Week 17

For the final week of the season, the NFL picks the most important game for Sunday night.
For the second straight year, it’s the Cowboys in a battle for the NFC East crown.
Washington, winners of six straight, host Dallas at 8:30 p.m. on NBC. It’s basically win and you’re in, and go home if you lose. The Redskins have a slim chance to make the postseason if they lose, depending on results of earlier games. Like last year, a Cowboys loss ends their season.
With the AFC playoff field set, Baltimore heads to Cincinnati Sunday at 1 p.m. New England aims for a top seed in the 4:25 p.m. game against Miami. The choices on Fox include Giants-Eagles at 1 p.m. and Vikings-Packers in the second game of the doubleheader. TV schedules are still in flux Thursday morning.
The feast of college bowls continues Thursday with three games on ESPN, starting with the Military Bowl featuring San Jose State and Bowling Green at 3 p.m. Duke faces Cincinnati at 6:30 p.m. from Charlotte, then it’s off to San Diego at 9:45 p.m. with the Holiday Bowl between Baylor and UCLA.
There’s three more games Friday. Ohio plays Louisiana-Monroe in the Independence Bowl from Shreveport at 2 p.m., then Virginia Tech meets Rutgers from Orlando at 5:30 p.m. Minnesota goes against Texas Tech from Houston at 9 p.m.
Five bowls fill the schedule Saturday. The Armed Forces Bowl goes at 11:45 a.m. on ESPN with Rice against Air Force, then West Virginia plays Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl. ESPN2 shows the Fight Hunger Bowl at 4 p.m with Navy playing Arizona State, and ESPN continues with two more contests into the night – the Alamo Bowl between Texas and Oregon State at 6:45 p.m. before TCU plays Michigan State from Phoenix at 10:15 p.m.
The Mavericks visit Oklahoma City Thursday at 8 p.m. on TNT, followed by the Celtics at Clippers.
Comcast offers the Wizards hosting Orlando Friday at 7 p.m. They head to Chicago Saturday at 8 p.m.
It’s a battle of Kentucky Saturday at 4 p.m. on CBS, with the Wildcats taking on Louisville.
ESPN2 has the New Mexico against Cincinnati Thursday at 9 p.m. Friday, Baylor takes on Gonzaga at 8 p.m. before Missouri plays UCLA.
ACC powers host western teams Saturday afternoon as Duke meets Santa Clara at noon before UNLV goes against North Carolina. Washington battles Connecticut at 7:30 p.m.
South Carolina faces Presbyterian Saturday at 1 p.m. on Comcast. Virginia battles Wofford Sunday at 1 p.m., and it’s Loyola at Memphis at 8 p.m.
MASN shows Seton Hall against Stony Brook Friday at 7 p.m.
It’s Providence-Brown on NBC Sports network Friday at 7 p.m.


More appetizer bowls

Get ready for Christmas with more college football.
The string of 35 bowls continues Thursday on ESPN when San Diego State and BYU meet in the Poinsettia Bowl at 8 p.m. Friday, Ball State tackles Central Florida from St. Petersburg – eat some beef to enjoy the game.
ESPN offers two more contests Saturday – the New Orleans Bowl between Louisiana-Lafayette and East Carolina at noon and Boise State against Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl at 3:30 p.m.
Before Santa arrives, there’s the Hawaii Bowl Monday at 8 p.m. matching SMU and Fresno State.
Thanks to the NFL’s flexible scheduling, NBC won’t have to show the Chargers playing the Jets in primetime Sunday. Instead the NFC West battle between the Seahawks and 49ers gets the center stage. ESPN has Saturday night football this week, with the Falcons meeting the Lions.
The Ravens’ game against the Giants moved to the late afternoon slot on Fox, after the Redskins meet the Eagles. CBS has the Steelers and Bengals in a key battle for playoff positioning at 1 p.m., and CBS in Washington will show the Browns at Denver at 4 p.m.
TNT has the Thunder heading to Minnesota Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by the Heat at Dallas.
The Wizards take on the Pistons Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast. The teams meet again Saturday at 7 p.m. at Verizon Center.
NBC Sports network offers the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic from Richmond Saturday. Virginia faces Old Dominion at 5:30 p.m., after George Mason goes against Richmond. At 8 p.m., it’s Davidson-Drexel.
ESPN2 has a pair of games Friday, with Florida Atlantic playing Indiana at 7 p.m. before BYU takes on Baylor.
Ohio State hosts Kansas State on CBS Saturday at 4 p.m.
Georgia Tech faces the Citadel Saturday at 4 p.m. on Comcast.
MASN offers Connecticut against Fordham Friday at 7 p.m. There’s two more games Saturday, with Georgetown hosting American at noon before UMBC plays DePaul.


Let the bowls begin

Are you ready for the 35 college football bowls?
It starts Saturday.
The New Mexico Bowl gets things started Saturday at 1 p.m., matching Arizona and Nevada on ESPN. Utah State and Toledo travel to the blue turf in Boise for the Idaho Bowl – bring chips and french fries.
After this appetizer, you get a break until Dec. 20. Then there’s only three days without a bowl game on the road to the national championship January 7.
The lower divisions continue their drive for the title this weekend. Georgia Southern plays North Dakota State Friday at 8 p.m. in the FCS semifinal on ESPN2. The Division II championship matches Winston Salem State and Valdosta State Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.
The Redskins’ quest for the playoffs continues Sunday in Cleveland, with coverage on Fox at 1 p.m. The Ravens face Denver at 1 p.m. on CBS, followed by Dallas-Pittsburgh.
The Patriots face another tough foe in primetime, hosting the 49ers on NBC Sunday night. The Bengals head to Philadelphia Thursday on the NFL network, while the Jets and Titans meet on ESPN Monday night.
Dan D’Antoni returns to Madison Square Garden Thursday, as the Lakers take on the Knicks at 8 p.m. on TNT. The Spurs visit Portland in the nightcap. Friday, ESPN offers the Celtics at Rockets at 8 p.m. followed by Grizzlies-Nuggets.
Comcast offers the Lakers’ trip to Washington Friday at 7 p.m., then the Wizards head south to face the Heat Saturday at 7 p.m.
CBS has the Hoosier state battle between Indiana and Butler Saturday at 2 p.m. The Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival matches West Virginia and Michigan Saturday at 8 p.m. Arizona hosts Florida at 10 p.m.
ESPN2 has a pair of games Saturday – with Purdue meeting Notre Dame at 4:30 p.m. Kansas State faces Gonzaga at 9 p.m.
Boston College meets New Hampshire Sunday at 1 p.m. on Comcast.
Georgetown takes on Western Carolina Saturday at noon on MASN. Mt. Saint Mary’s faces Loyola at 7:30 p.m.
There’s high school basketball Thursday on ESPN, with Archbishop Mitty against Travis at 8 p.m. Simeon plays Desoto at 9:30 p.m.
The NCAA women’s volleyball champion will be determined this weekend. Michigan plays Texas in the first semifinal at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, then Oregon meets Penn State. The final airs Saturday at 7 p.m.
NBC Sports network offers women’s soccer between the United States and China Saturday at 7 p.m.


Gridiron Battle of the Beltways

Baltimore and Washington both made the baseball playoffs.
Will they repeat the trick in football?
The Ravens make the short drive to Fed Ex Field Sunday at 1 p.m. to take on the Redskins. CBS has coverage at 1 p.m.
The Ravens can clinch a playoff berth with a victory, but they could have won the AFC North last weekend before falling to Pittsburgh. The Redskins have won three straight to improve to 6-6, a game behind the Giants in the NFC East.
Fox throughout central Virginia shows the Cowboys at Bengals at 1 p.m., while Fox in Washington must wait until 4 p.m. before showing the Saints and Giants.
The AFC’s top-seed – Houston – faces New England on ESPN Monday night. NBC has the Packers hosting the Lions Sunday night, while the weekend begins Thursday when the Broncos head to Oakland on NFL network.
The final regular season game of the college football season kicks off at 3 p.m., as CBS offers the Army-Navy game.
ESPN has the Heisman Trophy award Saturday at 8 p.m. The Football Championship Series (I-AA) playoffs continue on ESPN2 Friday at 8 p.m. when Sam Houston State faces Montana State. Saturday at noon, Georgia Southern takes on Old Dominion at ESPN.
TNT brings the Knicks at Heat Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by Dallas-Phoenix. The Celtics take on the 76ers Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN, followed by the Lakers heading to Oklahoma City.
The Wizards travel to Atlanta Friday at 7 p.m. on Comcast, then the Warriors come to Washington Saturday at 7 p.m.
The college basketball season continues Thursday on ESPN2 with Syracuse meeting Long Beach State at 8 p.m. ESPN has a pair of games Saturday, with Duke-Temple at 3:15 p.m. followed by UCLA against Texas.
There’s six games on ESPN2 Saturday, with Virginia Tech hosting West Virginia at 4 p.m. At noon, Kentucky hosts Portland before Colorado plays Kansas. It’s the battle of the Badger State at 6 p.m. with Wisconsin meeting Marquette. Arizona heads to Clemson at 8 p.m. with Illinois meeting Gonzaga at 10 p.m.
CBS has Arkansas traveling to Michigan Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
North Carolina State hosts Cleveland State Saturday at 1 p.m. on Comcast.
MASN offers Harvard-Connecticut Friday at 7 p.m., then there’s a pair of non-conference Big East games Saturday. Georgetown hosts Towson at noon, followed by UMES at Cincinnati.
NBC Sports network offers VCU at Old Dominion Friday at 9:15 p.m. There’s a pair of games Saturday, with Northern Iowa facing George Mason at 6 p.m. and Villanova against Pennsylvania in the nightcap.
If you’ve missed NHL hockey, they will be playing ice hockey at the Verizon Center Thursday night. Comcast shows the AHL matchup between Hershey and Norfolk at 7 p.m. Notre Dame plays Michigan in college ice hockey Friday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
NBC has the Shark Shootout Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
The finals of the WTBA World Bowling Tour finals goes Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN.