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This Weekend in Sports: MLB Playoffs, Miami-Notre Dame and Manning-Brady

Weekend in Sports 10-4
Ed Zurga / Jason O. Watson / Jonathan Daniel / Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

The start of the Major League Baseball playoffs, the return of an old college-football rivalry and an NFL rivalry with a new uniform highlight this weekend’s sports calendar. Here are some of the best events to watch this weekend:

Friday, Oct. 5

St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves — N.L. Wild Card Game

Turner Field, Atlanta; 5 p.m. (ET); TBS-TV
The Major League Baseball postseason begins in Atlanta, where the Braves host the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card game. Atlanta will start Kris Medlen, who has an 0.97 earned run average in 12 games since becoming a starter. The defending-world-champion Cardinals counter with Kyle Lohse, who won 16 games in the regular season.

Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers — A.L. Wild Card Game

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Arlington, Tex.; 8:30 p.m. (ET); TBS-TV
The American League Wild Card game takes place in Texas, where the Rangers will try to rebound after squandering a five-game lead in the A.L. West in the last two weeks. Texas will send Yu Darvish to pitch against the upstart Baltimore Orioles, who are making their first post-season appearance since 1997. Manager Buck Showalter hasn’t yet announced who will get the start for Baltimore against Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and the rest of the Rangers’ big bats.

 

Saturday, Oct. 6

(4) LSU at (10) Florida

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.; 3:30 p.m. (ET); CBS-TV
Fourth-ranked LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC) travels to ‘The Swamp’ to face No. 10 Florida (4-0, 3-0 SEC) in a Southeastern Conference showdown of Top 10 teams. The Gators hope to use running back Mike Gillislee to help neutralize Tiger defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery and a defense ranked fourth in the nation.

Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers — ALDS Game 1

Comerica Park, Detroit; 6 p.m. (ET); TBS-TV
After a torrid stretch run that ended with them winning the A.L. West on the last day of the season, the Oakland Athletics start the playoffs on the road. Whomever Oakland manager Bob Melvin selects as his starter must face a Tigers’ lineup featuring Miguel Cabrera, baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. A.L. Central champ Detroit sends 17-game-winner Justin Verlander to the mound to handle baseball’s hottest team.

(8) West Virginia at (11) Texas

Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Tex.; 7 p.m. (ET); FOX-TV
After beating Baylor, 70-63, last week, No. 8 West Virginia (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) is prepared for another shootout with No. 11 Texas (4-0, 1-0 Big 12). Quarterback Geno Smith had eight touchdown passes for the Mountaineers last week and could do more damage against the Longhorns suspect pass defense. Texas quarterback David Ash faces a West Virginia defense that gave up more than 700 yards in last week’s victory.

(5) Georgia at (6) South Carolina

Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.; 7 p.m. (ET); ESPN-TV
Two top 10 teams from the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference duel when No. 5 Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) visits No. 6 South Carolina (5-0, 3-0 SEC) on Saturday. Georgia will be without leading wide receiver Michael Bennett, who is out for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee during practice this week. Tailback Todd Gurley will have to pick up some of the Bulldogs’ offensive load in Bennett’s absence. Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore spearheads the South Carolina offense.

Miami (FLa.) vs. (9) Notre Dame

Soldier Field, Chicago; 7:30 p.m. (ET); NBC-TV
Revisiting one of the biggest college-football rivalries of the 1980s, Miami (4-1) takes on No. 9 Notre Dame (4-0) in Chicago. Miami quarterback Stephen Morris leads the Hurricanes against a Notre Dame defense anchored by linebacker Manti Te’o. The Fighting Irish will rely on quarterbacks Tommy Rees and Everett Golson to create scheme problems for the Miami defense.

(21) Nebraska at (12) Ohio St.

Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Oh.; 8 p.m. (ET); ABC-TV
Undefeated, 12th-ranked Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big 10) welcomes No. 23 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big 10) with the intent of making up for squandering a 21-point lead to the Cornhuskers in 2011. Quarterback Braxton Miller leads the Buckeye attack, while Taylor Martinez directs the Nebraska offense.

Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants — NLDS Game 1

AT&T Park; San Francisco; 9:30 p.m. (ET); TBS-TV
After a dominant year, the N.L. Central champion Reds open the playoffs in San Francisco. Cincinnati sends 19-game winner Johnny Cueto and his 2.78 ERA to the mound to face Buster Posey and the rest of the Giants’ lineup. The N.L. West champs counter with Matt Cain, who won 16 games and had an ERA of 2.79.

(23) Washington at (2) Oregon

Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore. ; 10:30 p.m. (ET); ESPN-TV
After knocking off then-No. 8 Stanford last weekend, No. 23 Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) travels to Eugene to face second-ranked Oregon (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12), whose offense ranks fourth in the FBS in scoring at 52.4 points per game. The Huskies defense must stop the Oregon rushing duo of Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas to have an opportunity for the upset.

 

Sunday, Oct. 7

Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500

Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Ala.; 2:20 p.m. (ET); ESPN-TV
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase lands at Talladega with Brad Keselowski leading the points standings. Five-time series champ Jimmie Johnson is just five points behind, and third-place Denny Hamlin trails by 16. Clint Bowyer, who won this race in 2011, is in fourth place.

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.; 4:25 p.m. (ET); CBS-TV
Peyton Manning leads Denver (2-2) against New England (2-2), as he and Tom Brady resume their rivalry, this time with Manning in Bronco orange. The Patriots routed the Broncos in the AFC playoffs last season, but that was prior to the arrival of Manning, who is working his way back to elite-level status among NFL quarterbacks. Brady must be cautious of the aggressive Denver pass rush featuring Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.

San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans; 8:20 p.m. (ET); NBC-TV
Close losses have left New Orleans (0-4) winless, but the Saints are still an offensive powerhouse thanks to quarterback Drew Brees. Brees will attempt to keep the Chargers from playing with a lead. He can break Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas’s record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass by throwing for a score on Sunday night. San Diego (3-1) will turn quarterback Philip Rivers loose against a defense that has allowed the most yards per game (463.3) in the league.

Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants — NLDS Game 2

AT&T Park; San Francisco; TBD; TBS-TV
Cincinnati starts Bronson Arroyo against San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner in the second game of the National League Divisional Series.

Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers — ALDS Game 2

Comerica Park, Detroit; TBD; TBS-TV
Cincinnati starts Bronson Arroyo against San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner in the second game of the National League Divisional Series.

New York Yankees at Rangers/Orioles — ALDS Game 1

TBD; TBS-TV
The Yankees excelled in September to gain the best record in the American League in 2012. They’ll travel to the home of the winner of Friday’s A.L. wild-card game to open the ALDS. Probable pitchers and a game time are yet to be determined.

Washington Nationals at Braves/Cardinals — NLDS Game 1

TBD;TBS-TV
After securing the best record in the National League in 2012, the Washington Nationals begin their first postseason with a visit to the winner of Friday’s N.L. wild-card game. Probable pitchers and a game time are yet to be determined.

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