It’s the first marquee weekend of College Football, with four games between ranked opponents. We examine why teams play at the times they do (and on which channel), peek at the NFL weekend, and vow never to let Russell Westbrook dress us.
This could be the best Saturday of football until rivalry weekend in late November.
3 marquee games to watch
Auburn seeks to restore momentum in Tiger battle
#18 Auburn vs. #13 LSU
3:30pm ET – CBS – LSU favored by 7
We’ll learn a lot about these teams and the SEC West on Saturday. Auburn came into the season with massive hype, especially around new quarterback Jeremy Johnson. The offense has struggled and the Tigers slipped 12 spots in the AP poll after escaping disaster at home vs. Jacksonville St.
LSU won a close game on the road at Mississippi St. last week, powered by star running back Leonard Fournette. Still, it’s surprising to see them as touchdown favorites over an Auburn team many would’ve picked to beat LSU just two weeks ago.
Georgia Tech looks to make (another) statement
#14 Georgia Tech vs. #8 Notre Dame
3:30pm ET – NBC – GT favored by 2.5
After trouncing Mississippi St. in last year’s Orange Bowl, the Jackets are still somehow flying under the radar. They returned star QB Justin Thomas, who has led the option offense to 69 and 65 point outings in their first two games this year.
Meanwhile, it’s Notre Dame’s first game with new QB DeShone Kizer after starter Malik Zaire broke his ankle. Would a win legitimize Georgia Tech, or just prove that Notre Dame is depleted?
Night-game, revenge-seeking Bama is scary Bama
#15 Ole Miss vs. #2 Alabama
9:15pm ET – ESPN – Bama favored by 7
Considering that the last Ole Miss SEC title was in 1963, last season’s come-from-behind win vs. Alabama and the ensuing celebration might be the greatest football moment in a lot of Rebel lifetimes.
Ole Miss has a new QB this year, Clemson transfer Chad Kelly, and the offense has put up over 70 points in each of its first two games. They’ll face a stiff test from Alabama, who counters with Heisman contender Derrick Henry at running back.
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit is calling for College Gameday’s ‘best turnout ever’ in Tuscaloosa; this one should be fun.
Best of the rest this weekend
There’s a lot going on this weekend, so we made you a helpful schedule reference to save on your phone. Heads up on these weeknight games:
#11 Clemson vs. Louisville – 7:30 – ESPN – Clemson by 6
#9 Florida State vs. Boston College – 8:00 – ESPN – FSU by 7.5
SEC breakdown: what decides times and channels for big games?
CBS gets first pick of the weekend’s SEC action for its 3:30 time slot, but it can only show a given team five times in a season. Last year, CBS used up all of its Alabama slots early, and the 2014 Iron Bowl (Bama vs. Auburn) was instead shown on ESPN. This Saturday, Auburn vs. LSU was likely an easy choice for CBS. It’s a great matchup, and they preserve the chance to show five other games from Bama’s loaded schedule this fall.
The CBS-SEC contract also states that SEC teams can’t play on ABC, so ESPN gets the 2nd and 3rd choices of weekly SEC games. Note: this is a worthless provision as ESPN is on nearly every TV that ABC is, and they’re both owned by Disney.
ESPN has chosen the 6:00 and 9:15 timeslots to maximize exposure for its two SEC games but minimize overlap with the 3:30 CBS broadcast. This will lead to some very late nights featuring marquee SEC action this fall.
Thursday Night Football Preview
The Broncos: 1-0, yet written off?
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs
8:25pm ET – CBS – Chiefs favored by 3
Peyton Manning is 39 years old, can’t feel his fingertips after three neck surgeries, and played lousy last weekend. Popular media refrain this week: is he done, or was it just one bad game? The staunch Chiefs defense won’t do him any favors.
Super Mariota, round 2
Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns
1:00pm ET – even line
In their first games in the NFL last Sunday, College Football’s 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota crushed the ’13 winner, Jameis Winston. This week Mariota takes on the ’12 winner, Johnny Manziel. Mariota is looking to build on his dazzling debut, while Manziel is trying to prove he belongs in the NFL after a disastrous rookie campaign.
Jason Pierre-Paul: more names, or fingers?
There’s a unique and ongoing saga with the New York Giants. Star defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul has yet to play this season after losing at least one finger in a July 4th fireworks accident.
The story is murky. The Giants rescinded a long-term contract offer and couldn’t get in touch with Pierre-Paul this summer, even as new reports claimed he may also be missing part of his thumb. This week he posted a workout video saying he wants to play, but failed to answer everyone’s question: what does Jason Pierre-Paul’s hand look like?
The Giants host the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday at 1:00pm ET.
Smart basketball will track shooting stats
Finally, something useful comes from the ‘internet of things.’ Wilson’s new basketball will tell you your exact shooting percentage, and potentially make you wish you were still 14-years-old.
Golf’s playoffs intensify as massive payday looms
Golf is down to its final two weeks of the season in the chase for the FedEx Cup (essentially the playoffs of golf). 70 players compete in this week’s BMW Championship, before the field is pared down to the best 30 performers of the season for next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. On the line? Only a cool $10m to the winner. Here’s a breakdown of the FedEx Cup and what to watch for these next two weeks.
Baseball playoff races enter the home stretch
Here are the standings with less than 3 weeks left in the baseball season. We’ll keep you posted on playoff-race developments. The snapshot today:
+Playoff teams are virtually decided in the National League. Of note, Yoenis Cespedes has led a historic offensive charge for the New York Mets to put away the disappointing Washington Nationals, despite a MVP-worthy season from Bryce Harper.
+The closer races are in the American League, where the New York Yankees are chasing the Toronto Blue Jays in the East and the Texas Rangers recently overtook the Houston Astros in the AL West.
“Don’t look up” – advice to the new kid (Baseball)
Writing in the first person for the Players Tribune, San Francisco Giants 3rd baseman Matt Duffy shares his surprisingly poignant story about what it’s like to be brand new to Major League Baseball.
Daily Fantasy Sports: a lifetime of cash?
Maybe if we had a dollar for every DraftKings advertisement we saw last weekend. The Primer team put our strategic thinking caps on and broke down where we see the industry heading… and it doesn’t end with DraftKings or FanDuel as the winner.
You’d get by without it, but where’s the fun in that?
Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook is known for his aggressive play and his eccentric fashion. He took to Twitter to announce his new men’s line with Barneys New York.
Here’s the full line if you’ve got 150 bucks to drop on a tank top. We had our style editor select a few gems, below:
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