Prime the Popcorn 


By: Jeff Yoder

Happy Friday 

A lot of headlines swept across the sports world on Thursday night, but it’s the Saturday showdowns ahead that have us buzzing for the weekend. The Buckeyes travel to face my hometown Fighting Irish, and Deion goes duck hunting. Get your popcorn ready. 

ICYMI: Stephen A. Smith threw out the first pitch of the Yankees-Blue Jays game last night. Still waiting for the ball to reach to home plate.

Letter Rip!


Get Your Popcorn Ready

Photo: Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

#19 Colorado at #10 Oregon? #6 Ohio State at #9 Notre Dame? Colossal Week 4 Matchups Could Break Viewing Records

Get your popcorn ready! The first three weeks of college football have been a bit lackluster, providing just a handful of great conference matchups thus far. Tomorrow? Oh my. It’s a CFB slate that makes me want to grab some couch for 12 straight hours. We have a dozen college games on our must-watch list this week, but two, in particular, could be heavyweight blockbusters that move the Richter scale.

Deion Goes Duck Hunting: The marquee clash of Saturday afternoon will see Deion Sanders and his Colorado Buffaloes march into Eugene to take on the high-flying Oregon Ducks. Oregon is averaging 58 points per game (2nd in FBS), but the Buffs and their talented playmakers are averaging 41. Both teams are 3-0, but this feels more like a reality check for Colorado. A year ago, this game wouldn’t have registered as a September must-see event. Now, based on the Buffs’ recent TV ratings boom and ever-escalating hype train, it’s a different story. Is this the first loss for the Sanders family in their Colorado tenure? Or does Coach Prime have another timely upset ready?

Buckeyes in South Bend: It’s a battle of college football royalty on Saturday night when the Silver and Scarlet roll into South Bend for a clash with the Gold and Green (yes, they’re wearing the green unis for this one). The Buckeyes and Irish are two of the sport’s most storied programs, but this is just their eighth meeting in over a century of football. Both teams are tied with the most Heisman Trophy winners (7), and they’re 1-2 in producing All-Americans with Notre Dame (107) and Ohio State (92) above all other programs. In 2023, Ohio State has allowed just 20 points in three games. The Irish have scored 184 points in a 4-0 start (46 ppg) — the most by ND since 1914. Oh, and Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman? He was once an all-conference linebacker at, you guessed it, Ohio State. Fiery storylines.

Elsewhere, Clemson hosts #4 Florida State before #13 Alabama hosts #15 Ole Miss. Find your favorite chair and strap in.

Must-See Week 4 Games

*#4 Florida State at Clemson (Noon ET)

Auburn at Texas A&M (Noon ET)

*#19 Colorado at #10 Oregon (3:30 pm ET)

#22 UCLA at #11 Utah (3:30 pm ET)

*#15 Ole Miss at #13 Alabama (3:30 pm ET)

Arkansas at #12 LSU (7:00 pm ET)

#14 Oregon State at #21 Washington State (7:00 pm ET)

#3 Texas at Baylor (7:30 pm ET)

*#6 Ohio State at #9 Notre Dame (7:30 pm ET)

#24 Iowa at #7 Penn State (7:30 pm ET)

UAB at #1 Georgia (7:30 pm ET)

#5 USC at Arizona State (10:30 pm ET)

*Potential CFB Playoff Implications

Read More

ESPN: Does Colorado Have Enough Momentum to Beat Oregon on the Road?

Forbes: Notre Dame Looks to Defeat Ohio State for First Time Since 1936



Santa Clara Smackdown

Photo: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

49ers’ Playmakers Scorch Shorthanded Giants on Thursday Night Football (30-12)

The boys from Santa Clara keep slinging their way to 3-0! Don’t let the scoreline fool you though, this was a 17-12 game midway through the third quarter until the wheels fell off for an abysmal New York offense. In the end, Purdy, Deebo, Kittle and Run-CMC were too much for the G-men. The 49ers hung 30 on the Giants in a battle of two NFC playoff teams from a year ago. Only one looked the part on this night. It was another win for QB Brock Purdy (8-0 in regular season games) as he delivered the ball to Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey and let them do the rest. Purdy threw for 310 yards, but the 49ers’ YAC yards (yards after catch) totaled 210.

The Giants (1-2) were without RB Saquon Barkley, but their defense has still given up 98 points through their first three games. The Niners (3-0) are unbeaten and showing no signs of slowing down.

Run CMC in the Record Books: Christian McCaffrey tied Jerry Rice’s franchise record for consecutive games with a touchdown (12), and he’s only played 14 games with the 49ers. He also eclipsed 5,000 career rushing yards.

QB Comparison

B. Purdy (SF): 25/37, 310 yards, 2 TDs

D. Jones (NYG): 22/32, 137 yards, 1 INT

Top Performers

RB C. McCaffrey (SF): 23 touches, 119 yards, 1 TD

WR D. Samuel (SF): 7 touches, 131 yards, 1 TD

TE G. Kittle (SF): 7 catches, 90 yards

Watch: 49ers Pull Away From Giants in TNF Rout (30-12)

Read More
49ers Don’t Need a Perfect Purdy in Order to be Great

CBS Sports: Christian McCaffrey Ties 49ers’ Record Help by Jerry Rice on TNF



Lightning Round

Photo: Emilee Chinn / Getty Images

Farewell, Julie Ertz

The U.S. Women’s National Team waved goodbye to another legend on Thursday when Julie Ertz played her final match in a win against South Africa (3-0) in Cincinnati. The star midfielder played more than a decade with the USWNT, earning two World Cups, two Concacaf titles and a bronze medal in the Olympics. She was subbed off to a standing ovation in the 35th minute before delivering a touching postgame speech: “Any young girl out there who dreams to be here… It’s worth it. Every part of it.” Watch Highlights

MLB Quick-Hitters

Padres Win 7th Straight to Stay Alive in NL Wild Card Race

Cubs Slide Out of Wild Card Spot, Now Lost 7 of Last 10

Yankees’ Gerrit Cole Likely Secures Cy Young With 8 IP, 10 Ks in Win

Cowboys Lose Diggs

Cowboys’ star CB Trevn Diggs suffered a torn ACL in practice on Thursday. Diggs signed a five-year, $97 million extension in the offseason, and he had the Dallas defense humming through the first two weeks. Watch Reaction (Adam Schefter)

Stephen A. Smith’s 1st Pitch

ESPN’s famous personality, Stephen A. Smith, threw out the first of the Yankees-Blue Jays game on Thursday in New York. He was ‘disgusted’ with himself. Rightfully so. But we’ve seen worse. Watch





The Weekend Must-Watch List

 NFL Week 3 (Sunday)

Falcons at Lions (1:00 pm)

Patriots at Jets (1:00 pm)

Titans at Browns (1:00 pm)

Saints at Packers (1:00 pm)

Bears at Chiefs (4:25 pm)

Steelers at Raiders (8:20 pm)

Full NFL Weekend Schedule

 College Football Week 4 (Saturday)

#4 Florida State at Clemson (Noon)

#19 Colorado at #10 Oregon (3:30 pm)

#22 UCLA at #11 Utah (3:30 pm)

#15 Ole Miss at #13 Alabama (3:30 pm)

#14 Oregon State at #21 Washington State (7:00 pm)

#3 Texas at Baylor (7:30 pm)

#6 Ohio State at #9 Notre Dame (7:30 pm)

#24 Iowa at #7 Penn State (7:30 pm)


Blue Jays-Rays Series

Brewers-Marlins Series

Giants-Dodgers Series

Mariners-Rangers Series

Diamondbacks-Yankees Series

Full MLB Weekend Schedule


EPL: Arsenal vs. Tottenham (Sun. 9:00 am)

ESP: Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid (Sun. 3:00 pm)

MLS: Orlando City SC vs. Inter Miami CF (Sun. 7:30 pm)

 WNBA Semifinals (Sunday)

Gm 1: Sun at Liberty (1:00 pm)

Gm 1: Wings at Aces (5:00 pm)

*All Times ET

Download The Sportsletter’s Must-Watch Calendar