2015 starts a new tradition – two bowl games where the winners advance to a National Championship contest.
And continues a recent tradition – outdoor ice hockey.
ESPN has the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, matching the four teams selected to appear in the first National Championship playoff. Second-seed Oregon plays defending national champion Florida State at 4:30 p.m., with top-ranked Alabama against Ohio State from New Orleans at 8:30 p.m.
The winners meet 11 days later at Cowboys Stadium to battle for the title.
Elsewhere in the bowl season, ESPN2 has Auburn-Wisconsin Thursday at noon. Baylor meets Michigan State at 12:30 p.m. in the Cotton Bowl on ESPN, and ABC carries the Citrus Bowl between Missouri and Michigan.
Friday brings four bowl games on ESPN, starting at noon with Houston-Pittsburgh. Iowa tangles with Tennessee in Jacksonsville at 3:20 p.m., followed by Kansas State playing UCLA at the Alamo Bowl and Washington facing Oklahoma State in the Cactus Bowl.
East Carolina battles Florida Saturday at noon in Birmingham, while you can fire up your browser to see Toledo and Arkansas State Sunday at 9 p.m.
Washington gets to host outdoor ice hockey this New Year’s Day, with the Capitals meeting the Blackhawks at 1 p.m. on NBC. The Capitals won their first New Year’s contest at rainy Pittsburgh four years ago while Chicago lost the second Classic at Wrigley Field in 2009.
The Capitals head back indoors Sunday, playing Florida at 3 p.m. on Comcast. The Blackhawks take on Dallas on NBC Sports network Sunday at 8 p.m.
The NFL postseason starts Saturday, with ESPN getting a contest Saturday at 4:30 p.m. between the Cardinals and NFC South champion Carolina. NBC gets the battle between the Ravens and Steelers at 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, the Bengals visit Indianapolis at 1 p.m. and the Cowboys take on the Lions at 4:30 p.m. on Fox.
Among the high school stars, NBC shows the Army All-American Bowl Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Wizards visit Oklahoma City Friday at 8 p.m. on Comcast and San Antonio Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
CBS brings college hoops action Saturday at 2 p.m., with Connecticut against Florida. UNLV meets Kansas Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
Third-ranked Virginia faces Miami Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2, after Ohio State-Illinois at 3:30 p.m. The day starts at 11 a.m. with SMU against Cincinnati, and it’s Big Ten play between Penn State and Rutgers at 7:30 p.m. Gonzaga visits Portland at 9:30 p.m.
Virginia Tech hosts Syracuse Saturday at noon on Comcast, followed by College of Charleston against William & Mary and Boston College taking on Duke at 4 p.m.
UCLA meets Colorado on FoxSports1 Friday at 10 p.m. Big East play heats up Saturday, with Villanova-Seton Hall at noon and Xavier against DePaul at 2 p.m. before Creighton goes to Georgetown at 4:30 p.m. Arizona meets Arizona State Sunday at 7 p.m.
North Carolina State meets Pittsburgh on the ACC network Saturday at noon.
NBC Sports network offers three games Saturday, as Duquesne duels with Dayton at 1 p.m. Rhode Island faces St. Louis at 3 p.m. followed by Richmond-Davidson.
Fairfield faces Siena on MASN Friday at 7 p.m. There’s an Atlantic 10 contest between St. Bonaventure and Massachusetts Saturday at 2 p.m. and Liberty hosts Presbyterian at 7 p.m. C-USA takes the stage Sunday, with Old-Dominion-Charlotte at 1 p.m. followed by UTEP against Rice.
MASN2 has UTEP against North Texas Friday at 8 p.m. Marquette meets Providence Saturday at 2 p.m., followed by West Virginia-TCU and Xavier battling DePaul. Texas-San Antonio tangles with North Texas Sunday at 3 p.m.
On the women’s hardcourt, Maryland meets Nebraska in a Big Ten contest on CBS Saturday at 4 p.m.
Oklahoma State visits Baylor Saturday at noon on MASN2, and TCU takes on Texas Tech Sunday at 5 p.m.
Comcast offers Notre Dame and Syracuse Sunday at 1 p.m. while George Mason meets St. Louis Sunday at 2 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
Georgetown plays Marquette on FoxSports1 Friday at 7:30 p.m., and West Virginia heads to Oklahoma Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
NBC Sports network starts 2015 with Premier League play. Stoke City plays Manchester United at 7:45 a.m., and Tottenham Hotspur clashes with Chelsea at 12:30 p.m.
In the FA Cup, Tranmere Rovers clash with Swansea City on FoxSports1 Saturday at 10 a.m. There’s three games Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. with Crystal Palace against Dover Athletic. Manchester United meets Yeovil Town before Hull City-Arsenal at 1:30 p.m.
On the college ice, Union meets Boston University Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
There’s three division crowns and a wild-card slot on the line as the NFL season hits its final weekend.
NBC gets to show the AFC North battle between the Bengals and Steelers in Pittsburgh Sunday night. The winners claims the division title, while the loser has a wild-card contest next weekend.
The NFC North showdown between Detroit and Green Bay will be on Fox at 4:25 p.m., with both teams postseason bound and playing for seeding. CBS gets the NFC South contest with the Panthers and Falcons at 4:25 p.m., with the winner going to the playoffs with a record under .500.
At 1 p.m., the Redskins close their season against the Cowboys on Fox while the Ravens hope for a wild-card berth against the Browns. They need a win and San Diego loss to advance.
The college bowl season continues Friday with a trio of games on ESPN. Illinois heads to the Heart of Dallas to play Louisiana Tech at 1 p.m., followed by Rutgers-North Carolina and North Carolina State against Central Florida in St. Petersburg.
Virginia Tech clashes with Cincinnati in the Military Bowl Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN. It’s Arizona State meeting Duke in the Sun Bowl on CBS at 2 p.m., and ABC offers Miami against South Carolina in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl at 3:30 p.m. Penn State returns to the postseason, taking on Boston College on ESPN at 4:30 p.m. from Yankee Stadium before Nebraska battles Southern Cal at the Holiday Bowl.
The NBA fills Christmas Day with five contests, starting with the Wizards meeting the Knicks on ESPN and Comcast at noon. ABC has the Thunder and Spurs at 2:30 p.m. before LeBron James returns to Miami at 5 p.m. The Lakers battle the Bulls at 8 p.m. on TNT, with Warriors-Clippers as the nightcap.
Comcast has the Wizards’ contest with Boston Saturday at 7 p.m.
ESPN2 has Christmas night college basketball, with the Diamond Head Classic third-place game at 6:30 p.m. and championship at 9 p.m.
Georgetown takes on Indiana Saturday at noon on ESPN2. Louisville and Kentucky battle at 2 p.m., followed by Alabama-Birmingham against North Carolina and Gonzaga meeting BYU at 6 p.m.
FoxSports1 offers Maine against Seton Hall Saturday at noon. There’s four games with Big East teams Sunday, starting with Tulane-St. John’s at noon. Morgan State meets Marquette at 2 p.m., followed by Florida Gulf Coast facing Xavier and Belmont-Butler at 6 p.m.
Howard faces Fordham Sunday at 6 p.m. on Comcast.
Richmond hosts Wake Forest on NBC Sports network Sunday at 4 p.m.
Kansas State hosts Texas Southern on MASN2 Sunday at 3 p.m.
NBC Sports network has a pair of NHL games on Saturday. The Capitals visit the Penguins at 7:30 p.m. before the Sharks meet the Kings.
There’s a trio of Boxing Day contests in the Premier League on NBC Sports network. Chelsea clashes with West Ham United at 7:45 a.m., then it’s Manchester United-Newcastle United and Arsenal faces Queens Park Rangers at 12:30 p.m. On Sunday, Southampton plays Chelsea at 9 a.m. before Newcastle United-Everton.
You’ve got to get up early to catch the first kickoff of the 2014-15 bowl season.
The first of 39 postseason games starts Saturday at 11 a.m. in New Orleans, with Nevada meeting Louisiana-Lafayette on ESPN.
The action heads to New Mexico at 2 p.m. as Utah State faces UTEP. ABC joins the action at 3:30 p.m. from Las Vegas with Utah against Colorado State and there’s two more contests on ESPN to close out the night – Western Michigan battling Air Force from Boise at 5:45 p.m. and the Camellia Bowl from Birmingham as South Alabama battles Bowling Green.
Winning teams will be hoisting various trophies now through January 12 – when one team holds the national championship trophy aloft.
The final Thursday night game of the season matches Tennessee and Jacksonville on NFL Network. The Redskins have a Saturday afternoon contest with the Eagles on NFL Network before CBS shows the Chargers and 49ers in primetime.
The Ravens face the Texans on CBS at 1 p.m. Sunday before the Colts visit the Cowboys. Fox in Harrisonurg will offer something Sunday – still to be determined Wednesday night although Saints-Falcons tops the potential slate.
Arizona visits Seattle on NBC Sunday night, and the Bengals host the Broncos in the Monday night finale on ESPN.
North Dakota State hosts Sam Houston State on ESPN2 Friday at 8 p.m. in one of the championship series semifinals.
NCAA Division II crowns its champion Saturday at 4 p.m. as Minnesota State-Mankato battles Colorado State-Pueblo on ESPN2.
TNT offers the Knicks against the Bulls Thursday at 8 p.m., with Thunder-Warriors as the nightcap. Portland visits San Antonio on ESPN Friday at 8 p.m. and the Thunder meet the Lakers at 10:30 p.m.
The Wizards battle the Heat Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast and host the Suns Sunday at 6 p.m.
Duke tangles in Connecticut Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
CBS has a big doubleheader Saturday, with Ohio State-North Carolina at 1 p.m. followed by UCLA against Kentucky. Villanova hosts Syracuse on Fox Saturday at 1 p.m.
ESPN2 has four games Saturday, starting with SMU meeting Michigan at noon and Missouri facing Illinois at 2 p.m. N.C. State travels to West Virginia at 9:30 p.m., and the night closes with Utah-UNLV.
FoxSports1 has three games Friday, starting with St. Mary’s at St. Johns at 7 p.m. Marquette hosts Texas A&M at 9 p.m. before Arizona takes on UTEP. Western Kentucky faces Louisville Saturday at noon, then it’s Butler-Indiana.
Mount St. Mary’s meets American on Comcast Saturday at 1 p.m.
George Mason tackles Iona on NBC Sports network Saturday at 7 p.m.
MASN offers Appalachian State against Charlotte Thursday at 8 p.m. and Chattanooga-Middle Tennessee Friday at 8 p.m. Sunday at 3 p.m., Middle Tennessee battles Tennessee State.
Texas Tech hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff Friday at 9 p.m. on MASN2. There’s a pair of games on the slate Saturday, starting at noon with Charlotte-Georgetown. South Florida faces Florida State in the Orange Bowl Classic at 2 p.m., and Creighton clashes with North Texas Sunday at 2 p.m.
ESPN2 offers high school basketball from Illinois Friday, with Simeon against St. Rita at 6:30 p.m.
The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets Thursday at 7 p.m. on Comcast and visit the Devils Saturday at 7 p.m.
NBC Sports network brings Manchester City against Crystal Palace Saturday at 7:45 a.m. There’s a pair of games Sunday, with Newcastle United facing Sunderland at 8:30 a.m. and Liverpool-Arsenal at 11 a.m. NBC plans to show a game Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
The NCAA crowns its volleyball champion this weekend. BYU meets Texas on ESPN2 Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by Penn State against Stanford. The final will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The college football regular season marches to its conclusion Saturday in Baltimore.
Navy battles Army in their annual rivalry on CBS at 3 p.m.
Navy opened its season against Ohio State Labor Day weekend at the stadium, and will be trying to win its 13th straight against Army. The Midshipmen have already clinched a bowl berth, and will be playing in San Diego before Christmas, while Army stands at 4-7 after beating Fordham in its last game three weeks ago.
ESPN has the Heisman Trophy presentation Saturday at 8 p.m.
The championship division playoffs continue Friday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2, as New Hampshire hosts Chattanooga. Coastal Carolina makes the trek to North Dakota State Saturday at noon on ESPN.
Virginia crowns its high school football champions Saturday, with the Class AAA games on Comcast. L.C. Bird meets Tuscarora at noon, then Ocean Lakes faces Centreville at 4 p.m.
The Arizona Cardinals continue their quest to play the Super Bowl at their home stadium, traveling to St. Louis on NFL Network Thursday night. The Eagles and Cowboys battle for the NFC East lead on NBC Sunday night, while the Saints visit the Bears on ESPN Monday night.
The Redskins meet the Giants on Fox Sunday at 1 p.m. before most of the country gets 49ers-Seahawks at 4:25 p.m. CBS offers Ravens against Jaguars in the Fishersville area at 1 p.m.
On the college hardcourt, top-ranked Kentucky hosts North Carolina Saturday at noon on CBS.
ESPN offers Utah-Kansas at 3:15 p.m., followed by Arizona-Michigan.
Dayton meeting Arkansas starts the play Saturday on ESPN2 at 2 p.m., followed by Xavier-Missouri and Oklahoma State taking on Memphis State. Notre Dame faces Florida State at 8 p.m., then Gonzaga meets UCLA in the nightcap.
Georgetown takes on Radford Saturday at noon on FoxSports1 before Creighton meets St. Marys. Seton Hall faces St. Peter’s Sunday at noon, with Temple at Villanova at 2 p.m. DePaul battles Illinois State at 4 p.m.
Omaha faces Missouri-Kansas City on MASN Saturday at 3 p.m. Wright State hosts Miami of Ohio Sunday at 3 p.m. before UNC-Asheville meets Alabama-Birmingham at 8 p.m.
Providence takes on Stony Brook on MASN2 Saturday at noon. There’s a pair of games Sunday, with St. John’s against Fordham at 2:30 p.m. before Savannah State plays Kansas State at 6 p.m.
VCU hosts Northern Iowa Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
TNT brings the Cavaliers’ visit to Oklahoma City Thursday at 8 p.m., with Rockets-Kings as the nightcap. The Bulls host Portland on ESPN Friday at 7 p.m., followed by Lakers against Spurs.
The Wizards meet the Clippers Friday at 7 p.m. on Comcast and the Jazz come to town Sunday at 6 p.m.
Nebraska plays Creighton in women’s basketball on FoxSports1 Thursday at 9 p.m.
On the high school court, ESPN2 offers Bishop O’Dowd taking on Montverde Friday at 6:30 p.m.
The Capitals host Columbus Thursday at 7 p.m. on Comcast and the Lightning Saturday at 7 p.m.
It’s the last day in this round of the Europa League on FoxSports1, with Besiktas JK against Tottenham Hotspur Thursday at 1 p.m. followed by Everton clashing with Krasnodar.
NBC Sports network has a pair of games Saturday – Chelsea-Hull City at 10 a.m. and Arsenal playing Newcastle United – and two more Sunday. Manchester United faces Liverpool at 8:30 p.m. followed by Swansea City against Tottenham Hotspur.
Four college teams will make the first playoff field.
Will they be the four topping the rankings this week?
Alabama, Oregon, TCU and Florida State go into the final weekend with the best shots to make the two New Year’s Day semifinal games before the championship on January 12.
The contenders have one more hurdle before the playoff field gets released Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide battle Missouri for the SEC championship Saturday at 4 p.m. on CBS.
Second-seed Oregon has its Pac-12 title tilt Friday at 9 p.m. on Fox, facing Arizona.
On ABC, TCU closes its season against Iowa State at noon and Florida State seeks another undefeated season in the ACC finale against Georgia Tech Saturday at 8 p.m.
Outside the top four, Ohio State battles Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship on Fox Saturday at 8 p.m. ESPN has a top-10 battle between Baylor and Kansas State Saturday at 7:45 p.m.
The weekend begins Thursday with East Carolina taking on UCF on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. The MAC championship game matches Bowling Green and Northern Illinois Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
Marshall meets Louisiana Tech Saturday at noon for the C-USA championship on ESPN2.
Houston and Cincinnati tangle at noon on ESPN, and FoxSports1 has Oklahoma-Oklahoma State at 3:30 p.m.
Temple takes on Tulane at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2, and you can catch the Mountain West championship on the blue turf with Boise State hosting Fresno State on CBS at 10 p.m.
The Cowboys face Chicago on NFL Network Thursday at 8:25 p.m. NBC shows the Patriots’ trip to San Diego Sunday night, while the Falcons meet the Packers on ESPN Monday night.
The Redskins take on the Rams Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox, with Eagles-Seahawks as the nightcap. CBS in Harrisonburg will show the Steelers and Bengals at 1 p.m.
TNT has the Cavaliers’ visit to New York Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by the Pelicans at Golden State.
The Wizards host Denver Friday at 7 p.m. on Comcast before going to Boston Sunday at 1 p.m.
ESPN2 has action between the SEC and Big 12 Thursday, with LSU-West Virginia at 7 p.m. followed by Arkansas against Iowa State. ESPN has the top 10 battle between Texas and Kentucky Friday at 7 p.m., then Kansas faces Florida.
Arizona tangles with Gongaza on ESPN Saturday at 5:15 p.m. ESPN2 has a pair of contests, with Kansas State meeting Tennessee at 3:15 p.m. before Syracuse takes on St. John’s.
CBS offers Wisconsin-Marquette Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Fox brings Northwestern against Butler Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Georgia Tech meets South Carolina-Upstate Saturday at noon on Comcast.
It’s a battle in Philadelphia on FoxSports1 Saturday at 1 p.m., as Villanova hosts St. Joseph’s. There’s three games Sunday, starting at noon as Towson takes on Georgetown. Milwaukee faces DePaul at 2 p.m. then Mississippi heads to Oregon at 4:30 p.m.
MASN shows Morehead State facing UAB Thursday at 8 p.m. Manhattan takes on Fairfield Friday at 7 p.m., and there’s three games on Saturday. Liberty hosts St. Francis at 2 p.m. before Mount St. Mary’s meets Loyola at 7 p.m. and UTEP-New Mexico State at 9 p.m.
There’s a game from the BB&T Classic Sunday at 2:30 p.m., with George Washington taking on Charlotte.
Rutgers meets Seton Hall Saturday at noon on MASN2 and Western Kentucky battles Murray State at 6:30 p.m.
On the women’s side, Connecticut and Notre Dame clash on ESPN Saturday at 3:15 p.m. MASN2 offers Oklahoma-North Texas at noon Sunday followed by Texas A&M against TCU. Top-ranked South Carolina meets Duke on ESPN2 at 1 p.m.
The Capitals clash with Carolina Thursday at 7 p.m. on Comcast and take on the Devils Saturday at 7 p.m.
Boston College battles New Hampshire on the college rink Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports network, and it’s Maine against UMass-Lowell Saturday at 8 p.m.
The MLS crowns its champion Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPN, as the Galaxy take on New England.
Manchester City takes on Everton on NBC Saturday at 12:30 p.m. NBC Sports network has Newcastle United playing Chelsea Saturday at 7:45 a.m. Sunday’s play starts at 8:30 a.m. with West Ham United taking on Swansea City, then it’s Aston Villa-Leicester City at 11 a.m.