The shoulda-woulda-coulda of Minnesota sports

Minnesota sports teams are failing to win games they should've at an alarming rate.

Something is up with Minnesota sports. Or maybe this has always been the case. Whatever the reason, the Wolves, Wild, Gopher football, Gopher men's hockey, Vikings and even the Lynx can't seem to win games they're supposed to.

By blown lead or bad call, those six Minnesota teams have wound up on the losing side of 13 games they should've clearly won since Oct. 1.

Should-Woulda-Coulda Standings

  1. Wolves - 5
  2. Gopher football - 2
  3. Gopher hockey - 2
  4. Vikings - 2
  5. Wild - 1
  6. Lynx - 1

Here they all are in chronological order.

1. Oct. 1 – Blowing it in Happy Valley

Minnesota didn't know it at the time, but they came within 54 seconds of upsetting one of the top teams in college football. Emmit Carpenter's 37-yard field goal with 54 seconds to play gave the Gophers a 23-20 lead, but the Nittany Lions marched down the field and kicked a 40-yard field goal to send the game to overtime. Penn State won on its first offensive play when star running back Saquon Barkley ran it in from 25 yards out.

2. Oct. 8 – A pig of a game

With the Floyd of Rosedale (a 98-pound bronze pig) on the line, the Gophers couldn't hold onto a narrow second-half lead at home against Iowa. Minnesota led 7-6 until the Hawkeyes scored on a 54-yard run with under six minutes to play in the game. Minnesota's defense didn't get lined up on the play and there was a missed tackle, too. And it all happened after Ryan Santoso's short, 30-yard punt.

3. Oct. 20 – Lynx get robbed

This one isn't on the Lynx, but it's in the mix because the officials might be the sole reason Minnesota didn't get to celebrate a fourth WNBA title in the last six years. The big mistake came when the refs failed to call a 24-second shot-clock violation and instead counted a shot that gave the Sparks a 73-71 lead with 1:14 left in the game. The WNBA admitted a day later that the refs missed the call.

4. Oct. 21 – Late collapse in St. Cloud

One of the best interstate rivalries went the way of St. Cloud State after the Gophers watched the Huskies climb out of a 3-goal deficit with about 10 minutes to play and went on to win 6-5 in overtime.

5. Oct. 22 – No need for overtime

The very next night, this time at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, St. Cloud State stormed back after trailing 2-0 in the first period and went on to win 3-2.

6. Oct. 26 – Wolves blow lead in opener

The Wolves were crushing the Memphis Grizzlies 16-1 to start the game and led by as many as 17 points before giving it all back. Memphis won 102-98.

7. Oct. 30 – The beginning of bad 3rd quarters

Game 2 of the season was a repeat of the opener. Minnesota led by 18 points before getting outscored by 19 points in the third quarter and the Kings went on to win 106-103.

8. Nov. 3 – Another Wolves meltdown

This time, it was the Denver Nuggets erasing a 15-point deficit and outscoring the Wolves by 19 in the third quarter. Denver won 102-99.

9. Nov. 7 – The loss to the Lions

This game was really ugly all the way around, but nothing topped the Vikings' failure to hold a 16-13 lead with 23 seconds to play. Blair Walsh screwed up the kickoff allowing Detroit to kneel the ball and take it at the 25. Twenty-three seconds later the game was tied on a long field goal and Detroit won on the first possession of overtime. Those 23 seconds could ultimately keep the Vikings out of the playoffs when it's all said and done.

10. Nov. 13 – Everything stopped working

Minnesota's first quarter against the Redskins was bad, going down 14-0. But the final 5:39 of the second quarter was a three-touchdown blitz by the Vikings. But Walsh missed the extra point to end the half and Minnesota's offense pretty much failed to show up in the second half as they blew a 20-14 lead and lost 26-20 to Washington.

That was the final kick attempt by Walsh as a Viking. He was cut just a couple of days later.

11. Nov. 15 – Not again!

The Wolves led Charlotte by 12 at the half only to come out flat in the third quarter and get outscored by 19 again. They lost 115-108 as the Hornets scored 79 points in the second half.

12. Nov. 19 – "We stopped playing"

That's what goalie Devan Dubnyk said after the Wild let a 2-0 third-period lead evaporate in a 3-2 home loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The worst part about this one is that it took Colorado only 10 minutes to score three times in the third.

13. Nov. 21 – Wolves forget to play the fourth

It takes 48 minutes to win a basketball game. The Wolves only played 36 in their latest meltdown. Leading by 13 to start the third quarter, Boston charged with a 19-0 run to take the lead and win 99-93.

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