ESPNA few weeks back, it was reported by a number of outlets that Monday Night Football play-by-play man Mike Tirico would be leaving ESPN for NBC Sports after 25 years with the network. Monday, we’re expected to learn his replacement.According to SI’s Richard Deitsch, Tirico’s move will be announced at 2 PM today. At 3 PM, ESPN is expected to announce Sean McDonough as his replacement. McDonough currently calls both college football and college basketball games (among other duties) for the network.ESPN has called a conference call at 3PM with its Monday Night Football execs. Sean McDonough officially gets the Tirico gig today.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) May 9, 2016Well earned promo for McDonough, but damn, that’s a big loss for college football. https://t.co/IHnKvduS4p— Michael Castillo (@MichaelCastFS) May 9, 2016There’s no word on which of McDonough’s current responsibilities will change. But it looks like there’s change coming to the network’s college sports coverage as well.
Philippe Coutinho scored twice as Barcelona produced a brilliant comeback in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final against Sevilla, a thumping 6-1 win sealing a last-four place.Sevilla, beaten in the final by Barca in two of the past three years, deservedly won the first leg at home 2-0 when Ernesto Valverde’s decision to rest captain Lionel Messi backfired badly.Messi was back in the team for Wednesday’s return at Camp Nou and he inspired a dramatic comeback that saw Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto add to Coutinho’s well-taken brace before Luis Suarez and the Barca captain himself compounded Sevilla’s misery. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Before Messi and Suarez made sure of Barca’s progression, Guilherme Arana – after a VAR review for a penalty at the other end – had set up a grandstand finish, while Ever Banega having a first-half penalty saved by Jasper Cillessen proved a key moment in the second leg.Barcelona have won the Copa del Rey in each of the last four seasons and the LaLiga leaders are on track to make it five in a row after a stunning performance.@Phil_Coutinho#CopaBarça pic.twitter.com/A8uBkFu3gQ— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_cat) January 30, 2019Coutinho’s error contributed to Sevilla’s second goal last week but he gave Barca a 13th-minute lead when Quincy Promes’ challenge on Messi resulted in a penalty the Brazilian stroked home.Barca were grateful to Cillessen for two big saves in close succession, as he magnificently pushed Andre Silva’s flicked backheel on to the post, then dived to his left to keep out Banega’s poor penalty after Gerard Pique bundled over Roque Mesa.The tie was all-square in the 31st minute when Arthur’s sensational pass sent Rakitic clear for a delicately poked finish the former Sevilla midfielder refused to celebrate scoring.Barca led 3-0 early in the second half, Coutinho stooping to head a driven Suarez cross through Juan Soriano’s weak hands.The capitulation from Sevilla – thrashed 5-0 by Barca in last year’s final – was seemingly completed 103 seconds later by Roberto’s rifled first-time finish from a deflected Messi pass.But after Coutinho had a penalty appeal for a handball against Daniel Carrico rejected, Sevilla went down the other end with Arana hammering a drive past Cillessen’s grasping fingertips, although there was a VAR check before awarding the goal.In a frantic finale Sevilla could not find the second strike they needed to progress on away goals and, with the visitors over-committed, Suarez finished off a rapid break before Messi atoned for a pair of remarkable misses with the clincher.1 – @JasperCillessen has saved the first of his 20 penalty shots faced in his professional career on the Top Flight (only clubs). Vital pic.twitter.com/JqnSXb26xp— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 30, 2019What does it mean? Five in a row still on for BarcaThe Copa del Rey has not always been Barca’s top priority, but it has provided a regular source of silverware. Valverde’s risk in resting Messi in the first leg may yet prove key if the Barca captain is fresher for Champions League clashes to come.Cillessen shines in rare spotlightIt was Marc-Andre ter Stegen who was on top form in Barca’s 2-0 LaLiga win at Girona last time out, but Cillessen showed he is more than a capable deputy for the German. Tremendous twin saves from Silva and Banega with Barca 1-0 up proved major turning points.Banega miss costs SevillaHaving scored 12 penalties out of 12 for Sevilla, Banega was a sure bet to beat Cillessen when he stepped up in the first half. But his spot-kick lacked both power and precision, allowing the Netherlands international to make the save. His miss saw Sevilla’s belief drain away.What’s next?LaLiga leaders Barca host Valencia on Saturday, when Sevilla go to Celta Vigo. Copa del Rey semi-finals are scheduled for next month. read more
Playoff.The new College Football Playoff rankings came out last night.The top two spots of the new CFB Playoff top 25 were fairly obvious – 1. Alabama and 2. Ohio State. It was the next three to four spots that many people were debating. And still are.Appearing on ESPN Radio’s Russillo & Kanell this afternoon, Kirby Hocutt, the selection committee chairman (and the AD at Texas Tech) said that there were six teams who were in contention for the top four spots.Those teams:AlabamaOhio StateMichiganClemsonLouisvilleWashingtonThat was just this week, though. Going forward, more teams – Wisconsin, Penn State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, etc. – could be in contention to land in the top four.The College Football Playoff rankings come out every Tuesday night.
How many occasions has Guillermo Ochoa been there for Mexico now? The number has to exceed the number of fingers he has on both of his gloved hands. You can add another to the list tonight. El Tri needed him to get through, with Ochoa diving to deny a kick from the spot from Keysher Fuller. That gave Mexico the 5-4 win in penalties after the teams went to extra time level at a goal each.A Mexico win was hardly a given. Costa Rica pushed manager Tata Martino’s squad to the limits, and the tension in NRG Stadium could be felt even by those in the highest rows of the massive stadium. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Así la ronda de los penales (5-4): LO TAPÓ SAN MEMOOOOOOOOO, MÉXICOO SIGUE CON VIDAAAAA🇲🇽 México ❌ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅🇨🇷 Costa Rica ✅ ✅ ❌ ✅ ✅ ❌ pic.twitter.com/06szpyKuD0— Univision Deportes (@UnivisionSports) June 30, 2019Really, El Tri needed him before the critical save in the shootout. With the scoreline at 1-1 in the 108th minute, Costa Rica broke through Mexico’s back line. Jonathan McDonald ripped a shot toward the goal, but Ochoa extended to his left and used both hands to push the chance aside. “Memo made the save of the game,” Mexico manager Tata Martino said after the match in his post-match news conference. “He stopped it and without it we wouldn’t have gone to penalties.” But it did go to penalties, and Ochoa was there again. It was a rare game for Mexico in that the opponent wanted to attack as well. Often in Concacaf, teams are happy enough to sit back and hope to hit Mexico on a counter or a set piece. Costa Rica wasn’t going to turn down those types of opportunities, but it was going for goals from the run of play as well. “That’s how these types of games are. We’re playing against an opponent that also is a candidate to be in the final, that has grown a lot and that has good players,” Ochoa said. “We knew it was going to be a very intense game. Always in the calculus, you think you’ll play Costa Rica later, not now.”The Ticos’ goal eventually came from a penalty that would’ve been reversed were there VAR in this tournament. As it was, the call stood – much to Martino’s frustration. Later, he asked the referee about a handball he spotted near midfield and earned a yellow card for his protest, his second of the tournament meaning he’ll be suspended from the touchline for the semifinal against Haiti. Better that than to not have his team in the game at all, though. That frustration falls to Gustavo Matosas. The Costa Rica boss congratulated Mexico on its win but also hinted that he felt his side may have been the better team over the long-haul.”You’re asking a question that doesn’t matter in football. In football, you can’t talk about justice,” he said, when asked if the Ticos should’ve moved on in the tournament. “The one who scores, wins.”The matchup always looked tough, but the night didn’t start with any signs of just how many of the Mexico fans in attendance would end up with their nails bitten off by the end of it. Raul Jimenez’s opener just before the break was what Mexico needed. It was a calm finish from one of its veterans. And while those players kept their cool as the match stretched into extra time, the same shows of quality were tough to find at times. Andres Guardado and Jonathan dos Santos both have been struggling with hamstring injuries and Saturday night looked like players who are carrying knocks. Hector Moreno is fit for only limited minutes. That said, Martino enjoyed quality performances from many of his younger players, with Rodolfo Pizarro standing out and substitutes Carlos Rodriguez and Roberto Alvarado both doing whatever they could to end the game in 90 minutes.”The credit goes to everyone,” Ochoa said. “My teammates also took the kicks really well and at the end I was happy to save one and help the team.”Everyone does deserve some credit, but it was Ochoa who came through as an experienced player who made the difference like he’s done so many times before. Mexico can rest easy in the fact that if they need him to, he can do it again.
On a day when Liverpool fans got a glimpse of the future, worries about the present are starting to grow.The Reds had their first look at Harvey Elliott on Sunday, but that was where the positive news began and ended. Their 3-0 thrashing by Napoli at Edinburgh’s famous Murrayfield Stadium did little to suggest the European Champions are anywhere near ready for the new season, which essentially gets underway in a week’s time.Just as they had during their recent tour of the USA, Jurgen Klopp’s side looked short in just about every area. They lacked quality and penetration in attack, looked suspect defensively and, perhaps most glaringly, were well below their levels in terms of fitness and sharpness. “We have a week to bring some freshness back,” said Klopp, who did nothing to sugar-coat another below-par display. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? That’s four friendlies without a win now, with three defeats. In six pre-season games this summer, they have conceded 11 goals. That number could easily have been worse, given Napoli’s dominance here. The Italians’ season does not start until August 24, but they looked far more coherent than their opponents here. Lorenzo Insigne, in particular, had a field day.Concerning? You bet. The new league season is less than a fortnight away, and Manchester City await in next weekend’s Community Shield. The coming week’s training camp in France is simply vital if Liverpool are to be anything like ready for the challenges to come. They won’t panic, of course, and nor should they. But results like this will only amplify calls for Klopp to dip into the transfer market before the window closes on August 8.As it stands, they have added only Elliott, 16, and Sepp van den Berg, 17, to last season’s squad. Klopp has called the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Rhian Brewster, who all featured here, “new signings,” but there has been no evidence yet that Liverpool are stronger. The return of their front three, in particular, cannot come soon enough.Two of them, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, will report back on Monday ahead of the Evian camp, along with first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker. Their presence, as well as that of Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita, who are set to return from injury, will be most welcome. If Liverpool haven’t looked like Liverpool this summer, Klopp might argue, it’s because they aren’t. Not yet, anyway. “The good thing is that if opponents analyse us now they will think ‘easy job’,” he admitted. “But we’ll be a different animal next week.”He was at least able to give Elliott his first taste of action in the second half. The teenager’s arrival from Fulham had finally been confirmed earlier in the day and here, wearing the No.67 shirt, he replaced Fabinho with 12 minutes remaining and with the score at 3-0.What could he produce?The answer was, at least, a bit of a buzz around the ground. Supporters have been keen to see the boy who in May became the youngest debutant in Premier League history, and have heard good things about his precocious talent. “That’s why he’s here,” Klopp said. “He had the choice to go pretty much anywhere, but he wanted to be a part of Liverpool. He’s clearly a very talented footballer.”He was straight into the action here, demanding the ball, getting it and, after an exchange of passes with Rhian Brewster, forcing a corner to loud applause. His next touch was equally assured, a cushioned volleyed pass to Van den Berg, who had come on at the same time. Later, he would go for goal from 20 yards, his left-footed effort flying well over the bar. He may be a kid, younger than some of the replica shirts on display here, but he clearly lacks nothing in terms of confidence. There will always be support for youngsters at Liverpool and rightly so – Adam Lewis, Ki-Jana Hoever and Bobby Duncan also came on in the second half – but there are legitimate concerns about the strength of the Reds’ senior squad right now. An injury to a Salah, a Mane, a Firmino, a Virgil van Dijk or an Andy Robertson would leave Klopp’s side exposed in a way City, their chief rival, simply would not be.Maybe that’s an unfair comparison, given the league champions’ unparalleled spending power. Liverpool’s growth has had to be more organic, but the impact made by big signings such as Van Dijk, Alisson, Fabinho and Salah should not be overlooked. They’re not paupers at Anfield, where in February they announced record profits and record turnover. It’s not about spending for the sake of it, it’s about giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Right now, plenty of fans are concerned that Liverpool are missing a trick in that regard. Whether they are right or not, only time will tell. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
AUSTIN, TX – NOVEMBER 4: Flags for the Texas Longhorns are marched on the field before the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on November 4, 2006 at Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)This Saturday, the No. 19 Texas Longhorns will take on the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners, as the Red River Rivalry will provide one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend. With both teams ranked in the AP Top 25, the outcome will have major implications on the Big 12.Preview: Texas enters this game as one of the hottest teams in the nation, winning four consecutive matchups. Despite struggling on offense last weekend, the Longhorns were able to defeat Kansas State in a slugfest.For Oklahoma, Lincoln Riley’s team sent a clear message to the rest of the conference, dropping 66 points on Baylor. In one of his best games of the season, Kyler Murray had over 400 passing yards and seven total touchdowns.?Recent #RRR history:Since 2000, when both are ranked, the #Sooners lead the series vs the #Longhorns at 9-3 pic.twitter.com/ftacokILRE— ???Big XII Country? ? ? (@bigxiicountry) October 1, 2018Date: Saturday, October 6Channel: FOXLocation: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, TexasAnnouncers: Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Jenny TaftPrediction: The Longhorns are playing excellent football of late, but they haven’t faced a quarterback as talented as Kyler Murray. While Texas will certainly keep this game interesting, the duo of Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb could cause major problems for its secondary.We think Oklahoma’s firepower will be too much for Texas to handle. Sooners win by a touchdown.
TUSCALOOSA, AL – SEPTEMBER 29: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to the sidelines for the play call against the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Jalen Hurts is coming off a minor surgical procedure that dealt with an ankle injury suffered in a game two weeks ago. Alabama’s backup quarterback has been limited since and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play in tonight’s game against LSU.We have a new update on Hurts and his status, as the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide have gotten off the bus at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.Video shows Hurts walking off the bus in a walking boot.“Tua is in the building. Jalen Hurts is in a walking boot and Damien Harris has some fans,” tweeted Kyle Burger.Tua is in the building. Jalen Hurts is in a walking boot and Damien Harris has some fans. #RollTide pic.twitter.com/2jD3ITQuRN— Kyle Burger WVTM (@KyleWVTM13) November 3, 2018This is a little surprising, considering Nick Saban had said that Hurts was doing much better.“Jalen was able to practice a little bit today, but he’s limited a little bit still,” Saban said on Friday, per 247sports. “But he’s getting well very rapidly now. He’s kind of turned the corner a little bit.”Hurts not being to play at all would hurt No. 1 Alabama, though the Crimson Tide are clearly in very good hands with Tua Tagovailoa. Still, Hurts’ running ability can be utilized at times, and it’s always important to have some nice depth against a tough defense like LSU.Alabama and LSU are set to kick off at 8 p.m. E.T. on CBS.
The annual Ohio State vs. Michigan contest isn’t for another two weeks, but one of television’s longest-running shows is getting in on the action a bit early. The Simpsons made a Buckeyes joke – and it’s one that Wolverines fans will like.In the clip, Moe, longtime owner of Moe’s Vavern, is getting married to a Russian woman with a Russian priest conducting the ceremony. Eventually, it’s revealed that neither are Russian.The woman says she’s actually from Columbus, Ohio – prompting a Michigan fan at the wedding to proclaim “that’s even worse!”Check it out:Greatest Simpsons moment ever! @UMichFootball pic.twitter.com/h4zmHNdTO3— Joe from Michigan (@original6fan) November 12, 2018The Ohio State vs. Michigan game is always a big one, but this year’s will feature more on the line than ever. In all likelihood, it will decide which team wins the Big Ten East and gets Northwestern in the league’s title game.It also could decide which of the two teams gets an invite to the College Football Playoff.This year’s game will be played on November 24 at Noon ET.
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 23: GameDay host Kirk Herbstreit is seen during ESPN’s College GameDay show at Times Square on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)College football’s rivalry Saturday is finally here. Who’s excited?There are a bunch of massive games on tap for today. Alabama-Auburn and Michigan-Ohio State will highlight the day.Alabama and Michigan are both sizable favorites in their respective contests.Will we have any upsets?Two ESPN reporters are predicting one.Two ESPN analysts, Chris Low and Mark Schlabach, have predicted No. 10 Ohio State to upset No. 4 Michigan. They are the only two analysts out of the 17 making predictions to pick the Buckeyes over the Wolverines.Michigan has risen to a 5-point favorite against Ohio State.The Wolverines and the Buckeyes are set to kick off at noon E.T.The game will be on FOX.