The first full week of the 2017 college football season ends tonight when No. 25 Tennessee plays Georgia Tech in Atlanta at 8 on ESPN, and if this is an indication of things to come, then it’s going to be a wild season.
Third-ranked Florida State is out of the College Football Playoff, not because it got thumped Saturday by No.1 Alabama. The Seminoles could bounce back from that by going unbeaten the rest of the way, but they can’t do that without quarterback Deondre Francois, who suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The Big 12 finally has a conference championship game but might not have the quality to be a national factor. The conference went 0-2 against Power Five schools, including No. 23 Texas losing at home to 19-point underdog Maryland and No. 22 West Virginia losing to No. 21 Virginia Tech.
The most embarrassing blow for the Big 12 was suffered by Baylor, upset at home by FCS team Liberty, which according to the ESPN power index had a 2.2 percent chance of winning.
The biggest stunner overall, however, was pulled off by another FCS team, Howard of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which received $600,000 to be home fodder for UNLV and then upset the Rebels as a 45-point underdog. That’s the biggest point-spread upset in modern college football.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
United States women are resurgent at U.S. Open
Considering the last United States woman to win a Grand Slam tournament without the surname “Williams” was Jennifer Capriati at the Australian Open in 2002, it’s not wrong to question the state of USA women’s tennis with Venus and Serena Williams both in their mid-30s.
The U.S. Open, which continues with Round of 16 play tonight at 7 on ESPN2, is showing the impending demise could be exaggerated. Venus Williams, the only past U.S. Open champion remaining, and 24-year-old Sloan Stephens are already in the quarterfinals.
By the time tonight is over, they could be joined by Coco Vandeweghe, 25, and 15th-seeded Madison Keys, 22.
In the men’s draw, 29-year-old Sam Querrey, who is 77th-ranked, is in the quarters but is the last American standing. The last U.S. man to win the Open was Andy Roddick in 2003.
What I’m reading
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz knows the stigma that is sometimes attached to Christian athletes, but staff writer Jeff McLane writes that Wentz has a calling to spread God’s word.
It’s not like Dallas week for the Eagles, but Penn State and Pitt are the biggest college football programs in the state. Staff writer Joe Juliano discusses the rivalry with Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi.
Staff writer Mike Kern releases his first college football “Fraud Five” of the season.
Houston Texans star J.J. Watt set a humble goal of trying to raise $200,000 to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey. As of now, Watt is well on his way to raising 100 times that.
The Miami Marlins have the name with former New York Yankees great Derek Jeter as a partial owner, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that the team’s ever-present money woes won’t disappear.
It took nearly a week for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics to finalize the blockbuster trade for Kyrie Irving. Kyle Boone at cbssports.com writes the Cavs are already shopping the prized first-round pick they acquired.
Proper etiquette is not the same as making a social statement, but as long as the controversy started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the playing of the national anthem isn’t going away anytime soon, let’s look at what you are supposed to do at an NFL game when the Star-Spangled Banner plays.
According to U.S. Code, if not in the military, people should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart when the anthem is played. Men should remove hats with the right hand and hold it at the left shoulder with the hand over the heart.
This also means you should put down your nachos, hoagies and beers. Never mind if the seats around you are filthy — you should have waited until after kickoff.
If you are going to fuss about players peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights, at least make sure you are doing things correctly.
Cubs at Pirates, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Tennessee at Georgia Tech, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
U.S. Open, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)