Behind the Broadcast: Couch potatoes, warm up those thumbs

It can be debated what is the best time of the year for sports fans.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

It can be debated what is the best time of the year for sports fans.

Some may think it’s the start of the NFL season. Others look at the opening of the Major League Baseball season because it signifies the arrival of spring (although with the weather around here lately, spring is just a rumor). The college football bowl season gets others excited, too.

To me, however, the best time of the year is taking place over the next week. It’s a couch potato’s dream. There are plenty of great sports offerings to watch on TV. You’re going to need your remote to try and catch all the action.

Let’s start with tonight. The NCAA men’s basketball Final Four semifinals take place on CBS. It’s the first time in tournament history that the four No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four.

The first game pits UCLA against Memphis at 6:07 p.m.. Then, the featured game has North Carolina and its coach, Roy Williams, going against the team he used to coach, Kansas, at 8:47. The championship game will be Monday at 9.

The games will be seen locally on WRGB (Ch. 6) and WRGB HD

(Ch. 6.1 or Time Warner Cable channel 1806).

The NCAA women’s Final Four takes center stage Sunday, and we could be heading for a Connect­icut-Tennessee championship game showdown Tuesday at 8:30.

First, those two teams have to win their semifinal games. UConn plays Stanford at 7 Sunday, and Tennessee meets LSU at 9:30.

ESPN and ESPN HD will have the games.

While we’re talking about college sports, the NCAA men’s Hockey Frozen Four semifinals are Thursday, starting at 6 on ESPN2. The first game has Boston College meeting North Dakota, while Mich­igan, which won the East Regional last Saturday at the Times Union Center, faces Notre Dame in the nightcap.

ESPN will televise the final next Saturday at 7.

Also on Thursday, the Masters begins. For the first time, ESPN will televise the first two rounds from 4-7, and repeat them from 8-11. CBS will have the final two rounds next weekend.

Finally, the NHL Stanley cup playoffs begin Wednesday. Versus will have extensive coverage of the playoffs, and NBC will have games every Saturday and Sunday leading up to the finals. This is my favorite time of year. I just hope my Flyers get in there to make it even more exciting (and gut wrenching) for me.

It’s a great week. Get your chores done, buy some snacks and beverages and enjoy the shows. Enjoy the sports. There’s plenty to watch.

nfl tv

The NFL announced its opening weekend prime-time and national preseason broadcast schedules this week, and the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants will have a significant role.

NBC will televise the traditional regular-season opener on Thursday, Sept. 4, when the Giants host the Washington Redskins. The kickoff will be at 7, which is 90 minutes earlier than normal because NBC will be televising John McCain’s acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination later that night.

Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser will return to the “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth. Not returning are sideline reporters Suzy Kolber, who recently had a baby girl, and Michele Tafoya. An ESPN spokesman said Kolber and Tafoya “will remain an important part of our overall ‘MNF’ coverage. They will provide on-site, pre- and post-game reports on several outlets, including ‘SportsCenter,’ ‘Monday Night Countdown,’ ESPNEWS and ESPN.com. They will be available during games, if situations warrant.

“The new approach will allow us to focus on the ‘MNF’ booth team during the game telecast.”

The Giants will host the Cleveland Browns in a preseason game on Monday, Aug. 18, on ESPN.

The rest of the opening weekend prime-time telecasts are NBC’s first Sunday night game Sept. 7, when the Chicago Bears visit the Ind­ianapolis Colts. ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” will have its trad­itional opening double-header

Sept. 8. The first game, at 7, features the Green Bay Packers beginning the post-Brett Favre era when they host the Minnesota Vikings. The second game, at 10:15, has the Denver Broncos visiting the Oakland Raiders.

The other ESPN preseason games are New Orleans at Arizona on Thursday, Aug. 7, Cincinnati at Green Bay on Monday, Aug. 11 and Seattle at San Diego on Monday, Aug. 25. All of ESPN’s games will be at 8.

NBC will televise just two preseason games because of its Summer Olympics coverage. The Hall of Fame Game returns to the network after a one-year absence. The Sunday, Aug. 3 game at 8 will feature Indianapolis and Washington. The other NBC game will be Jacksonville at Washington on Thursday, Aug. 28, at 7.

Fox will show three games, all at 8. They are Carolina at Philadelphia on Thursday, Aug. 14, Oakland at Tennessee on Aug. 16 and San Francisco at Chicago on Thursday, Aug. 21.

CBS will have two games: Houston at Dallas on Friday, Aug. 22, and Pittsburgh at Minnesota on Saturday, Aug. 23. Both games start at 8.

NFL Network will also have two games: New England at Tampa Bay on Sunday, Aug. 17, and Buffalo at Indianapolis on Sunday, Aug. 24. Both games start at 8.

ualbany lacrosse

Time Warner Cable channel 3 will televise two UAlbany men’s lacrosse games.

The first broadcast is Tuesday, when the Great Danes meet Yale. The other one is Saturday, April 26, against Stony Brook. Both games will start at 7.

Greg Tobben will call the action. Former WTEN (Ch. 10) sports

director Brian Sinkoff will be the analyst for Tuesday’s game, while WNYT (Ch. 13) weekend sports anchor Andrew Catalon will join Tobben for the April 26 contest.

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