Back in the old days, college football ended Jan. 1 - it was the big bowl games, and that was it.
In 2011, the second weekend of the New Year means college football championship games - one official, one assumed.
Friday, the Football Championship Subdivision (old I-AA) closes its expanded playoffs when Delaware meets Eastern Washington in Frisco, Texas on ESPN2. The playoffs previously ended before Christmas, but adding four teams - including a Coastal Carolina squad that lost to one-win Towson in September - meant the game had to be pushed into the New Year.
The Bowl Championship Series title game keeps going deeper and deeper into January. It lands January 10th this year, with Auburn trying to maintain the pride of the SEC against Oregon.
Several other bowls fill the weekend while awaiting Auburn-Oregon. FOX has the Cotton Bowl between Texas A&M and LSU Friday at 8 p.m. Saturday at noon, Pittsburgh and Kentucky square off in the Compass Bowl while Boston College faces Nevada Sunday at 9 on ESPN in the Fight Hunger Bowl from San Francisco. You'll figure out what brand of snacks to buy for the game.
The pros begin their march to the Super Bowl this weekend with four games. The last in will likely be the first out, as the 7-9 Seahawks host New Orleans at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC. In the nightcap, Peyton Manning and the Colts take on the Jets.
Sunday, the Ravens invade Kansas City at 1 p.m. on CBS. The Packers, who began the campaign in Philadelphia back in September, will try to continue onward against the Eagles at 4:30 p.m. on FOX. The winners advance to next weekend's conference semifinals. The losers start talking about the looming labor agreement.
In college basketball, ESPN2 gets an early start Saturday when West Virginia meets Georgetown at 11 a.m. It's followed by Kansas State-Oklahoma State and Florida State's visit to Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. Vanderbilt plays South Carolina at 5 p.m. on ESPN2, while Connecticut takes on Texas at 4 p.m. on ESPN.
The ACC season heats up Saturday at noon when North Carolina visits Virginia on NBC29, followed by Wake Forest-N.C. State on CW29 at 2:30 p.m.
CBS follows NFL playoff football with Kansas heading to Michigan Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
Comcast has an afternoon doubleheader Saturday with George Mason-Old Dominion tipping off at 2 p.m. and Richmond meeting LaSalle at 4 p.m. On Sunday, the ACC prime time contest matches Maryland and Duke. The night concludes with UCLA taking on Southern Cal.
MASN offers five games Saturday - three from the Big East. The day begins at noon with Syracuse-Seton Hall, followed by Marquette at Pittsburgh. The action moves to the Atlantic 10 at 4 p.m. - UNC-Charlotte at St. Bonaventure - then Coastal Carolina takes on Liberty. Providence tackles Rutgers at 8 p.m.
Versus has the Mountain West Saturday at 4 p.m., with San Diego State heading to Utah.
CBS offers a women's basketball doubleheader while the NFL playoffs are on NBC. Connecticut tries to build a new winning streak at Notre Dame at 2 p.m., followed by Ohio State-Iowa.
Comcast has a pair of games Sunday afternoon - North Carolina-Boston College at 1 p.m., followed by James Madison at Old Dominion. ESPN2 has Dayton-Xavier at 3 p.m. Sunday, followed by Tulane's game with UAB.
ESPN's NBA twinbill on Friday starts with the Rockets in Orlando, then the Knicks visit the Suns. The Wizards host the Nets Friday on Comcast at 7 p.m., then visit Charlotte Saturday on Comcast-plus.
The Capitals take on Florida Saturday on Comcast.
You can think warm thoughts, since the new PGA season begins in Hawaii on the Golf Network.