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December 29, 2011

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The 2012 Rose Bowl Monday between Oregon and Wisconsin figures to be among the most entertaining in years.  High scoring offenses that feature All-American running backs LaMichael James (Oregon) and Montee Ball (Wisconsin) will make for a high scoring game.  Oregon is likely to win with the Ducks having too much speed for a Badgers defense that was overwhelmed by a so-so Michigan State offense in the Big Ten Championship game.

Gophers coach Jerry Kill has been on the road recruiting.  It’s imperative the 2012 recruiting class is outstanding after he and his staff were hired too late to impact the 2011 class.

The Gophers have more junior college recruits (five) than any Big Ten program except Indiana (six), according to the player listings for each school on Rivals.com.

Sunday’s Vikings game at Mall of America Field against the Bears will be announced as the club’s 144th consecutive sellout and televised locally.

The season finale for the Vikings (3-12) will be the end of tight end Jim Kleinsasser’s career because he’s retiring.  Kleinsasser, 34, was named to USA Today’s All-Joe team in 2007 and 2008 honoring hard working and under recognized players.

If Adrian Peterson —whose future is in question because of left knee injuries— couldn’t play again it’s believed the Vikings would be obligated to pay him less than half of the $100 million contract signed earlier this year.

Assuming Christian Ponder starts on Sunday, he will tie Fran Tarkenton with the most starts ever for a Vikings rookie quarterback, 10.

Former Gophers running back Marion Barber III is the Bears second leading rusher for the season and leads Chicago in touchdowns with six.  Former Gophers tight end Matt Spaeth has only caught seven passes for the Bears, but two have been for touchdowns.

WCCO TV sportscaster Mark Rosen’s book, Best Seat in the House, will be ready for release in a few months.  Rosen, 60, has been seen on local TV here longer than any current news, sports or weather anchor.

Twins fans will have a look at some fresh faces during TwinsFest in late January, probably including the club’s new radio voice, Cory Provus, and also new shortstop Jamey Caroll.

Although new Twins pitcher Jason Marquis has played with six other big league teams, next season will be his first in the American League.  Marquis, 33, is a ground ball pitcher who has struck out 974 batters in 1,675.2 career big league innings.

The Brainerd baseball franchise that folded was last in Northwoods League attendance for seven consecutive years.  The franchise will be replaced by a team based in Mequon, Wisconsin.

In Big Ten attendance for non-conference home games the Gophers rank sixth averaging 10,957 in Williams Arena (capacity 14,625).  Wisconsin leads the conference at 17,170, followed by Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue.  Don’t be surprised if the Gophers (now 0-1 in the Big Ten after Tuesday’s loss to Illinois) are unable to sell out some conference games.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

(2) Readers Comments

  1. avatar
    stan amidon
    December 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Great stuff as usual. Taking the place of Sid for all of us over 50. Thanks,

    • avatar
      David Shama
      December 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Stan. Happy New Year.

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