It’s a bittersweet day to be a sports fan. While College football officially kicks off this weekend, the news of Shohei Ohtani tearing his UCL once again was a very tough pill to swallow. You win some and you lose some.
Week 0: The Kickoff to College Football
2023 College Football Kickoff: The Top-25 Players In College Football This Season
Here. We. Go. The 2023 College Football season kicks off tomorrow, and the shift in the sports calendar is officially here. Seven games get us started tomorrow afternoon (Sat. Aug. 26) with the unofficial “Week 0” before “Week 1” next weekend — 17 games on Thursday-Friday and more than 75 games next Saturday. We know the top dogs in the Preseason AP Poll — #1 Georgia, #2 Michigan, #3 Ohio State, #4 Alabama and #5 LSU. But do you know which players to keep an eye on?
The Top Players in College Football
It’s easy to track the best athletes on the pro level because they usually have longevity and consistency. In college football, the turnover in recruiting and transfers makes it difficult to keep up. We’re here to help. Everything changes as the season progresses, but here are the 25 best (and most important) players to watch as college football gets started, as well as some Heisman Trophy early favorites.
1. QB Caleb Williams (USC)
2. TE Brock Bowers (Georgia)
3. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State)
4. RB Blake Corum (Michigan)
5. LB Harold Perkins Jr. (LSU)
6. QB Drake Maye (North Carolina)
7. QB Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)
8. DL Jared Verse (Florida State)
9. OL Joe Alt (Notre Dame)
10. DB Kool-Aid McKinstry (Alabama)
Rest of Top-25: 11. QB Jordan Travis (FSU) | 12. DE Mykel Williams (UGA) | 13. QB Bo Nix (ORE) | 14. QB Jayden Daniels (LSU) | 15. OL Olu Fashanu (PSU) | 16. WR Emeka Egbuka (OSU) | 17. LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (CLEM) | 18. RB Raheim Sanders (ARK) | RB TreVeyon Henderson (OSU) | 19. 20. LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson (UGA) | 21. WR Rome Odunze (WASH) | 22. OL Zak Zinter (MICH) | 23. QB Sam Hartman (ND) | 24. QB Quinn Ewers (TEX) | 25. RB Nick Singleton (PSU)
Top-5 Heisman Trophy Favorites (Odds)
1. QB Caleb Williams (USC) — +500
2. QB Jayden Daniels (LSU) — +900
3. QB Quinn Ewers (Texas) — +1000
4. QB Bo Nix (Oregon) — +1200
5. QB Jordan Travis (FSU) — +1200
Non-QB Heisman Trophy Favorites (Odds)
1. WR Marvin Harisson Jr. (OSU) — +2500
2. RB Blake Corum (MICH) — +3000
3. RB TreVeyon Henderson (OSU) — +4000
4. RB Nick Singleton (PSU) — +6600
5. TE Brock Bowers (UGA) — +8000
The 2023 College Football season kicks off tomorrow with seven games, but only two ranked teams are in action. Let’s play some football!
CFB Saturday Kickoff (Week 0)
Navy at #13 Notre Dame (Sat. 2:30 pm ET)
San Jose State at #6 USC (Sat. 8:00 pm ET)
Uh-Ohtani: The Halos are Hurting
Shohei Ohtani’s UCL Tear, Mike Trout Back on IL — Where Do Angels Go From Here?
If you hadn’t already heard, the Angels are in trouble. Just one month after Los Angeles opted to keep Shohei Ohtani at the trade deadline, the two-way superstar is now a one-way bat on a team likely missing the postseason. Ohtani suffered a UCL tear this week and won’t pitch again this season. He’ll still act as the designated hitter, but it may not matter for the Halos, who also placed Mike Trout on the IL. Here’s what we know:
Uh-Ohtani: The UCL Tear 2.0
Ohtani suffered the same injury — a torn ulnar collateral ligament — in 2018, and it led to Tommy John surgery. It’s a ligament tear that severely impacts the pitcher, but swinging a bat is still doable. But this same injury, now at 29 years old… Could it mean a second surgery? Only 42 MLB pitchers have undergone multiple Tommy John surgeries. More than 70 percent did not pitch again, and few others pitched well.
Have we seen the last of Ohtani-the-pitcher?
The Angels couldn’t come to terms with trading away their generational talent last month, but the ‘Offseason of Ohtani’ is approaching fast. The Halos may have to watch the best player in baseball walk away for nothing in return. The Angels (61-67) are 10.5 games back of the wild card without a throwing Ohtani or a batting Trout. They sealed their fate in 2023, and maybe beyond.
Morikawa’s Mad Dash
FedEx Cup Playoffs: Morikawa (-10) Comes Out Hot, McIlroy (-7) Fights Through Back Pain & Scheffler (-9) Survives Triple-Bogey
Starting strokes, be gone! It’s straight-up golf the rest of the way. The first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake did absolutely nothing to separate the field. Instead, we enter the weekend with the tightest leaderboard in recent FedEx Cup Playoffs memory. Scottie Scheffler started hot before an abysmal back-nine meltdown. Rory McIlroy battled through back injuries to save his poor front-nine. By the end of Day 1, Viktor Hovland (-10) and Keegan Bradley (-10) found their way to the top, but Collin Morikawa (-10) fired a 9-under 61 opening round to jump to from the back of the field. Here are the top notes from Thursday.
Round 1 Leaderboard (Tour Championship)
C. Morikawa (-10)
K. Bradley (-10)
V. Hovland (-10)
S. Scheffler (-9)
R. Henley (-8)
A. Schenk (-8)
R. McIlory (-7)
M. Fitzpatrick (-7)
Other Notable Scorecards: J. Rahm (-6), X. Schauffele (-6), W. Clark (-6), T. Hatton (-6), R. Fowler (-5), P. Cantlay (-5) | Full Leaderboard
Diamondbacks def. Reds (3-2) (Arizona now occupies third Wild Card spot)
Two days in late August hold special significance for fans of late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant — his birthday (8/23) and ‘Kobe Bryant Day’ (8/24). Here’s how the sports world celebrated the Mamba, including new plans to unveil a statute in ’24. (LA Times)
Ten NFL players have been suspended for gambling violations since April, and the infractions have revealed a foundational problem: Many players say they aren’t familiar with the league policy. ESPN interviewed 53 players to get their takes. (ESPN)
Everything that has happened in tennis since Wimbledon suggests Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz are once again on a collision course to meet in the U.S. Open finals. However, Djokovic’s path to get there looks a good bit easier. (USA Today)
The Weekend Must-Watch List
Tour Championship, Rounds 2-4 (All Weekend)
College Football (Saturday)
Navy at #13 Notre Dame (Sat. 2:30 pm)
San Jose State at #6 USC (Sat. 8:00 pm)
Little League World Series
Chinese Taipei vs. Curacao (Sat. 12:30 pm)
Texas vs. California (Sat. 3:30 pm)
3rd Place: Losers of Saturday Games (Sun. 11:00 am)
Finals: Winners of Saturday Games (Sun. 3:00 pm)
Dodgers-Red Sox Series
FIBA World Cup
Team USA vs. New Zealand (Sat. 8:40 am)
NASCAR: Coke Zero 400 @ Daytona (Sat. 7:00 pm)
F1: Dutch Grand Prix (Sun. 9:00 am)