Football is front and center, and my NFL division predictions -- tweeted Wednesday -- will be published later.
In the meantime, other happenings this weekend include St. Scholastica taking on Eureka in the UMAC conference opener. The Saints won last year in Illinois 48-7, holding Eureka quarterback Sam Durley to a scant 169 yards passing.
That could be troublesome this time around. Durley set an NCAA record with 736 yards passing in a 62-55 win over Knox last week. That's a great story by itself -- it was No. 2 on SportsCenter's Top 10 that night -- but even better is what wide receiver Jordan Kindred did. The basketball player decided to try football, and his first game was a doozy. Kindred caught 13 passes for 235 yards ... in his first game of organized football.
Might want to cover him, CSS.
UMD hosts Winona State Saturday for the 2012 Malosky Stadium opener. The Bulldogs will pay tribute to retired equipment manager Scott "Honey Bear" Hanna at halftime. It will be UMD's first home game since the offseason death of former coach Jim Malosky.
On the field, expect a stiff test for the Bulldog defense. UMD allowed over 300 passing yards to SW Minnesota State last week, and struggled to generate pass rush and force turnovers. Winona hosted Minnesota-Crookston last week, winning 58-6 and outgaining the Golden Eagles 468-188. UMC's only score came on a pick-six.
With old-and-new-again coordinator John Steger, I expect UMD's defense to be pretty formidable before it's all said and done. But for UMD to be highly effective in this 3-4 scheme, they need players making big plays. That means sacking the quarterback, forcing fumbles, and getting interceptions. The Bulldogs had none of that last week, it needs to change, and there's no reason to think it won't change.