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

NUMBER 1What we suspect is happening as the Christmas Day “real” opening day for the NBA season nears, and TV networks are wondering why ratings aren’t lined up with last season as Anthony Davis has his first 50-point game for the Lakers:
== The Lakers and Clippers will be banished from Staples Center in late January because of the annual Grammy Awards. But this time of year, they’re also asked to leave behind their home court because of the “Disney On Ice” annual show – eight performances from Thursday to Sunday.
== Kawhi Leonard’s first return to Toronto after leading the Raptors to the NBA title happens Wednesday. His only season in Toronto was plenty: A career-best 26.6 points a game, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game, plus a Finals MVP award. And they’ll finally give him his championship ring. Against the Raptors at Staples Center earlier this year, during a 99-88 Clippers win, he had 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists despite shooting just 2-for-11 from the field and adding nine turnovers. It has been Leonard’s least-productive game of the season according to some statistically analytics.
== LeBron James’ (fill in a large number) return to Miami since leading the Heat to the 2012 and ’13 NBA title happens Sunday.

How the week unfolds for the Clippers (17-7, 10-2 in their last 12, 13-1 at home but 4-6 on the road that includes a recent 28-point loss in Milwaukee – whichkeeps the Bucks No. 1 in the latest ESPN Power Rankings):
= At Indiana, Monday at 4 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Toronto, Wednesday at 4 p.m. Prime Ticket, ESPN
= At Minnesota, Friday at 5 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Chicago, Saturday at 5 p.m., Prime Ticket

How the week unfolds for the Lakers (21-3, a league-best 11-1 on the road – including 11 in a row after losing the opener as the visiting team against the Clippers — and 14-1 in their last 15 games, still No. 2 in the Power Rankings):
= At Orlando, Wednesday at 4 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= At Miami, Friday at 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN
= At Atlanta, Sunday at 3 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet

How this week unfolds for Bronny James and Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth (7-0, ranked No. 3 nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25):
= Vs. St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron, Ohio, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday at 5:30 p.m., ESPN3 streaming online

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NUMBER 2What is becoming apparent heading into NFL Week 15:
== The 5-8 Chargers’ game against 9-4 Minnesota (Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Channel 2) was originally a Sunday night game that NBC decided to push back on and flexed it out. CBS has to take it, because it couldn’t pawn it off on Fox. Yes, the Chargers can help the Rams, and the city of L.A., with a victory here.
== The 8-5 Rams’ game at 6-7 and NFC East-leading Dallas (Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11) could have been flexed into that NBC Sunday night game, but it wasn’t. Fox wanted to keep it and draw upon all the drama left in these two nationally-prominent franchises.
Finishing Week 14:
= N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Moving into Week 15:
Thursday:
= N.Y. Jets at Baltimore, 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
Sunday:
= In the Fox 10 a.m. window to start the network doubleheader: Chicago at Green Bay (picked over Tampa Bay at Detroit, Philadelphia at Washington and Seattle at Carolina)
= In the CBS 10 a.m. window (none available in L.A.): New England at Cincinnati, Houston at Tennessee, Denver at Kansas City, Miami at N.Y. Giants
= Also in the CBS 1:05 p.m. window (not in L.A.): Cleveland at Arizona
= Also in the Fox 1:25 p.m. window (not in L.A.): Atlanta at San Francisco
= Buffalo at Pittsburgh, Sunday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Monday, Dec. 16:
= Indianapolis at New Orleans, 5:15 p.m., ESPN Continue reading “12.09.19: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

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

NUMBER 1What’s left to sort out in the wake of College Football Week 15:

== There are two rankings released by the College Football Playoff committee this week – one on Tuesday (4 p.m., ESPN) to reflect the Week 14 results and then, after Saturday’s schedule of conference championships, the finale on Sunday morning (9 a.m., ESPN) that will determine not only the four semifinal teams to play at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta and Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Dec. 28, but also fill out the rest of the bowl schedule.
== Are four teams enough for a playoff? The playoff, if you haven’t been paying attention, has been happening the last few weeks. Alabama was eliminated, as was Oregon and a few otthers.
If you believe computer “playoff predictors” sponsored by an insurance company, the Final Four will line up with Ohio State, Clemson, LSU and Georgia. No, wait. That can’t happen because Georgia plays LSU in the SEC title game. So then it’ll be … What if Georgia beats LSU? Then both are in?
This ESPN predictor grid gives Utah a 9 percent chance of making the playoff, regardless of what happens, a distance behind Oklahoma (37 percent). The Sooners have played a stronger schedule and more impressive wins, the experts are now convinced.
Throw in the FiveThirtyEight.com model, and it’s most likely to have Oklahoma as the No. 4 team, because it’s most likely that Georgia falls to LSU, and Oklahoma also has to end its season with a win over Baylor.
== ESPN’s College GameDay will be at Atlanta for the SEC title game. Because Fox will be in Indiana for the Big Ten title game?
== If we are to consider the validity of the latest ESPN bowl projection, where we need 78 of the 79 bowl-eligible teams to fill out the 39 games … we should expect to see USC travel to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 31, with the Oregon-Utah conference winner at the Rose Bowl, and the loser likely in the Cotton Bowl. Or the slim chance of Utah in the final four. Or Utah falling to the Alamo Bowl and USC going to the Holiday Bowl against … Michigan …
Unless there’s a way the Trojans can lobby for a trip to the Tony The Tigers Sun Bowl … Continue reading “12.02.19: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

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

 

NUMBER 1What we think we know, and perhaps could know better, veering into one of the final skids of College Football Week 14:

== USC, No. 23 in the latest CFP poll, is done with the regular season, 8-4 overall, 7-2 in the Pac-12, and needs No. 7 Utah (10-1, 7-1) to lose its final conference game to Colorado (5-6, 3-5) on Saturday to not only claim the Pac-12 South title, but also extend things into the Dec. 6 Pac-12 title game against No. 6 (but likely to drop a few critical spots) Oregon (9-2, 7-1).
== UCLA (4-7, 4-4) has extinguished any shot now at a bowl bid so it can use its final Pac-12 game against 6-5/3-5 Cal (Saturday, Rose Bowl, 7:30 p.m., FS1) to see if it can clean up nicely and impress its north campus partner
== When the College Football Playoff voters release the third of their six polls (Tuesday, ESPN, 4 p.m.) it should pretty much mirror a Top 5 that has held steady in the AP and coaches’ poll – No. 1 LSU (10-0), No. 2 Ohio State (10-0) and No. 3 Clemson (11-0), then No. 4 Georgia (9-1) and No. 5 Alabama (9-1) as the SEC placeholders to see how the Pac-12 sorts itself out. And Oklahoma (10-1) lurking.
ESPN/ABC wants to stay on this Pac-12 narrative, having carried last Saturday’s Oregon loss at Arizona State in national prime time, and now taking Utah’s finale against Colorado in network prime time as well.
== ESPN’s College GameDay will be at the University of Minnesota (6 a.m., ESPN). According to those who keep track of such things, that leaves only Cal, Maryland, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Kansas, Virginia, Illinois and Duke as schools in the Power Five conference who have not been picked as a GameDay site.
== If we are to consider the validity of the latest ESPN bowl projection, USC is still in play for the Dec. 31 Alamo Bowl, but may also slip to the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl.

Also this week in the Pac 12:
= Washington State at Washington, Friday at 1 p.m., Channel 11
= Colorado at Utah, Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
= Arizona at Arizona State, Saturday at 7 p.m., ESPN
= Oregon State at Oregon, Saturday at 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Notre Dame at Stanford, Saturday at 1 p.m., Channel 11

Also this week of national interest:
Thanksgiving Day Thursday:
= Mississippi at Mississippi State, 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Friday:
= Virginia Tech at Virginia, 9 a.m., Channel 7
= Iowa at Nebraska, 11:30 a.m., Big Ten Network
= Missouri at Arkansas, 11:30 a.m., Channel 2
= Cincinnati at Memphis, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
= Boise State at Colorado State, 12:30 p.m., CBSSN
= West Virginia at TCU, 1:15 p.m., ESPN
= South Florida at Central Florida, 5 p.m., ESPN
Saturday:
= Ohio State at Michigan, 9 a.m., Channel 11
= Clemson at South Carolina, 9 a.m., ESPN
= Georgia at Georgia Tech, 9 a.m., Channel 7
= Alabama at Auburn, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
= Wisconsin at Minnesota, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
= Texas A&M at LSU, 4 p.m., ESPN
= Florida State at Florida, 4:30 p.m., SEC Network
= BYU at San Diego State, 6 p.m., CBSSN
= Fresno State at San Jose State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
= Army at Hawaii, 9 p.m., CBSSN
= Tulane at SMU, 1 p.m., ESPNU
= Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 5 p.m., Channel 11
= Baylor at Kansas, 12:30 p.m., ESPN

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NUMBER 2What we still don’t know yet heading into NFL Week 13:

== Week 12 isn’t over. Not until the 7-4 Rams connect with 8-2 Baltimore, winners of six in a row and 4-1 on the road, in this Monday night game at the Coliseum – 5:15 p.m., ESPN. It comes with all the baggage of ESPN programming leading into it.
== The Rams then turn around and go to Arizona (Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Channel 11) and will line up head-to-head with the 4-7 Chargers, who are in Denver (Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2) and haven’t played since the Week 11 Monday night loss to Kansas City.

Going into Week 13:
Thanksgiving Day Thursday:
= Chicago at Detroit, 9:30 a.m., Channel 11
= Buffalo at Dallas, 1:30 p.m., Channel 2
= New Orleans at Atlanta, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Sunday:
= In the Fox 10 a.m. window: Philadelphia at Miami, Green Bay at N.Y. Giants, Tampa Bay at Jacksonville, San Francisco at Baltimore
= In the CBS 10 a.m. window: N.Y. at Cincinnati, Tennessee at Indianapolis, Cleveland at Pittsburgh, Washington at Carolina
= In the CBS 1:25 p.m. window (not available in L.A.): Oakland at Kansas City
= New England at Houston, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Monday, Dec. 2:
= Minnesota at Seattle, 5:15 p.m., ESPN

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NUMBER 3What we haven’t quite figured out in the first month of the NBA season with December looming:

== Will LeBron James ever shoot a free throw in a game again? Someone named Jenna was half the reason why he didn’t take any in their last win.
== Just wondering if any of the players that the Lakers sent to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade are still active? The Lakers’ trip to New Orleans (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., ESPN) could still have some interest.
== For those interested in a Sunday NBA doubleheader, the Lakers this time have the early game (1 p.m., vs. Dallas) while the Clippers come in at the end (7:30 p.m. vs. Washington).
== Dallas and Luka Doncic had a 41-point, six-rebound, 10-assist game against Houston the other night, and that was his third-most impressive game of the week. Dallas faces the Clippers and Lakers this week:

How the week unfolds for the Lakers (14-2 for the first time since 2008, No. 1 in the ESPN Power Rankings):
=  At San Antonio, Monday at 5:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= At New Orleans, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN
= Vs. Washington, Staples Center, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= Vs. Dallas, Staples Center, Sunday at 1 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
Spectrum SportsNet

How the week unfolds for the Clippers (12-5, 2 ½ back of the Lakers in the Pacific Division, No. 3 in the ESPN Power Rankings):
= At Dallas, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Memphis, Wednesday at 5 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At San Antonio, Friday at 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. Washington, Staples Center, Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket

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NUMBER 4What we thought we knew heading into the third week of the college basketball season:
== UCLA and USC decided to blot their perfect start last week by taking losses to Hofstra and Temple respectfully, then taking five-hour plane rides to their next games that involve a high-profile holiday tournament.
== Bill Walton is in Lahaina starting off with Kansas-Chaminade (6 p.m.) and UCLA-BYU (8 p.m.) with Dave Pasch (with Dan Schulman and Jay Bilas on the others). His schedule for the season is here.
== Keeping in mind the Bruins might end up playing local host Chaminade in the Maui Invitational, maybe it’s wise to read up on a new book, “The Greatest Upset Never Seen: Virginia, Chaminade and the Game That Changed College Basketball,” by Jack Danielwicz (University of Nebraska Press). That’s a reference to the Dec. 23, 1982 game when No. 1 Virginia and Ralph Sampson fell to NAIA school Chaminade as they were playing a stop-over game in Hawaii coming back from Tokyo.
== For the first time in four weeks, someone has kept the AP poll No. 1 spot – Duke – after it was given to and relinquished by Michigan State and Kentucky. What does it mean? “I don’t think there’s a dominant team this year,” said Kansas coach Bill Self.
The Pac 12’s representation: No. 11 Oregon (5-0), No. 14 Arizona (6-0), No. 21 Colorado (4-0), No. 23 Washington (5-1). None others in the “others receiving votes” (where Liberty got six votes).

How the week plays out for USC (5-1):
At the ESPN Orlando Invitational:
= Vs. Fairfield, Thursday at 1 p.m., ESPNU
= Vs. Davidson or Marquette, Friday at 1 p.m. or 4 p.m., either ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPNEWS
= Vs. TBA (Maryland, Temple, Texas A&M or Harvard), Sunday at TBA (final scheduled for 10 a.m. on ESPN; tipoffs also scheduled at 7:30 a.m. on ESPNU, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.)
More info: espnevents.com/orlando-invitational

How the week plays out for UCLA (4-1):
At the Maui Invitational in Lahaina:
= Vs. BYU, Monday at 8:30 p.m., ESPN2
= Vs. Kansas or Chaminade, Tuesday  at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN or 2 p.m. on ESPN2 or ESPNU
= Vs. TBA (Georgia, Dayton, Virginia Tech or Michigan State), Wednesday at TBA (final game at 2 p.m. on ESPN, other tip off times: 11:30 a.m., ESPN/ESPN2; 6 p.m., ESPNU; 8:30 p.m., ESPN2)
More info: mauiinvitational.com
= Vs. San Jose State, at Pauley Pavilion, Sunday at 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network

How the week plays out for Cal State Northridge (0-6):
= At the Legends Classic in Green Bay, Wisc: At Green Bay, Monday at 5 p.m.
= Vs. Fresno State, at the Matadome, Saturday at 3 p.m.

How the week plays out for Long Beach State (2-3):
At the Wooden Legacy Tournament in Anaheim Convention Center:
= Vs. Providence, Thursday at 11 a.m., ESPNU
= Vs. Wake Forest or College of Charleston, Friday at  11 a.m. or 1:30  p.m.
= Vs. TBA (Arizona, Pepperdine, UCF or Penn), Sunday (title game: 6 p.m., ESPN, other tip offs at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.)
More info: espnevents.com/wooden-legacy

How the week plays out for Pepperdine (3-3):
At the Wooden Legacy Tournament at Anaheim Convention Center:
= Vs. Arizona, Thursday at 8 p.m., ESPN2
= Vs. Central Florida or Penn, Friday at 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.
= Vs. TBA (Long Beach State, Providence, Wake Forest or Charleston), Sunday (title game: 6 p.m., Sunday, ESPN, other tip offs at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.)
More info: espnevents.com/wooden-legacy

How the week plays out for Loyola Marymount (2-3):
= Vs. Southern Utah, at Gersten Pavilion, Sunday at 1 p.m.

Games of national interest this week include:
Monday:
Maui Invitational:
Georgia vs. Dayton, 11:30 a.m., ESPN2
Virginia Tech vs. Michigan State, 2 p.m., ESPN2
Kansas vs. Chaminade, 6 p.m., ESPNU
Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City:
Stanford vs. Oklahoma, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Tuesday:
Stephen F. Austin at Duke, 6 p.m., ACC Network
Alabama vs. North Carolina at the Bahamas, 11:30 a.m.
Gonzaga vs. Southern Miss at the Bahamas, 4 p.m., ESPNU
Oregon vs. Seton Hall at the Bahamas, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Friday:
Winthrop at Duke, 4 p.m., ACC Network
UAB at Kentucky, 4 p.m., SEC Network
UC Davis at Utah, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Utah State at Saint Mary’s, 8:30 p.m., ESPNU

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NUMBER 5Round II of the Mater Dei-St. John Bosco battle of the Catholic high school powers — the CIF-Southern Section Division I championship. It’s12-0 Mater Dei vs. 11-1 St. John Bosco at Cerritos College, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket — a rematch of Mater Dei’s 38-24 Trinity League win on Oct. 25. Mater Dei has defeated St. John Bosco in the 2018 and 2017 division final, when both teams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country by MaxPreps.com. Their rankings have held that way to this game as well.
Could they meet again in the state championship? It doesn’t work that way.
Also: Division 2 final: Sierra Canyon at Chaminade, Friday at 8:30 p.m., Prime Ticket (delayed from 7:30 p.m. kickoff); Division 3 final: Corona del Mar vs. Grace Brethren at Newport Harbor High, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West
Also: CIF-L.A. City Section Open Division Championship: 7-4 Birmingham vs. 7-4 Banning, at El Camino College, Friday at 7 p.m.

More
** What we don’t pretend to have figured out a quarter of the way into the NHL season:
== The N.Y. Islanders (16-3-2) have a franchise-record 17 game point streak, coming off an overtime loss in San Jose last Saturday, but still trail Washington and Boston for the most points in the Eastern Conference.
== The Toronto Maple Leafs, 11-10-4 by week’s end, have already fired head coach Mike Babcock, one of seven head coaches in NHL history with at least 700 victories.
How this week shapes up for the Kings (9-13-1, last in the Western Conference)
= Vs. San Jose, Staples Center, Monday at 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West
= Vs. N.Y. Islanders, Staples Center, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports West
= At San Jose, Friday at 1 p.m., Fox Sports West
= Vs. Winnipeg, Staples Center, Saturday at 7 p.m., Fox Sports West
How this week shapes up for the Ducks (10-11-3, third from the bottom in the Western Conference)
= Vs. N.Y. Islanders, Honda Center, Monday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Arizona, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., Channel 13
= Vs. Winnipeg, Honda Center, Friday at 1 p.m., Prime Ticket

** NCAA women’s soccer playoffs: National quarterfinals/Elite Eight — USC (17-4-1) at North Carolina (22-1-1),  Friday at 3 p.m., ACC Network; UCLA (17-4-1) at defending NCAA champion Florida State (18-5), Friday at 11 a.m. UCLA defeated Florida State 2-1 in the second week of the season at UCLA. If both USC and UCLA win, they advance to the national semifinals of the College Cup at Avaya Stadium in in San Jose on Dec. 6 (on opposite ends of the bracket). The final is Dec. 8. More info: www.ncaa.com

** Women’s volleyball: UCLA at USC, Galen Center, Friday at 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network

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

NUMBER 1What we finally know and what’s still left to figure out heading into College Football Week 13:
== It took awhile – like, finding out how Week 12 would finish early Sunday morning – before we got the word that Channel 7 and 12:30 p.m. would be the network and kickoff time for UCLA-USC at the Coliseum on Saturday. Thanks for your patience? OK, you’re welcome? Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Todd McShay and Molly McGrath are on the TV call.
== Some USC-UCLA facts to keep in mind:
= USC (7-4, 6-2) can only win the Pac-12 South if it defeats UCLA and has Utah (9-1, 6-1) lose its last two, at Arizona on Saturday and home vs. Colorado on Nov. 30.
= UCLA (4-6, 4-3) could qualify for a bowl game if it defeats USC and then Cal on Nov. 30, which would then give the Bruins a 5-1 finish after a 1-5 start.
= The 89th edition of the rivalry that awards the Victory Bell will have both wearing their home jerseys again.
= USC has won 15 of the last 20 meetings, but lost last year, 34-27, when the Bruins’ Joshua Kelley ran for 289 yards and two TDs. Both USC and UCLA failed to make a bowl game last year. Wilton Speight was the starting UCLA quarterback in the game, against freshman JT Daniels.

= This is the last home game in the 50-year career of Trojan Marching Band director Dr. Art Bartner, as well as the 15-year career of Traveler rider Hector Aguilar. Yes, it could very well be the last game for USC head coach Clay Helton, but we’ve been to this edge of the cliff many times.

== When the College Football Playoff  voters release the third of their six polls (Tuesday, ESPN, 5 p.m.), we would expect LSU, Ohio State and Clemson to keep their undefeated top three spots, and the other 13 one-loss teams to arranged accordingly – again, until the Pac-12 is decided in its Dec. 6 championship game in Santa Clara. If no one-loss Pac-12 teams are left after that, then it’s fair game to start sniffing around other conferences. But there’s too many other variables in play between now and then in the SEC, Big Ten and even Big 12.
== In the latest ESPN bowl projection, USC faces either Baylor or Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 31.

Also this week in the Pac 12 (all games Saturday):
= Cal at Stanford, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Oregon at Arizona State, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
= Oregon State at Washington State, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Utah at Arizona, 7 p.m. FS1
= Washington at Colorado, 7 p.m., ESPN
Also this week in Saturday’s games national interest:
Early window:
= Penn State at Ohio State, 9 a.m., Channel 11
= Western Carolina at Alabama, 9 a.m., ESPN
= Minnesota at Northwestern, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Afternoon window:
= Boston College at Notre Dame, 11:30 a.m., Channel 4
= Texas at Baylor, 12:30 p.m., FS1
= Texas A&M at Georgia, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
= Michigan at Indiana, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
= SMU at Navy, 12:30 p.m., CBSSN
= Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2
= Memphis at South Florida, 1 p.m., ESPNU
Late afternoon window:
= Arkansas at LSU, 4 p.m., ESPN
= TCU at Oklahoma, 5 p.m., Channel 11
Night window:
= Boise State at Utah State, 7:30 p.m., CBSSN
= San Diego State at Hawaii, 8 p.m.

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NUMBER 2What we still don’t know yet heading into NFL Week 12:
== Week 11 isn’t over until the 4-6 Chargers, already 0-2 in the AFC West, connect with Kansas City in Mexico City – Monday, 5:15 p.m., ESPN. Then the Chargers get Week 12 off.
Flash back to Week 11, 2018. The Chiefs and the Rams were supposed to go to Mexico City, but the field was a mess. It was moved to the Coliseum, and the Rams pulled off a 54-51 victory, the first time in an NFL game both teams topped 50 points.
Can this top that?
== The 6-4 Rams, coming off the sluggish Sunday night game against Chicago, will get sufficient time to recover and finish up Week 12 with a Monday night game at the Coliseum against current league MVP favorite Lamar Jackson and 8-2 Baltimore on Nov. 25.
== It was pointed out by Al Michaels on Sunday’s Rams-Bears broadcast that the Rams and Cowboys have had a similar trajectory to their season – a 3-0 start, followed by a three-game losing skid, then three wins in their last four games. Yet the Cowboys lead the NFC East with a 4-0 record against their division; the Rams are third in the NFC West, 0-2 against their division. The teams face each other at Dallas in Week 15. Continue reading “11.18.19: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

11.11.19: 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 12:
== When you’ve got UCLA playing host to Utah (Saturday, 5 p.m. Channel 11) followed up by USC’s contest at Cal (Saturday, 8 p.m., FS1), maybe it’s just another layering of intriguing Pac 12 After Dark Doubleheader (trademark pending).
But also realize this will be the tune-up to the annual Bruins-Trojans game on Nov. 23 at the Coliseum. Yes, it’s almost here. A week before Thanksgiving. Which would end the Trojans’ season already bowl eligible.
UCLA (4-5, 4-2) can still topple the Pac-12 South with a win over the No. 8 Utes (8-1, 5-1), coming off a bye week, and make the Bruins’ game at USC become a winner-goes-to-the-conference title game affair, likely against Oregon.
USC (6-4, 5-2) takes on a squad from Cal (5-4, 2-4) that was once Top 25 caliber but won for the first time since late September with a 33-20 decision over Washington State as UCLA transfer Devon Modster threw for three touchdowns.

== If the College Football Playoff poll voters wanted to make things look equitable heading into their next week of voting (Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPN), it would keep 9-0 Ohio State and 9-0 LSU in the top two spots (the AP voters already have the Tigers propped up over the Buckeyes in their latest non-essential poll). Then the CFP needs to properly elevate 10-0 Clemson to at least No. 3. Then leave the No. 4 spot open for the eventual winner of the Pac 12 Conference (go ahead and have Georgia as the place setter for now, as perhaps the best one-loss team in the country when compared to Alabama, Penn State and even Oklahoma).
But don’t sleep on 9-0 Minnesota, which cannot be buried in that No. 17 hole any longer.
== In the latest ESPN bowl projection, USC seems destined to be in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on New Year’s eve against either Baylor or Texas, while UCLA is a no-show – apparently the thinking is it won’t win two of its last three (it concludes against Cal on Nov. 30) to be six-win eligible.
== The Pac-12 refs keep tripping themselves up.

Also this week in the Pac 12:
=Stanford at Washington State, 1:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
=Arizona State at Oregon State, 4:30 p.m., FS1
=Arizona at Oregon, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Bye: Colorado, Washington

Also this week of national interest:
Thursday:
North Carolina at Pittsburgh, 5 p.m., ESPN
Friday:
Fresno State at San Diego State, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Saturday:
Alabama at Mississippi State, 9 a.m., ESPN
Indiana at Penn State, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Florida at Missouri, 9 a.m., Channel 2
Michigan State at Michigan, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Navy at Notre Dame, 11:30 a.m., Channel 4
Ohio State at Rutgers, 12:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Wake Forest at Clemson, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Georgia at Auburn, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Minnesota at Iowa, 1 p.m., Channel 11
LSU at Mississippi, 4 p.m., ESPN
Oklahoma at Baylor, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7

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NUMBER 2What we know, and what we think we know, and what the NBA season is already told us three weeks in:
== ESPN is promoting a Clippers-Lakers doubleheader on Wednesday, but in this load management era, who can we really count on for showing up? The Lakers’ game against depleted Golden State comes a day after a game in Phoenix. The Clippers’ trip to Houston to face James Harden and Russell Westbrook (and Austin Rivers) comes a day before a game at New Orleans. Which one does Kawhi Leonard give the high sign to sit out?
And who gets a waiver signed by the league to say it’s OK to sit?
== In the latest ESPN power rankings, the Lakers have come up to No. 1 despite losing Sunday night. The Clippers are No. 2. Continue reading “11.11.19: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

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.

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

NUMBER 1What we really don’t know about how the 36th Breeders’ Cup, hosted by Santa Anita for the 10th time, will fall into place:
== 188 horses are pre-entered for 14 races, down from 221 last year at Churchill Downs.
== There are 11 so far the $6 million 1 ¼ mile Classic (Saturday, 5:44 p.m., Channel 4) that looks like a showdown between Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie, Code of Honor and Midnight Bisou, the filly that may instead run instead in the Distaff.
== Baffert, a 15-time winner at this event earning more than $28 million, says of the recent controversy about 34 horse fatalities at the track over the last 11 months: “It was tough on everybody … We changed some things here for the better. The surface — they are working on that. I think it was a wake-up moment for racing. We need to do a better job and I think trainers and everybody involved are being more conscientious than before. … Everything is going to be good. We’re going to get some good, positive vibes out of this whole thing.”
== How does NBC prepare for the broadcast and the track’s recent record of horses who have been euthanized? We asked.

== The two-day schedule:
Friday (all on NBCSN):
= $2 million Juvenile, 4:03 p.m.
= $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf, 3:12 p.m.
= $2 million Juvenile Fillies, 2:32 p.m.
= $1 million Juvenile Turf, 1:52 p.m.
= $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint, 1:12 p.m.
Saturday (all on NBCSN unless noted):

= $6 million Classic, 5:44 p.m., Channel 4
= $4 million Turf, 4:40 p.m.
= $2 million Distaff, 4 p.m.
= $2 million Mile, 3:20 p.m.
= $2 million Sprint, 2:36 p.m.
= $2 million Filly & Mare Turf, 1:54 p.m.
= $1 million Dirt Mile, 1:10 p.m. (Officially known as the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile)
= $1 million Turf Sprint, 12:30 p.m.
= $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint, 11:55 a.m.

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NUMBER 2What we know, and what we think we know, heading into College Football Week 10:
== Somehow, USC (5-3., 4-1) and UCLA (3-5, 3-2) control their own path toward a Pac-12 South title — win out, and they’re in the conference title game.
= For the Trojans, the critical match up against No. 7 Oregon (7-1, 5-0) (Coliseum, Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 11, Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt) could be a preview of that Dec. 6 conference title matchup. The teams haven’t met since Sam Darnold led the Trojans to a45-20 win at the Coliseum in 2016, when Ronald Jones ran for four touchdowns.
= For the Bruins, a divisional matchup against Colorado (3-5, 1-4) (Rose Bowl, Saturday at 6 p.m., Pac 12 Network), after the Buffaloes had the Trojans on the ropes last Friday in Boulder, Colo.

Also this week in the Pac 12:
Utah at Washington, Saturday at 1 p.m., Channel 11
Oregon State at Arizona, Saturday at 1:30 p.m., Pac 12 Network
Bye: Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, Washington State

Also this week of national interest:
Thursday:
West Virginia at Baylor, 5 p.m., ESPN
Georgia Southern at Appalachian State, 5 p.m., ESPNU
Saturday:
SMU at Memphis, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
Cincinnati at East Carolina, 4 p.m., CBSSN
Michigan at Maryland, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame, 11:30 a.m., Channel 4
Georgia vs. Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Army at Air Force, 12:30 p.m., CBSSN
Mississippi at Auburn, 4 p.m., ESPN
Boise State at San Jose State, 7:30 p.m., CBSSN
Miami at Florida State, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Bye weeks: LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State

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NUMBER 3What we know, and what we think we know, and what the NBA season is already about just one week into it:
== The Clippers are first in the ESPN Power Rankings Week 2 and the Lakers are ranked No. 5 …
== LeBron James may have other stuff on his mind this week (see above).
== The Golden State Warriors (0-2) may not win a game all season.
== Atlanta’s Trae Young (38.5) may end up as the league’s top scorer, unless Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving (38.0) decides to score 50 or more a game every other night.

How the week unfolds for the Lakers  (2-1):
= Vs. Memphis, Staples Center, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
= At Dallas, Friday at 6:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN
= At San Antonio, Sunday at 4 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet

How the week unfolds for the Clippers (2-1):
= Vs. Charlotte, Staples Center, Monday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Utah, Wednesday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket, ESPN
= Vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. Utah, Staples Center, Sunday at 6 p.m., Prime Ticket

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NUMBER 4What we pretty much know for sure about the MLS playoffs:
== The LAFC’s journey to the Nov. 10 MLS Cup has one more hurdle — the Western Conference final against Seattle (Banc of California Stadium, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.,  ESPN). During the regular season, LAFC has never lost to Seattle in four meetings, going back to a 4-1 decision last April.  Sounders striker Raul Ruidiaz didn’t play in either match against LAFC this year due to a heel contusion, but is available now. Seattle pulled off a 1-1 draw in Seattle on April 28 as the Sounders played a man down for more than 70 minutes when midfielder Cristian Roldan got a red card.
Also this week:
Eastern Conference final: Toronto at Atlanta, Wednesday at 5 p.m., FS1

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NUMBER 5What we know, and what we think we know, heading into NFL Week 9:
= The Rams (5-3, winners of two in a row) get a bye week.
= The Chargers (3-5 after surviving in Chicago) have a decidedly non-home field advantage, in Carson, because Green Bay (6-1) comes into town (Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2). And the Associated Press’ Tim Dalberg has recently addressed it (see tweet above).

Finishing up Week 8:
Monday:
= Miami at Pittsburgh, 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Going into Week 9:
Thursday:
= San Francisco at Arizona, 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
Sunday:
= Houston vs. Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium in London, 6:30 a.m., NFL Network
= In the Fox 10 a.m. window: Washington at Buffalo, Minnesota at Kansas City, Chicago at Philadelphia
= In the CBS 10 a.m. window: N.Y. Jets at Miami, Indianapolis at Pittsburgh
= In the Fox 1:05 p.m. window: Tampa Bay at Seattle
= In the CBS 1:25 p.m. window (blacked out in L.A.): Cleveland at Denver
= New England at Baltimore, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Also a bye week for: Atlanta, Cincinnati, New Orleans

More

 

What we know, and what we think we know, heading into the World Series crunch time with the Astros needing just one of two wins at home to wrap this up — a feat they couldn’t accomplish in Games 1 and 2:
= Game 6: Tuesday at Houston, 5:07 p.m., Channel 11
If necessary: Game 7: Tuesday at Houston, 5:08 p.m., Channel 11

How this week shapes up for the Kings (4-8-0):
= Vs. Vancouver, Staples Center, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., FSW
= Vs. Chicago, Staples Center, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., FSW
How this week shapes up for the Ducks (7-6-0):
= Vs. Winnipeg, Honda Center, Tuesday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. Vancouver, Honda Center, Friday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. Chicago, Honda Center, Sunday at 5 p.m., Fox Sports West

* PGA Champions Tour: $2 million Powershares QQQ Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Friday-Sunday, Golf Channel. This leads into the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix (Nov. 7-10).

* Rugby World Cup final: England vs. Wales, Saturday morning at 2 a.m., Yokohama, Japan, NBCSN; replayed Saturday at 11 a.m., Channel 4

* The 49th New York City Marathon, Sunday at 6 a.m., ESPN2
(highlights: 1 p.m. Channel 7)

* Formula One: U.S. Grand Prix, Austin, Tex. (Sunday, 11 a.m., Channel 7)

* UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden, Saturday at 7 p.m., PPV: The welterweight main event is supposed to feature Nate Diaz (20-11-0) against Jorge Masvidal (34-13-0) with a middleweight co-main event with Kelvin Gastelum (15-4-0) vs. Darren Till (17-2-1).