘Row the Boat’ came from,” said Fleck. “So, I really hope they do see that, and [that] they are willing to allow me to take that, but we’ll see as we move forward. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with it, but I really hope because of what it means, that I have the ability to at least purchase it, take it with me, and continue to change other people’s lives through tragedy, through adversity, in just a different area.”

Fleck told the network that the phrase came about after he and his wife lost their second son to a heart condition. The Broncos’s board of trustees currently owns the trademark, but have stayed mum on turning it over to their ex-coach so far.

Given how these things usually play out, it seems like the phrase will eventually make its way to the Big Ten once the two schools agree on some form of compensation. After handing Fleck a five-year contract worth $18.5 million, that probably won’t be too much of a hurdle for Minnesota but it may take some times for everything to fall into place.

Until then? The head coach will probably stick with saying ‘elite’ quite a bit until he can bring his trademark phrase to Minneapolis.

Ohio State hires Kevin Wilson as OC as Ed Warinner appears to be heading to Minnesota

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 05:  head coach Kevin Wilson of the Indiana Hoosiers looks on from the sideline against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half at High Point Solutions Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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For the second time in a matter of weeks, Ohio State is losing an offensive coordinator to another program. Fortunately, they had a replacement ready to slide into the spot.

Ohio State made the hiring of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, the former head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, official on Tuesday. The addition of Wilson comes at a time when Ohio State has seen both co-offensive cooridnators move to new jobs and the Buckeyes fresh off the only shutout loss in postseason bowl play this past season. Wilson was fired amid concern over his treatment of players in Bloomington, which will have to be addressed by Ohio State once Wilson is officially introduced, but as far as his offensive coaching is concerned, the Buckeyes have a potentially solid upgrade at offensive coordinator.

Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated reports, via Twitter, Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner will leave the Buckeyes program to take on a role as offensive line coach at Minnesota under new head coach P.J. Fleck.

There had been some discussion in the rumor mill about Warinner leaving to join the Minnesota staff, but reports of him becoming the offensive coordinator for the Gophers were silenced. However, with the addition of Wilson to the staff, Warinner would have had to settle with being demoted to offensive line coach in Columbus. That’s not exactly a bad job at all, but at Minnesota he will be given a fresh start under new leadership and perhaps have a chance to grow as an assistant under Fleck. His impact on improving Minnesota’s offensive line should be closely monitored, as the Gophers will now be on their third offensive line coach in as many seasons.

Ohio State also saw Tim Beck leave Ohio State to join former Ohio State assistant Tom Herman in Texas.

Alabama opens as Bovada’s early 2017 title favorite

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Alabama may have seen their dynasty temporarily derailed Monday night in Florida, but at least one wagering establishment expects Nick Saban to get it back on track post-haste.

Bovada.lv released its opening set of 2017 national championship odds very early Tuesday afternoon, with the bookmaker installing Bama as a 4/1 favorite coming off the loss to Clemson.  Last year at this time, coming off their fourth title in seven years, the same book had the Crimson Tide as a 7/1 favorite.

The team ‘Bama beat, Clemson, is at 16/1, tied with ACC Atlantic rival Louisville and behind six other teams besides the one they beat on the field last night — Florida State (7/1), Ohio State (15/2), Michigan (9/1), Oklahoma (9/1), USC (9/1) and LSU (12/1).  The other 2016 playoff team, Washington, is at 40/1, the same as 4-8 Notre Dame and behind the likes of Texas (28/1) and Miami (33/1).

Boise State, at 75/1, was the highest favorite amongst Group of Five programs.

Below are the complete list of 2018 title odds for the championship following the 2017 season, again courtesy on Bovada.lv:

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Minnesota announces P.J. Fleck as Gophers new head coach

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Officially, it’s officially official.

With speculation ramping up overnight, and with its new head coach’s now-former employer stealing their thunder, Minnesota has confirmed that P.J. Fleck has been hired to take over the Gophers’ football program.  Fleck replaces Tracy Claeys, whose firing Tuesday came weeks after supporting his Gophers players in their planned bowl boycott.

The 36-year-old Fleck becomes the youngest head coach at the Power Five level.  He will be officially introduced at a press conference this afternoon.

“P.J. is a proven winner and a strong leader. He’s built a unique, positive culture that gets the best out of his students on the field and in the classroom,” said Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle. “His infectious energy and passion make him a terrific coach and dynamic recruiter. I am excited he will be leading the Gophers for years to come.”

A 1-11 in his first season at Western Michigan, the first-time head coach guided the Broncos to a pair of 8-5 seasons.  The 2016 season launched Fleck to national prominence as he guided the Broncos to a perfect 13-0 regular season that included a MAC championship.  That earned WMU the Group of Five’s New year’s Six berth, although the perfect season and Cinderella story was spoiled by Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl.

Fleck, who played his college football at Northern Illinois, began his coaching career as a grad assistant at Ohio State in 2006 before moving on to his alma mater for three seasons as wide receivers coach.  He served in the same position with both Rutgers (2010-11) and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers before landing in his first head-coaching job in Kalamazoo.

“It’s an honor to coach at Minnesota and be part of the Big Ten conference,” said Fleck. “I want to thank president Eric Kaler, athletic director Mark Coyle and the Board of Regents for this opportunity. I also want to thank Western Michigan, my players and the great fans and city of Kalamazoo for a wonderful four years.

“I look forward to meeting my new players and getting to know them as quickly as possible. I am excited to put together a staff and turn my efforts to recruiting, but also want Gopher fans to know that my wife, Heather, and I and our four children will be visible in the community and we are eager to connect with them. I am ready to go. Ski-U-Mah!”

And, as we wrote earlier and despite his new state being the Land of a Thousand Lakes, Fleck will be leaving his “Row the Boat” mantra as WMU had that phrase trademarked in 2015.

Contractually, his new school confirmed in its release that Fleck will initially be working with a five-year deal.  What they haven’t yet confirmed is that the deal will average $3.5 million annually as has been reported to be the case.