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Soccer Is Here, and CFB Is Near

Soccer Is Here, and CFB Is Near
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Welcome to the RealClearSports Weekend Warmup!

In one short week, college football fans across the country will load into vans, cars, and RVs to make the trek to towns big and small for the opening of the season. While the games don’t start until next Saturday, RCS Editor Cory Gunkel highlighted this week why the sport is so special to such a huge portion of the country in the first installment of his new column, “The Extra Point.”

Gunkel also took a look at the biggest sleepers in the NCAA this year for this week’s RCS Top 10. From small-school powers to big names who’ve fallen off the map, here are 10 schools that could shock the world this fall when foot meets leather. (And don't miss Gunkel and fellow Editor Ben Krimmel's debate over college football in their latest Win Some Lose Some video.)


With the regular season right around the corner, NFL starters will begin to see more minutes as the second week of preseason pigskin comes to an end. The weekend kicks off Friday night on the West Coast with the Seattle Seahawks hosting the Minnesota Vikings (10 p.m. ET on NFL Network).

Then, strap yourselves in football fans for a Saturday triple-header. The excitement begins in Tennessee, as the Carolina Panthers face off against the hometown Titans (3 p.m. ET on NFLN). The Indianapolis Colts take on the Dallas Cowboys later that evening (7 p.m. ET on NFLN), finally finish up late that night at Levi’s Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers will host the Denver Broncos (10 p.m. ET on NFLN).

Sunday features the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers (4 p.m. ET on NFLN) and the New Orleans Saints traveling to Carson, California, to play the Los Angeles Chargers (8 p.m. ET on NFLN).


With just over seven weekends remaining in the season, the competition for postseason positioning is heating up and the pressure on the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs in the NL Central is increasing. (See them host the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday and Saturday at Wrigley Field. Both games will get started at 2 p.m. ET on MLB Network.)

After taking two of three from the Bronx Bombers last weekend, the battle between the Red Sox and Yankees for the AL East crown shifts this weekend to Beantown. Friday night New York throws rookie right-hander Jordan Montgomery against lefty Drew Pomeranz (7 p.m. ET on MLBN). A duel for Southpaw Supremacy on Saturday sees veteran CC Sabathia facing off against Cy Young favorite Chris Sale (7 p.m. ET on MLBN), and the series closes with Sonny Gray taking the mound against Doug Fister in a Sunday matinee (1:30 p.m. ET on TBS).

And for those eager to see the best team in baseball, on Saturday the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing .700 baseball, are in Detroit to face the Tigers (4 p.m. ET on FS1), and on Sunday the Pittsburgh Pirates host the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals (7 p.m. ET on ESPN).


The Wyndham Championship marks the last tournament in which golfers on the PGA Tour can accumulate points before the FedEx Cup playoffs at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Coverage on Friday runs 2-4 p.m. ET on Golf Channel; Saturday and Sunday’s coverage from 3-6 p.m. ET on CBS.)


Friday features the return of the Bundesliga, Germany's top soccer league, with Bayern Munich (champions for the past five consecutive seasons) hosting Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1).
Back here in the states, the MLS weekend kicks off Friday night in the Rose City at Providence Park as the Portland Timbers host the New York Red Bulls (10 p.m. ET on FS1).

The second week of Premier League soccer begins bright and early on Saturday from Wales as Swansea hosts Manchester United (7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN) before Liverpool welcomes Crystal Palace at Anfield (10 a.m. ET on NBCSN), and closes out with Arsenal vs. Stoke City (12:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Bundesliga action continues Saturday with Borussia Dortmund (featuring American teenager Christian Pulisic) away to Wolfsburg (9:30 a.m. ET on FS1) and Schalke at Red Bull Leipzig (12:30 p.m. ET on FS1).
The British weekend closes with Sir Patrick Stewart’s favorite team, Huddersfield Town, hosting Newcastle United (8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN) and a battle for London supremacy from Wembley Stadium between Tottenham and Chelsea (11 a.m. ET on NBCSN).

Sunday in Germany offers SC Freiburg versus Eintracht Frankfurt (9:30 a.m. ET on FS1) and a 12 p.m. ET matchup between Borussia Monchengladbach (say that three times fast) and Koln (much easier to say fast) on FS1.

And for those who want a bit more: The Seattle Sounders, who hope to grab the lead in the MLS Western Conference, host cellar-dwellers Minnesota United (9:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

On This Day

On this date in 1934 in Barrio San Anton, Carolina, Puerto Rico, Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker was born. He would play 18 seasons in the Major Leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates, appear on 15 All-Star teams, win the NL batting title four times, and the Gold Glove Award in 12 straight seasons. He would win the 1966 NL MVP and two World Series titles. Terrorizing the Baltimore Orioles in the 1971 World Series with 12 hits in 29 plate appearances, he would go on to be named Series MVP.

On September 30, 1972, in his final regular season at-bat, Clemente doubled off of New York Mets pitcher Jon Matlack for his 3,000th career hit. That offseason Clemente returned to the charity work that filled much of his time. On New Year's Eve, a plane carrying Clemente and supplies destined for victims of an earthquake that struck Managua, Nicaragua, crashed shortly after takeoff. Clemente’s body was never found. In March 1973, the Baseball Writers' Association of America waived the waiting period and Clemente was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 92.7 percent of the vote.

Check throughout the weekend for coverage of NFL preseason games,  Major League Baseball, soccer from around the globe, and more. Follow us on Twitter @RealClearSports and join the conversation on Facebook.

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