09.03.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

1oneChris Erskine wrote last weekend in the L.A. Times: “There are trace amounts of autumn in the air — pixie dust, or maybe that’s just garden grit. Whatever. Change is good, or so they tell us.”
Back to school. Back to college football. And, finally, the changeover to where we pay attention to the NFL regular season launching.
When can we use our charge card to bet on the Chargers in one of many local and legal sports book? We aren’t there. Yet.
Week 1 starts the Thursday-to-next-Monday exercise of spreading the wealth, and more opportunities for protests during the National Anthem during nationally televised games. The first: Defending champion Philadelphia playing host to Atlanta (Thursday, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4). By Sunday, we have Los Angeles’ second year of the Chargers inviting Kansas City to come over and play in their condo-shaped backyard at the StubHub Center in Carson (1:05 p.m., Channel 2). The Rams don’t end the official first week until they go to Oakland on a Monday night, so hold that thought, and the first Aaron Donald sighting.
The rest of the schedule for the L.A. market :
Note: the Chargers’ single game for CBS meaning there is no Pittsburgh-Cleveland, Cincinnati-Indianapolis, Houston-New England, Buffalo-Baltimore
San Francisco at Minnesota, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 11 (chosen over Tennessee-Miami and Jacksonville-N.Y. Giants)
Dallas at Carolina, Sunday at 1:25 p.m., Channel 11 (over Seattle-Denver and Washington-Arizona)
Chicago at Green Bay, Sunday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 4

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1twoAs far as brand names go, USC and UCLA go large for Week 2 with roadies that end up as the best bets to watch on a national basis. The Trojans’ Pac-12 opener at Stanford (Stanford, Saturday at 5:30 p.m, Channel 11) should be an eye-opener for freshman QB J.T. Daniels, although the Cardinal (1-0) stumbled around for awhile against San Diego State before recording its season-opening win last week. The Bruins’ trip to Oklahoma (Saturday at 10 a.m., Channel 11) comes with the Sooners’ game film of a 63-14 squashing of Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic in their opener last Saturday.
The best of the rest this week:
Monday: Virginia Tech at Florida State, 5 p.m., ESPN
Friday: TCU at SMU, 5 p.m., ESPN2
Saturday: Arkansas State at Alabama, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2; Georgia at South Carolina, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2; Colorado at Nebraska, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7; Penn State at Pittsburgh, 5 p.m., Channel 7; Michigan State at Arizona State, 7:45 p.m., ESPN.

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1threeFollowing the Dodgers’ third win in four games over Arizona on Sunday, the ESPN version of the MLB standings show that not only are they not only a half-game up in the NL West, but, going to the far right column, they have a 87.5 percent chance of making the playoffs based on the rest of their schedule over the last four weeks of the season.
Thing is, when they were a few games back of the D’backs at the start of the last series, their percentage wasn’t that much different.
Hmmmm. That could change, perhaps, after a key three-game series in Colorado that sets up (all on SportsNet LA):
Friday at 5:40 p.m.:  Clayton Kershaw vs. John Jay
Saturday at 5:10 p.m.: Walker Buehler vs. Kyle Freeman
Sunday at 12:10 p.m.: Alex Wood vs. Tyler Anderson
The Rockies have a 33 percent chance of going to the playoffs; the D’backs are at 31 percent.
On the Dodgers’ most recent trip to Denver, the Dodgers lost the final three of a four-game series, all when their bullpen blew up in 5-4, 3-2 and 4-3 decisions. This time, the Dodgers will have added former All-Star Ryan Madsen and, perhaps, current All-Star Ross Stripling, on the back end of this expanded September roster.
Also of note in the cavernous Coors Field: Sixty-nine percent of the Dodgers’ home runs this season have come with nobody on base. That leads the majors.
That is the start of a 10-day, 10-game trip, after a three-game set at Dodger Stadium against the Mets: Monday at 5:10 p.m., Tuesday at 7:10 p.m., Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
The Angels this week:
At Texas: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 5:05 p.m., FSW
At Chicago White Sox, Friday at 5:10 p.m., Saturday at 4:10 p.m., Sunday at 11:10 a.m., FSW

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1fourOn the latest cover of Time magazine, Serena Williams is pictured with the quote: “Nothing About Me Right Now is Perfect. But I’m Perfectly Serena.” Going “inside the complicated comeback” of the six-time U.S. Open champ means following her progress in the final week of the last major of the season as it plays out on the New York stage. The 17th seed has advanced to Tuesday’s quarterfinals after Sunday’s win (where she finally dropped one set) and next faces eight-seeded KarolínaPlíšková.
The schedule from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center:
Women’s semifinals: Thursday, 4-8 p.m., ESPN
Women’s final: Saturday, 1 p.m., ESPN
Men’s semifinals: Friday, 1-to-8 p.m., ESPN
Men’s final: Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN
More info: USOpen.org

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1fiveThe MLS takes two weeks off at this stage because the U.S. men’s national team has a couple of important friendly matches — including Friday vs. Brazil at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (4:30 p.m., FS1), as Christian Pulisic is out injured. The Galaxy (10-8-10) has one more game in hand than the LAFC (13-7-7) and are kind of in trouble of making the playoffs, so perhaps it’s time to recharge. In the meantime, consider a trip to the Coliseum (Sunday, 4:30 p.m.) for what they’re calling a Super Clasico: Club America vs. Chivas Guadalajara.
More information: LAColiseum.com/events

One more thing: The registration has ended for the Conquer The Bridge 5.3 mile run across both sides of the Vincent Thomas span in San Pedro. But it doesn’t mean you can’ go down and watch it happen. The 10th event goes off as usual on Labor Day. It starts at 7 a.m. when the Mariners’ Bell sounds. More info: conquerthebridge.com

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