🏈 The new college football AP Top 25 was unveiled. With five top 25 matchups this past weekend, there was quite a shakeup.
The SEC holds three of the top five spots with #1 Alabama, #2 Georgia, and #5 Texas A&M.
#6 Clemson fell after the loss, but not far. It’s the first time the Tigers have been outside the top five since 2017.
#16 UCLA and #19 Virginia Tech jumped into the top 25 after beating ranked teams.
🏈 Former Pro-Bowl RB Clinton Portis was one of two former NFL players to plead guilty in a nationwide scheme to commit health care fraud.
Portis received almost $100k from the NFL account set up to offset medical costs for retired players.
🎾 Shelby Rogers spoke against social media harassment after losing in straight sets to Britain’s Emma Raducanu, saying she will probably have to deal with “nine million death threats” when she opens her phone.
🏀 Gonzaga’s men’s basketball coach Mark Few was cited for a DUI after being pulled over Monday night. Few has been the head coach of the Zags since 1999, building the program into a perennial powerhouse.
The Road to Qatar
The countdown to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is on.
Qualifying got crazy this weekend: The Brazil vs. Argentina qualifier was postponed after Brazilian Health Officials stormed the field in the 7th minute to detain four Argentinian players. The players were then deported.
The players each play in the Premier League (2 for Tottenham and 2 for Aston Villa). They failed to let any official know they traveled from the UK, breaking Brazilian Covid protocol.
Argentine star Leo Messi made a good point: “We have been here for three days. Were you waiting for the game to start to come? Why didn’t you say before?”
Another crazy story: The Morocco National Team fled Guinea after its World Cup qualifier was postponed due to an attempted coup in the Guinean capital of Conakry.
Back to basics: How do countries qualify?
As the host country, Qatar has already locked up its spot in the tournament.
The rest of FIFA’s 210 member nations play for the final 31 spots through tournaments held by FIFA’s six confederations. Each confederation sends a differing number of teams based on size.
AFC (Asia): 4 or 5* teams
CAF (Africa): 5 teams
CONCACAF (North & Central America, Caribbean): 3 or 4* teams
CONMEBOL (South America): 4 or 5* teams
OFC (Oceania): 0 or 1* teams
UEFA (Europe): 13 teams
*Teams from these regions compete against each other in an inter-confederation playoff to determine the last two nations to qualify.
How do the tournaments work? The big key criteria to focus on are points. A team receives:
3 points for a win
1 point for a tie
0 points for a loss
Those with the most points at the end of each tournament qualify for the World Cup.
Looking ahead: World Cup qualifying runs through March 2022. Then the 22nd edition of the tournament kicks off in November 2022, with Qatar hosting the Middle East’s first World Cup.
AROUND THE LEAGUES
Tennis - US Open Quarterfinals
Leylah Fernandez vs. #5 Elina Svitolina (6-3, 3-6, 7-6)
19-year-old Leylah Fernandez has beaten #3, #16, and #5 in three straight matches. Next up? #2 Aryna Sabalenka.
#2 Danill Medvedev vs. Botic van de Zandschulp (6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5)
Medvedev ended the Dutchman’s surprising tournament run to reach the US Open semifinal for the third straight year.
World Cup Qualifying
(12 pts) France2vs. (2 pts) Finland 0
The defending World Cup champs got their third win in six qualifying games on the back of Antoine Griezmann’s two goals and are well on their way to Qatar.
(13 pts) Netherlands 6vs. (11 pts) Turkey 1
Memphis Depay’s hat-trick was the highlight of a great offensive performance from the Dutch as the team stays atop Group G.
Stat:If you want to see the NFL season opener live in Tampa it’s going to cost you $582 on average.
It’s the highest price for a Bucs game in 10 years.
Quote:“It wasn’t a great fit. There’s a lot of stuff over there that you can’t say. And you have to talk about LeBron all the time.”
- Paul Pierce on his very public fallout with ESPN.
Highlight:Seeing Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs’ son meet Dak Prescott might be the feel-good content we need on a Wednesday morning.
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