Five thoughts from an unbelievable sports weekend:
• In Glen Mason’s third season, the Gophers went 8-3 in the regular season (5-3 in the Big Ten). What we had forgotten was just how close that team actually was to a conference title. All three losses came at the Metrodome. They had a fourth-quarter lead before losing 20-17 in OT to Wisconsin. They had a fourth-quarter lead before losing 20-17 in regulation to Ohio State. And they lost by five to Purdue. That was it before a four-point Sun Bowl loss to Oregon.
This is relevant because of a crazy notion fueled by Saturday’s 34-23 Gophers victory over Nebraska. They are now 6-2 (2-2 in the Big Ten) in Jerry Kill’s third season. It’s clear the Gophers don’t feel as though they have peaked. If they can win two of their next three games (at Indiana, home against Penn State and Wisconsin) while Michigan State loses two of its next three games (home against Michigan, at Northwestern, at Nebraska) — along with a little bit of other help — the Gophers could nab a share of the Legends Division title with a win in the finale at Michigan State.
OK, sorry. Crazy. Looking way too far ahead after two good wins. But still.
• Something that is not too early to talk about: The Gophers women’s and men’s hockey teams are venturing toward greatness. They are a combined 13-0-1, and the women extended their NCAA-record winning streak to 57 games.
• It’s possible for one play in baseball to be ruled correctly, to be absolutely fascinating, to be something you have never seen before and yet to be completely unsatisfying as a way to end a World Series game. That, in essence, is the obstruction call that ended Game 3 on Saturday night, giving the Cardinals a victory.
• Nobody is an offensive genius without a healthy (or productive) quarterback. Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly took over the Eagles this year, and the squad’s offense racked up at least 425 yards each of its first six games (and 30-plus points in four of six). The past two games, including Sunday vs. the Giants? They haven’t topped 300 yards either time and haven’t scored an offensive touchdown as QBs Nick Foles, Michael Vick and Matt Barkley have all struggled.
• Calvin Johnson is to the wide receiver position what Adrian Peterson is to the running back position. Just an unbelievable combination of strength and speed and clearly the best in the game right now.