Rand: Plenty to talk about, finally

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 28, 2012 - 6:44 AM

Baseball is winding down, but football has arrived to re-energize a slumbering sports scene.

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Washington rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Photo: Alex Brandon, Associated Press - Ap

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After spending part of the weekend with a bevy of sports fans, these three questions emerged as talkers as we head down the home stretch of summer and head into fall:

1. Gophers vs. Vikings: Which football team will win more games this season?

• Why the Gophers: They should be improved in their second season under Jerry Kill, they have a soft early schedule and it's not crazy to think they could win six or even seven games.

• Why the Vikings: Well, they get 16 games to do it, more than the Gophers. And they, too, are improved and look to have some winnable games.

• Best guess: Let's go with the Vikings, even though we're reasonably optimistic about both teams. If both teams are at or around .500, the tie goes to the team that gets to play more.

2. Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck: Which rookie quarterback will have the most passing yards in 2012?

• Why RG3: The Redskins have been dreadful in recent years -- 15 victories in their past three seasons -- but much of it was due to poor QB play. With RG3 in the mix, a decent offensive nucleus will evolve.

• Why Luck: He's being called the best QB prospect since perhaps Peyton Manning, a once-per-decade kind of guy. Luck can make all of the throws, and he will do it plenty with the Colts trailing often.

• Best guess: We'll say RG3 based on not much more than a hunch. Both QBs have looked the part already in the preseason, but Griffin III should get more help.

3. Ben Revere vs. Joe Mauer: Which of these players, among the AL leaders, will finish 2012 with the higher batting average

• Why Revere: He broke out of a 3-for-20 slide with a 4-for-4 game Sunday, meaning a hot streak could be on the way. Plus, all those infield hits because of his speed -- 35 -- are a huge boost.

• Why Mauer: He's the proven horse, having won three batting titles already. He, too, could be due for a good streak after a cool August (.267).

• Best guess: Have to take Mauer here, but it will be a good battle. Neither one, though, is likely to win the overall crown.

MICHAEL RAND

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
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Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
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Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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