Gator Bowl is a fitting destination
Admit it. If someone had told you before the season started that the Gopher football team would go 10-2 and end up playing Auburn University in the Outback Bowl on New Years Day 2020, you’d have taken that deal in a heartbeat.
P.J. Fleck and his staff have been recruiting effectively up until this point by basically selling a vision. Now, they have hard results, including national recognition, ESPN Game Day, a Top-20 finish, and a warm weather destination game on New Year’s Day. Bingo!
Now comes the hard part: playing the Auburn Tigers. Auburn went 9-3, with wins over Oregon and Alabama and losses to Florida, Georgia and #1 LSU by a total of 21 points. The early line on Action Plus has Auburn favored by 8 points with an over/under of 49. Sounds about right.
Vikings post “workmanlike” win over toothless Lions
At the end of the day all that really matters from the Vikings 20-7 win over the Detroit Lions is that the Vikes got another division win, improved to 9-4, stayed one game behind the Packers and left the field without any new major injuries.
Next up is the teams’ final road game against the L.A. Chargers before they finish the season with home games against Green Bay and Chicago.
Unfortunately, I just don’t see a whole lot to get excited about. I can see this team losing all three games, finishing 9-7 and missing the playoffs. Could they also run the table and finish an unexpected 12-4? Sure, it’s possible. But to do that we’re going to need to see a lot more than Sunday’s humdrum performance against the toothless Detroit Lions.
Schedule about to play in Wilds’ favor
After posting the worst start in franchise history at 1-6, many Wild fans were hoping the team would bottom out and play into position to benefit from what’s being called ‘one of the deepest draft classes in years.’
Bouncing back from that horrific start appeared unlikely with the team playing 20 of their first 30 games on the road, something only one other team in NHL history had ever been asked to do. But, after losing on Saturday night in Carolina, the Wild have rebounded to 14-12-4, just points out of a Wildcard spot.
While it’s great to see the team getting contributions from players like Victor Rask, Kevin Fiala and Ryan Donato, the impact newcomer is Mats Zuccarello, who has breathed new life into Jason Zucker, a player the Wild tried to trade not once, not twice, but three separate times in the off-season.
If you’re hoping to see the Wild in the playoffs, consider that they are 7-1-2 at home so far this season, and starting Tuesday night against Anaheim, the Wild will play 14 of their next 20 games at Excel Energy Center. So, if they’re going to make a move, this would seem to be the ideal opportunity.
Twins fans need to get a grip
Unhappy Twins fans lit up Twitter this past week when it was revealed that the team had apparently made a five year, $100 million offer to free-agent pitcher Zach Wheeler, only to have Wheeler accept a five year offer of $118 million from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Not even the most die-hard Twins fans expect the team to land either top free-agent pitchers Gerrit Cole or Steven Strasburg, who are expected to get deals in the area of $250 million. There is hope however that the team might be able to land former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. My suggestion to you? Don’t count on it.
Without true revenue sharing and a salary cap like they have in the NFL, you just have to come to grips with the fact that the Twins will never be able to compete with big market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Angels, etc., when it comes to free-agents. Don’t blame the Pohlads, accept it and get over it.
What the Twins must try to do is identify ascending talent before it fully matures, and that means making trades. Baseball’s winter meetings open today in San Diego, and if the Twins are going to make a move to bolster their pitching staff it is going to cost the Twins a prospect or two. Accept it and hope that if Falvey and Levine make a deal, they get it right.
Reeve deal confirmed, Maya Moore still TBA
Confirming what had been widely known for months, the Minnesota Lynx officially signed Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve to a multi-year extension.
As per WNBA policy, terms of the deal were not announced.
Having guided the Lynx to four WNBA titles, Reeve may have done her best coaching job this past season, which was also her first as the team’s GM.
Reeve retooled the Lynx roster and still managed an 18-16 record and an appearance in the playoffs.
Reeve has shown that she has a keen eye for talent and is a master motivator. What remains to be seen is whether all-pro guard Maya Moore elects to return to basketball and the Lynx after taking a year to focus on her life and causes outside basketball.
Know this: if Moore elects to play basketball again and she’s given no sign that she will, the only way she comes back is if Reeve is running the show, and now that pat has been taken care of.