This Weekend in Sports: College Football and UFC 164
A ton of college football games and a UFC title fight highlight the upcoming sports calendar. Here’s what to watch this weekend:
Friday, August 30
2013 U.S. Open Tennis Championship
Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing, N.Y.; 1 p.m. on ESPN 2 (through Sept. 9)
The best tennis players in the world flock to New York for the final Grand Slam event of 2013. Men’s second-round and women’s third-round matches are slated for Friday, but rain has created a backlog of matches. Novak Djokovic is the top men’s seed, while Serena Williams is at the top of the women’s field.
Saturday, August 31
Rice at (7) Texas A&M
Kyle Field, College Station, Texas; 1 p.m. on ESPN
Seventh-ranked Texas A&M begins its 2013 season by hosting the Rice Owls. The Aggies will be without reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel for the first half. Manziel was suspended one half for violating NCAA rules regarding autograph signing. Junior Matt Joeckel or true freshman Kenny Hill will likely spell Manziel for the first 30 minutes of the game. Rice is led by starting quarterback Taylor McHargue.
Temple at (14) Notre Dame
South Bend, Ind.; 3:30 p.m. on NBC
Coming off an appearance in the BCS title game in January, No. 14 Notre Dame looks to continue its recent success when it hosts Temple in the season opener for both teams. Quarterback Tommy Rees will guide the Fighting Irish offense after incumbent Everett Golson was suspended from the school in May for academic misconduct. New Temple coach Matt Rhule sends Connor Reilly out to lead the Owls’ attack.
Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game — (1) Alabama vs. Virginia Tech
Georgia Dome, Atlanta; 5:30 p.m. on ESPN
Winners of three national titles in the past four years, top-ranked Alabama kicks off the 2013 season against unranked Virginia Tech. Quarterback A.J. McCarron and running back T.J. Yeldon lead the Crimson Tide offense, while All-American linebacker C.J. Mosley anchors coach Nick Saban’s Alabama defense. The Hokies must hope that quarterback Logan Thomas can help steer them to a huge upset.
(5) Georgia at (8) Clemson
Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.; 8 p.m. on ABC
Fifth-ranked Georgia visits No. 8 Clemson in a top-10 showdown at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium’s “Death Valley.” Georgia was just a few plays away from competing for a national title in 2012. The Bulldogs return senior quarterback Aaron Murray to run their formidable offense. Heisman Trophy candidate Tajh Boyd quarterbacks a high-powered Tigers attack.
Cowboys Classic — (12) LSU vs. (20) TCU
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas; 9 p.m. on ESPN
Twelfth-ranked LSU and 20th-ranked TCU clash in Texas in a highly-anticipated opening weekend match-up. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger powers the Tigers offense, while Casey Pachall leads the Horned Frogs’ attack.
UFC 164: Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wis.; 10 p.m. on pay-per-view
UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson puts his title on the line against challenger Anthony Pettis. The fight is a rematch from 2010’s WEC 53 when Pettis knocked out Henderson with a superkick. Henderson has since ascended to the championship, while Pettis has had less success. Other matches on the card include: Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir; Clay Guida vs. Chad Mendes; Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera and Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier.
Sunday, September 1
Atlanta Motor Speedway, Atlanta, Ga.; 7:46 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
After leading the Sprint Cup series standings for most of the season, Jimmie Johnson suddenly has a much more surmountable lead of just 18 points over second-place Clint Bowyer. Third-place Carl Edwards is 53 points out of first. All drivers are racing for a spot in the Chase for the championship, which starts Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway.
New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Nationals Park, Washington D.C.; 8:05 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2
Still reeling from the news of the season-ending injury to young pitching ace Matt Harvey, the New York Mets (59-72) look to spoil the faint post-season hopes of the Washington Nationals (67-65), who started Thursday seven games out of the second National League wild card spot. The Mets send Jon Niese (6-6, 3.69) to the mound, while the Nationals counter with Ross Ohlendorf (3-0, 2.49).