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Posts about NCAA: football

The Weekend Lowdown with Jon Marthaler: What to watch this weekend

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: October 19, 2013 - 11:25 AM

Saturdays, Jon Marthaler tells us what to watch and what to read to get us all the way through until Monday. Other times, you can find him here.


Game of the Week: #5 Florida State at #3 Clemson, 7pm tonight, ABC

Gather 'round, children, and let me tell you about a time - really not so long ago - when there were college football games that mattered on a national scale that were not between two SEC teams.

That's right! They weren't even in the Pac-10, after everybody had gone to bed! They were played in the South, just like SEC games, between some of the most famous football schools in the country, with national title implications - and most of them involved Florida State.

For those of us who are reaching middle age, it's tough to understand that Florida State hasn't been exceptionally good in a very long time. From 1987 to 2000, FSU finished the season in the top 5 every single year. They started competing for the ACC football championship in 1992, and promptly won nine straight titles, along with national championships in 1993 and 1999.

It's not like the Seminoles have fallen off the map since - they've won the ACC four times, and ended the season in the top 25 almost every year - but this dip happened to coincide with the rise of SEC, a rise that's reached a point where college football now feels kind of like it has a major league and a bunch of minor leagues.

Tonight, though - undefeated FSU visits undefeated Clemson, in the stadium they call Death Valley. It's the biggest game in college football so far this year. And it's a reminder of a time that the SEC championship wasn't the de facto national championship game.

What else to watch this weekend

Today, 11:30am: Manchester City at West Ham, NBC. City needs a win to keep pace at the top of the Premier League standings - so if you like an underdog, tune in and root on West Ham.

Tonight, 7pm: Detroit at Boston, ALCS Game 6, FOX. It's hard not to love playoff baseball - though it's easier when the St. Louis Cardinals and their horribly smug fans are involved. This could be the last baseball game of the year that doesn't involve the Cardinals.

Sunday, noon: NFL coverage, NFL Red Zone Channel. The Vikings play on Monday night, so that will give you a chance to watch the Red Zone network - which I remind you again is the best possible way to watch the NFL. If you don't get that channel - and I feel for you if you don't - you've got the Bengals and Lions on CBS, or the Bears and the Redskins on FOX.

Sunday, 5:00: Celtics at Timberwolves, NBA TV. We're all pretty optimistic about the Wolves, given that it's still the offseason. This might be a good time to watch them; that's usually a pretty good way to temper your expectations.

What to read this weekend

The tradition of letting every Stanley Cup-winning player have the Cup for a day wasn't started until 1995, so former greats like Ken Dryden never got a chance to take the Cup home with them as a player. In an excerpt from a new chapter that Dryden wrote for the 30th-anniversary edition of his book "The Game", though, he finally gets the chance to do what we all would have liked to have done - take the Cup home, and hoist it after a game in the backyard.

TFD: Les Miles explains Columbus Day in his own special way

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: October 15, 2013 - 5:43 PM

You can't really make this up, can you? Here's LSU coach Les Miles, on Columbus Day:

Gophers players moving on with head coach Jerry Kill out indefinitely

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: October 15, 2013 - 1:41 PM

We just came from Gophers football media access, which was the first opportunity to ask players about last week's development with head coach Jerry Kill taking an indefinite leave of absence as he works to get his epilepsy under control.

The universal message from kicker Chris Hawthorne, offensive lineman Jon Christenson, tight end Maxx Williams and defensive back Brock Vereen: They are fully prepared to move on with business as usual and are hoping to draw on Kill for inspiration in their game against Northwestern on Saturday.

How that all comes together, of course, remains to be seen. It has been far from a normal season for the Gophers, with Kill missing part of their victory over Western Illinois and all of their loss to Michigan two Saturdays ago. They have also been in the midst of a QB shuffle, though acting head coach Tracy Claeys said Tuesday that Mitch Leidner will start against the Wildcats, saying Leidner "deserves the opportunity" after showing some progress against Michigan.

Perhaps Kill's leave of absence will even bring a sense of normalcy to the program in an odd way. Stability is huge, Vereen said, and not knowing the status of your head coach from week to week cannot be easy.

Claeys said he does not anticipate Kill will return for the Northwestern game -- hardly surprising since this is the first game since Kill took his leave of absence.

The only certainty is that the Gophers will have a ton of work to do in order to beat the Wildcats -- or, frankly, any Big Ten team left on their schedule at this point.

We'll have a video from Gophers access posted shortly. For now, your thoughts on the Gophers in the comments, please.

The Weekend Lowdown: What to watch (and read) this weekend

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: October 12, 2013 - 11:06 AM

Game of the weekend: #2 Oregon at #16 Washington, 3pm, Fox Sports 1

It may only be week seven, but the beauty of college football is that it already feels like the playoffs - and this is game two of the three-game round-robin playoff between Oregon, Stanford, and Washington in the Pac-12 North.

Washington lost game one of the series, a 31-28 heartbreaker at Stanford last week, and comes home to Seattle knowing that a 10th consecutive loss to Oregon will derail the chances of the best Huskies team in years. With coach Steve Sarkisian the focus of the USC coaching rumor mill, you could excuse UW fans for feeling like this is their best chance for greatness.

Over in Oregon, meanwhile, the University of Nike juggernaut keeps chugging along, despite the departure of head coach Chip Kelly to the NFL. The Ducks haven't been tested yet, under new coach Mark Helfrich -- their closest win so far was a 55-16 destruction of Cal, and Oregon led that game 41-3 at halftime.

The SEC gets the press, but the Pac-12 may be the best league in college football. Even better, this game is at a normal time in the afternoon, instead of being one of those late-night post-apocalyptic West Coast slugfests that ends at 1am Central time.

Your weekend viewing schedule

2:30 Saturday: #17 Florida at #10 LSU, CBS. First, if you didn't read Patrick Reusse's story of how he became an LSU football fan while growing up on the Minnesota prairie, I encourage you to do so. Second, Florida is an offensive disaster, but LSU has grinning death-train conductor Les Miles at the helm, so who knows what will happen in Louisiana today.

7 pm Saturday: Dallas at Wild, FSN / New Hampshire at Gophers, FSN PLUS. It's your first chance of the year to flip back and forth between the two local hockey squads. The Gophers looked good in dismantling Mercyhurst last night; the Wild have looked less so in their four games. Curse one, hit the swap button on your remote, and watch until you curse the other and flip back. Hockey!

Noon Sunday: Panthers at Vikings, FOX. You can have your Saints-Patriots marquee matchups; this is the truly fascinating NFL game this weekend. Well, for Vikings fans it is. Actually I don't know why I listed this game. You're going to watch it whether I put it in this list or not.

3:25 pm Sunday: Saints at Patriots, FOX. Well, fine. Watch this potential Super Bowl preview then. See if I care.

8 pm Sunday: Seattle at Portland, ESPN. The Sounders were Major League Soccer's hottest team - but in the span of five days, they lost 5-1 to Colorado and 4-1 to Vancouver. Now, they head to Portland, for the renewal of the league's best rivalry in one of the league's best venues - and second place in the West is on the line.

What to read this weekend

At SB Nation, NBA editor Mike Prada explains what makes Nikola Pekovic such a load in the post. It breaks down everything from his footwork to his positioning to how he runs the floor, and it is absolutely tremendous; it's simple to understand, yet incredibly in-depth. This is what the internet should be like. I actually pumped my fist after finishing this article, it was so good.

Monday (Minneapolis reportedly bids on 2017 college football title game) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: September 30, 2013 - 9:27 AM

The Gophers are not be getting any closer to a college football national championship if Saturday's loss to Iowa is any indication.

But the city of Minneapolis? That's reportedly another story.

According to ESPN's Big Ten Twitter feed, Minneapolis is one of six cities that has submitted a bid for the 2017 college football title game, to be played in January of that year.

While it is not specified where the game would be located, it is all but certain the site would be the new Vikings stadium, slated to open in July of 2016. It's also unclear when winning bids will be announced.

A previous ESPN.com story said Jacksonville, Miami, San Antonio, San Francisco and Tampa were the other five cities that were slated to submit bids.

We imagine Minneapolis faces stiff competition against places where it will not be zero degrees that time of year, but it does at least put the city in the mix for that (and future) games.

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