Gophers End Season 6-6, Look Towards a Bowl
|Don't die, buddy.|
Regular Season #2 of the Jerry Kill regime has come to a bit of a tumultuous ending, but all in all I would say it is a success as they finish with a 6-6 record. At the beginning of the season I had the Gophers at a floor of 4 wins and a ceiling of 6, so in that respect they finished on the high end. Of course, most recognize the only in conference wins were against Purdue at home and at Illinois. Not exactly signature wins. A win over Iowa, Northwestern or Michigan State would have put a nice cherry on top of this season, but not only did they not come out on top, they pretty much got smoked in each of them.
That being said, Kill has doubled his wins in his second year, even though his QB went to crap early and he's been juggling them ever since. His team is still very young, and he definitely has a plan for recruiting a certain type of player to fit his system. Stealing a bowl win is highly doubtful in my opinion, but Kill has surprised before in his career. Both of ESPN’s dudes have Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against either TCU or West Virginia. Both have matchups look supremely unpleasant for our Fightin’ Goldies.
Sadly, there are other questions beyond just improving the program for Kill. AJ Barker engaged the kill switch (see what I did there?) and left the program. After reading through his novella about why he left it appears he doesn't like to ice injuries nor have people yell at him. He does like scholarships and acupuncture though. It would have been a tough call to give Barker a scholarship this year based on just his performance at UNLV. Listen, if Kill lorded the scholarship over Barker and said a lot of mean things to him, that sucks and all, but I can't help but think this is a dick move on Barker's part to take this kind of shot and potentially damage a program's reputation. I assume if this really is a massive issue we'll see a whole bunch of players step forward, right? Otherwise I tend to chalk it up to a kid that couldn't take the heat and sort of thinks of himself as an amateur yogi. I'm looking forward to visiting his holistic healing shop after he graduates.
The other thing is this seizure stuff. Before the season, Kill portrayed that they had it all under control with medication and diet and what-not but not only did he conk out for the whole second half of the MSU game last week he also suffered one in October after the Northwestern shellacking. This ongoing situation is worse than the Barker stuff to me as potential recruits are bound to hear about this and it has to factor into your decision. It seems to happen more (only?) at our home games which makes me wonder if the second biggest scoreboard in the nation is having an effect. Kind of like those warnings that come with video games. Can we get the guy some mega-transition lenses or something? We need a healthy Kill and you know; we want him to live and stuff too.
|No glove, no Love?|
Our Timberwolves have had some great news with the return of Kevin Love. He was a beast in his first game back and it was great to see him get so much love from the crowd. Unfortunately, the hand still bothers him; or rather the “shooting glove” that he’s wearing. The Wolves have dropped three straight (I warned you it would get rough for a bit) and are sitting at a 5-7 record. He's supposed to glove up until January, but it sounds like he's toying with taking it off.
Our guy Brandon Roy just had another knee surgery. I was super hopeful that top secret overseas surgeries had improved his condition, but it appears that the writing is on the wall. We’ll have to wait four weeks to see if the latest surgery helps at all. He had some “loose bodies” removed, so there was actually crap in there and that gives a glimmer of hope. However, the level III degenerative arthritis is the main issue. Just watching him get around on the court before the injury makes me think the dream is over. Chase Budinger also fell victim to the knee monster and had major surgery on his left meniscus. He’s hoping to return in March.
This means a whole lot of Alexsey Shved and Malcolm Lee at the shooting guard. Also, the Wolves made a nice FA pickup by grabbing small forward Josh Howard. Howard is busting his ass out there when he gets to play, especially on defense, plus he has a headband. Shved is going to have to grow up fast. He’s already produced more than expected early on, but he hasn’t been consistent. This feels like one of those seasons where everyone is going hurt all year, but we're looking at Love getting right and Rubio returning and I still feel the excitement of a playoff appearance.
Twins Talking to Literally Everyone
|So far, we got this guy. Don't worry, you don't really need to know who he is.|
"Anybody who is a starting pitcher that we've identified as having some ability, you can assume we've touched base with them."I'm loving the quotes we're hearing from Terry Ryan so far as free agency talks heat up. The Twins are in dire need of pitching and it appears they'll leave no stone unturned in the search. Popular thought is that they'll have about $25MM to spend this off-season, putting them at about where they were last year. As I've stated before they can't be afraid to go over a bit as there are a few pitchers worthy of some cash and there's no guarantee next year's market will be as good. Names that have been associated with the Twins have been Brett Myers, Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, Brandon McCarthy, Joe Saunders, Ryan Dempster Joe Blanton and even Brandon Webb.
We've also heard some trade rumors surrounding Denard Span for pitching with Atlanta and Tampa Bay as interested parties.
The Arizona Fall League has ended. For a list of Twins farm system players that were in it, check out this post by Eric Pleiss at Knuckleballsblog. Nate Roberts and Kyle Gibson were named to the all AFL team this year. Roberts, a 23 year old outfielder, led all players in every triple slash category, posting a 446/565/662. He reached base in each of his 19 games. I think he's expected to be at High A Fort Myers after a year in Low A where he hit 299/433/427. Gibson had 6 starts and a 5.40 ERA in 23 and 1/3 innings. He stuck out 28 and went 3-2.
The Walking Dead/Boardwalk Empire
I'm a big fan of both the Walking Dead and Boardwalk Empire but as the BE season ends and the first half of TWD's split season also comes to a close it's clear the HBO has much better writing and acting. For me, The Walking Dead has essentially become like most bad horror movies with terrific plot holes, but also gore and zombies (of course). So now I have to laugh at the stupidity and the cut corners and cheer for the zombies to eat people. I guess I shouldn't be overly surprised since the whole story is straight from a
comic book series of graphic novels and they apparently are following pretty closely to the script. (not exact, but close enough) I'm sure the actor that plays Carl is a good kid, but he's not believable at all as a bright eyed kid that's been hardened by the apocalypse. And get rid of the stupid sheriff hat already!
|Oops, bent rifle.|
On the other hand, this season of Boardwalk Empire has been a masterwork of interweaving stories that is coming to an explosive ending. Anyone could die here except probably Nucky Buscemi (and obviously historical guys like Capone) and I wouldn't be surprised. Other internet nerd contemporaries argue that the Gyp Rosetti character is a bit over the top and a caricature of your typical gangster. I would argue that guys like Gyp existed, but not likely for very long, in the gangster business. While building up Gyp's rise to prominence they've also advanced the story of Van Alden, Eli Thompson, Chalky White, Richard Harrow and many others. Pretty pumped for this, you guys.
|Capone going for the fork submission.|
After these two are over, it's going to be pretty bleak in the TV department. I'll take show recommendations in the comments section. TIA Game of Thrones sounds like it's coming in late March/April.