Tyler Julson: Area fall sports are winding down; a few teams still going

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Notes from the Sports Desk by Tyler Julson

 

The area fall sports season is really starting to dwindle down now. In football, just United South Central and NRHEG remain, and both will play in their section finals games Friday night for the chance at going to state.

Then we’ve got the Albert Lea girls’ swim team, which will swim in the section meet Wednesday and, depending on how well they do there, some will move on to the finals Nov. 9. I suspect Jaeda Koziolek and Emily Taylor will make the state meet in multiple events, but it remains to be seen if the Tigers will reach their goal of getting a relay team to state.

The Tigers’ football season came to an end Saturday with a loss to Winona, but this year’s squad has nothing to hang their heads about. Winning two games sent the program forward by many leaps, and as long as the young group of players can continue on what this group of seniors has started, the team is only going to continue to build.

The Gophers pulled out a big win Friday night after nearly giving it up in the fourth quarter. That’s a big win in their hopes of becoming bowl eligible. They still need to get two more wins in four games, but wins against Northwestern and Wisconsin don’t seem likely, so picking up wins against Illinois and Purdue seem like their best bet. I would give them a 25 percent chance of  making a bowl game at this point, but a win over Illinois this weekend will put them even higher.

The first week of the NCAA playoff rankings have come out and, for those of us hoping for a change of pace, we’ve got LSU and Notre Dame in the top four right now. LSU and Alabama play each other this week, and even if LSU wins the game, it likely won’t put Alabama outside of the top four. Which means, we need Alabama to lose twice — fat chance.

We could still see Michigan make a way into the playoffs, and how great would it be if Washington State or Kentucky somehow got in? The good news is there’s still plenty of time for things to get shaken up at the top; the bad news is the chances of it happening aren’t likely.

The Vikings sit in second in the NFC North after a loss to the Saints on Sunday night. However, their upcoming schedule looks pretty favorable to have them sitting atop the division at the end of the season, especially with all the turmoil happening in Green Bay after their stunning loss to the Rams.

The midseason awards for the NFL are pretty obvious through the first eight weeks of the season. How can the MVP not be Patrick Mahomes? He, along with the many weapons on the Chiefs offense have taken the league by storm and hopefully it carries into the second half of the season and beyond.

Defensive MVP is Khalil Mack. His presence alone on the Bears has made them a contender in the NFC North. With an interception return for a touchdown, four forced fumbles and five sacks, he’s clearly the frontrunner for the award.

Tyler Julson is the Tribune’s sports reporter. Contact him at tyler.julson@albertleatribune.com.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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