Happy Tuesday and happy first day of February, everyone!

Let's get right to it.

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Good morning to everyone but especially to...

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There are five NFL head-coach openings left, and one in particular has reportedly piqued the interest of Jim Harbaugh. Let our NFL experts Cody Benjamin and Jeff Kerr explain:

  • Benjamin & Kerr: "Harbaugh showed legitimate interest in Minnesota's head coaching job during his interview with the team. The Vikings left the interview feeling Harbaugh is ready to make his return to the NFL and is in the mix for the job. ... Cleaning house after the 2021 season, the Vikings could be looking to reunite [Kwesi] Adofo-Mensah with Harbaugh, who worked alongside the new GM in San Francisco."

If that wasn't enough, according to a report Monday, Harbaugh is flying to Minnesota to interview with Vikings' brass on Wednesday -- which just so happens to be National Signing Day for college football! (So awkward for Michigan, right?)

From 2011-14, Harbaugh led the 49ers to a 44-19-1 record (fourth-best in the NFL over that span) and a Super Bowl appearance. He's coming off a 12-2 season and a College Football Playoff appearance with Michigan, helping re-establish his alma mater as a premier program.

I think Harbaugh is a really good coach, and that's part of what helped the Vikings earn the top spot this morning. The other part is that this speaks highly of the Vikings. Harbaugh hasn't shown interest in an NFL return since leaving the 49ers, and I don't think he would return to a place he didn't think could be competitive. So let's remember:

  • The Vikings have superstars in Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson
  • A solid quarterback in Kirk Cousins
  • A stud defensive lineman in Danielle Hunter
  • Minnesota led at some point in 15 of their 17 games this season. Eight of their nine losses were by one possession, and the one that wasn't was a game Cousins missed

Minnesota is not a Super Bowl contender, but they're not at all far away from being a solid playoff team. There's a long way for both sides to go when it comes to the team hiring Harbaugh, but today's developments should have Vikings fans feeling good.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...

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Auburn is coming off its first sub-.500 season since 2012, and head coach Bryan Harsin's second offseason on The Plains isn't looking good, either. Offensive coordinator Austin Davis, hired in December of 2021, has resigned for "personal reasons.Austin was hired to replace Mike Bobo, who only lasted one year with the Tigers. This also comes less than a week after defensive coordinator Derek Mason left for the same position at Oklahoma State.

Long story short, Auburn is a mess right now, and Harsin is in trouble, writes our college football reporter Barrett Sallee.

  • Sallee: "Athletic director Allen Greene hand-picked Harsin after a two-week saga that began after fan uproar over the potential hiring of former defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. Since then, Harsin dismissed wide receivers coach Cornelius Williams before the end of September and Bobo following an offensive regression over the final month of the season. Multiple players have entered the transfer portal, including three-year starting quarterback Bo Nix... Auburn's program is spiraling out of control faster than the eagle mascot pounces on its prey."

Not so honorable mention

These Super Bowl records could be in danger 🏈


Well, after three straight weekends of thrilling playoff football (ok, the Wild Card weekend wasn't totally thrilling, but there were a couple of good games), we have a two-week wait for the Super Bowl. Unbearable, I know. We'll get through this together, and the incredible amount of preview content from our NFL team will help.

One of my favorite pieces so far has been Bryan DeArdo's look at potential records that will fall at the Super Bowl.

Perhaps the coolest one DeArdo points out is Joe Burrow's "Triple Crown" chase. With a win, Burrow would be the first quarterback to win a Heisman, a national championship and a Super Bowl... and he would have done it all within three seasons!

As for one I'd love to see broken...

  • DeArdo: "Jerry Rice holds the record for most receiving yards in a Super Bowl. Rice tallied 215 receiving yards during the 49ers' win over the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase and Rams wideout Cooper Kupp could certainly threaten that record. Chase put up 266 yards in the Bengals' Week 17 win over the Chiefs. Kupp put up a season-high 183 yards in the Rams' divisional-round win over the Buccaneers."

And one I think will get broken...

  • DeArdo: "Sean McVay will become the youngest head coach to win the Super Bowl if Los Angeles defeats Cincinnati. McVay, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Jan. 24, would surpass Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who was six weeks shy of his 37th birthday when Pittsburgh defeated Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII."

That's right. My early prediction is the Rams win.

Latest Bracketology has a new 1 seed; Kentucky rises in Top 25 🏀

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Jerry Palm's latest Bracketology has arrived, and so, too, has a new team on the No. 1 line. Wisconsin joins Auburn, Gonzaga and Baylor after Kansas got demolished at home by Kentucky over the weekend. The Jayhawks fell to the 2 line.

Wisconsin, 17-3 this season, has a strong resume:

  • Tied for the Big Ten lead with Illinois (they'll meet on Wednesday in Champaign)
  • 7-3 in "Quadrant 1" games
  • No bad losses (all to current AP Top-25 teams)
  • A legitimate star in Johnny Davis, who is top-10 nationally in scoring average

But the Badgers also have a penchant for playing close games. Ten of their 17 wins have been by six points or fewer, including a three-point win over Nicholls State and a four-point win over Illinois State. While that's not always a bad thing -- Davis and fifth-year senior Brad Davison are big-shot makers -- the Badgers certainly do live dangerously, and some of those heart-stopping wins can turn into heartbreaking losses in a heartbeat. Entering Monday, they were seventh in KenPom's "luck" rankings.

Here's Palm's full Field of 68. As for the AP Top 25, Kentucky was the biggest riser after their aforementioned win at Kansas, going from 12th to fifth. Meanwhile, LSU -- loser of four of its last five -- was the biggest faller, going from 19th to 25th, and Kansas fell from fifth to 10th.

NHL Power Rankings: Avs still No. 1, but Wild are surging 🏒

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The Avalanche and Panthers are holding steady at No. 1 and No. 2 in our NHL expert Austin Nivison's latest NHL Power Rankings. But there's an all-new rest of the top five behind them.

  • No. 3: Hurricanes -- "Frederik Andersen continues to make the Hurricanes look smart for ditching last season's goaltending duo and signing him."
  • No. 4: Maple Leafs -- "Michael Bunting is having a special rookie season for the Maple Leafs. He had a hat trick in the team's comeback win over the Red Wings, but Bunting has been a strong creator of offense all season."

And at No. 5 is this week's biggest climber, rising up from 12th:

  • No. 5: Wild -- "Mats Zuccarello spoiled the jersey retirement of his good friend Henrik Lundqvist in a 3-2 comeback win over the Rangers. He had two points in that game and 18 points in his last 11 games. Zuccarello's hot streak is a big reason why the Wild have started to roll again recently."

What we're watching Tuesday 📺

🏀 No. 10 Kansas at No. 20 Iowa State, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Alabama at No. 1 Auburn, 9 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 23 Texas at No. 14 Texas Tech, 9 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Nets at Suns, 10 p.m. on TNT