The passing of Labor Day means the unofficial end of summer, which tends to make a lot of people sad. This is largely true, I think, because summer’s end makes Minnesotans immediately think of winter.

In reality, we have a little thing in between called “fall.” And it’s glorious, particularly if you are sports-inclined. Here, then, is an ode to autumn and all we have to look forward to in the next two to three months:

Gophers football

You’d be hard-pressed to find a tried-and-true Minnesotan who wasn’t happier about a six-point loss to the No. 2 team in the country than he or she would have been about a 30-point win over a directional school. Minnesota still has flaws on offense, but this defense stacks up with most, if not all, in the Big Ten. It should be an interesting season.


If this offensive line can hold itself together and give Teddy Bridgewater time to throw, the Vikings could make a second-year leap under Mike Zimmer. The season starts for real in less than a week (be prepared to stay up late for Game 1, the second of a Monday Night doubleheader).


Everyone wanted meaningful Twins games in September. Well, they’re here — including a huge 10-game homestand from Sept. 14-24 that could be a launching pad toward, dare fans dream, the playoffs.

Lynx, Saints and United

If you don’t venture outside the “major” leagues or Gophers sports often, this is the time to do it. The Lynx and Saints are gearing up for the playoffs soon, while Minnesota United is battling for a spot in the postseason.

Outdoor enthusiasts

If you like to like to run, bike or hike, the next several weeks are prime time with cooler days but still plenty of daylight. Right in the middle of that stretch, of course, is the Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 4.


Maybe the Wild has spoiled fans with three playoff appearances in a row, including a series win each of the past two seasons. The buzz factor for this team is lower than it deserves to be considering the season opens in a month (Oct. 8) and the Wild is a proven winner.

Gophers hockey

The men’s team opens practice next week and has its home opener Oct. 10; the women’s team, coming off last year’s national championship, has its home opener the same weekend with a pair of games Oct. 9-10.


After countless rebuilding projects, this is one about which to get legitimately excited. Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and company could be special. And the season isn’t far away: Oct. 28 opener at the Lakers.

Gophers basketball

The men’s and women’s seasons both begin in mid-November, as if there wasn’t enough already going on that time of year.

High school football

The Prep Bowl is Nov. 13-14 at TCF Bank Stadium this year. After that, you can start to worry about winter. Until then, enjoy the unofficial fall.