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Now this is the way to start the college football season. Roger Clemens Jersey Large .The usual steady stream of games from Thursday through Monday night this year includes four matchups of ranked teams and six more ranked teams facing Power Five opposition, four of those away from home.In some cases, regardless of the quality of the competition, the names alone scream big-time college football game. Alabama vs. USC. Texas vs. Notre Dame.Since the NFL moved the start of its season to the week following Labor Day in 2001, college football has turned summers last hurrah weekend into a delightful opening act. But it tended to be quantity -- lots of games on TV spread out over five games -- over high quality. Most top teams were playing cupcakes.The College Football Playoff has encouraged teams to play step-up nonconference scheduling since one loss early wont kill a teams national championship hopes. The demands of television networks and fans -- who are paying the bills in college football -- also pushed schools to accept more challenging games.This opening weekend is not quite the greatest in college football history. In 1998, eight games matched Top 25 teams. But it is better than most.The last time four games paired ranked teams in the first week of the season was 2009. The opening slate that year included a top-10 matchup in Atlanta between No. 5 Alabama and No. 7 Virginia Tech, won by the Crimson Tide, and No. 20 BYU upsetting No. 3 Oklahoma at the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas.A third-ranked Sooners team losing in an NFL stadium to a school from outside the power conferences? Houston fans would like to see a repeat of that Saturday.The picks:THURSDAY KICKOFFAppalachian State (plus 20) at No. 9 TennesseeVols offensive coordinator Mike DeBord was Michigans OC when it lost to App State in 2007. Bad omen? ... TENNESSEE 38-14.Charlotte (plus 40) at No. 19 LouisvilleA fun full season of Lamar Jackson at quarterback for the Cardinals should start with one big half and then some work for the backup ... LOUISVILLE 58-14.FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE FARMKansas State (plus 15 1/2) at No. 8 StanfordWildcats coach Bill Snyder begins season with 193 victories. Getting to 200 might be a nice way for the 76-year-old Hall of Famer to head into retirement ... STANFORD 38-20.SATURDAY MAIN EVENTSNo. 1 Alabama (minus 11 1/2) vs. No. 20 Southern California at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TexasThe thought of losing to the defending national champions might not be so bad for USC fans. The thought of losing to former Trojans coach Lane Kiffin, now the Tides offensive coordinator, probably wont be as easy to take ... ALABAMA 27-14.No. 3 Oklahoma (minus 11) vs. No. 15 Houston at NRG Stadium in HoustonThe last time the Cougars went into a huge early season game this highly ranked was 1991 against Miami, and it did not turn out well for Houston. Can another much-hyped bunch of Coogs be heading for a similar fate? ... OKLAHOMA 38-24.No. 18 Georgia (minus 2 1/2) vs. No. 22 North Carolina at the Georgia Dome in AtlantaThe Kirby Smart era begins for the Bulldogs. More importantly, the Nick Chubb era continues after last years knee injury put it on hold ... GEORGIA 28-23.UNDERCARDNo. 2 Clemson (minus 7 1/2) at AuburnQB DeShaun Watson was last seen putting up 478 total yards against Alabamas defense. Auburn does not have Alabamas defense. ... CLEMSON 35-21, BEST BET.No. 5 LSU (minus 10) vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WisconsinBadgers best bet to stop RB Leonard Fournette was defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, but he is with the Tigers now ... LSU 28-10.No. 16 UCLA (plus 3) at Texas A&MPac-12-SEC matchup could feature the No. 1 pick in this years NFL draft, Aggies DE Myles Garrett, and next years, Bruins QB Josh Rosen ... UCLA 27-24, UPSET SPECIALEASY OPENERSBowling Green (plus 28) at No. 6 Ohio StateUrban Meyer gets to ease in a bunch of new Buckeyes ... OHIO STATE 45-14.Hawaii (plus 40) at No. 7 MichiganBack-to-back road trips to Australia and Ann Arbor. The Rainbow Warriors might need a new travel agent ... MICHIGAN 48-7.Rutgers (plus 26 1/2) at No. 14 WashingtonThe Huskies hype machine is not likely to be interrupted by a visit from the rebuilding Scarlet Knights ... WASHINGTON 31-7.Miami of Ohio (plus 27) at No. 17 IowaKirk Ferentz begins his 18th season at Iowa, tied with Bob Stoops of Oklahoma as the longest tenured coach in major college football ... IOWA 45-10.UMass (plus 35) at No. 25 FloridaThe first of three SEC opponents for the Minutemen. Only SEC teams play more ... FLORIDA 56-13.SUNDAY SHOWDOWNNo. 10 Notre Dame (minus 3) at TexasThe first of many referendum games for Longhorns coach Charlie Strong ... NOTRE DAME 24-20.MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALLNo. 4 Florida State (minus 4) vs. No. 11 Mississippi at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FloridaAmong running backs with at least 100 carries, the Seminoles Dalvin Cook had the highest average per carry against Power Five opponents at 7.69 ... FLORIDA STATE 27-17.TWITTER REQUESTSBYU (plus 1) vs. Arizona at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona -- (at)RustyHinkQB Taysom Hill, who was in the same recruiting class as former USC quarterback Matt Barkley, is starting again for the Cougars after two seasons lost to injuries ... ARIZONA 28-24.Missouri (plus 10) at West Virginia -- (at)watt11Its been a few years since realignment, but this still qualifies as an odd SEC-Big 12 matchup ... WEST VIRGINIA 23-17.Colorado (minus 7 1/2) vs. Colorado State at Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado -- (at)MackinnonisGodAn often entertaining rivalry game ... COLORADO 30-24.South Carolina (plus 4 1/2) at Vanderbilt -- (at)BCrawford247Will Muschamps first season as Gamecocks coach is going to be a long one if it starts with a loss to Vandy ... SOUTH CAROLINA 15-12.Western Michigan (plus 5) at Northwestern -- (at)MatthewHLeachBroncos were second in the nation in time of possession per game last season at 34:33 ... NORTHWESTERN 24-21.Georgia Tech (minus 3) vs. Boston College at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland -- (at)RustyHinkTwo teams coming off awful seasons, open in Ireland hoping to change their (wait for it) luck ... GEORGIA TECH 24-17.---Last years record: 227-88 straight; 149-152-5 vs. spread.---Follow Ralph D. Russo at Babe Ruth Jersey Large . With the short-handed Warriors needing help from someone -- anyone -- to stop a three-game skid, ONeal returned from right knee and groin injuries that had sidelined him for four games and put up season highs with 18 points and eight rebounds. It was just enough to help lift Golden State to a 102-101 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. Wholesale Custom Red Sox Shirts . The CFLs leading rusher kept adding to his gaudy numbers this season and scored the winning touchdown with just over two minutes to play. The New Westminster, B.C., native plowed three yards into the end zone for the last score of a heated, see-saw battle between the two teams with the best records in the CFL. . Jeff Green scored 13 points and Kris Humphries 12 for the Celtics, who nearly blew an 18-point, second-half lead. Sullingers 20-20 was the first by a Celtics player since Kevin Garnetts first game in Boston in 2007. Garnett was dealt -- along with Paul Pierce -- to Brooklyn during the off-season. ENCINITAS, California -- A row of girls in hot-pink helmets huddle around the bowl at Encinitas Community Park. With skateboards in hand, they know they can do anything. I feel free, 11-year-old competitor Stella Reynolds says before her heat. There are competitors between the ages of 4 and 40, donning turquoise helmets, carrying neon-orange skateboards, wearing shirts that say Boss and Fearless. With the bowl, vert and street courses their canvas and the tricks their paint, these girls and women ripped from morning to sunset.Welcome to Exposure Skate 2016, the premier female skateboarding event in the world, held in Southern California each November since 2012. This years competition featured 171 amateurs and pros from all over the world, competing on three types of courses: vert, bowl and street. Vert, short for vertical ramp, is similar in many ways to a snowboard halfpipe, and the bowl is just what it sounds like -- a giant bowl that skaters stay inside. Street involves tricks in public spaces like down stairs and on railings.At this years event, the parking lot was already jammed by 8 a.m. Girls and women go to compete -- but also hope to get a glimpse of pros like Lizzie Armanto, Brighton Zeuner and Lacey Baker. This is the competition that, if youre a girl, you have to be here. This is it. There is no bigger competition, said Hagan McCreath, 40, of Monster Skatepark in Sydney, Australia, who also served as an emcee at Exposure.Amelia Brodka couldnt have pictured this scene when she co-founded the nonprofit organization Exposure Skate, dedicated to empowering girls and women in skateboarding. The idea came after she directed the documentary Underexposed, which highlighted the lack of opportunities for female skateboarders. Exposure the event was born in 2012, with proceeds going toward helping survivors of domestic violence. It feels like a community, it feels like a family out here, Brodka said. These women want to see the sport grow and they want to support all the other girls.There were winners, like Zeuner, age 12, in pro bowl; Armanto, 23, in pro vert; and Alexis Sablone, 30, in pro street. But skateboarding veteran Dave Duncan, emceeing the event, reminded the crowd of something equally important: It doesnt matter if you win or lose. If youre having a good day, if youre having fun, thats what skateboardings all about.What does this event mean to the girls and women who compete each year? We talked to seven of them to find out.Quinne Daniels, 8, and Julie Daniels, 52; Manhattan Beach, CaliforniaQuinne wouldnt stop smiling, even as her mother, Julie, placed a bandage on her bloody knee from a recent skateboard fall. With a temporary, red star tattoo on her other thigh, rainbow socks, turquoise laces and a Girl is not a 4 letter word shirt, Quinne was ready to ride in the amateur 14-and-under bowl.She has been skating for a year and a half. Her mother suggested she try the sport since she had mastered her scooter. Soon, she attended her first skateboarding camp. I dropped in my first day, Quinne said, beaming. It felt pretty awesome.This was her first time competing at Exposure, though she attended the event last year with her mother. She saw other girls competing and she was just google-eyed, Julie said. We were going to come back again as spectators, but she was asked to compete. She had so much fun!Jordyn Barratt, 17; Encinitas, CaliforniaJordyn Barratt has racked up numerous skateboarding medals, including first place at the 2016 Girls Combi Classic in the 15-and-over amateurs division, and third at this years X Games in Austin, Texas, in womens skateboard park. But Exposure provides somethhing equally special for her: Everyone is empowering each other to land a trick, Barratt said. Jimmie Foxx Jersey Large. Its not like, Dang she landed it. Its like, Yeah! She landed it! Thats so rad!Winning is always a fun thing to do and being competitive is super fun, said Barratt, who took second in both the pro bowl and vert competitions, but hanging out with your friends at a skate park and pushing each other to do a trick, finally getting that trick and being so stoked for each other, knowing how hard it is -- no matter if youre an older guy or a young little girl -- were all here supporting each other.Stephanie Allen, 40; Oceanside, CaliforniaStephanie Allen double-checked with Exposure to make sure she was the oldest competitor. By a long shot, Allen said, proudly, as her cheetah elbow and knee pads and her lime-green board glimmered in the sun.Its been a journey, said Allen, who began skating last year. She had been sick for the past nine years, and extremely ill for the past two. Thats when she was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, hypogammaglobulinemia.She was barred from surfing due to monthly blood plasma transfusions, which left her immune system unable to fight off the germs and bacteria in the ocean. I was like, Thats it. Im going to learn how to skate. I dont care that Im 39! Allen said.To me, this is kind of a rebirth. This is showing me that life can really turn around, said Allen, who said she feels healthier than ever. For me to just be here and celebrate being alive and healthy and being able to skate, Im amped. Skateboarding saved my soul.Sari Simpson, 16; Sydney, AustraliaSimpson followed Exposure veterans on Instagram over the past few years. She aspired to come to the United States and compete, practicing daily on a bowl at the end of the block of her Sydney home.Im used to competing against two girls at the most, maybe three, Simpson said. Its so good when you go to a skate park and the guys will be like, What are you doing here? Whats a girl doing here? Then you start skating and they see that girls can skate too.Simpson no longer feels like an outsider. Exposure allowed her to meet new friends and push her skills to a new level, as she took first in the amateur 15-and-over vert and third in the amateur 15-and-over bowl.To compete against this many girls, has been so much fun, Simpson said. Its been a dream seeing all these girls who love skateboarding like I do.Kendra Sebelius, 37; Vista, California and Aubrey Kelsay, 9; Encinitas, CaliforniaThough Sebelius and Kelsay are 28 years apart, the two friends share a love of skateboarding. They also happen to share the same birthday -- on the day of Exposure -- where they both competed in bowl.It was meant to be, said Sebelius, taking off her purple helmet, recalling how the two met at Alga Norte Community Park in nearby Carlsbad.Sebelius originally frequented skate parks to follow her crush, a skater boy. Then, she grew tired of watching. She wanted to drop in, despite her fear of heights. Skateboarding has taught me perspective, patience and persistence, Sebelius said. You have to keep going.Kelsay, who has watermelon grip tape spray-painted on her skateboard, started skating a year ago after it was getting too cold to surf. She loved the challenge. It helps prove that girls can do the same things that boys can do, Kelsay said.The pair often practices together. We just fell in love with each other, Sebelius said. She makes me want to be better and to do it, because if she can do it, why am I letting it stop me? ' ' '


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