Each week Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?


A thought experiment: though I don't believe for a second that it would happen, let's assume that the Vikings picked up and moved to Los Angeles. As the most popular team in Minnesota, the Vikings' move would cause a gaping hole in the sports landscape, both in terms of fan attention and fan attendance. This would have to be redistributed somehow. Would Gopher football suddenly become the most popular game in town, 1950's style? Or would the NFL, just the generic NFL (and everybody's fantasy football teams) become the most important thing? Or would something else happen? I'm curious.

On with the links:

*Nick Nelson of TwinsCentric is trying to come up with some positives from this year. It is, at best, an uphill climb, but Nelson tries.

*I really like it when Spencer Hall goes pretty much anywhere, and as the nation's preeminent travel and college football writer, Hall's trip to Starkville, Miss. for the LSU - Mississippi State game does not disappoint. Key quote: "You should understand that the cowbell is an instrument of nuance. In full throat, it sounds like you are sitting beneath a cascade of ladles raining down on an immense steel-plated floor."

*The college football conference realignment Choose Your Own Adventure book is hours of fun, if for no other activity than trying to find a way that Michigan ends up in the SEC and is torn to shreds by rabid Arkansas fans.

*Deadspin has a running diary of the USA-Ireland rugby match. I watched this, and as a rugby novice, understood that the USA was doing better than expected. Ireland kept missing kicks, the USA kept making goal-line stands, and it all went so much better than it could have (for example, Japan lost 83-7 to New Zealand the other day, this representing a significant improvement from 1995, when Japan lost to New Zealand 145-17.) However, I didn't really understand that in reality, this was one of the best games ever for USA rugby.

*And finally: the video history of American football in Europe. What I have learned from this is that there is a European league of American football that plays in the spring and summer, and why these games aren't on the NFL Network I have no idea. It's nice to imagine that we're drawing ever-closer to my goal of having American football on TV for all twelve months of the year, though.

That'll do it for me. Enjoy the weekend; if we're lucky we may even get a bit of rain, thus making our lawns look a little bit less like the Sahara Desert.

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Monday (The problem with the Vikings) edition: Wha' Happened?