This week in sports has a distinctly American flavor to it, with U.S. Open tennis starting Monday, U.S. Open Cup soccer awarding a trophy Tuesday, the U.S. women's national team resuming its victory tour Thursday and the calendar flipping to the final month of the regular season of America's pastime.
But even those events take a backseat this week to the complete return of the most American sport of them all: college football. Gather your friends and plan the tailgates—college football is here, and the chase for the four spots in the College Football Playoff is on. Let's ride.
Must Watch: College Football Week 1
After a doubleheader Saturday night, college football is officially back. This Thursday features a slate of 16 games, headlined by the return to the field of last season's national champions, the Clemson Tigers.
Four teams ranked in the preseason AP poll kick off Thursday night, including a major rivalry game out west (all times eastern):
Georgia Tech at No. 1 Clemson, 8 p.m. on ACC Network | New Yellow Jackets head coach Geoff Collins debuts against Heisman Trophy candidate Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers in the first football broadcast on ESPN's new ACC Network.
Texas State at No. 12 Texas A&M, 8:30 p.m. on SEC Network
No. 14 Utah at BYU, 10:15 p.m. on ESPN | In what's likely to be the most intense game of the night, the Utes travel the short 50 miles to Provo to face their rivals in the Holy War. The environment for this one will probably be louder than loud.
Florida A&M at No. 17 UCF, 7:30 p.m. on CBSSN
Two ranked Big Ten teams highlight Friday's action, with No. 18 Michigan State hosting Tulsa at 7 p.m. on FS1 and No. 19 Wisconsin traveling to South Florida at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Then our first full college football Saturday commences with games from noon until well after midnight. Below are the matchups with top teams playing throughout the day. You can view the complete first weekend schedule here.
Florida Atlantic at No. 5 Ohio State, 12 p.m. on Fox | The post-Urban Meyer era begins in Columbus.
Duke vs. No. 2 Alabama, 3:30 p.m. on ABC | In the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Nick Saban's Crimson Tide begin a quest to return to the national title game.
No. 3 Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network | The two-time SEC East champion Bulldogs open conference play on the road in Nashville against a Commodores team looking to make an early statement.
No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 16 Auburn, 7:30 p.m. on ABC | From AT&T Stadium in Arlington, where College GameDay will be Saturday morning, this Pac-12 vs. SEC showdown is the only ranked matchup of opening weekend.
And then for good measure, on Sunday the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners and their new starting QB, Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts, host Houston at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.
Watch This: U.S Open Begins
The final Grand Slam major of the tennis season begins from the hard courts at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, on Monday.
Novak Djokovic has the top seed in the men's draw as he looks for his third major title of the year, but he'll be flanked by French Open champion and second seed Rafael Nadal as well as No. 3 Roger Federer, who won this tournament five times in a row from 2004 to 2008 but hasn't lifted the trophy since.
Djokovic begins play Monday in the afternoon session at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with Federer following in the night session. Nadal plays his first-round match in the night session Tuesday.
On the women's side, things get good right off the bat with No. 8 seed Serena Williams facing Maria Sharapova on Monday night. Williams is still looking for her all-time record-tying 24th Grand Slam title and should be glad to draw Sharapova, against whom she is 19-3.
2018 U.S. Open champion and 2019 No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka has struggled with consistency this season but remains a threat to repeat. Still just 21 years old, she plays in the first round Tuesday afternoon. Wimbledon winner Ashleigh Barty earns the second seed and begins her tournament Monday afternoon.
The U.S. Open will air every day on ESPN or ESPN2, with the day sessions beginning at 12 p.m. and the night sessions at 7 p.m. Here is the full schedule of play and the men's and women's draws and brackets.
What's on B/R Live This Week
1. UEFA Champions and Europa League Playoff Rounds and Group Stage Draws
Everything will be set for the 2019-20 UEFA Champions and Europa League seasons by week's end, as the playoff rounds conclude with second legs and lead into the group stage draws for each competition.
Every second leg in the Champions League playoff round will kick off at 3 p.m. ET and stream on B/R Live, with one match each day also broadcasting on TNT. Find the matches below, with first-leg scores in parentheses.
Red Star Belgrade (2) vs. Young Boys (2) on TNT
Krasnodar (0) vs. Olympiacos (4)
Rosenborg (0) vs. Dinamo Zagreb (2)
Ajax (0) vs. APOEL (0) on TNT
Slavia Prague (1) vs. Cluj (0)
Club Brugge (1) vs. LASK (0)
Once the final six spots in the field of 32 are confirmed, a draw will determine the eight groups of four teams for the Champions League Group Stage. The draw starts at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday and will stream free on B/R Live. In addition to drawing the groups, the event will also announce the winners of UEFA's 2018-19 awards, including Player of the Year, Forward of the Year, Midfielder of the Year, Defender of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year.
In the Europa League, select second-leg matches in the playoff round will stream on B/R Live on Thursday, and the group-stage draw will stream free Friday morning at 7 a.m. ET on B/R Live.
2. AEW All Out
All Elite Wrestling heads to Chicago for its second premier pay-per-view event, All Out, on Saturday night. Adam "Hangman" Page vs. Chris Jericho for the inaugural AEW World Championship headlines the nine-match card that also features Pac vs. Kenny Omega, Cody vs. Shawn Spears and Lucha Brothers vs. The Young Bucks.
3. Celtic-Rangers in Old Firm Derby
Just as the calendar flips from August to September this weekend, the first Old Firm Derby of the season arrives Sunday morning. Celtic and Rangers are tied atop the Scottish Premiership table early on, with each team having won all of its matches so far.
The rivals and two biggest clubs in Glasgow kick off for the first time this season Sunday at 7 a.m. Stream the match on B/R Live here.
More to Watch This Week
1. U.S. Open Cup Final
The 106th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will crown a champion Tuesday night with a match between Atlanta United and Minnesota United. The United States domestic tournament final comes down to two MLS teams who entered the league as expansion sides in the same season back in 2017.
Atlanta earned its first win in club history in a victory at Minnesota during that opening season. Tuesday's match will be played at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where Minnesota returned later in that 2017 season and left with a win, one of only a handful of teams ever to beat Atlanta on its home turf. The clubs' history makes for an intriguing cup final, as Minnesota looks to raise its first trophy, while Atlanta can earn its third.
Kickoff on Tuesday is at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
2. USWNT Victory Tour
If you've missed the United States women's national team the last couple of weeks in between stops on their victory tour, you're not alone. But cheer up because the Americans are back Thursday in a friendly against Portugal in Philadelphia, where there will be a record crowd.
It's the second of five matches on the victory tour for the squad, which will showcase many of the stars who led the team to back-to-back World Cup titles earlier this summer. The USWNT defeated Ireland 3-0 at the Rose Bowl at the start of August.
Thursday's match against Portugal begins at 7 p.m. and will air on Fox Sports 1.
3. European Headliners
A marquee matchup in each of Serie A and the Premier League spotlight this weekend in world football. Fresh off season-opening wins, Juventus and Napoli square off Saturday afternoon (2:45 p.m. on ESPN+). Cristiano Ronaldo is in search of his first goal of the campaign, while this match could mark the Napoli debut of newly acquired winger Hirving "Chucky" Lozano.
Then Sunday, Arsenal gets another early Premier League test when the team faces Tottenham just a week after falling to Liverpool. Both the Gunners and the Spurs will be coming off of losses, making their meeting a quite important one even a month into the season.
Arsenal and Tottenham will kick off at 11:30 a.m. on NBCSN.
4. MLB Playoff Races
Significant playoff implications are in play in a couple of weekend series in Major League Baseball. In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers go on the road to the team directly ahead of them in the Central Division and two teams ahead in the NL Wild Card, the Chicago Cubs. And in the American League, two teams right at the front of the wild-card race meet in Florida.
Here are the MLB standings entering the final weekend of August.
Each game of these two series will be televised locally and on MLB.TV. Check out the pitching matchups and start times for the weekend:
Chase Anderson (MIL) vs. Jose Quintana (CHC), 2:20 p.m.
Zach Plesac (CLE) vs. TBA (TB), 7:10 p.m.
Zach Davies (MIL) vs. Cole Hamels (CHC), 2:20 p.m.
Shane Bieber (CLE) vs. TBA (TB), 6:10 p.m.
Adam Plutko (CLE) vs. Charlie Morton (TB), 1:10 p.m.
Gio Gonzalez (MIL) vs. Yu Darvish (CHC), 2:20 p.m.
1. Luck Out
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck shockingly announced his retirement from the NFL on Saturday night, citing injuries that have drained him mentally and taken away his love for the game of football.
Capt. Andrew Luck @CaptAndrewLuck
Dearest mother — The quill has never felt more heavy. I have made the decision to holster my sidearm permanently. I shall battle no more. The decision is difficult, but, as the hogs taught me, I must be true to myself. I am coming home to care for you and the farm. — Andrew
2. Kids Being Kids
River Ridge, Louisiana, used a relentless lineup along with sound pitching and defense to defeat Willemstad, Curaçao, 8-0 on Sunday afternoon to win the Little League World Series. The group is the first team from Louisiana and to win the LLWS championship and the first to win the title after losing its opening game in Williamsport.
3. FedEx Cup Full of Cash
On Sunday, Rory McIlroy won the Tour Championship and, under a new scoring format, the entire FedEx Cup. The Northern Irishman pulled away from Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele in the final round to claim his second FedEx Cup title, having also won in 2016. For the win this year, he'll pocket a cool $15 million.
4. Spurrier Being Spurrier
Week zero in college football gave us a contender for moment of the year already. A Feleipe Franks interception began quite a bizarre last few minutes of the fourth quarter between Miami and Florida, leaving Gators legend Steve Spurrier dumbfounded. If he had a visor to throw, you know he would've.
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