Discussing the onslaught of college hoops TV news is both depressing and exciting. On the one hand, it's a sign that the season is just over the hump, that the games are already there, waiting for us, that it's just a little while longer until we collectively bury ourselves in midseason college hoops bliss. On the other hand, it's just a tease.
These games are still months away. Even the early-season tournaments feel ages into the future. And since both Stephen Hawking and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office won't answer the many messages I've left about potential time machine technology, we have no way to make the interim months go by any faster. It's brutal.
Anyway, that's the feeling I had when I got the 2010-11 "College GameDay"/Saturday schedule, the list of games ESPN will be featuring every Saturday morning and evening with Rece Davis, Hubert Davis, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Bob Knight and the rest of the motley gang. These games are, as we've come to expect, very enticing indeed. They feature big-time rivalries, high-stakes conference games, rabid fan bases, energetic arenas, and the occasional unusual suspect, just for good measure.
The full list of "GameDay" games, with a few random thoughts on each, is below:
2010-11 "College GameDay"/Saturday Schedule
Jan. 15: Vanderbilt at Tennessee, 12 p.m. ET; women's matchup to follow at 8 p.m. ET: This is interesting for reasons outside of SEC stakes and in-state rivalry. For the first time, "GameDay" is featuring a men's-women's doubleheader -- just like your high school used to do! -- with the men's game in the afternoon and the women's game to follow in the evening. Tennessee students, prepare thy Red Bulls.
Jan. 22: Michigan State at Purdue, 9 p.m. ET: It doesn't take much to figure out why this game will be important. Purdue and Michigan State are your two early Big Ten favorites, and there's a decent chance this game could be a matchup of the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in the country.
Jan. 29: Kansas State at Kansas, 7 p.m. ET: And here are your two Big 12 favorites. Jacob Pullen & Co. have their eyes on their program's first Big 12 title since 1977. Kansas, despite so many key losses this offseason, is Kansas -- a deep and talented team that expects nothing less than a national title. If the Wildcats can pull off a win -- at Allen Fieldhouse, of all places -- they will deserve whatever accompanying hype comes their way. It won't be easy, but it should be intense.
Feb. 5: Kentucky at Florida, 9 p.m. ET: The battle for the SEC East will take place under Florida's high-angle shots in Gainesville (I can't be the only one who's noticed that, right?), as a young Kentucky team -- which will be a known entity by early February -- takes on a Gators team looking to do far more than just make the NCAA tournament.
Feb. 12: Pittsburgh at Villanova (from the Pavilion), 9 p.m. ET: In Wednesday's Big East Shootaround, Jay Bilas pegged these two as the top teams in the Big East. Watching this Pennsylvania pair try to separate themselves from the chasing pack -- which should include Syracuse, West Virginia and Georgetown -- should be about as exciting as you'd imagine.
Feb. 19: Illinois at Michigan State, 9 p.m. ET: Illinois has perhaps its most talented and experienced team since the Deron Williams era, and the Illini have been getting preseason buzz as an outside contender for the Big Ten crown. If Illinois is still in contention, this game could propel them into the league's elite. If Illinois is on the bubble, this game could be a résumé topper. Either way, it will be must-win.
Feb. 26: Duke at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. ET: Seeing Virginia Tech on the "GameDay" schedule is a bit of a surprise. But this could be a gem: Few teams have the ability to pump up an away fan base quite like Duke, and the Hokies will have to take every opportunity they can to make sure they don't just miss the tournament for the third straight year.
March 5: Texas at Baylor, 9 p.m. ET: Five years ago, Baylor wasn't getting anywhere near "College GameDay." Now the Bears, one of the Big 12's true contenders, will be hosting the "GameDay" lads at the tail end of what should be another elite season. I have a feeling the Baylor loyalists will be rather excited about this one.