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College Football Weekend Preview: Maybe Watch Another Sport

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As the college sports world is in chaos, with some teams playing, some dropping out and the Big Ten suddenly changing its mind about playing football this fall, it might get overlooked that there is another slate of games this weekend.

And, partly because of the confusion and cancellations, that slate of games is absolutely terrible.

A fan hoping to forget the state of the world for a while and enjoy some high quality football is going to be at a severe loss this Saturday. Is there even one game worth watching? Let’s look at the lineup.

Only two members of The Associated Press Top 10 are in action this weekend, and neither game seems likely to be an edge-of-the-seat contest.

No. 7 Notre Dame is usually a popular team to root for or against, but how much uncertainty will there be this week against South Florida, a 25-point underdog that finished 4-8 last year?

At least No. 1 Clemson is playing … against The Citadel. Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and company are usually exciting to watch, but their F.C.S. opponent is playing the second of what is expected to be only a four-game schedule. Clemson is a 45-point favorite, and frankly plenty of people will line up to bet them anyway.

Willing to dip a little out of the top 10? No. 11 Oklahoma State and their speedy running back Chuba Hubbard are 23-point favorites over Tulsa. And No. 13 Cincinnati is a 33-point favorite over Austin Peay. Don’t expect surprises.

“College GameDay” has chosen to travel to No. 18 Louisville and feature its game against No. 17 Miami. It’s the only game between ranked teams this week, so there’s that. But a closer look shows it might be far from a classic. While Louisville was a respectable 8-5 last season, finishing three games behind Clemson in their A.C.C. division, Miami was 6-7, its season culminating in a 14-0 loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.

No. 14 Central Florida against Georgia Tech isn’t an awful matchup. Central Florida is a few years removed from when it had actual national title aspirations, but it still has a 35-4 record over the last three seasons. Georgia Tech is coming off a bad year, but it opened the season with a 16-13 victory over Florida State as a 13-point underdog.

Because Big Ten and Pac-12 teams are not currently ranked by the A.P., quite a few lesser lights suddenly are considered “top 25” teams. Though No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette just defeated Iowa State, its game this week against Georgia State doesn’t set the pulse racing, nor does No. 24 Appalachian State against Marshall.

There aren’t any, although a few A.C.C. games are being played. Aside from Miami-Louisville, there’s No. 25 Pitt against Syracuse and Wake Forest-North Carolina State. Not even an A.C.C. fanatic is canceling other plans for those.

Baylor had a problem. Its game against Louisiana Tech had been canceled after an outbreak among Tech players. That left it with no warm-up games before Big 12 play began.

Houston had the same problem. An outbreak at Memphis had caused a postponement of their game this week.

So after some frantic calls and negotiations, Baylor and Houston agreed to face off on Saturday. The deal took days, rather than weeks, to arrange, and was made barely a week before the game, an increasingly common timeline in these pandemic days.

And this shotgun marriage may turn out to be the most intriguing game of the day.

Baylor was 11-2 last year before losing to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, and again looks like a top-five team in the Big 12.

Baylor doesn’t always schedule tough nonconference opponents, to say the least. Last year its games were against Stephen F. Austin, Texas-San Antonio and Rice, and Baylor beat them by an average of 32 points.

But Baylor may have stumbled into a real game this week. Houston was only 4-8 last year, but that was after essentially giving up on the season and allowing many top players to redshirt after a slow start.

Baylor lost Coach Matt Rhule to the Carolina Panthers and may have the growing pains of dealing with a new system and staff.

Given all that, Houston is only a 4½-point underdog, meaning a close game is more than possible. And there should be scoring. Houston’s Air Raid offense tends to put points on the board, and its defense can give them up. The over/under for the game is 63.

Maybe there’s something to watch on Saturday after all.

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Why I Won’t Stick To Sports: Tom Oates – CSURams.com

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COVID-19 continues to impact HS sports, 21 football teams shut down in Week 4

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The 2020 high school football season continues to be ever-changing as circumstances related to COVID-19 have impacted the state.

In what will be an abbreviated season, with just six regular-season games, some teams have been behind the eight-ball all year. While some have had no issues, others have had games canceled or postponed.

Two teams – Clearview and Ridgefield Park – have yet to play their first games.

Following is a list of teams currently shut down as well as games for this week that have been cancelled. You’ll also find a list of games added to this week’s schedule.

Check back for updates as the NJ.com football staff receives additional information throughout the week.

TEAMS SHUT DOWN

Barringer: The team is in the second week of a 14-day quarantine after its Sept. 9 game against Livingston. Livingston reported positive COVID-19 tests among its coaching staff soon after that game.

Bayonne: Athletic programs were set down after an assistant coach tested positive for COVID-19. Bayonne schools have not reopened for in-person instruction and it remains uncertain how long sports will be shut down.

Belleville: The team is in the second week for a shutdown after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

Butler: Out of an abundance of caution, Butler is in the second week of a football quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.

Delran: The shutdown of athletics continued as additional positive tests for COVID-19 were found.

Gloucester Catholic: It was determined though contact tracing that several players needed to be self-quarantined due to individuals at the school testing positive for COVID-19. All extra-curricular activities have been cancelled until Monday.

Hanover Park: The team is in Week 2 of a shutdown believed to be COVID-19 related.

Hamilton West: The school has canceled all sports though Nov. 2 because of a second positive COVID-19 test within the school.

Immaculata: Sports are in the second week of a shutdown, although athletic director Tom Gambino couldn’t confirm the reason behind cancellations in a memo sent to parents last week.

Iselin Kennedy: The team is in the second week for a shutdown due to COVID-19 circumstances. All sports have been set down until Oct. 29.

Kinnelon: The program has been shut down for two weeks for a second time due to COVID-19 circumstances. The team has not played since losing to Hanover Park on Oct. 9 and is not scheduled to resume play until Nov. 6 at Whippany Park.

Livingston: The team is in its second week of a shutdown due to at least one positive COVID-19 test within the program.

Middlesex: The team will miss a second straight game after a player had tested positive before its Oct. 16 game against South River. Its next game is Oct. 30 against Spotswood.

Nottingham: Due to possible exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, the football team will quarantine for 14 days. It is the only team within the athletic program to quarantine. This is Week 1 of the shutdown.

Park Ridge: All sports teams are sidelined through Oct. 26, athletic director Christopher Brown said. Games will resume Oct. 27. The cancellations wiped out Saturday’s football game against St. Mary (Ruth.).

Ramapo: All athletic teams are shut down until Saturday, Oct. 31 after multiple positive tests were revealed, according to athletic director Ron Anello. The school has shifted to online learning.

Secaucus: All fall sports have been shut down through Oct. 22. The school has haulted in-person learning after individuals tested positive for COVID-19. This is the second week of the shutdown.

Trenton: After playing against Nottingham last Saturday, Trenton has canceled its next two games out of caution.

Wallington: The team is in the second week for a shutdown due to COVID-19 circumstances.

West Essex: The team is in Week 2 of a shutdown after three students among the school’s student body tested positive for COVID-19. The school canceled its entire athletic schedule for two weeks.

Westwood: Athletics will remain shut down for two weeks as the district transitions to remote learning, according to a letter sent to parents on Sunday

CANCELLED GAMES

Friday, Oct. 23

  • Westwood at Pascack Hills
  • Seacaucus at Becton
  • Montclair at Livingston
  • Cresskill at Butler
  • Hanover Park at Parsippany
  • Clifton at Bayonne
  • Wallington at Wood-Ridge
  • Immaculata at Hudson Catholic
  • Iselin Kennedy at Scotch Plains-Fanwood
  • West Side at Belleville
  • Parsippany Hills at West Essex
  • Sterling at Delran
  • Pequannock at Kinnelon
  • Middlesex at St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Barringer at Bloomfield

Saturday, Oct. 24

  • Trenton at Pemberton
  • Notre Dame at Nottingham
  • Ramapo at Bergenfield
  • Park Ridge at St. Mary (Ruth.)
  • Gloucester Catholic at Cumberland

GAMES ADDED

Friday, Oct. 23

  • Roselle Park at Wood-Ridge, 6
  • Parsippany Hills at River Dell, 6
  • Shore at St. Thomas Aquinas, 6
  • West Side at Hudson Catholic, 7
  • Warren Hills at Parsippany, 7
  • Seneca at Sterling, TBA

Saturday, Oct. 24

  • Notre Dame at Pemberton, 11
  • Clifton at Montclair, 1
  • Demarest at Bloomfield, 1

Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.

Kevin Minnick covers the West Jersey Football League. He can be reached at kminnick@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @kminnicksports



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Sports on TV: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Wednesday, October 21
(All times Eastern)
Schedule subject to change and/or blackouts

COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL (WOMEN’S)
7 p.m.
ESPNU — Mississippi State at Louisiana State
8 p.m.
SECN — Florida at Auburn
KBO BASEBALL
5:25 a.m.
ESPN2 — Samsung at KT
MLB BASEBALL
8 p.m.
FOX — World Series: Tampa Bay vs. LA Dodgers, Game 2, Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas
SOCCER (MEN’S)
8 p.m.
FS2 — CONCACAF League: CA Independiente vs. Antigua GFC, Preliminary Round, Panama City, Panama
9 p.m.
CBSSN — UEFA Champions League: TBA, Group Stage (taped)
10 p.m.
FS1 — Liga MX: Monterrey at Tijuana
TENNIS
6 a.m.
TENNIS — Ostrava-WTA, Antwerp-ATP & Cologne-ATP bett1HULKS Championships Early Rounds

Early Thursday

GOLF
6:30 a.m.
GOLF — EPGA Tour: The Italian Open, First Round, Chervo Golf Club, Pozzolengo, Italy
KBO BASEBALL
5:25 a.m.
ESPN2 — Kia at Hanwha
TENNIS
6 a.m.
TENNIS — Ostrava-WTA, Antwerp-ATP & Cologne-ATP bett1HULKS Championships Early Rounds


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