Friday, December 31, 2010

Weekend watchdog

New Year's Day used to be the big day for college football on the TV networks - three games on the same time in the early afternoon.
In 2011, if you don't have cable, you won't have a full bowl menu to choose from. There's just one game - Florida vs. Penn State in the Outback Bowl on ABC at 1 p.m. And that's only because there's no room on ESPN or ESPN2 in the time slot.
The Granddaddy of them All - the Rose Bowl - will be on ESPN at 5 p.m. Your memories of Curt Gowdy calling the game on NBC while your family got together to watch - long gone. Of course, TCU's purple in one end zone doesn't go with tradition. Although Wisconsin and its run game would fit right into the Woody Hayes era.
ESPN starts its bowl day with the Capital One Bowl between Alabama at Michigan State, while ESPN2 has the Gator Bowl goes with Mississippi State against Michigan at 1:30 p.m. in the nightcap, it's the Fiesta Bowl between Connecticut and Oklahoma.
CBS retains the Sun Bowl from El Paso, bringing together Miami and Notre Dame, Friday at 2:30 p.m. ESPN has three other games that day - South Florida tackling Clemson in the Car Care Bowl at noon, followed by Georgia-Central Florida at the Liberty Bowl and South Carolina meeting Florida State in the Peach Bowl.
The NHL has added something to the New Year's Day menu - the Winter Classic. This year, Pittsburgh gets the hosting duties, with the Steelers' Heinz Field getting a rink for the Penguins to face the Capitals.
Venues were the stars the past two years - Wrigley Field and Fenway Park - but this year it's Sid the Kid vs. the Great Eight.
The final weekend of the NFL season means doubleheaders on both CBS and FOX, except the markets of teams playing at home. CBS in Washington shows the Ravens facing the Bengals at 1 p.m., with Baltimore fans rooting for Cleveland to pull the big upset of Pittsburgh.
On FOX, the Saints and Bucs battle at 1 p.m. before the Redskins finish their lousy season against the Giants. The Redskins know they will be packing up their gear after the contest, while the Giants have a slim postseason chance - needing the Bears to beat Green Bay.
NBC brings the classic NFC West showdown - 7-8 St. Louis vs. 6-9 Seattle for the playoff berth. And the hosting duties next weekend before getting quickly booted from the postseason.
College basketball begins to gear up for the conference schedule as the new year starts. Sunday, Comcast has four games on the schedule, starting Gonzaga-Wake Forest at 1 p.m. Virginia hosts LSU at 5:30 p.m., followed by Miami-Duke. When that game ends, you head west for the conclusion of Arizona's game at Oregon State.
ESPN2 has full day of college basketball on New Year's Eve. Northwestern battles Purdue at noon, followed by College of Charleston-Tennessee and Florida-Xavier. The night tripleheader begins at 6 p.m. with Ohio State's visit to Indiana, then it's Seton Hall vs. Cincinnati and Oklahoma facing Gonzaga as we ring in the new year.
Saturday, West Virginia and Marquette have an early tip - 11 a.m. on ESPN2.
CBS brings the big contest between Louisville and Kentucky Friday at noon.
MASN offers Big East basketball Saturday as St. John's visits Providence. Sunday, there's UNC-Charlotte tangling with Georgia Tech at 7 p.m.
In women's basketball, Stanford tries to end Connecticut's lengthy winning streak Thursday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
The Wizards close out 2010 on Comcast with a 3 p.m. game at Indiana, then host the Hornets Saturday at 7 p.m.

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