So this weekend is the Minnesota-Wisconsin football showdown on both the amateur and professional levels. In both instances, the games occur on the Western side of the Mississippi. In both instances, the home teams are breaking out a shiny new bauble that they are certain will propel them to victory over their hated rivals. In the Gophers' case, it's their brand new (minature) stadium. And maybe those repellent all golden uniforms that show the sweat stains so nicely. In the Queens' case, well, it's the tarnished, dated, but still shiny penny that is Brett Favre (pronounced like Ben Stiller says it in "There's Something About Mary"). Vegas certainly values these new playthings, as it favors the home teams by about the same margin (Vikings by 3.5 and Gophers by 3).
The blunt truth is, that's probably right. A neutral third-party would likely say that the Gophers rely on their passing game (and the crotch-puncher) to win a close one in an emotional game to take back the axe for the first time in several years. That same "reasonable man" would note that the Packers haven't played a complete game this season, can't really run the ball or pass protect, are missing their left tackle, and made Cedric Benson look like a superstar two weeks ago in concluding that the Vikes will likely take this round. Maybe by more than the line.
Knowing this, let's approach this football weekend (that includes Monday night) with an open mind. If the Wisconsin teams lose, really, so what, it's expected. The tide is turning on the Northeastern prairie. The past is prolouge and all that. This is what Minnesota is telling itself. So if they sweep, expect some crowing come Tuesday, but don't be downtrodden. A sweep is what the genius odds-makers are predicting.
For now, instead, think about the other option. Given these shiny new toys that have finally addressed each team's most deep-seeded excuses, imagine if they fail. Oh boy. If the long-sought, on-campus, outdoor, non-Metrodome stadium doesn't lead to axe reclamation. If the HOF-bound, grizzly-bear quarterback doesn't cure all your football team's ills. A reverse sweep. A Minnesota flop of epic proportions. That idea is just so delicious, I could chew on it all day. Of course, it probably won't come to fruition, but it is a tasty treat to imagine while we wait out the next 45 hours. Hoooo, nelly.