Category Archives: Sports Watcher

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 10/4-5

All times PDT.

Saturday
9-12:30 PM: College Football, Iowa @ #17 Michigan State (ESPN2). Wait, my new “mid-major lineal title” just got created, and all my thoughts were on whether Oregon State had done enough to crack positive B Points next week! (It will depend a LOT on SoS… but why do I keep reading, like from ESPN.com blogger Ted Miller, “what if the Penn State game was the fluke”? Penn State’s in my top 5! Didn’t the Beavers lose to Stanford as well? Win that game, and their B Rating is probably over 1 even without a better performance against JoePa! And that’s the only thing this entry has to do with the entire Big Ten.)

12:30-4 PM: College Football, #6 Kentucky @ defending 2004 Auburn-Utah titleholder #1 Alabama (CBS). Nick Saban is 1-0 this season in games against #6 teams in my C Ratings with the Auburn-Utah title at stake.

6-9:30 PM: College Football, defending Princeton-Yale title holder #4 Missouri @ #8 Nebraska (ESPN). Preceded at 3 PM by Auburn-Vanderbilt, so games REALLY got crammed on ESPN today. Blame the Breeder’s Cup, but seriously, this seems like a natural opening for one more college football contract. But the SEC just re-upped and the Big 12 signed last year.
Sunday
10-1 PM: NFL Football, regional action (CBS and/or FOX). The WNBA Finals, below, cleared out space for NFL Football to not be restricted to SNF.

1:30-4 PM: WNBA Finals, Silver Stars @ Shock (ESPN2). Man, the WNBA Finals can’t even get an ABC slot on a weekend now? Blame NASCAR, running from 11-3 today with the AMP Energy 500. In other news, even women’s basketball players think the WNBA stinks. I really wish supporters of women’s equality in sports would put more chips on other sports like golf or softball. Basketball is either boring or incomprehensible no matter who plays it.

4-7:30 PM: MLB Baseball, Angels @ Red Sox (TBS) and 7-10 PM: MLB Baseball, Cubs @ Dodgers (TBS). I suspect some game time changes may occur if the Phillies-Brewers series ends early. Hey, by getting football out of the way earlier in the day we could fit baseball in here (SNF is 5:15-8:30) and have a whole day of college football! Thanks, WNBA, for bumping out the Chase for the Cup! (Baseball would have bumped out a primetime game, not an afternoon game as in past weeks.)

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 9/27-28

All times PDT. All college football rankings reflect my C Ratings for teams in positive B Points.

Saturday
9-12 PM: College Football, Northwestern @ Iowa (ESPN Classic). Three teams in my top 25 and a team not in the top 25 but ranked ahead of either one of these two could conceivably go in this spot. But none of them are playing teams in positive B Points, and this might be a game to take that leap into the top 25, especially for Northwestern. Wait… Northwestern’s actually good?!?

12-2 PM: WNBA Basketball, Los Angeles @ San Antonio (NBA TV). Wait… a conference finals game on NBA TV? And it might be the deciding game?!?

Honorable Mention: 12:30-4 PM: MLB Baseball, regional action (FOX). All the hot playoff chase action! Too bad everything’s probably already determined.

4:45-8 PM: College Football, #1 Alabama @ defending 2004 Auburn-Utah title holder #6 Georgia (ESPN). Boy, how about my prediction on last week’s Watcher that Alabama would be “surprisingly strong”? Isn’t this two straight weeks CBS has screwed up the best SEC game? Not that Tennessee-Auburn is bad, per se…

Sunday
10:30-3 PM: PGA Tour Golf, THE TOUR Championship (NBC). The end of the playoff system that’s nothing like a playoff that no one cares about.

Honorable Mention: 11-3 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Kansas race (ABC).

5:15-8:30 PM: NFL Football, Philadelphia @ Chicago (NBC). A mediocre team and a team that was mediocre last year. But at least you got the big time markets!

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 9/20-21

All times PDT.

Saturday
9:30-12:45 PM: College football, Alabama @ Arkansas (Raycom Sports). Look for Alabama to be surprisingly strong when the new ratings come out on Monday.

12:45-4 PM: MLB Baseball, regional action (FOX). As usual, this is the only place baseball can fit.

4-6 PM: WNBA Basketball, New York @ Connecticut (NBATV). Now the playoffs are in full swing.

6-8 PM: WNBA Basketball, Sacramento @ San Antonio (NBATV). Man, the schedule really gets cramped this week and next with all the stuff I have to squeeze in.
Sunday
9-3 PM: Ryder Cup, final round (NBC). Is it just me, or does it seem like only sports journalists and groups that cover sports (ie ESPN) care about the Ryder Cup? And gee, it seems a lot bigger now that ESPN is covering the final round…

Honorable Mention: 10-3 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Dover race (ABC). When I looked, both this race and the next one were identified as the “Camping World 400”, but with different “presented by” sponsors.

5-8:30 PM: NFL Football, Dallas @ Green Bay (NBC). Obligatory NFL game that has to be SNF.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 9/13-14

All times PDT.

Saturday
9-12 PM: College Football, California @ Maryland (ESPN). A bit of a minimalist Watcher this week, folks. And probably for most of October as well.

12:30-4 PM: MLB Baseball, regional action (FOX). To put at least SOME baseball on the Watcher.

5-8:30 PM: College Football, Ohio State @ defending 2007 Boise State title holder USC (ABC). Because all the endless hype can’t be for nothing, can it?
Sunday
11-3 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire (ABC). Yes, it’s time for the annual pseudo-playoff structure no one cares about!

5:15-8:30 PM: NFL Football, Pittsburgh @ Cleveland (NBC). To put at least SOME football on the Watcher.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 9/6-7

All times PDT.

Saturday
10-1 PM: College Football, New Hampshire @ Army (ESPN Classic). I chose this game almost completely at random. (Hey, Troy-LSU got postponed due to Gustav and would have interfered with tennis anyway, Missouri would also interfere with tennis, and all three lineal title games aren’t even on regional television. FSN South and SunSports for the Central Michigan-Georgia game doesn’t count.)

1:30-5 PM: College Football, West Virginia @ East Carolina (ESPN). Yes, Fox baseball will probably fall off the face of the earth with college football season in full swing.

5-7 PM: US Open Tennis, Women’s Final, S. Williams v. Jankovic (CBS). Rather than the all Williams final YOU demand, you get Williams versus a nobody!

7-10 PM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 88 (PPV). Eighty-eight, eighty-eight, eight eighty eighty-eight… why isn’t this being held in China? Okay, I’m in an odd mood this week, you can tell because I didn’t even mention Couture v. Lesnar…

Sunday
10-1 PM: NFL Football, NY Jets @ Miami (CBS). OMG it’s the debut of Brett Favre! Let’s watch every single Jets game with such rapt attention our eyes come out of our sockets! (NASCAR or WNBA also possible.)

1-4 PM: US Open Tennis, Men’s Final (CBS). I know nothing about this! NOTING!

Honorable Mention: 12:30-3 PM: IndyCar Racing, PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 (ABC). It’s the last race of the season! The championship all comes down to this! (Er… ignore that little Australian race in the corner coming in a month and a half…)

Second Honorable Mention: 11-3 PM: PGA Tour Golf, The Barclays BMW Championship, final round (NBC). More of the playoff that’s nothing like a playoff! Why is this even on here?

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, Philadelphia @ NY Mets (ESPN). I like cookies.

Sports Watcher Labor Day 3-day Weekend Special for the Weekend of 8/30-9/1

All times PDT.

Saturday
8-11 AM: College Football, Appalachian State @ defending 2008 BCS title holder LSU (ESPN Classic). Yes, it’s college football season again! Can lightning strike twice for App State?

12:30-3:30 PM: College Football, defending 2007 Boise State title holder USC v. Virginia (ABC/ESPN2). The move of the App State/LSU game could have opened things up for baseball, but this isn’t change, this is more of the same!

5:30-8:30 PM: College Football, Illinois v. defending Princeton-Yale title holder Missouri (ESPN). Once my C Ratings come out, everything is based on relative rating. Until then, you get this.

Sunday
10-12:30 PM: WNBA Basketball, Seattle @ Connecticut (ABC). I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t know whether this is a regular season game or an early-round postseason game.

12:30-3 PM: IndyCar Racing, IndyCar Grand Prix at Detroit (ABC). Normally road course races are a bit of a slog, but I was glued to my TV last weekend rooting for Helio Castroneves to break a lengthy winless streak at Infineon. Too bad it was relegated to ESPN2.

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, LA Dodgers @ Arizona (ESPN2). Bumped to the Deuce by NASCAR.

Monday
11-3 PM: PGA Tour Golf, Deutsche Bank Championship (NBC). I didn’t realize until this week that the PGA Tour “playoffs” no one cares about had started. I had been thinking this was an important weekend for Sports Watcher with no real big events…

4-6 PM (potentially 4-9 PM on the West Coast): US Open Tennis, octofinal-round action (USA). The Labor Day college football game is mediocre v. mediocre in Tennessee v. UCLA, only of interest to masturbating “my c0nf3rence is teh rulz” spewers, and otherwise I couldn’t get tennis on here.

5-8 PM: College Football, Tennessee v. UCLA (ESPN). Mediocre v. mediocre. How exciting.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 8/23-24

All times PDT.

Saturday
11-9 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, baseball bronze medal game, women’s handball gold medal game, baseball gold medal game, water polo semifinal, table tennis semifinals, men’s field hockey gold medal game (USA). Yes, that’s TONIGHT, in just one hour on the East Coast. If I were keeping track of any of this I’d give you pithy analysis, but all I can offer is: Can the Americans avenge their softball cousins? (I heard they lost to Japan in the gold medal game, is that right?) Oh, and pretend 6-7:30 AM isn’t part of this, that’s when the water polo semifinal is on.

9-5 PM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, medal finals in women’s basketball, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming, boxing, canoe/kayak, and women’s volleyball (NBC).

5-8:30 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Bristol race (ESPN). We just don’t have NASCAR on here enough.

9-11 PM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, men’s basketball bronze medal game (CNBC). Why the hell is Lithuania so good with no players I’ve heard of?

Sunday
12:30-2:30 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, medal finals in table tennis, mountain biking, boxing, and track and field (NBC). Alternately, there’s a women’s volleyball match at midnight on Telemundo.

2:30-5 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, men’s basketball gold medal game (NBC). Warning: West Coast viewers get screwed again, because this is same on both coasts! In fact the semifinal game this morning was delayed even in the Central time zone, at least in Chicago! It seems the Olympics are indeed more popular on the West Coast than on the East, though that may just be because they always HAVE gotten delayed broadcasts. Some commenters on Awful Announcing suggested putting either the live broadcast or the delay on one of NBC’s cable networks, to get around the problem of people not being home at the right times. I have a better idea: We’ve been talking about digital TV and subchannels all week, why not stick the live feed on there? It’s likely to take away “Weather Plus” time, but it’s better than insulting a wide swath of your audience by telling them New York really is the center of the universe and actually making people beg for ESPN to save them, even people who are normally ESPN haters. I’m watching this, the Closing Ceremony on CBC, and then I’m done with the Olympics. (ESPN is on record as saying they would never think of delaying events for the West Coast.)

5-9 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Closing Ceremony (CBC). I do have to say, NBC seems to treat the Olympics as more of a special event. They play the Olympic Song and CBC just has this weird, almost-offensive, almost-more-appropriate-in-India opener. And CBC uses their own regular sports graphics instead of coming up with something unique.

10-12 PM: Major League Lacrosse, NB ZIP Championship Game (ESPN2). The worst part? This isn’t even the only lacrosse league in North America. And you probably haven’t heard of the National Lacrosse League either. Apparently it’s semi-big in Canada. Who knew? (Just barely interferes with the Olympics on USA on the West Coast.)

12:30-3 PM: Little League Baseball, Little League World Series (ABC). Does it seem a little odd that we pay so much attention to the LLWS for basically no reason? I mean, other than to be reminded about “sportsmanship” that’s basically a no-thing anyway? And why do the other three divisions have their World Series on Saturdays while neither Little League WS ends on that day?

Honorable Mention: 12:45-5 PM: National Pro Fastpitch, Championship Series (MLB.TV, second game if needed). It’s a league with a grand total of six teams. One look at their website shows how far behind they are. They don’t even have TV for their championship series, even, by all appearances, on tape delay. And this coming from one of the more popular non-football-or-basketball NCAA sports. What’s going on here?

(Oh, and perfect timing. Aren’t all your good players in the Olympics?)

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, LA Dodgers @ Philadelphia (ESPN). I’ve banned NBC’s Olympic coverage from this space!

Next week, the first weekend of the US Open, and can you feel the football start?

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 8/16-17

All times PDT.

Saturday
12:30-6 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, diving and the medal final in the women’s 10km track race (12:30-2 AM), plus primetime replay (2-6 AM) (NBC). Same on both coasts. You could watch USA on the East Coast to get closer to the start time of the next item.

10-6 PM: Little League Baseball, Junior League, Senior League, Junior League Softball, and Big League Softball World Series…es (ESPNU). Not necessarily in that order. The Little League Softball World Series ended back on Wednesday. That’s the only LLWS that doesn’t end on the weekend. Get with the program! Is it just me, or does the marquee age division of the LLWS seem arbitrary considering it’s the youngest group? We completely lose sight of these kids as they move up through Junior, Senior, and maybe Big League, then we regain sight in the College World Series, then we lose sight of them again until they get called up to the bigs because we pay no attention to AAA whatsoever.

7:30-12 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, track and field and swimming and the awarding of medals in both (NBC). Same on both coasts, so there’s interference with Little League on the East Coast. I had been thinking about writing a post about the rising tide of discontent on the West Coast at being told events are “live” when they’re still tape-delayed. Then I saw that more than half of the top five highest-rated major markets, and almost half of the top 17, are in the Pacific and Mountain time zones, and almost all the largest markets in those two time zones (eight of the top nine, with Seattle’s ratings depressed by being able to see events truly live on CBC) are averaging at least a 21 rating for the Olympics, which I believe is higher than NBC’s nationwide average. Which means one of two things: people on the West Coast are more into the Olympics than people back East, and I see no reason why that should be so, especially in Mountain time; or NBC’s decision to tape delay events is HELPING ratings in the Pacific and Mountain time zones. I have a feeling NBC may decide they’re never pulling strings to get events live in primetime for a non-American Olympics again (starting in 2012, that is). On another note, this is the last medal Michael Phelps needs to pass Mark Spitz, and it’s also women’s marathon day.

Sunday
12:30-6 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, beach volleyball, track and field, and the primetime replay (NBC). Same on both coasts. I’d put USA here but it interferes with NBC’s primetime coverage.

11-2:30 PM: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, Michigan race (ESPN). Because the Sprint Cup Series isn’t on here often enough.

3-5 PM: Little League Baseball, Venezuela v. “Saudia Arabia” (ESPN2). Yes, that’s how it actually appears on ESPN’s own web site.

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, Philadelphia @ San Diego (ESPN). The Phillies may be in NL East contention, but you can tell this game was decided on before the season started.

9-11 PM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Softball, United States v. China (CNBC). Looking back over what I said last week about CNBC’s coverage, I’m not sure what they think their audience is. I accused them of misreading their audience last week, yet that was for a time slot that included tennis, which fits right in with the rich-snob demographic. I was focusing on boxing, yet that so often gets called the “sweet science” and seen as so much superior to the supposed bloodlust and chaos of MMA, as though boxing was as tame as golf. And then there’s softball, and the only way I see this fitting in with CNBC’s “male demographic” is if they’re thinking “Ooh! Boobs!” Yet at the same time, the fact that it’s softball and not some other female sport tells me it’s an old male demographic that remembers when baseball was the national pasttime (AS IT SHOULD BE!) and isn’t into all this football stuff the whippersnappers are into. Which… adds up to a pretty disturbing demographic.

11-11 AM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, water polo, synchronized swimming, canoeing, kayaking, field hockey, basketball, and table tennis, including the table tennis gold medal match (USA). Prepare to march back into work on Monday and fall right asleep, stay there till quitting time, sleep all the way home, and sleep the rest of the day.

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 8/9-10

All times PDT.

Saturday
2-1 PM: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, soccer, shooting, badminton, fencing, equestrian, beach volleyball, basketball, and weightlifting, including the awarding of shooting and weightlifting medals (USA). Same on both coasts. According to NBC’s olympic site, “the first gold medal awarded at the Beijing Games could come in” either the shooting or weightlifting events. Aren’t they both scheduled for a certain time? Could you not just look at the schedule?

1-3 PM: Little League Baseball, Senior League Softball World Series (ESPN2). No, they’re not just making random shit up to tide people over for the big shebang.

3-5:30 PM: IndyCar Racing, IndyCar 300 at Kentucky (ESPN2). A moment of silence for the IRL’s impending move to Versus.

7-10 PM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 87 (PPV). So it turns out the UFC does space out its PPVs after all. I apologize for suggesting otherwise. Interferes with Olympic primetime coverage on the West Coast.

Sunday
11-11 AM: Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, basketball, tennis, soccer, archery, and weightlifting, including the awarding of medals in archery and two in weightlifting (USA). Same on both coasts (if that causes a problem, coverage is on NBC from 12:30 to 6 AM). Because real men stay up all night watching the Olympics!

11-4 PM: PGA Golf, PGA Championship, final round (CBS). If golf were to become part of the Olympics, what would happen to the PGA Championship?

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, St. Louis @ Chicago Cubs (ESPN). Hey, I need to get baseball in somewhere. I should have NBC’s primetime coverage next week.

11-1:30 AM: Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, boxing and tennis (CNBC). NBC has said that they’re putting stuff on CNBC that fits with its male demographic. Um… not the UFC, bloodlust-filled male demographic… more like the wimpy, pass-the-caviar, rich-snob demographic…

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 8/2-3

All times PDT.

Saturday
11-1:30 PM: Little League Baseball, Big League World Series (ESPN). Yep, it’s Little League World Series season again! And August is only now starting…

3-6 PM: NFL Football, Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (ESPN/NFL Network). Art Monk is the only interesting guy in the class and he should have gone in a few years ago. Wasn’t Cris Carter supposed to be a lock this year back in 2004? And now, a brief acknowledgement of the X Games…

6-8 PM: Action Sports, X Games 14 (ESPN). …that was it.

Sunday
10-12 PM: LPGA Golf, Women’s British Open, final round (ABC). Gets the nod over the PGA event below because it’s a major and the Bridgestone isn’t (ditto for valuing the US Senior Open over the Bridgestone). Would get the nod over the US Senior Open, if there were an actual conflict, because I actually consider the LPGA the top level of competion for its gender-sport combination. Golf Channel covering the final round of the McDonald’s LPGA notwithstanding. Grr. (Incidentially, I was amazed to find out this only became a major in 2001. What was the fourth major before then? The event now known as the Canadian Women’s Open. Canada was once important enough to hold a major? And back then it had the rather dense name of “du Maurier Classic”…)

12-3 PM: Champions Tour Golf, US Senior Open (NBC). Wait, the senior tour has two majors in a row?

Honorable Mention: 11-3 PM: PGA Golf, WGC Bridgestone Invitational, final round (CBS). Jesus Christ, all three original major networks have huge golf tournaments on this weekend! They have an event this big right before a major? Well, at least it’s not two majors in a row like the senior tour. And the PGA Championship isn’t the only big event next week, even with the Olympics starting…

5-8 PM: MLB Baseball, Philadelphia @ St. Louis (ESPN). Because I haven’t had my Recommended Daily Allowance of major sports yet. And I’m not even mentioning the NFL Hall of Fame Game. I have a moratorium on NFL preseason games.