Andrew Rosin: After having a coach that lost his soul in an attempt to keep his team, Minnesota needs to find someone who knows how to rebuild. The Gophers need someone who will win eight or nine games every year as a floor. And someone who was able to restore a fallen dynasty back to its former glory and has them playing for a title. The Golden Gophers need none other than Bo Pelini.
I know what you’re thinking. Won’t they play Nebraska every year? Absolutely true. And Bo will have his team fired up and ready to go against the Huskers. That’s the only history that will matter with Minnesota.
The only history.
(Ed. note: We posed this very question on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of Claeys’s firing, and Pelini was the runaway favorite. Click into the tweet to see some additional, incredible suggestions in the mentions.)
Now that Minnesota has fired Tracy Claeys, who do you want to see coaching the Gophers? (offer others in mentions)— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) January 3, 2017
Drew Hamm: Now, I’m tempted to just have Barry Alvarez pass my resume along to Minnesota, but I don’t know if I can handle working in that dystopian hellhole. I already live here. So let’s think outside the box here. What about Chip “Going Back To College, College Boy” Kelly? No, no, no... more outside the box than that. Dilly Bar Dan? No, too close to the old regime. How about Paul Heyman! Think about it: he’s worked with former Gopher Brock Lesnar, he has great leadership skills and he’s slimy as hell! *Starts chanting U of M like ECW*
Owen Riese: I’m here for future Minnesota Golden Gophers Head Coach Les Miles. With Paul Chryst Making Badgers Football Great Again, increased competition in the West would benefit the Big Ten and Wisconsin because it would even out the balance of the Big Ten. Plus, Miles seems like a genuinely nice guy and he deserves to get a decent job somewhere.
Jon Beidelschies: FLECK! This is right in his wheelhouse (see No. 2). Minnesota is actually not a bad job. It has some history as a program, a relatively new stadium in a large metro area and plays in a consistently winnable Big Ten West. Whoever’s going in there will need to rip it down to the studs and that is what Fleck did at Western Michigan.
Here’s a question: Any chance that they’ve called Jerry Kill to come take his old job back? Kill, who left the job only a year ago, just took the offensive coordinator gig at Rutgers. He obviously thinks he can physically handle coaching again. Perhaps he would consider a return to the Gophers.
(Ed. note: Kill went on 1500 ESPN in the Twin Cities on Wednesday and, well, it’s safe to say he wouldn’t be interested.)
Jake Kocorowski: When coming from a Wisconsin perspective, what better way to jumpstart a program (and a rivalry) than a hire like Fleck. There would be a much-needed culture change for a a program reeling with dissension and misguided/delusional frustration by its players, infectious shots of energetic positivity from a head coach that wins press conferences and games on the field and heck—there’s a slogan that comes with the package.
Fleck can recruit, he can motivate and bring together a program. Yes, he turned around a MAC program. He’d move up to a Power Five school, but imagine what he could do with the resources of a Big Ten program.
Regarding the annual battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, the players for both programs understand the importance of the rivalry between Wisconsin and Minnesota. 2014 and 2016’s games were way too close for comfort on UW’s end, while 2005’s rendition was one muffed fumble and a blocked Jonathan Casillas punt away from a Gophers victory.
Fleck’s personality is the perfect yin to Paul Chryst’s yang. The ever-animated Fleck matching up yearly with the stoic, soft-spoken Chryst. For fans, and maybe the media, it would reinvigorate a rivalry that’s become one-sided, and maybe provide a storyline of an immediate threat to Wisconsin’s recent dominance (and for journalists, you’re always supposed to root for the best story, right?).
If not Fleck, maybe another name with Wisconsin connections. Perhaps former UW defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who supposedly spoke with the Gophers about “defense” and has been named by other reports as a possible name to watch.
But maybe, just mayyyyyyyybe, if the tide turns in Fayetteville... could it be... no wait... YES: