Labor Day weekend is known in a lot of circles as the last weekend of summer. However, it’s an exciting weekend as well from a sports fan’s perspective.
The high school football season has already kicked off in Ohio and is gearing up for its second week of action. As an Ohioan, I have to say that Ohio is one of the most passionate states for high school football. There are several Cleveland area teams that have very passionate student sections that ride or die with their teams, and that’s nothing to look down on.
The National Football League will be playing its final preseason games on Thursday night and will be setting its rosters for the regular season, set to begin the following weekend.
In baseball, the pennant races are heating up big time, especially in the American League East (where four teams are within 7 games of the lead with just over 30 games to go) and the American League Central, where, hopefully, the young and scrappy Cleveland Indians can hold off the Detroit Tigers to capture the division. Anything can happen in baseball over the course of the final month. Nothing is ever certain until the last out of the final game of the season.
Even though the college football season technically started last week in Sydney, Australia, the real season starts on Thursday night. Each new season brings renewed hope for hungry football programs to improve on the previous year’s results. On Thursday, the Tennessee Vols, ranked just outside the top 10 in preseason, open up against Division I neophyte Appalachian State, a school that knows a thing or two about pulling off a major upset.
There are also other huge prime-time games going on this weekend, such as Houston-Oklahoma, Texas-Notre Dame, Auburn-Clemson, and Ole Miss-Florida State. But as a fan of the defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide, I’m the most excited about the Saturday night primetime game between them and the Trojans of Southern California. This should be an exciting, no-holds barred game between the country boys and the Hollywood kids.
I’m also a huge NASCAR fan, and there is nothing more special than racing at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend. For some race teams, it will be one of their last chances to lock up a win and secure a berth in NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. It’s also the second year of NASCAR’s Throwback weekend. This year, more teams will be participating and donning throwback paint schemes, which is a very special sight to see as a NASCAR fan. I believe that the on-track action racing will be just as exciting.
Like last year, Ken Squier is back in the broadcast booth with Ned Jarrett. Hopefully, they get to call more of the race than last year. One dream team that I wish was able to call the race this weekend would be Eli Gold, Buddy Baker, and Benny Parsons. Sadly, Buddy and Benny are no longer with us, but will definitely be watching the race from heaven.
Not to be overlooked, the US Open for Tennis continues action in New York City, the FedEx Cup playoffs kick off in Boston, the IndyCar Series makes its second-to-last stop at Watkins Glen, and the Camping World Truck Series will be racing north of the border at Mosport.
There will be no shortage of action this weekend wherever you are and whichever channel you watch.