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The Couch Potato Report: Pats, Sox, B’s, and New Stewie!

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We have arrived at the last weekend of September. In TV Land, that means season premiere time. This is the time when the networks bring back their big name dramas and sitcoms, while sprinkling in new shows that they hope will catch on like wildfire. Gone are the dog days of summer, when we were stuck with four nights of “America’s Got Talent,” three nights of “Big Brother,” and seemingly seven nights of “Minute to Win It.” Nowadays, we’re served up fresh new laughs and fresh new suspense, each and every night.

The same holds true for the sports world. With the NFL now in full swing, the MLB playoffs on the horizon, and the NHL & NBA seasons ready to get rolling, sports fans will be served up a healthy dose of fresh new suspense in their sports programming, along with surely a few laughs each week as well. After all, the Buffalo Bills are coming to town this weekend, and they’re always good for a few chuckles

So with all of that said, it’s time to check out what sporting nuggets will fill our tummies this weekend… it’s “The Couch Potato Report,” C.P.R. for your sports-lovin’ hearts. Bon apetit!

#1 Patriots vs. Bills

When Is It On & Where Can I Find It?

Sunday at 1pm on CBS

Why Should I Watch?

New England took one on the chin last week at the New Meadowlands Stadium, dropping a tough divisional game to Rex Ryan’s hated New York Jets. The Pats came out of that game disheartened, dejected, and deflated. What’s the quickest remedy to turn those frowns upside down? Welcoming in the Buffalo Bills to Gillette Stadium, of course! Head coach Chan Gailey will throw former Harvard QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to the wolves on Sunday, starting under center for the lifeless Bills, who are on a fast track to the first overall pick in the 2011 draft. I have a feeling Tom Brady won’t have to worry about the Gillette crowd being too quiet this week, as the Pats should be able to give them plenty of reasons to get up and cheer. I’m sensing a blowout of epic proportions on Sunday… by 20 or more, in fact. If I’m wrong, I’ll atone for my mistake in a unique way in next week’s “C.P.R.,” promise!

#2 A Ton of Other Footballin’

When & Where?

Friday night, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night, on several networks including NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, Versus, CSN, & TV38

Why?

The sports menu is so robust this weekend, I have to cram all of the non-Patriot football action into one paragraph. The college football game slate is a much improved one over last week’s batch of stinkers, with four games featuring teams from the Top 25 squaring off against each other. Top-ranked Alabama travels to Arkansas to take on the #10 Razorbacks (Sat 3:30, CBS), two tough SEC squads face off Saturday night, with #12 South Carolina visiting #17 Auburn (7:45, ESPN), #24 Oregon State hits the blue turf at #3 Boise State (8pm, ABC), and the Big East means the SEC when #22 West Virginia takes on #15 LSU (9pm, ESPN2). My two favorite Jesuit schools are also in action on TV Saturday, with Boston College hosting Virginia Tech at Alumni Stadium (12pm, TV38) and Notre Dame hosting Stanford (3:30pm, NBC).

As for other NFL action available to us lower and middle class folks that can’t afford the NFL package, it looks like we’ll be given a pair of 4:00 games, with the Colts-Broncos game on CBS and the Eagles-Jaguars game featured on FOX. Sunday night’s NBC game has two AFC East foes squaring off, with the Jets “taking their talents to South Beach” to face the Miami Dolphins (8:15pm start), and ESPN’s Monday Night Football showcases the Green Bay Packers going up against the Chicago Bears in a battle of two unbeaten NFC North squads.

#3 Red Sox vs. Yankees

When & Where?

Friday at 7pm on NESN, Saturday at 4pm on FOX, & Sunday at 8pm on ESPN

Why?

Has there ever been a less-anticipated Sox-Yanks series than this one? Well get used to it, because next weekend, there’s another one that no one will pay any attention to. The Sox make their final trip to the Bronx this weekend to take on a playoff bound Yankees team that’s fighting tooth and nail to top the Rays for the AL East division title. Boston of course, is all but out of the playoff picture, and that could be made official this weekend, depending on how these games turn out. But hey, with the Pats and BC in action, and the B’s & C’s ready to roll in October, the Sox are doing us all a favor by getting out of the way and letting us shift our focus to our other local teams a little earlier than usual… so thanks Red Sox… keep on suckin’!

#4 Bruins Preseason Hockey vs. Florida

When & Where?

Saturday at 7pm on NESN

Why?

Sure it’s preseason. And sure, preseason hockey is about as useful and relevant as preseason football. But for a fan base that’s yearning to erase the memory of last spring’s playoff collapse and replace those painful memories with joyous ones, you can’t help but look forward to seeing the B’s back on the ice, even if it is just a preseason game. In the only televised preseason game on the schedule, NESN will feature the Bruins Saturday night at the TD Garden, taking on former Bruins Dennis Wideman, Byron Bitz, and the rest of the Florida Panthers. Florida and Boston met Thursday night in the teams’ second preseason game, with the Panthers edging the B’s 3-2 up in Rochester, NY. After loading the Garden with over 11,000 and 14,000 fans for two rookie games last week, you can bet the Garden will be rocking for Saturday’s tilt with Florida. No shortage of noise here, Tom Brady!

#5 PGA Tour Championship

When & Where?

Friday at 1pm on Golf Channel, Saturday at 10am on Golf Channel and 12pm on NBC, and Sunday at 11:30am on Golf Channel and 1:30pm on NBC

Why?

The end of the 2010 PGA season culminates this weekend with the Tour Championship. The $10 million prize is up for grabs as the FedEx Cup playoffs wrap up in Atlanta, with the year’s top 30 golfers vying for the big payday. Matt Kuchar, a relative unknown entering the year, is atop the FedEx Cup standings entering the tournament, but 29 others are also hoping to emerge victorious this weekend and leapfrog Kuchar in the standings. The Tour Championship doesn’t have the history or the grandeur of other tournaments, especially the four “majors,” but that doesn’t mean a lot isn’t on the line this weekend at East Lake. A trio of foreign players share a one-shot lead after Thursday’s opening round, with Aussie Geoff Ogilvy leading the pack along with Brits Luke Donald and Paul Casey. For you golf fans, other than the upcoming Ryder Cup tournament, this is really your last chance at watching meaningful golf this year. And for you non-golf fans, well… you probably skipped over this paragraph anyways, so I’m just going to move on now. How was that for a smooth ending?

This Week’s “Off the Field” Pick: FOX’s Season Premiere Sunday

When & Where?

Sunday night from 8-10pm (may start later if the NFL games run late)

Why?

For over a decade now, no network has nailed Sunday nights like FOX has. This Sunday night’s lineup kicks off with the start of the 22nd season of “The Simpsons.” Personally, I’ve been in and out on this show, not having stuck with it as religiously as others have. But there’s no denying how historic a run this show has had. “The Simpsons” will be followed up by “The Cleveland Show,” as they begin their sophomore season. This is sort of the “black sheep” of the Sunday night lineup… pun intended! Sunday night’s episode features the voice of controversial rapper Kanye West, so you hip-hop kids be sure to tune in. (For those who don’t know, my weekly “C.P.R.” article is incredibly popular with the hip-hop kids… they say it’s “off the heezy, fo-shneezy.”) FOX’s Sunday night wraps up with an hour-long season premiere of “Family Guy,” pretty much the funniest show on television, in my opinion. Celebrity voices for Sunday’s tenth season opener include Drew Barrymore as recurring character “Jillian,” James Woods as well, James Woods, and Jennifer Tilly and Ashley Tisdale as well. Like I said, nobody does Sunday night quite like FOX, so if Rex Ryan gets too chubby to bear watching over on NBC, flip over to FOX and you might literally, as the kids say, “LOL.”

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