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College Football is BACK!

Top Games to Watch in Week One

It’s FINALLY Week One for the Big 12 and SEC! Per usual, there are a lot snooze fest matchups as teams boost their confidence (and attempt to avoid an upset) to start off the year. However, there are a few buzz-worthy games we will definitely be tuning into this weekend.

Keep reading for our top three Big 12 and SEC matchups to watch this weekend and respond to the CFB Insider post on @TexasBowl Twitter to share which games YOU will be watching and why.

Big 12 Games to Watch in Week One

1.      (23) Louisiana vs (21) Texas: The Ragin’ Cajuns have proven that they are not to be underestimated with a Big 12 upset over Iowa State in 2020. Their performance earned them top 25 honors in the preseason polls and they have Texas in their sites with a chip on their shoulder as the little guys with a lot to prove. We’re excited to watch running back Chris Smith and quarterback Levi Lewis as they team up to see what they can do against Texas in Week One. The Ragin’ Cajuns aren’t the only ones with a lot to prove. This will be the first true test of the Steve Sarkisian era. How will the Longhorns fair with a top 25 match-up to start the season?

2.      Kansas State vs Stanford: The Wildcats face off against the Cardinal for the first time since 2016 to start off the 2021. While this isn’t quite the top 25 match-up you were necessarily looking for in Week One, this game could do a lot to set the tone for the Big 12 in 2021. K-State looks to prove they deserve to be in the mix at the top of the Big 12 with a returning senior quarter back in Skylar Thompson and running back Deuce Vaughn after a breakout year. They will have to fight past Standford who is coming off of four consecutive wins to close out the 2020 season with a star running back of their own in sophomore Austin Jones.

3.      Texas Tech vs Houston: Once again, while this matchup might not have top AP Poll rankings, this will be a fun one as two Texas teams face off in what could potentially be a season defining start for both programs in the Good Sam Texas Kickoff in Houston. The Texas Tech coaching staff has not received raving reviews after their past few seasons, but the Red Raiders did some major work in the transfer portal and look to make a statement with a new QB1 in Oregon transfer Tyler Shough. Houston’s squad is poised for a breakout season under coach Dana Holgersen’s attack as he returns eight key starters along with a few transfers—including Texas Tech transfer and Ta’Zawn Henry. Who doesn’t love a good revenge game against old teammates?

SEC Games to Watch in Week One

1.      (5) Georgia vs (3) Clemson:

2.      (14) Miami vs (1) Alabama:

3.      LSU vs UCLA:

Ancillary Events

Cracker Barrel National Battle of the Bands presented by Pepsi Zero Sugar in Houston to support Hurricane Ida Relief Efforts at event on Sunday

Our neighbors from Louisiana are facing great challenges from Hurricane Ida and the Houston community wants to show our support as we know many people are coming to the Houston area from Louisiana to seek shelter from the storm.

The Cracker Barrel National Battle of the Bands presented by Pepsi Zero Sugar will provide two complimentary tickets to the event which is tomorrow at NRG Stadium starting at 4 p.m. to any patron who shows proof of residence in Louisiana.

Tickets will be distributed at NRG Park in the Gravel Lot on the Southwest Corner of the NRG Stadium footprint starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 29.

Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from tickets sales to the event on Sunday will also go towards Hurricane Ida relief efforts.

Music lovers and fans of the schools can still purchase tickets at www.nationalbattleofthebands.com/tickets, at the NRG Stadium Box Office starting at 11 a.m. Sunday or by calling 832-667-2390.

CFB Insider

It's Time to Judge that AP Poll!

Who are the most underrated and overrated teams so far?

This week the first poll of the season dropped and to the surprise of absolutely no one, it features the defending champs (1) Alabama, (2) Oklahoma, (3) Clemson and (4) Ohio State in the top four spots. 

Continue reading to get our opinion on the latest AP Poll and don’t forget to comment on the @TexasBowl Twitter post with you YOU think are the most overrated or underrated teams of the season…so far.

Looking at the poll from top to bottom, there honestly aren’t a ton of surprises. A few Group of Five schools (only three to be exact) inched their way into the top 25 this year to represent the ‘underdog’ category to start the 2021 season. After three strong years Cincinnati rolls on and keeps their final rank from last season a #8. Other than Cincinnati, the next closest team from the AAC to be ranked is the Houston Cougars who received 5 votes as they prepare for their Texas Kickoff matchup vs Texas Tech at NRG Stadium to start off the season Saturday, September 4. 

Other G5 schools that appear in the top 25 are Coastal Carolina at #22 and Louisiana-Lafayette at #23 who are both coming off stellar seasons with many returning starters. 

Here’s a look at the full AP Poll:

1. Alabama (47) - The defending champs earned the most first place votes by far.

2. Oklahoma (6) - The Sooners are one of the only top teams to have a returning starting QB. 

3. Clemson (6) – The Tigers open up the season in a clash of top 10 team against Georgia. 

4. Ohio State (1) – New QB but still the same contender, as always.

5. Georgia (3) - Received two more first place votes than Ohio State but still ended up one spot lower than them. Suspect?

6. Texas A&M

7. Iowa State – Can they keep the hype train rolling along?

8. Cincinnati – Is there an AAC challenger capable of taking out the Bearcats? 

9. Notre Dame – Highly ranked once again, can they deliver?

10. North Carolina – Mack Brown has the Tar Heels soaring as they look to contend in the ACC.

11. Oregon

12. Wisconsin

13. Florida – A once promising season ended with three straight loses in 2020, can they bounce back?

14. Miami – Big Week One test coming up for the Hurricanes as they face the defending champions. 

15. USC

16. LSU – The undefeated 2019 champs fall from grace was more of a plummet and last season was a forgettable one. 

17. Indiana

18. Iowa

19. Penn State

20. Washington

21. Texas – With a move to the SEC coming up, Texas gets a just few more shots at a BIG 12 title. 

22. Coastal Carolina - The Chanticleers are coming off a historic season and now they look to prove they belong in the FBS. 

23. Louisiana-Lafayette – The Cajuns get tested to start their season at #21 Texas. 

24. Utah

25. Arizona State

Who do you think got burned in this preseason, probably way too early to predict anything poll? Tell us who you think the most underrated or overrated teams are so far this season by dropping a comment on our @TexasBowl Twitter post! 

 

CFB Insider

CFB Insider: How NIL Will Change College Football

Is College Football Living on the Edge?

With new legislation comes new challenges. Athletes can now profit from their Name, Image and Likeness according to the new NCAA bylaws. With extremely vague parameters and a LOT of money to be made, will this be a good or a bad thing for college football as a whole?

Keep reading for insight into some of the changes to be on the lookout for and tell us your opinion by responding to the CFB Insider post on @TexasBowl Twitter.

So first off—what exactly is Name, Image and Likeness? At this point, if we’re being honest, no one really knows. 

Essentially, athletes can except sponsorships from any company as long as:

  • They report it to their university.
  • They aren’t promoting anything deemed ‘inappropriate’ by the NCAA (cigarettes, alcohol, porn, etc.)
  • It doesn’t conflict with any existing university sponsorship deals.
  • They aren’t working with professional sports team in a pay for play scenario.

And that’s about it. The legislation has been in the works for years with the aim of allowing student athletes to profit from of their image while still maintaining their amateur status and NCAA eligibility. Technically the legislation as it currently stands is ‘interim’ so we can expect more changes to come as the kinks get worked out.

This could be a really positive move for student athletes, allowing them to share some of the profit that schools are making off their talent. There are also a couple of major what-ifs when it comes to implementing the legislation on a wider scale.

What does this mean for the distribution of talent?
There are two ways that we can look at this. First off, the new legislation might really help to spread out talent. Where in the past athletes may settle for playing behind major stars at big schools, that secondary school that might not be as good at football but can offer a starting spot might be a little more exciting. Think about it—would you rather play behind Alabama’s starting QB Bryce Young who is apparently making upwards of $1M this season (Sporting News) and not make a cent? Or would you rather go play at a school like Kansas State that hasn’t necessarily been producing super stars, but as a starter you could make money off half of the businesses in Kansas? Now a starting spot is not just a starting spot, developing as an athlete behind a super star with an amazing coaching staff might lose its value when playing for the little guy could mean a nice, big check.

Secondly, we know this is going to be a HUGE recruiting tool for schools now. Will we widen the gap between the big dogs and little guys as the more well-funded programs hire in-house branding teams to help promote their athletes and get them sponsorships? These student athletes—for the most part—do not have the knowledge or resources coming out of high school to be able to navigate the world of sponsorships and brand development. If a school can offer a full staff to help promote your brand, you could argue that’s more valuable than winning. 

Will this hurt athletic departments?
There are conversations going around that while this is good for the athletes, this is BAD for athletic departments. Why would their donors give them money when they could give their money directly to a kid for a few social posts and a commercial appearance? Alternatively, maybe the new legislation will do the opposite. If donors can now make money with sponsorships of the players AND sponsorship of the team, maybe they are compelled to increase their donations to help amp up recruiting efforts.

Will athletes benefit equally?
In this author’s opinion, the answer to this question is a big fat no. Student athletes with the existing support and resources to afford an agent to establish their personal brand and shop around for sponsorships are way more suited to make money than those without. The problem with this is that those students—with all the existing resources and support—need the money they could make from the new NIL legislation the least. The beauty of the athletic scholarship is that it can turn a student’s life around. If you can work hard and perfect your talent, you can gain a scholarship and make a life for yourself. What happens when schools are now looking for players that can bring in more money to their program with their existing sponsorship and well-known branding? Is a player who will sell tickets because of their TikTok following and Barstool sponsorship now more valuable than a player who is better physically but is unknown? While the new legislation is well intentioned to benefit athletes, the NCAA needs to find a balance in the regulation to help continue to move equality and avoid only benefiting those who have, rather than benefiting all based on athletic ability.

Will this keep talent in college longer?
In the past, the goal was to make it to the league. That was the dream. To make money doing what you love, as soon as there was a chance, players were making the leap to professional sports. Now, that dream can come true at the collegiate level.  Will the draw of sponsorships at the collegiate level mean that players will stay their full four years? Develop more as an athlete to be better prepared to join the league? Stay to graduate with their degree to set themselves up better in the future? These arguments will probably affect football less than other sports like baseball where players don’t make much money until they hit the majors, but it will be interesting to see if stars are more willing to stick around with a check coming on a regular basis.

 

Soccer

2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals Sold Out

All remaining Gold Cup matches are officially sold out, as Semifinals in Austin and Houston latest venues set to host capacity crowds

Miami, FL (Thursday, July 29, 2021) – Concacaf has announced that the two Gold Cup Semifinal matches, to be played today, July 29 at Q2 Stadium in Austin and NRG Stadium in Houston, are officially sold out.

The matches, featuring Qatar vs United States in the first Semifinal of the day in Austin, and Mexico vs Canada in Houston, will determine the two finalists of the tournament, who will move onto the Final, to be played on Sunday, August 1 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. 

The region’s excitement and fandom have been on full display throughout the Confederation’s premier men’s national team tournament and will end in spectacular fashion with three sold-out matches, including the Final at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, which sold out in only 90 minutes – the fastest sellout in tournament history.

As the official hotel partner for the Gold Cup Final in Las Vegas, MGM Resorts International is offering great rates to fans attending the match via this link.

As part of the day’s festivities, fans with tickets will be urged to arrive early to avoid traffic and long waits, and to stop by the Fan Zone presented by Toyota for a chance to win premium items, play games and take a picture with the Gold Cup trophy.  

The 2021 Gold Cup will be broadcast live through the Confederation’s partner networks, including Fox Sports (USA-English), Univision (USA-Spanish), OneSoccer (Canada), Televisa (Mexico-Spanish), Futbol de Primera (USA-Spanish Radio), Teletica and Repretel (Costa Rica), Medcom and TVN (Panama), TCS (El Salvador), Televicentro (Honduras), ESPN (Central America), Flow Sports (Caribbean) and other local partners in the Caribbean, Central America and the world.

2021 is Concacaf’s 60th anniversary year and the Gold Cup is its flagship men’s competition. The first edition was played in 1991 and the 2021 edition will be the 16th Concacaf Gold Cup. Mexico is the most successful team in Gold Cup history with eight Gold Cup titles, followed by the USA with six and Canada with one. The current Gold Cup champion is Mexico who lifted the Cup in 2019 after defeating the US Men’s National Team 1-0 in a hard-fought final at Chicago’s Soldier Field. 

Contact: media@concacaf.org 

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