Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Just like Wes Welker, we promise to suit up for game time on Sunday.
As we bid farewell to 2010, you'd think we'd have enough time over the weekend to make our way through the "30 for 30" box sets we got from our Secret Santas. However, we're going to be far too busy keeping track of all the fresh football, hoops and hockey action 2011 has gloriously lined up for us in right out of the gate. Why? Because there's far too many loose storylines from 2010 that need a resolution, such as the NFL playoff picture and who's better among the Mountain West and Big Ten conferences. So while you're clearing your head from winter cobwebs, we'll already be glued to our monitors with a New Year's smorgasbord, including the following:
NHL Winter Classic
1pm ET (barring a weather delay)
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
In the latest edition of hockey's annual outdoor extravaganza, Sidney Crosby welcomes his on-ice nemesis, gap-toothed wonder Alexander Ovechkin, who recently exploded a set of Russian dressing-filled Russian dolls on his way to Pittsburgh. Once again, a battle to see who's the premier player in the NHL. Perhaps the only thing that could dampen the festivities are temperatures in the high 40s and heavy downpours, but the league has vowed the show will go on. And let's face it, wouldn't you want to see a bunch of All-Stars looking like wet cats (correction, super-fast, hard-hitting wet cats) anyhow?
No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 TCU
The Tournament of Roses plays host to a sweet-smelling match-up between the Badgers and Horned Frogs, which has got to rank up there with animal fights we'd want to see in real life. Both teams tied for fourth in the nation in scoring. Wisconsin boasts a ginormous offensive line and a stellar running back by the name of Montee Ball. Now read that name five times fast and see if it doesn't bring a smile to your face. Meanwhile, TCU has a chance to bring the Badger attack to a screeching halt thanks to a smashmouth "D" that's held opponents to 10 or fewer points eight times this season.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Just because the Bears have wrapped up the NFC North title and a first-round playoff bye doesn't mean there's nothing at stake. On the contrary, they're closing out the regular season against their old foes from Green Bay, who are looking to wrap up the NFC Wildcard after pummeling the Giants last week. Aaron Rodgers looks to repeat some semblance of the 404 passing yards and 139.9 passer rating from that game. Admit it, unless you're a Vikings fan, January football at Lambeau Field is always a welcome sight.
St. Louis Ram at Seattle Seahawks
You wouldn't think that two teams flirting with 7-9 records would make for an interesting matchup, but then again this is the NFC West, the running punchline of the NFL (yep, it's not T.O. anymore). The winner goes on to the playoffs. The loser -- gets a better pick come draft day. Rams QB Sam Bradford has already notched an NFL rookie-record 335 completed passes while Steven Jackson hungers for his first playoff appearance since 2004. In running back years, that's forever. Over in Seattle's camp, the 12th Man still doesn't know who's starting under center, the ailing Matt Hasselbeck or the green Charlie Whitehurst. One thing's for sure, you can almost smell the desperation in the air, and it's going to be loud at Qwest Field.
Not a bad way to kick off the New Year, no?