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


The state high school hockey tournament is Minnesota's most famous prep event, the only one that draws national attention unless Blake Hoffarber is involved.The thing is, though, that the Prep Bowl is better - and here are five reasons why.


1. The Prep Bowl actually involves teams from around Minnesota - Caledonia and Moose Lake-Willow River and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley and so on - rather than being the Suburbs, Private Schools, and Warroad/Roseau State Championship like the hockey tournament.

2. Watch the Prep Bowl, you'll see every kind of football; spread offense and offenses that throw twice a year, quarterbacks that can sling the ball seventy yards and quarterbacks that appear to be throwing with the wrong hand, teams that kick field goals and teams that can't hardly kick off. It's a veritable smorgasbord of football. Unless you're a particular student of the one-man vs. two-man forecheck, the hockey tournament is more or less a lot of the same thing all day.

3. The Prep Bowl gets the benefit of being played on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, the best possible dates on the calendar, when days off and leftover turkey combine with high school football to make the best possible sports viewing experience. Half the hockey tournament is played while you're at work.

4. Chris Dilks at the Western College Hockey Blog wrote a convincing column this week that suggests that it's time to stop pretending there's any basis for community-based prep hockey, since most players gravitate towards the all-star teams that tend to be created at that level. You'll never read a similar column about prep football in Minnesota.

5. The best high school hockey players in Minnesota play Elite League hockey and junior hockey and summer hockey and go to the USHL and go to the National Team Development program in Ann Arbor. The best high school football players in Minnesota play high school football in Minnesota.

*On with the links:

*The Twins need a ton of pitching, which isn't a secret. John Bonnes thinks that Josh Willingham is worth basically nothing on the trade market, which leads into Nick Nelson's home truth: if the Twins aren't going to be terrible next year, they're going to have to spend an enormous amount of money this off-season.

*With John Gagliardi's retirement at St. John's, SJU grad Shawn Fury takes a look back at the legendary coach.

*Hamilton Nolan writes about Adrien Broner, boxing's next, unbeatable, unpunchable thing.

*The Economist takes a scientific look at Formula One's successful return to the United States.

*And finally: I will never fail to be entertained by this kind of thing.

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