Snapshots from the weekend and for the week ahead:
1. Every time the Vikings lose - and I've had a lot of experience with this, covering the team since 1990 - I hear and see people blaming the coaching. Especially the offensive coordinator. Let's get this straight - you can't coach around bad offensive line play.
This isn't an offense based on throwing a dozen wide receiver screens. It's an offense based on power running and downfield passing. If you're Norv Turner, you can't go into a game expecting your offensive line to collapse. And once it does, you can't change to all three-step drops and screen passes. That won't work against an intelligent team. Sometimes football is more about blocking and tackling than schemes.
2. I'm not surprised Tubby Smith gloated about beating Richard Pitino. But let's think about that sentence. Tubby Smith, a former national champion coach, is now gloating about beating the lowly Gophers in an early-season tournament in a fifth-place game.
Isn't that a little sad? Doesn't that speak to the lack of expectations that Smith has had for himself and his programs since he left Kentucky?
3. The Gopher football team has a good chance to beat Wisconsin on Saturday and go to a bowl. While we're all sick of 6-6-ish seasons and minor bowls, that would be a nice finish to a tumultuous season and a credit to Tracy Claeys for keeping the team together.
Wisconsin's offensive line is a mess. The Badgers aren't running the ball well, and still aren't throwing it well. This should be a highly favorable matchup for the Gophers.
4. The Vikings have yet to beat a good team this year, and they may not have to on Sunday. The Falcons are a mess. If the Vikings had beaten the Packers, I would have thought that Atlanta was a trap game for them. Having lost to the Packers, now I expect the Vikings to bounce back.
5. New podcast this morning at MalePatternPodcasts.com with Justin Morneau. He told me the story behind Torii Hunter's punch, how he wants to finish his career and about his good times in Minnesota.
You can subscribe on ITunes or download the ap at Soundcloud.com, or just listen with one click at MalePatternPodcasts.com. Thanks.