Saturdays, Jon Marthaler tells us what to watch to get us through the weekend. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
Game of the Week: Gophers at Indiana, 2:30pm (BTN)
So many people spoke of Minnesota's win last week over Nebraska as a "signature" win, as if all the Gophers needed was a single point of inflection to set them on a never-ending upward course. But here's the thing: I sat through the Glen Mason era, and I know different.
Mason's teams had a number of quote-unquote "signature" wins. Penn State in 1999, Michigan in 2005, Ohio State in 2000 (somehow always on the road) -- all felt like the dawn of a new age for Gopher football.
Then, the next week, the Gophers would lose to Purdue, or Indiana, or Northwestern, or really any team in the Big Ten, and it'd be back to the same old thing. Any Gopher fan can rattle off the epic collapses of the Mason years just as fast as the signature wins -- Michigan in 2003, Wisconsin in 2005, Northwestern in 2000, Texas Tech in 2006, Purdue in 2001, and on and on.
Signature wins are fun, don't get me wrong, but what Gopher fans are really desperate for is for a team that not only beats Nebraska, but follows it up the next week with a win, and the next week with a win after that. Minnesota's quest to be that team and that program starts today in Bloomington, against an exciting but porous Indiana squad.
What else to watch this weekend
12:30 pm today (NBC): Liverpool vs. Arsenal. It's the game of the weekend in America's favorite soccer league, as the league leaders visit third-place Liverpool. Arsenal has risen to the top by beating up on the Premier League's dregs, and needs a result today to prove - if only to themselves - if they're for real. Liverpool, similarly, wants to believe that they can at long last contend again for a league title.
7pm tonight (ABC): #7 Miami at #3 Florida State: Somehow, the Seminoles are three-touchdown favorites, despite playing a fellow top-10 team. It speaks to the gulf that we all presume to exist between this year's Big Three of Alabama, Oregon, and FSU, and the rest of the country (sorry, Ohio State and Baylor, but people are judging you.) But, as I keep harping on in these weekend posts, the great thing about college football is that every week, teams have to go out and prove it - and tonight, FSU has to go out and prove it, against an in-state rival.
6:30am Sunday (NBC Sports): Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel has locked up a fourth straight driver's championship in Formula One, and has won six races in a row. He goes for a seventh in Abu Dhabi, under the lights at Yas Marina, one of the best tracks in F1. On the other hand, he qualified second, with his teammate Mark Webber in first; unless he drives into a wall, he's going to win. So watch if you liked cheering for the orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies, I guess.
7pm Sunday (FSN): Wild vs. Devils. All right, Wild - how serious are you about making the playoffs this year? The Central is looking dangerous, with Chicago and St. Louis doing well and Colorado shocking everyone on their way to an 11-1 start. If the Wild are to make the playoffs, they need to destroy teams from the shockingly bad (and shockingly-named) Metropolitan Division, which is terrible. New Jersey is among the worst of the bunch. It's a must-win game for the home squad.