Stay Home, Stay Inside — 10 Reasons Why

We’ve been having a string of beautiful weather here in the Madison area, which appears ready to continue through this weekend. But as Thursday night’s baseball and college football broadcasts proved, now is not the time to be outside spending time with family and friends. Now is the time to be watching sports on TV. Here’s what you should be focusing on this weekend:

1. Cubs at Brewers (Friday-Sunday). A lot of people had given up on the Brewers a few days ago. Hard not to be believing again after Thursday night’s exhilarating fourth-straight victory. But the Cubs aren’t the Pirates. But the Cubs have literally nothing to play for. But the Cubs haven’t lost this season at Miller Park. But the Cubs have literally nothing to play for. But Jeff Suppan — who couldn’t get my five-year-old son out the way he’s pitching lately — is starting Friday night. Will the Brewers’ roller-coaster season end Sunday (or, if there’s a playoff, Monday) or will it continue? If you’re not there, you need to be in front of a TV.

2. Packers at Buccaneers (noon Sunday). After a miracle victory against the Bears last Sunday, the 2-1 Buccaneers are looking to figure out how good they really are. After being dominated by Dallas and losing Al Harris in the process, the Packers are looking to climb back into the ranks of the NFC elite. Though no longer a division rivalry, this remains a very interesting matchup.

3. Badgers at Wolverines (2:30 Saturday).  Both teams are coming off bye weeks, but the Badgers look to be the only team rested and ready to start conference play. With two non-conference losses, Michigan’s been lousy. Look for Bucky to get his first win in Ann Arbor since 1994.

4.  Marlins at Mets (Friday-Sunday). Can the Mets avoid a second-straight late-season collapse? If they can’t, the Brewers will make the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. And don’t think the Marlins — who helped keep them out of the postseason last year — will go easy on New York. The Brewers and their fans will be doing plenty of scoreboard watching on this series, which could be the last series at Shea Stadium. (Hey, with all the hype over the close of Yankee Stadium, where’s the love for Shea, the birth of the stadium rock concert?)

5. Arizona at New York Jets (noon Sunday, no local telecast). Brett Favre is finding out the hard way that the Jets simply don’t have the talent the Packers do. If Favre’s Jets lose and drop to 1-3, a lot of Jets fans will be questioning whether management made the right move to trade for Number 4, and Favre will be questioning whether he should have stayed in Mississippi. 

6. Eagles @ Bears (7:15 Sunday). After an impressive week one victory at Indianapolis, Packer fans were wondering if the Bears were going to present a legitimate threat this season. After two straight losses, fans can probably start wondering if they lose Sunday night.

7. Vikings @ Titans (12 noon, no local broadcast). Does the benching of Tavaris Jackson mean Minnesota’s season is saved? I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s at least got some life now with the not-terrible Gus Frerotte. But Tennessee on the road is a tough draw. Titans quarterback Kerry Collins knows something about laying the wood to the Vikings.

8. Royals @ Twins (Friday-Sunday). Hate to get all AL on you here, but the Twins are — after the Tampa Bay Rays — the best story in the American League this year. It will be nothing of a minor miracle if they can get in after losing Johan Santana and Torii Hunter in the offseason. Watch out for a letdown after their huge home sweep of the White Sox.

9. Gophers @ Buckeyes (11 AM Saturday). With Beanie Wells likely back and freshman Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, can Ohio State regain its position as the Big Ten team to beat? Can Minnesota, a minor surprise so far, give them any kind of a test before next week’s showdown at Camp Randall?

10. Illini @ Nittany Lions (7 PM Saturday). No Big Ten team — or college football team period — has rolled to easier victories than Penn State. Can Illinois slow them down in what looks to be the best Big Ten game of the weekend?

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