Six thoughts in the midst of the busiest month in local sports:
• First, a thought on that introduction. In October, we had or will have games by the Twins, Gophers football, Gophers men's and women's hockey, Gophers volleyball, Vikings, Lynx, Timberwolves and Wild … in addition to high school sports and a little thing called the Ryder Cup — and I didn't even mention everything.
Forget about March Madness. October is the truly mad month.
• Let's go chicken-egg-chicken with the Gophers football team and an offense that struggled mightily Saturday in a 14-7 loss to Iowa.
Minnesota has looked at its best in many cases in hurry-up offenses near the ends of halves or games. The same was true Saturday before a last-ditch drive came up short. So is there a case to be made to go with an up-temp approach all the time?
Well, yes … except conventional wisdom (which is not wrong) says that an up-tempo offense is hard on that team's defense because it feels like it's always on the field. However … the Gophers had eight three-and-outs Saturday (and another four-play possession with a punt). That takes neither time off the clock not puts points on the board.
• Per a tweet from @fbgchase, at one point Sunday, Texans QB Brock Osweiler was averaging just 2 yards per dropback — 52 yards on 26 pass dropbacks. The tweet noted that's the same as 6 feet per dropback — meaning the 6-foot-8 Osweiler would have gained more yards just standing directly on the line of scrimmage and falling on his face.
• Everson Griffen had a tough first half for the Vikings despite everything that was going well for the purple. Not only was he flagged for an offsides penalty on a play on which he looked to have timed the snap just right, but cameras caught a misspelling on his No. 97 jersey — which read "Griffin."
• Second-guessing a play call is pretty low-hanging fruit (particularly when the play doesn't end up working), but let's have some real talk here: What on earth were the Texans thinking when Osweiler attempted a wide receiver screen on fourth-and-16 in the second half?
Never mind that Will Fuller gained only 4 yards on the play (and was lucky to get that many). On a down and distance like that — with a Vikings secondary that is prone to penalties because of its aggressiveness — some sort of play beyond the first-down marker that also has a chance to draw a flag is a no-brainer.
• And finally, please join myself and Star Tribune hockey writer Michael Russo, as well as Anthony LaPanta and Wes Walz from Fox Sports North, for a Wild season preview event at noon Monday. Details and tickets can be found at startribune.com/mnwild.
One thing we are certain to discuss: the need for this team to get off to a good start as it attempts to energize its fan base.