11.04.19: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

NUMBER 1What we know, and what we think we know, and what we hope to know more about heading into College Football Week 11:
== The first College Football Playoff poll comes out Tuesday (ESPN, 6  p.m., between games of a college basketball doubleheader featuring  Duke-Kansas and Michigan State-Kentucky at Madison Square Garden in New York). If the CFP voters decide LSU and Alabama are Nos. 1 and 2, or vice versa, then it helps promote their matchup Saturday in Tuscaloosa. If not … does CBS resort to the AP voters, or whatever fits their narrative?
== How does the American Athletic Conference have four teams in the AP Top 25 – more than any other conference except the SEC and Big Ten? Navy just moved in to join at No. 25, along with No. 17 Cincinnati, No. 19 Memphis and No. 23 SMU. The conference is only seven years old, born from the collapse of the Big East.
== As the Pac-12 continues to try to sort itself out, USC (5-4, 4-2) shuffles off to 5-3, 2-3 Arizona State (Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7) perhaps having studied gamefilm of UCLA’s 42-32 win over the Sun Devils a couple weeks ago at the Rose Bowl, when Joshua Kelley ran for 164 yards and four TDS. Yes, a win makes USC bowl eligible, something it wasn’t last year. USC has only won once in three road tries this season. Herm Edwards’ Sun Devils come off a bye week.
== UCLA (4-5, 4-2), winners of three in a row and tied with USC behind Utah in the Pac-12 South, take a bye week in preparation for a trip to Utah on Nov. 16 and then at USC on Nov. 23.
Also this week in the Pac 12:
= Washington at Oregon State, Friday at 7:30 p.m., FS1
= Stanford at Colorado, Saturday at 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Washington State at Cal, Saturday at 4 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Bye: Arizona, Utah and Oregon

== The 150th anniversary of the first college football game — Rutgers vs. Princeton on Nov. 6, 1869 – comes up Wednesday, and to mark it, instead of the two participants, we’ve got Miami of Ohio against Ohio University in a mid-week contest (ESPN2, 5 p.m.). Rutgers (2-7, 0-6 in the Big Ten) has a bye week while Princeton (7-0, 4-0) has an Ivy League game against Dartmouth (7-0, 4-0) on Saturday at Yankee Stadium (12:30 p.m., ESPNU)
== According to ESPN’s latest bowl game projections, one guy projects USC to end up playing Indiana in the Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara and UCLA against TCU in the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix, while another has USC against Michigan in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
Also this week of national interest:
Thursday:
Temple at South Florida, 5 p.m., ESPN
Friday:
Central Florida at Tulsa, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Saturday:
LSU at Alabama, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Clemson at North Carolina State, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
Notre Dame at Duke, 4:30 p.m. ACC Network
Penn State at Minnesota, 9 a.m., Channel 7
East Carolina at SMU, 9 a.m., ESPNU
Vanderbilt at Florida, 9 a.m., ESPN
Maryland at Ohio State, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Baylor at TCU, 9 a.m., FS1
Iowa at Wisconsin, 1 p.m., Channel 11
Kansas State at Texas, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Wake Forest at Virginia Tech, 12:30 p.m., ACC Network
Missouri at Georgia, 4 p.m., ESPN
Iowa State at Oklahoma, 5 p.m., Channel 11
Nevada at San Diego State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Wyoming at Boise State, 7:15 p.m., ESPN

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NUMBER 2What we absolutely don’t know about the start of the college basketball season:
== If you go by the CBS Sports’ initial ranking of all 353 D1 schools with basketball programs, the Pac-12 has Oregon and Arizona at the top, and Colorado coming up strong. But schools like Harvard (39), New Mexico State (49), South Florida (55), East Tennessee State (57) and Liberty (61) are more impressive before we get to USC (63) and UCLA (80). If you throw in a Sports Illustrated version of the same exercise, the Trojans (57) and Bruins (67) are in the same neighborhood as Vermont, Dayton and Belmont.

== UCLA’s season openers against Long Beach State (at Pauley Pavilion, Wednesday at 8 p.m, Pac-12 Network) and UC Santa Barbara at Pauley Pavilion, Sunday at 4 p.m., Pac-12 Network) gives new Bruins coach Mick Cronin a look at what he’s gotten into.
== USC’s season openers against Florida A&M (Galen Center, Tuesday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network) and Portland (Galen Center, Friday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) gives Andy Enfield a chance to add to his 110-93 mark after coming to the Trojans in 2013.
== Cronin isn’t the only new big-name coach. Juwan Howard is trying to bring back Michigan. Jerry Stackhouse is the new coach at Vanderbilt. Alabama, Virginia Tech, Saint Joes’ and Belmont also have new leadership. And then there’s Steve Alford, trying to reinvent himself at Nevada after Eric Musselman left to take over at Arkansas.
For Tuesday’s opening night:
= Cal State Northridge at Oregon State, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Loyola Marymount vs. Westcliff University, Gersten Pavilion, 7 p.m.
= Pepperdine at Cal, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Also this week:
= Long Beach State vs. San Diego, Pyramid, Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
= Pepperdine vs. UC Irvine, Firestone Fieldhouse, Saturday at 5 p.m.
Games of national interest this week include:
Tuesday:
= Kansas vs. Duke, Madison Square Garden, 4 p.m., ESPN
= Michigan State vs. Kentucky, Madison Square Garden, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
= Louisville at Miami, 3:30 p.m., ACC Network
Wednesday:
= Notre Dame at North Carolina, 4 p.m., ACC Network
= Cincinnati at Ohio State, 5:30 p.m., FS1
= Virginia at Syracuse, 6 p.m., ACC Network
= Northern Arizona at Arizona, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Net
Friday:
= Arizona State vs. Colorado at Shanghai, China, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
= Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky, 4 p.m., SEC Network
= Colorado State at Duke, 4 p.m., ACC Network
= North Carolina at UNC Wilmington, 4 p.m.
= UNC Greensboro at Kansas, 6 p.m., ESPNU
= Washington vs. Baylor in Anchorage, Ala., 6:30 p.m., ESPN
= Cal Lutheran at Cal Baptist, 7 p.m.
Saturday:
= Texas at Purdue, 4 p.m., FS1
= Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Gonzaga, 5 p.m.
= Boise State at Oregon, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Net
= Cal State Fullerton at Stanford, 8 p.m.
Sunday:
= Florida State at Florida, 10 a.m., ESPN
= Youngstown State at Louisville, 11 a.m.
= UMass Lowell at Ohio State, 1 p.m., ESPNU
= Illinois at Arizona, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Net

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NUMBER 3What we know, and what we think we know, and what the NBA season is already told us two weeks in:
== The defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors are in town at the end of the week. Can you name one player on the team from last year’s roster?
= The Lakers have moved from No. 5 to No. 2, and the Clippers have dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in the highly volatile ESPN Power Rankings. The new No. 1? Not Golden State.

How the week unfolds for the Lakers (5-1):
= At Chicago, Tuesday at 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= Vs. Miami, Staples Center, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= Vs. Toronto, Staples Center, Sunday at 6:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
How the week unfolds for the Clippers (5-2):
= Vs. Milwaukee, Staples Center, Wednesday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket, ESPN
= Vs. Portland, Staples Center, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., TNT

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NUMBER 4What we know, and what we stopped thinking we know, heading into NFL Week 10:
== The Rams are no longer welcomed in St. Louis, according to the latest signs.
== Todd Gurley is still evolving.
== The Pittsburgh Steelers came out of a game with no major injuries — kinda rare these days — after a 26-24 win over Indianapolis prior to playing host to the 5-3 Rams coming off a bye week (Sunday at 1:25 p.m., Channel 11). The Rams’ final eight games will include just two more AFC opponents, including the Steelers, and one against Baltimore in Week 12.
== The Chargers’ unforeseen 26-11 win over Green Bay in Week 9 brings them next to short week going up to Oakland (Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime), as the Raiders come off a 31-24 home win over Detroit.  The Chargers have swept the season series against the Raiders over the last two years, outscoring them 93-42. That includes a 20-6 win last year at Oakland.

Finishing up Week 9:
Monday
= Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Going into Week 10:
Sunday:
= In the Fox 10 a.m. window: Atlanta at New Orleans, N.Y. Giants at N.Y. Jets, Arizona at Tampa Bay
= In the CBS 10 a.m. window: Detroit at Chicago, Baltimore at Cincinnati, Buffalo at Cleveland, Kansas City at Tennessee
= In the CBS 1:05 p.m. window: Miami at Indianapolis
= In the Fox 1:25 p.m. window (blacked out in L.A.): Carolina at Green Bay
= Minnesota at Dallas, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Bye week: Denver, New England, Philadelphia, Washington, Jacksonville, Houston

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NUMBER 5As the experienced NHL broadcasters move on, another generation is getting an opportunity to land highly-coveted seats in the booth, writes ESPN’s Chris Peters. One of them: The Kings’ Alex Faust.
“I always viewed it more as a passion project instead of a career path,” he said. “I didn’t ever think seriously that I would either be good enough or thought that I’d be interested enough to make it a career path. The more I did it, the more I enjoyed it, and here we are.”

How this week shapes up for the Kings (5-9-0):
= At Toronto, Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., FSW
= At Ottawa, Thursday at 4:30 p.m., FSW
= At Montreal, Saturday at 4 p.m., FSW

How this week shapes up for the Ducks (9-6-0):
= Vs. Minnesota, Honda Center, Tuesday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. Edmonton, Honda Center Sunday at 6 p.m., Prime Ticket

More

= NHRA Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Thursday-Sunday, Channel 11
= NASCAR’s BlueGreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix is the next-to-last race of the season, Sunday at 11:30 a.m., Channel 4
= The ATP Finals at London start Saturday and run through Nov. 17 with Rafael Nadal seeded No. 1 over Novak Djokovic, plus Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitispas, Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini. Federer is a six-time champ, Djokovic is a five-time champ, and Nadal is a two-time finalist. Zverev is the defending champion.

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