This You Gotta See: Bears’ Mitch Trubisky returns at Packers, Illini hoops goes big
Then again, what we all should have learned by now about sports during a pandemic is that the only thing we can count on is not being able to count on anything.
So, what are your plans for the big game?
Don’t answer that. It’s a trick question.
What we all should have learned by now about sports during a pandemic is that there’s really only one thing we can count on, and that’s not being able to count on anything. Schedules are set, symptoms are monitored, tests are taken, fingers are crossed, more tests are taken and did I mention fingers are crossed?
Inevitably, some scheduled games and events come down like the houses of cards they are. Take Illinois-Ohio State, a football game meant for Saturday in Champaign that was a go until Friday night, when the Buckeyes determined they had too big a COVID-19 problem on their hands to make the trip.
Or a better example: Ravens-Steelers in the NFL, which was supposed to be played on Thanksgiving, got moved to Sunday and then got bumped back again, to Tuesday. Is this thing really going to happen? We can cross that bridge when it collapses.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the coming week’s sports calendar is the early heat-up of college basketball. Look no further than Illinois-Baylor on Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Who knows, though, if the Bears, who started the season ranked No. 2, will even get there? They had to bail on games in Connecticut after coach Scott Drew tested positive. Then they suddenly wedged in an unscheduled trip to Las Vegas to get some action in. Fingers crossed? You’d better believe it.
Every time we put a date, time and story line in print, we’re rolling the dice. If this paper is going to keep publishing this column, maybe it should change its initials from CST to TBD. Here’s what’s happening:
Titans at Colts (noon, Ch. 2)
Indy has a couple of starting defensive linemen on the COVID-19 list and at least one other key member of the defensive front out with injury. Fortunately, all fellow AFC South co-leader Tennessee has at running back is some schlep named Derrick Henry.
Panthers at Vikings (noon, Fox-32)
Carolina has lost five of six, but is coming off a win. Minnesota has won three of four, but is coming off a loss. The point? Honestly, I’m not sure there is one.
Chiefs at Buccaneers (3:25 p.m., Ch. 2)
Tom Brady is 2-1 against Patrick Mahomes, but — get this — all three of those meetings took place when Brady played for the Patriots. Did you know he played for the Patriots? It’s kind of a little-known fact.
“Tiger Woods: America’s Son”: (6 p.m., ESPN)
A one-hour documentary examines the golfer’s racial identity and how perceptions of race in the sport changed — or didn’t — after his historic Masters victory in 1997.
Bears at Packers (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5)
With Mitch Trubisky back as starter, it’s almost like we can forget the Nick Foles era ever happened. And just when we were starting to get halfway decent at forgetting the Trubisky era ever happened.
Seahawks at Eagles (7:15 p.m., ESPN)
Russell Wilson is an MVP candidate. Life is far different for Philly’s Carson Wentz. Might we get a decent game, or is this an inevitable blowout? Either way, it’s for the birds.
Michigan State at Duke (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
Coach Tom Izzo pretty much just got back with the Spartans after his battle with COVID-19. Somehow, that makes a trip to Durham, North Carolina, and visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium seem a bit less charming than usual.
Ravens at Steelers (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5)
It might be the only thing nasty enough to mess with the Steelers’ 10-0 record is an outbreak within the team. New active cases were bubbling up as of Saturday night.
Kentucky vs. Kansas (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Look, you don’t not watch when these elite programs come together. For one thing, somebody has to keep an eye on what John Calipari and Bill Self are up to.
Champions League: Manchester United vs. Paris Saint-Germain (2 p.m., CBS All Access)
PSG, one of the world’s elite clubs, is in a must-win spot as the visitor in the teams’ second match of group play. Man U. gutted out a 2-1 victory last month in Paris.
Jimmy V Classic: Illinois vs. Baylor (9 p.m., ESPN)
The Illini sure are a blast to watch, and there’s no reason they can’t run with the Bears on a neutral floor in Indy. Roll that ball out there and let ’em go.
Iowa at Illinois (TBD)
And then there’s the Illini football team. Actually, they’ve won two straight and — yes! — avoided a lopsided loss to Ohio State because of a coronavirus-related cancellation. You’ve got to take what you can get these days.
Northwestern at Minnesota (TBD)
The Wildcats aren’t going to wow anybody, but there’s just no keeping them down. (Insert reference to Pat Fitzgerald the former gritty linebacker here.)
Syracuse at Notre Dame (1:30 p.m., Ch. 5)
Win here and the Irish get to 10-0. Man, 10 games already? Do they not realize there’s a pandemic out there kicking sports’ butt?