College kickoff

Back to school, and back to the gridiron.
The college football season kicks off this weekend, with SEC taking center stage Thursday night when South Carolina meets Vanderbilt on ESPN at 7 p.m. Washington State travels to BYU in the nightcap at 10:15 p.m.
Friday, Boise State meets Michigan State at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Saturday starts across the pond, with Notre Dame meeting Navy in Ireland at 9 a.m. on CBS.
ESPN has four games scheduled Saturday, beginning at noon when Ohio plays Penn State. Bowling Green battles Florida at 3:30 p.m., with it’s the Chick-fil-A kickoff contest between Clemson and Auburn at 7 p.m. Arkansas State meets Oregon at 10:30 p.m. to close the day. ESPN2 offers Northwestern-Syracuse at noon.
Comcast has Virginia’s season opener against Richmond Saturday at 3 p.m., while the ACC network brings Elon-North Carolina Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
ABC brings an ACC contest between Miami and Boston College Saturday at 3:30 p.m., along with Nebraska against Southern Mississippi. In primetime, it’s the Cowboys Classic between Michigan and Alabama.
FX has the Mountain State battle between West Virginia and Marshall at 11 a.m. Saturday, and Colorado faces Colorado State at 4 p.m. In primetime, FOX offers Hawaii at Southern Cal.
ESPN adds a Sunday doubleheader, with Bethune-Cookman against Alabama State at noon. Kentucky meets Louisville at 3:30 p.m.
The NFL exhibition season closes Thursday, as the Ravens head to St. Louis on Comcast at 7 p.m. The CFL season nears its midway point, and NBC Sports network offers British Columbia at Montreal Friday at 7:30 p.m.
There’s high school football on ESPN2 Sunday at 2 p.m., with Florida schools Manatee against Miramar.
The Orioles close a series against the White Sox Thursday at 12:30 p.m. on MASN, then visit the Yankees for the weekend (also on TBS Sunday afternoon).
The Nationals host the Cardinals on MASN Thursday and MASN2 Friday and Sunday. The teams play on Fox Saturday at 4 p.m., along with the Phillies against Braves and Angels-Mariners. ESPN2 has the Sunday night game between the White Sox and Tigers.
NASCAR visits Atlanta for Labor Day, with the flag dropping Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN. The Nationwide racers go Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The Indy car drivers take their second shot at the streets of Baltimore, starting Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
CBS offers plenty from the U.S. Open, starting Saturday at noon and Sunday at 11 a.m. The second round continues Thursday on ESPN2 at 1 and 7 p.m., then third round play starts Friday at 1 and 7 p.m.
It’s a Friday through Monday tournament for the PGA tour, and NBC has coverage Sunday at 3 p.m. and Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Colorado meets Portland Friday at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports network, and Chivas USA plays San Jose Sunday at 9 p.m. NBC shows the U.S. women’s soccer team against Costa Rica Saturday at 2:30 p.m.


Roar from Thunder Valley

NASCAR heads to the hills of Bristol this weekend, racing and banging on the high-banked half mile.
ABC has coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. With three races remaining until the Chase for the Cup, 10 drivers can clinch their spot in the 12-member field. We’ll see how many cars survive the night on the short track.
The Nationwide drivers go under the lights Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
The Indy Car circuit visits Sonoma Sunday at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
Little League baseball crowns its champion this weekend. Mexico plays Panama Thursday at 4 p.m. on ESPN for a spot against Japan in the International final, and the second United States qualifier (either California or Texas) will claim a berth Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
ABC has the International final Saturday at 12:30 p.m., followed by the United States final at 3:30 p.m. The champion will be crowned Sunday at 3 p.m., after ESPN shows the consolation contest at 11 a.m.
The Nationals visit Philadelphia on MASN this weekend, while the Orioles host Toronto on MASN2.
Two contenders for the National League wild-card berths battle when Atlanta heads to San Francisco Saturday at 4 p.m. on Fox and Sunday at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Fox also offers Twins at Rangers and the Cardinals taking on the Reds. TBS has the Angels meeting Detroit Sunday at 1 p.m.
Week three of the NFL preseason starts Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with the Ravens hosting Jacksonville on Comcast. ESPN offers the Cardinals at Tennessee at 8 p.m.
The Redskins take on the Colts Saturday at 4 p.m. on Comcast and NFL network. CBS has a pair of games this weekend – Bears vs. Giants Friday at 8 p.m. and Texans against the Saints Saturday at 8 p.m. Fox brings the 49ers taking on Denver Sunday at 4 p.m., with the Panthers meeting the Jets Sunday at 8 p.m. on NBC.
High school football starts this week, and ESPN2 shows Good Counsel of Maryland against Bishop Gorman of Nevada Friday at 9 p.m. There’s three games Saturday on ESPN, starting at noon with a Florida battle between American Heritage and Cocoa. Missouri schools Staley and Lee’s Summit West play at 3:30 p.m., and South Carolina’s Byrnes plays Oscar Smith in Virginia at 7 p.m. ESPN2 heads west at 10 p.m. Saturday as Santa Margarita of California plays Arizona’s Brophy Prep.University School of Florida meets Ohio’s Trotwood-Madison Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPN, while ESPN2 offers Alcoa against Maryville from Tennessee at noon.
The PGA tour’s Fed Ex Cup playoffs begin this weekend at the Barclays tournament. CBS has coverage of the top 125 golfers in this year’s points Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
The road to the U.S. Open concludes with tournaments in New Haven and Winston-Salem. The women’s tournament coverage from New Haven starts on ESPN2 Thursday at 1 p.m. with a quarterfinal, then ESPN2 moves to Winston-Salem at 3 p.m. for a quarterfinal. Friday, there’s women’s semifinals at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on ESPN2, with a men’s semifinal at 5 p.m. CBS airs the finale from Winston-Salem Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and ESPN2 crowns the champion from New Haven at 3 p.m.
CBS offers Arthur Ashe kids day Sunday at noon as the stars arrive for the tournament.
NBC Sports network shows the Real Salt Lake’s visit to Philadelphia Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Dallas takes on the Galaxy Sunday at 7 p.m. ESPN2 has Kansas City against the Red Bulls Sunday at 9 p.m.
Major League Lacrosse finishes with its championship weekend, as Long Island meets Denver in one semifinal at 1 p.m. on ESPN2. The championship contest will be Sunday at 3 p.m.
The Mystics host Atlanta Friday at 7 p.m. on Comcast, while ESPN2 shows the Dream against the Lynx Saturday at 7 p.m.


Baseball – big league and little

As major league baseball teams continue their quest for the postseason, the young stars meet in Williamsport.
The 66th Little League World Series starts Thursday at 1 p.m. on ESPN with Curacao vs. Japan. California takes on Connecticut at 3 p.m. and Tennessee plays Nebraska at 8 p.m. ESPN2 has the International contest between Taiwan and Germany at 5 p.m.
Friday, Canada meets Mexico at 1 p.m. on ESPN. New Jersey plays Texas at 3 p.m. and Oregon battles Indiana at 8 p.m., while ESPN2 it’s Uganda against Panama at 5 p.m. Thursday’s losers try to stay alive Saturday on ABC at 3 p.m. and on ESPN at noon, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., while Sunday’s action is on ESPN at 5 p.m., ESPN2 at noon and 7 p.m. and ABC at 2 p.m.
Elsewhere in youth sports, the Junior League baseball championship will be Saturday at 11 a.m. on ESPN2, while Junior League softball goes at 5 p.m.
The NL-East leading Nationals host the Mets on MASN this weekend, while the Orioles face the Red Sox Thursday on MASN before heading to Detroit on MASN2 for the weekend.
It’s Red Sox-Yankees time again – from Yankee Stadium this weekend. Fox has Saturday afternoon’s game – along with Cardinals-Pirates – and ESPN shows the Sunday night game at 4 p.m. The Dodgers take on the Braves Sunday at 1:35 p.m. on TBS.
For the second week of the NFL preseason, the Redskins head to Chicago Saturday at 8 p.m. on Comcast and NBC29 in Charlottesville. Fox has the Bengals against the Falcons Thursday at 8 p.m., and the Ravens host Detroit Friday at 8 p.m. NBC offers the Steelers taking on the Colts Sunday at 8 p.m.
NASCAR heads to Michigan, with the Sprint Cup racers going Sunday at noon on ESPN. The Nationwide racers go north of the border, racing in Montreal Saturday on ESPN starting at 2 p.m.
The PGA tour stays in the Carolinas, with the Wyndham Championships Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. on CBS.
D.C. United hosts Philadelphia Sunday at 5 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
The road to the U.S. Open continues in Cincinnati, with the Western and Southern Championship. ESPN2 has the round of 16 Thursday at 1 and 7 p.m., and quartefinals go Friday at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. The men’s semifinals start Saturday at 1 p.m. and women’s semifinals are at 7 p.m.
CBS shows the men’s final Sunday at 12:30 p.m., with ESPN2 covering the women’s final at 4 p.m.


See you in Rio

Only a few more days of gold medals, then the Olympic flame will go out.
NBC closes out the 2012 London Summer Olympics this weekend. Highlights include the United States men’s basketball semifinal Friday at 3:30 p.m. against Argentina. The winner advances to the gold medal game Sunday at 10 a.m. on NBC
NBC Sports network begins action Thursday at 8 a.m. with women’s soccer, and starts Friday at 8 a.m. The men’s marathon will be live on NBC beginning Sunday at 6 a.m.
Primetime Sunday will feature the closing ceremonies, and sending the Olympic flag to Rio for the next games in 2016.
Golf holds its final major of the year starting Thursday, with the PGA Championship from Kiawah Island in South Carolina. TNT has coverage Thursday and Friday at 1 p.m., and CBS takes over Saturday and Sunday – starting at 2 p.m. each day. TNT has three hours of early play Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.
The Redskins start their preseason schedule at Buffalo Thursday at 7 p.m. on Comcast and CW29 in Charlottesville. The Packers face the Chargers on ESPN Thursday at 8 p.m.
The Orioles host Kansas City for a four-game series, starting Thursday on MASN. The Nationals face Houston on MASN2 Thursday at 8 p.m., then head to Arizona for a three-game set starting Friday.
While Fox takes another week off, TBS shows the A’s at White Sox Sunday at 2:10 p.m. The Braves visit the Mets Sunday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
The road to Williamsport continues on ESPN and ESPN2 this weekend. Thursday, ESPN shows a semifinal from the Midwest regional at 2 p.m. and the second semifinal is on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. The Southwest final is Thursday at 9 p.m. and the Northwest regional semifinals air at 5 and 11 p.m. on ESPN2.
Friday, a Mid-Atlantic semifinal goes at 11 a.m. on ESPN and the second one is at 3 p.m. There’s a West regional semifinal at 9 p.m., after the first semifinal on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. Two tickets to the Little League World Series get punched Friday, with the Great Lakes final at 1 p.m. and Southern at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
ESPN offers four regional finals Saturday, starting in the Midwest at 2 p.m. The Northwest goes at 4 p.m., followed by the New England championship and West Regional at 8 p.m. The Mid-Atlantic regional final goes Sunday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.
D.C. United heads to Kansas City Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast. NBC Sports network offers Houston against the Red Bulls Friday at 8 p.m., while Chivas USA plays the Galaxy Sunday at 11 p.m. on ESPN2. The World Football Challenge continues on ESPN2 Saturday at 1:55 p.m. with Real Madrid against Celtic.
NASCAR goes to Watkins Glen, with the race starting Sunday at noon on ESPN. The Nationwide racers hit the track Saturday at 2 p.m. on ABC.
The U.S. Open series heads to Toronto, starting Thursday at 1 p.m. on ESPN2. There’s more action Friday at 1 and 7 p.m., with men’s semifinals Saturday at 4:30 and the final at 7 p.m. Sunday. There’s a women’s semifinal Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
The Senior League softball championship will be Saturday at noon on ESPN.


Are you ready for some (preseason) football?

Last year, the NFL Hall of Fame game wasn’t played.
This year, only a few people will be able to watch it.
The Saints and Cardinals kick off the 2012 preseason Sunday at 8 p.m. on NFL network since NBC is busy with the Olympics. The Saints have endured a tough offseason, sidelining coach Sean Payton for the year. The Cardinals are trying to return to the playoffs after last year’s 8-8 mark.
ESPN covers the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony Saturday starting at 7 p.m.
The Olympics hit their middle weekend from London, with coverage on the NBC family of networks. NBC begins coverage Thursday and Friday at 8 a.m. The U.S. men’s basketball team plays Nigeria Thursday at 5:15 p.m. on NBC Sports network. Track and field starts Friday, and swimming closes its run Sunday.
The Orioles continue their quest for a wild-card spot at Tampa Bay this weekend, taking on the Rays on MASN. The Nationals meet Philadelphia on MASN Thursday before the Marlins come to town for a series on MASN2.
While Fox takes a break from Saturday baseball this week, TBS shows the Angels’ contest with the White Sox. ESPN has the Cardinals and Brewers Sunday at 8 p.m.
NASCAR makes its return trip to Pocono Sunday at noon on ESPN. The Nationwide racers head to Iowa, going Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The Indy car circuit heads to mid-Ohio Sunday at 1 p.m. on ABC.
CBS offers the World Golf Championship Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
It’s MLS against the best of the world Thursday on ESPN2, with the Galaxy playing Real Madrid at 10:30 p.m. in the World Football Challenge. The Galaxy host Seattle Sunday at 9 p.m. The Red Bulls meet Houston Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports network, and Dallas takes on Portland Sunday at 7 p.m.
The U.S. Open Series visits Washington this weekend, with action Friday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2. The semifinals are Saturday at 3 p.m., with the final Sunday at 4 p.m.