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.