Saturday, December 31, 2011

12/31: Weekend Viewing Guide

Greetings everyone... no "wrap-up" post from Friday's events... my apologies, but there's a lot to preview for the weekend...

  • College Hoops - Louisville @ Kentucky - Noon CBS - This is a pretty awesome game that lost a tad of its luster with Louisville losing earlier in the week. However, these are two unquestionably top-10 teams, and with the added bonus of their long-lasting rivalry, this is about as must-see TV as it gets for a noon tip-off in December.
  • NBA - Nuggets @ Lakers - 3:30 League Pass - This is only available if you have access to the League Pass preview, but if you do, a 3:30 Saturday afternoon tip is in the offing featuring two upper-echelon West teams.
  • College Hoops - Ohio St. @ Indiana - 6:00 ESPN2 - This has the same issue as the game above because Indiana has had a tough week, but this is the first true road test for OSU at full-strength since they played without Sullinger when they went to Kansas. A really nice game.
  • College Hoops - Creighton @ Wichita State - 6:00 ESPNU - If you need something to watch on commercial breaks of the game above, this Missouri Valley battle features 2 teams that are likely to make the tournament.
  • NBA - Hawks @ Rockets - 7:00 SportSouth - The first legitimate road test for the Hawks as the Rockets present more of an obstacle than the hapless Nets. That said, after seeing the Rockets in person last night, it's pretty clear to me that a) they have no idea what they're rotation is, and b) their 2nd unit can't score.
  • NBA - Jazz @ Spurs - 8:30 NBA-TV - Utah got their first W last night, and Derrick Favors looked to show some of that top-2 pedigree we've all hoped to see, but the Spurs on the road are a different animal.
  • Bowls - 5 games on New Year's eve headlined by Georgia Tech vs. Utah (2:00 CBS) and Virginia vs. Auburn (7:30 ESPN). I can't really say that I'm too intrigued by any of these matchups, but it'll be interesting to see if GT can shed the label that it is easier to play against them after a long layoff, and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl usually provides semi-entertaining football. At any rate, if you like college football, there's a game on from Noon until 11:00-11:30 pm, so enjoy it.
  • NFL - Lions @ Packers - 1:00 FOX - This game means nothing to the Packers, but I heard an interesting theory about that earlier in the week. They only have so many players on an NFL roster, and isn't it possible that Green Bay could beat Detroit at home with Matt Flynn and Randall Cobb? I'm not saying it's likely, but if you're a Falcons fan, you desperately need the Packers to win this game to avoid the Saints on the road in Round 1.
  • NFL - Bills @ Patriots - 1:00 CBS - If the Pats win, they are the #1 seed in the AFC, and they'll win.
  • NFL - Titans @ Texans - 1:00 CBS - This game means absolutely nothing to the Texans because they're locked into the #3 regardless, but with the Titans on the fringe of a potential #6 seed, they'll be invested.
  • College Hoops - Minnesota @ Michigan - 4:00 Big Ten Network - Break in the football action for the default-best college hoops game of the day, and I think Gus Johnson is on the call, so that's reason enough to make an appearance.
  • NFL - Ravens @ Bengals - 4:15 CBS - Baltimore needs to win to ensure the #2 seed (unless Pittsburgh loses), and the Bengals are still very much in the playoff picture, so this is one of the better games of the day. I actually like Cincy here.
  • NFL - Steelers @ Browns - 4:15 CBS - See above. Pittsburgh needs to win to have a chance at the bye and the #2 seed, but with Ben playing hobbled, I'm intrigued as to how they play this against the putrid Browns.
  • NFL - Chiefs @ Broncos - 4:15 CBS - Tebow and the Broncos are playing for their playoff lives, and while KC is out of it, Kyle Orton will certainly be motivated against his old team.
  • NFL - Chargers @ Raiders - 4:15 CBS - Meaningless game for the Chargers, and everything for the Raiders, so wouldn't it make sense for Phil Rivers to go nuts here? or is it just me?
  • NBA - Celtics @ Wizards - NBA-TV 6:00 - If you're looking for a break in the NFL action, this is about the best I can offer you. There are additional league pass games, but this is the only NBA game with "mass" distribution on Sunday. The Wizards are about as big of a trainwreck as there is in the NBA, so that's always fun.
  • NFL - Cowboys @ Giants - NFL 8:20 - By far the best game of the day because it means everything both teams. My gut keeps telling me that the Cowboys are the better team, but both of these teams are so unpredictable that it's really tough to get a read here. If I had a gun to my head, I'd take the 'Boys, but I don't trust that at all.
  • Bowls - Ticketcity Bowl - Houston vs. Penn State - ESPNU Noon - Wall-to-wall bowls on Monday the 2nd this year instead of the customary New Year's Day slate, and this one kicks it off with a nice matchup of ranked teams. Penn State is without it's usual starting QB, so Houston may be able to run away and hide.
  • Bowls - Gator Bowl - Ohio St. vs. Florida - ESPN2 1:00 - This would normally be an awesome game, but this year the storylines are about coaching changes and 6-6 teams. Yeah.
  • Bowls - Outback Bowl - Michigan St. vs. Georgia - ABC 1:00 - The best game of the bowl season to the point at which it's played. I think Georgia is better than MSU, but Sparty is about as jekyll/hyde as it gets so if Dantonio gets them to show up, they can certainly win.
  • Bowls - CapitalOne Bowl - Nebraska vs. South Carolina - ESPN 1:00 - Sensing a Big 10 theme here? At any rate, South Carolina is a top-10 team by ranking by without Lattimore, I'm not sure they belong there, and I actually like Nebraska here.
  • Bowls - Rose Bowl - Wisconsin vs. Oregon - ESPN 5:00 - The Granddaddy of the Them All! Always an epic presentation of football here (all kidding aside), and they have an extremely intriguing matchup. Wisconsin is a legitimate top-10 (I think top-5) team and they could easily be unbeaten behind Montee Ball, Russell Wilson, and that beastly offensive line, but they'll be encountering speed and tempo against Oregon that they've never seen. I like Wisconsin actually.
  • College Hoops - Texas A&M @ Baylor - ESPNU 7:00 - If you're sick of football and like collegiate sports, this is a nice game. Baylor is really talented and fun to watch.
  • NBA - Hawks @ Heat - SportSouth 7:30 - In the midst of all the gridiron, this is a battle of good Eastern conference teams, and I'm obviously ecstatic to watch this one. Really interested to see how the matchups shake out.
  • Bowls - Fiesta Bowl - OK State vs. Stanford - ESPN 8:30 - This is basically the runner-up game for the BCS pitting two high-quality teams together. OK State has a back-door shot at the AP title if they blow doors here and LSU/Bama play an ugly slugfest, but I actually think Stanford is better and they can slow the game down. Give me the Cardinal and Andrew Luck.
  • NBA - Thunder @ Mavs - NBA-TV 8:30 - More hoops, and this is a helluva matchup to the point that I'm curious as to why the NBA put it against the big-time bowl games.
Enjoy it everyone...

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