We’re getting to that time of year when even the savviest sports fan has a hard time keeping up with all the options. As such, as we barrel into the busy season. Here is a weekend guide to help ease the transition. Consider this your game plan for sports viewing:
• PURSUIT OF HISTORY: Serena Williams is two victories away from becoming the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to capture tennis’ Grand Slam. The semifinal was pushed back to midday Friday (ESPN) because of rain, which is bad news if you had Thursday plans to watch but good news in the context of a sports weekend. Assuming Williams makes it past Roberta Vinci (and that the weather cooperates), she’ll go for history at 2 p.m. Saturday, also on ESPN.
• WILD-CARD STATE OF MIND: The Twins start a three-game road series against White Sox on Friday, with all the games on FSN. Here’s a nugget to file away: 16 of the Twins’ next 20 games are against the White Sox, Tigers or Indians — teams below the Twins in the standings and below .500 overall. If Minnesota is going to make a move, the opportunity is there.
Of course, even if the Twins do reach the one-game wild-card playoff, it’s very likely they’ll wind up playing either the Blue Jays or Yankees on the road. The Twins are a combined 3-10 against those two teams this season, including 0-7 on the road. If you want to look for weaknesses with either potential opponent, the Jays and Yankees are playing each other at noon Sunday on TBS.
Also worth considering, though not on TV: The Astros on Friday begin a string of seven consecutive road games, at Anaheim and Texas. The Rangers are the team the Twins are chasing now. But it could wind up being Houston.
• COLLEGE FOOTBALL CLASH: Gophers at Colorado State (2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network) is worth watching, but the prime-time main event shouldn’t be missed, either. In this era of a four-team college football playoff, more teams think they have a realistic shot at a national championship — but those who do have a pretty thin margin for error. When top-10 teams Oregon and Michigan State play Saturday (7 p.m., Ch. 5), the winner will be positioned quite nicely while the loser will know that it realistically can’t lose again all season if it wants to keep its title hopes alive.
• DIVISION BATTLE: The Vikings are the laaaaaaate Monday night game for their opener, so you could shut off the TV Sunday, actually accomplish something and save your football energy. Or, if you root for the Purple, you could indulge in the more likely scenario: watching the Bears/Packers game (noon, Ch. 9) and hoping for an improbable tie while knowing one of your least favorite teams almost certainly will lose.