Hurricane Dorian won’t wash out a massive sporting weekend

As Hurricane Dorian bears down on the east coast of Florida, let’s take a moment to think of those spending the holiday weekend prepping for evacuation and shelter.

Depending on the storm’s impact, residents may need assistance. Tune in to CNN for details on what’s happening and how you can help.

For those not in harm’s way, you can tune into a weekend packed with sporting goodness, including the first full week of college football, the wondrous return of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Coco vs. The Champ, and a World Cup tip off.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. is planning on getting behind the wheel to race this Saturday — a significant feat considering what he and his family went through just two weeks ago. Earnhardt, who survived a fiery plane crash along with his wife, daughter, dog and two pilots, said that despite a sore back, he is thrilled to return to racing for just his second NASCAR start since retiring in 2017.

Earnhardt, 44, will be rockin’ a throwback look at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway — the baby blue #8 Hellmann’s paint scheme pays homage to the car his father drove in his first NASCAR Cup Series start back in 1975.

“The throwback weekend Darlington puts on is really entertaining and it’s cool to see how involved the teams get,” Earnhardt said on his website. “Running this paint scheme and carrying the No. 8 is going to be special. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while.”

For more racing action, catch the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup on Sunday. Earnhardt won’t be racing, but it’s still worth witnessing cars tackle a track nicknamed “Too Tough to Tame.”

US Open Tennis Championships

As 15-year-old tennis phenom Coco Gauff went to bed on Thursday, she probably kept hearing the sound of fans chanting her name: “Coco! Coco! Coco!”

Hours earlier, her adoring fans serenaded the young American at Louis Armstrong Stadium after she booked a third-round showdown against world No. 1 and reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka.

Gauff is the youngest player to reach the women’s singles third round at the US Open since Anna Kournikova in 1996.

Osaka and Gauff, whose combined age is still younger than Serena Williams, have known each other for a few years, but Saturday will be their first time facing off. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET.

“Obviously she’s an amazing player,” Gauff said of Osaka. “She’s defending champion. She’s won two slams. She’s No. 1. She’s only 21. We’re both pretty young. But I’m a little bit newer to the game. So, I’m just curious to see how my game matches up against her. Obviously, I want to win. I just want to enjoy it, have fun, enjoy the battle.”

The Gauff versus Osaka tilt won’t be the only match to track this weekend — names like Serena, Novak, Rafa and Roger are all still in play to become the 2019 US Open champion.

And get to know American Taylor Townsend, who has created a seismic impact on the women’s singles draw.

College Football

After the NCAA’s soft opening of the college football season last Saturday (congrats Gator and Rainbow Warrior fans), this weekend features a boatload of pigskin. We won’t list every contest, but here are the games that have us RSVP-ing couch time.

Boise State vs. Florida State

Hat tip to everyone behind the scenes that had to scramble to make Florida State’s season debut vs Boise State happen. The Seminoles 2019 football schedule was announced in January with Jacksonville slated to host the opener. After seven months of planning, the threat of Hurricane Dorian has forced ESPN and their 60-plus crew to quickly shift all their gear and personnel 175 miles west to Tallahassee.

#16 Auburn vs. #11 Oregon

As the lone game between two Top 25 teams this weekend, this rare showdown between the non-conference foes is being earmarked as the “game of the weekend.” Arlington, Texas, hosts the rematch of the National Championship game in 2011 when the undefeated Tigers, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, beat the Ducks on a late-game field goal.

#4 Oklahoma vs. Houston

If history has taught us anything, we will be watching the next Heisman Trophy winner on Sunday night.

What? We can’t say that?

Knowing that Oklahoma has produced the last two Heisman winners in Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, who is to say that new Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts isn’t next up in the sequence? It’s not like Hurts isn’t good enough.

#9 Notre Dame vs. Louisville

Come Monday night, during the last remaining hours of Labor Day weekend, you will likely need a boost of sporting energy. Expect an electric atmosphere at Cardinal Stadium — a prime time season opener featuring an eager to impress new coach, fresh blackout unis and an opponent who has College Football Playoff potential.

FIBA Basketball World Cup

2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup begins this weekend. Thirty-two countries will compete in eight cities across China for the right to hoist the Naismith Trophy. But it’s not just the hardware and glory at stake. Some teams will automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympics based on their finishing place at the World Cup.

The United States has dominated the international basketball scene — winning the last five major tournaments — the last two World Cups (2010, 2014) and last three Olympics (2008, 2012, 2016).

But the 2019 USA squad appears vulnerable this time out — the roster isn’t stacked with household names like LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard. Instead, look for Donovan Mitchell, Brook Lopez, Kemba Walker and others to extend the winning streak, starting with the Czech Republic on Sunday.