This Weekend in Sports: Alabama vs. LSU, Giants vs. Steelers
A huge college football showdown and a battle of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks highlight the upcoming sports calendar. Here’s what to watch this weekend:
[All times Eastern.]
Friday, Nov. 2
Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Madison Square Garden, New York; 8 p.m. on ESPN
After their season opener against the Nets at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center was canceled due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the New York Knicks (0-0) will open the 2012-13 campaign at home against the reigning world-champion Miami Heat (1-0). The Knicks will be without Amar’e Stoudemire, who is recovering from a knee injury. The Heat looked very comfortable with new guard Ray Allen when they beat the Celtics on Tuesday night.
L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers
Staples Center, Los Angeles; 10:30 p.m. on ESPN
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul lead the Los Angeles Clippers (0-0) against the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers (0-2). With the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers seem primed to get back to the NBA Finals, but they may face their biggest test right in their own city.
Saturday, Nov. 3
(23) Texas at (18) Texas Tech
Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Tex.; 3:30 p.m. on ABC
State and Big 12 bragging rights are at stake when 23rd-ranked Texas (6-2 overall; 3-2 Big 12) heads to Lubbock to face No. 18 Texas Tech (6-2, 3-2) . The Longhorns will stick with David Ash at quarterback, even though backup Case McCoy stepped in to help Texas beat Kansas last week. Red Raiders quarterback Seth Dodge could put up big numbers against a Longhorns defense that has struggled this year.
(4) Oregon at (17) USC
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles; 7 p.m. on FOX
Fourth-ranked Oregon (8-0 overall, 5-0 Pac-12) averages an NCAA-best 53.4 points per game behind quarterback Marcus Mariota and running backs Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas. The Ducks have not lost since the Trojans beat them 38-35 last November. Seventeenth-ranked USC (6-2, 4-2) is coming off a loss at Arizona that cost them any possible national-title hopes. Quarterback Matt Barkley will put pressure on the Oregon defense.
(1) Alabama at (5) LSU
LSU Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.; 8 p.m. on CBS
The schools that decided the 2011 BCS championship—won by Alabama—meet again in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The top-ranked Crimson Tide (8-0 overall, 5-0 SEC) have defeated each of their opponents by at least 19 points this season. They allow just 8.1 points per game, the lowest average in the nation. Fifth-ranked LSU (7-1, 3-1) needs freshman running back Jeremy Hill to pound away and open up passing opportunities for quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Sunday, Nov. 4
Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins
FedEx Field, Landover, Md.; 1 p.m. on FOX
Second-year quarterback Cam Newton leads Carolina (1-6) against Washington (3-5) and rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. With two young, multitalented quarterbacks facing below-average defenses, this game has the potential to be a high-scoring contest.
AAA Texas 500
Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Tex.; 3:16 p.m. on ESPN
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is down to its final three races. Jimmie Johnson now leads the point standings, with Brad Keselowski just two points back and third-ranked Clint Bowyer 26 points away.
Pittsburgh Steelers at N.Y. Giants
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh (4-3) take on the defending Super Bowl champions, whose pass defense is the only weak part of their team. Averaging an NFC-high 29.3 points per game, New York (6-2) can score with any opponent. Quarterback Eli Manning must be sharp against the Steelers’ top-ranked pass defense.
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons
Georgia Dome, Atlanta; 8:20 p.m. on NBC
Dallas (3-4) travels to the Georgia Dome to face an undefeated Falcons team with many offensive weapons, such as Julio Jones and Roddy White. The Cowboys defense, which ranks third in the NFL against the pass, should keep the game close. Atlanta (7-0) wants to add to the turnover woes of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, who has given the ball away 15 times this season.