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You can't really make this up, can you? Here's LSU coach Les Miles, on Columbus Day:
We just came from Gophers football media access, which was the first opportunity to ask players about last week's development with head coach Jerry Kill taking an indefinite leave of absence as he works to get his epilepsy under control.
The universal message from kicker Chris Hawthorne, offensive lineman Jon Christenson, tight end Maxx Williams and defensive back Brock Vereen: They are fully prepared to move on with business as usual and are hoping to draw on Kill for inspiration in their game against Northwestern on Saturday.
How that all comes together, of course, remains to be seen. It has been far from a normal season for the Gophers, with Kill missing part of their victory over Western Illinois and all of their loss to Michigan two Saturdays ago. They have also been in the midst of a QB shuffle, though acting head coach Tracy Claeys said Tuesday that Mitch Leidner will start against the Wildcats, saying Leidner "deserves the opportunity" after showing some progress against Michigan.
Perhaps Kill's leave of absence will even bring a sense of normalcy to the program in an odd way. Stability is huge, Vereen said, and not knowing the status of your head coach from week to week cannot be easy.
Claeys said he does not anticipate Kill will return for the Northwestern game -- hardly surprising since this is the first game since Kill took his leave of absence.
The only certainty is that the Gophers will have a ton of work to do in order to beat the Wildcats -- or, frankly, any Big Ten team left on their schedule at this point.
We'll have a video from Gophers access posted shortly. For now, your thoughts on the Gophers in the comments, please.
Game of the weekend: #2 Oregon at #16 Washington, 3pm, Fox Sports 1
It may only be week seven, but the beauty of college football is that it already feels like the playoffs - and this is game two of the three-game round-robin playoff between Oregon, Stanford, and Washington in the Pac-12 North.
Washington lost game one of the series, a 31-28 heartbreaker at Stanford last week, and comes home to Seattle knowing that a 10th consecutive loss to Oregon will derail the chances of the best Huskies team in years. With coach Steve Sarkisian the focus of the USC coaching rumor mill, you could excuse UW fans for feeling like this is their best chance for greatness.
Over in Oregon, meanwhile, the University of Nike juggernaut keeps chugging along, despite the departure of head coach Chip Kelly to the NFL. The Ducks haven't been tested yet, under new coach Mark Helfrich -- their closest win so far was a 55-16 destruction of Cal, and Oregon led that game 41-3 at halftime.
The SEC gets the press, but the Pac-12 may be the best league in college football. Even better, this game is at a normal time in the afternoon, instead of being one of those late-night post-apocalyptic West Coast slugfests that ends at 1am Central time.
Your weekend viewing schedule
2:30 Saturday: #17 Florida at #10 LSU, CBS. First, if you didn't read Patrick Reusse's story of how he became an LSU football fan while growing up on the Minnesota prairie, I encourage you to do so. Second, Florida is an offensive disaster, but LSU has grinning death-train conductor Les Miles at the helm, so who knows what will happen in Louisiana today.
7 pm Saturday: Dallas at Wild, FSN / New Hampshire at Gophers, FSN PLUS. It's your first chance of the year to flip back and forth between the two local hockey squads. The Gophers looked good in dismantling Mercyhurst last night; the Wild have looked less so in their four games. Curse one, hit the swap button on your remote, and watch until you curse the other and flip back. Hockey!
Noon Sunday: Panthers at Vikings, FOX. You can have your Saints-Patriots marquee matchups; this is the truly fascinating NFL game this weekend. Well, for Vikings fans it is. Actually I don't know why I listed this game. You're going to watch it whether I put it in this list or not.
3:25 pm Sunday: Saints at Patriots, FOX. Well, fine. Watch this potential Super Bowl preview then. See if I care.
8 pm Sunday: Seattle at Portland, ESPN. The Sounders were Major League Soccer's hottest team - but in the span of five days, they lost 5-1 to Colorado and 4-1 to Vancouver. Now, they head to Portland, for the renewal of the league's best rivalry in one of the league's best venues - and second place in the West is on the line.
What to read this weekend
At SB Nation, NBA editor Mike Prada explains what makes Nikola Pekovic such a load in the post. It breaks down everything from his footwork to his positioning to how he runs the floor, and it is absolutely tremendous; it's simple to understand, yet incredibly in-depth. This is what the internet should be like. I actually pumped my fist after finishing this article, it was so good.
But the city of Minneapolis? That's reportedly another story.
According to ESPN's Big Ten Twitter feed, Minneapolis is one of six cities that has submitted a bid for the 2017 college football title game, to be played in January of that year.
While it is not specified where the game would be located, it is all but certain the site would be the new Vikings stadium, slated to open in July of 2016. It's also unclear when winning bids will be announced.
A previous ESPN.com story said Jacksonville, Miami, San Antonio, San Francisco and Tampa were the other five cities that were slated to submit bids.
We imagine Minneapolis faces stiff competition against places where it will not be zero degrees that time of year, but it does at least put the city in the mix for that (and future) games.
Minneapolis has bid on the 2017 title game. Looks like first chance for a Midwest site. One of six cities that bid on '17 game.— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) September 30, 2013
Born out of a series of Tweets by commenter @RandBallsStu, an idea by your humble proprietor and a sick thirst to rile up Packers fans for no good reason, we present, "The Increasingly Lost Season." In this series, now entering its second year, Stu chronicles the Packers' misfortunes as they tumble back toward Randy Wright-esque putridity. This week he turns his attention, deservedly so, to the college ranks. Stu?
Although it would be easy and convenient for this writer to pretend otherwise, there are other football teams in the upper Midwest in the midst of their own increasingly lost seasons besides the Green Bay Packers. For example, there’s another team with myriad flaws on defense, dicey quarterback play, and an almost supernatural ability to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.
I speak, of course, of the Big Ten’s Wisconsin Badgers.
Now, the politically correct mob might say I’m discussing the Badgers because the Packers won in a mild upset at Daunte’s House over Washington. This is far from the truth. Indeed: Green Bay has proven they can compete with any team so long as the starting quarterback is hobbled or Joe Webb. Anything beyond that, well, the end result of such a lopsided race as that is too obvious to require elaboration. I understand that their long-suffering fan base is thrilled to be .500, but such is the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Back to the Badgers. On Saturday night/early Sunday morning, the second-most-disappointing football team in Wisconsin had Arizona State on the ropes in Tempe. Trailing 32-30, they had the ball well within field goal range with 18 seconds left and the clock stopped. Then, this happened.
Go ahead, watch the clip a few more times. I’ll wait here.
Done? Okay. Now, it goes without saying that the officials messed up, but let’s be frank: the Badgers were going to find a way to lose. Their quarterback, Joel Stave, who somehow gets two syllables out of “Stave” but can’t kneel down in a clear manner, would have found a different, more creative way to blow it. The field goal attempt would have been shanked. Arizona State would have scored a 15-lateral touchdown on the ensuing kickoff. These are the things that happen to teams like the Badgers.
Does Wisconsin deserve to have its two most high-profile teams mired in the midst of concurrent increasingly lost seasons? That’s open to debate. But no one can argue that it’s happening.
This week, the Badgers open their Big Ten schedule with a home game against Purdue. Their professional counterparts travel to Cincinnati to take on the surging Bengals. Can either team win? In these two increasingly lost seasons, “maybe” is as good as it’s going to get.