BOSTON – The 2019-20 College Football season kicked-off with the Miami Hurricanes facing the University of Florida Gators in Orlando (Gators, 24-20) in a made-for-tv and Disney World opener and a nightcap between the University of Arizona and Hawaii at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu (Hawaii, 45-28). With the kick-off, football fans won’t go a day without either college and professional games or checking their fantasy league stats, all the way until February 3rd, the day after Miami Gardens hosts the Super Bowl.
Looking at the collegiate forecast, there is absolutely no reason to think that the CFP National Championship Game on February 3rd in New Orleans won’t feature the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide. As for the CFP qualifiers, we’re focused on the Georgia Bulldogs as a clear No. 3 rank but have a toss-up between Oklahoma and The Ohio State University Buckeyes for the coveted No. 4 spot, leaning towards Columbus.
Looking at the preseason awards recently allocated, Clemson sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a Heisman Trophy favorite entering the 2019 season, headlines The Associated Press preseason All-America team, released earlier this week. … Joining him on the first team are two teammates: running back Travis Etienne and linebacker Isaiah Simmons. … On Monday, Clemson was installed as No. 1 in the AP preseason poll for the first time in school history. … Joining Clemson with three preseason All-Americans was Alabama, with wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, a 2018 All-American, defensive lineman Raekwon Davis and linebacker Dylan Moses. … In other college football news, Bo Nix was named starting quarterback for Auburn, and he is set to become only the second true freshman to start a season opener in school history. … The school announced the decision on its Twitter account. The Tigers open the campaign against Oregon on Aug. 31 at Arlington, Texas. Travis Tidwell, who started the opener in 1946, is the only true freshman to take the first snap. … Nix beat out redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood in a spirited competition that began in the spring. … In terms of favorites for the Heisman, Lawrence and Alabama’s talented QB Tua Tagovailoa share the Sheridan Odds honors as 4:1 faves while Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts and Ohio State QB Justin Fields are close at 8:1. … To win the National Championship game of the CFP, Sheridan Odds show faves Clemson and Alabama even at 2:1 while Georgia is the clear bridesmaid at 6:1 and Ohio State is ranked as the fourth highest at 10:1 odds. … Overall, the odds of either Clemson or Alabama winning the National Championship are chalk, if ever there were chalk, at 1:2 … Subtracting Clemson and adding in Ohio State or Oklahoma places the Sheridan Odds at 3:2
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made a controversial remark about how much money SEC schools spend on recruiting in the new book about his football program. … “(It’s) hard to beat the cheaters,” Harbaugh tells author John U. Bacon in the soon-to-be-released book entitled, “Overtime: Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the Crossroads of College Football.” … Harbaugh didn’t explain his definition of cheating or name any specific schools or coaches, according to a review of the book posted Wednesday by Forbes.com. … According to a report last month by Stadium, SEC member Georgia spent $2.63 million on recruiting in 2018 — nearly double the $1.40 million spent by Michigan. Other SEC schools including Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee did not release their data for that report. … “If you want to make Michigan great, and make yourself great, this is a great place to be,” Harbaugh said in the book. “The (recruits) you have to oversell what we have to offer, you know it’s not going to work. If you don’t get the appeal of the program, of a Michigan education, of the kind of camaraderie you get working with like-minded people — well, I don’t know what to tell you. You’ll probably be happier somewhere else — and maybe we will be, too!” … Harbaugh, 55, opens his fifth season as head coach at his alma mater when No. 7 Michigan hosts Middle Tennessee State in Ann Arbor on Aug. 31.
Here Now, The Notes: The POTUS is trying to stop US businesses from interacting with business in China. … Guess where the USA men’s national basketball team is headed? The #Hashtags are #FIBAWorldCup with the USA #FIBAWC2019 team heading first to Shanghai and then to Beijing for the medal round. … Writing on the travels of the United States teams, two internationally staged exhibition games were met with trouble this week, one in the NFL and the other with USA Basketball traveling to Australia in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup of Basketball, scheduled for August-September in China. … The preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders in Winnipeg this past Thursday night was played on an 80-yard field due to concerns about the turf in each end zone. … With holes in the turf — from where goal posts are placed for Canadian Football League play — that could not be properly filled, each end zone was moved 10 yards closer to the middle of the field. Pylons were placed at each end of both 10-yard lines, marking the front of the end zone, and at each end of both normal goal lines (for the back of the end zone). … The NFL released the following statement on the Raiders’ TV broadcast before the start of the second quarter … “The field met the mandatory practices for the maintenance of surfaces for NFL games based on an inspection yesterday. Concerns arose today surrounding the area where the (Winnipeg) Blue Bombers’ goal posts were previously located. The 10-yard line will function as the goal line at this game. In lieu of kickoffs, the ball will be placed at the 15-yard line.” … Meanwhile, in Melbourne Australia, The Age reported that Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, the country’s consumer watchdog organization, is investigating Thursday’s USA Basketball vs Australia FIBA World Cup prelim game after receiving a “‘complaints from basketball fans who paid big sums … only to have a severely restricted view of the game.” … Sports Business Journal reported that “Many people among the 51,218 fans at Marvel Stadium for the matchup and complained they couldn’t see the game because their seats were too far away or their view was blocked by other people’s heads.” … The USA went on to lose its game against the Aussie Boomers. … No word on the group’s report or an outcome of the grievance at press time. … In the world of golf, Danish pro golfer Thorbjorn Olesen will stand trial next month after pleading not guilty to charges of assault by beating, sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft. … Olesen was arrested July 29 at Heathrow Airport in London following his alleged actions on a British Airways flight from Memphis, where he played in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. … He’s been suspended by the European Tour pending the outcome of the trial. … Olesen briefly appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court in London this past Wednesday to enter his plea and also confirm his name, age and address. The jury trial is scheduled to begin on Sept 18 at Isleworth Crown Court in London. … Olesen, 29, is ranked No. 65 in the world. He has five European Tour victories and was a member of Europe’s victorious 2018 Ryder Cup team.
RIP COACH TOM NISSALKE: Former Houston Rockets and NBA coach Tom Nissalke died at his Salt Lake City home on Thursday, according to the Deseret News. … Nissalke won Coach of the Year honors for the 1976-77 season when the Houston Rockets went 49-33 and reached the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Philadelphia 76ers. … Nissalke went 248-391 in nine NBA seasons. He also coached the Seattle SuperSonics, Utah Jazz and Cleveland with the 1983-84 season with the Cavaliers (28-54) being his final one as a head coach. … He was best known for his work with the Jazz as he was Utah’s first coach after the franchise relocated from New Orleans for the 1979-80 campaign. … Nissalke also spent parts of four seasons coaching in the ABA and posted a 123-117 record. Nissalke was named ABA Coach of the Year when he guided the Dallas Chaparrals to a 42-42 record and a playoff spot in 1971-72. … He owned a restaurant and club in Salt Lake City where NBA front office, coaches and media often saw him after his coaching days.
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Field Level Media, GraceNote, USA Today, Danny Sheridan Odds and Digital Sports Desk staff reporting contributed to this column.