What I'm Watching this Week (and why)

Monday/January 4:

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (College Basketball on ESPN, 7:00*) - This Big East matchup features two teams coming off big conference wins.  Cincy beat UConn last Wednesday and backed that up with a comfortable road win over Rutgers this past weekend. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh beat a heretofore world beating (and unbeaten) Syracuse team in the Carrier Dome. Both teams should be ranked come tip-off.

North Carolina at College of Charleston (College Basketball on ESPNU, 7:00) - There is no reason to suggest that this will be a good game, but it's always fun when a power program like North Carolina visits a mid-major. The College of Charleston has gotten off to a 3-0 start in South Conference play, but UNC should be too much for the Cougars to handle.

Boise State vs TCU in the Fiesta Bowl (College Football on FOX, 8:15) - While it's unfair that the BCS didn't pit either of these teams against BCS schools to show that they can play with the big boys, this should be a compelling game to watch. Both teams can move the ball and score points in bunches, but TCU's swarming defense should give the Horned Frogs an edge.

Tuesday/January 5:

Barcelona-Sevilla in the Copa Del Ray (Spanish Soccer on ESPN360, 3:55) - Perhaps Spain's two most attacking teams, this should be an open and entertaining match to watch. Sevilla has hit a bit of a rough patch in their form recently and a trip to the Camp Nou may be what they need to jump start their season once again.

Texas at Arkansas (College Basketball on ESPN2, 7:00) - Arkansas appears to be one of the weaker teams in the SEC, but that was the case last year and they still beat Texas. They get the Longhorns at home again this season, and though Texas will bring a #2 ranking into Fayetteville this time around, an uninspiring Longhorn win over Texas A&M-CC on Saturday means a much improved performance will be needed to beat the Razorbacks.

Iowa vs Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl (College Football on FOX, 8:15) - Despite being the least appealing BCS Bowl, it's always fun to watch opposing defenses try and stop Georgia Tech's triple-option spread attack. Iowa's offense and defense match up well with the Yellow Jackets, but look for Tech's athletic ability to be the difference.

Wednesday/January 6:

Manchester City-Manchester United in a Carling Cup Semifinal (English Soccer on ESPN360, 2:45) - A Carling Cup Semifinal featuring city rivals? Yes please. As if the challenge of nouveau riche Man City to the prestige of Man United wasn't intriguing enough, there is the added flavor of United trying to bounce back from a humiliating F.A. Cup defeat to Leeds United as well as this being Roberto Mancini's first Manchester Derby at the helm with Man City. Quite the baptism of fire.

Milan-Genoa in Serie A (Italian Soccer on FSC, 2:45) - A match at Milan's San Siro is always worth checking out, and Genoa will bring an attacking ethos to this match, as will Milan of course. This could also mark the 2010 Serie A debut for David Beckham as he tries to keep up his fitness ahead of this summer's World Cup and help Milan challenge Inter for the Scudetto.

Central Michigan vs Troy in the GMAC Bowl (College Football on ESPN, 7:00) - Crammed in between this week's BCS Bowls, it would be easy to overlook this mid-major matchup, but this is a game featuring two teams that move the ball at will and score points in bunches. Could be one of the more explosive games of the bowl season, though it remains to be seen how CMU will respond to the loss of their head coach to Cincinatti.

Thursday/January 7:

Alabama vs Texas in the BCS Title Game in Pasadena (College Football on ABC, 8:30) - No description is really needed here I think. As an SEC fan, it might behoove me to pull for Alabama and have the SEC win its fourth consecutive national championship, but I'm an Auburn fan and that just ain't gonna happen. I don't wanna see Alabama add to their mythical count of thirteen national championships. Go Bevo! Hook 'em Horns!

* All times are Eastern

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