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.