NFL News and Notes, College Football, MLB Diamond Dust, Deutsche Bank, Nascar, and More + Free Plays for Sunday, September 2, 2012

NFL News and Notes

The NFL will start the season with replacement referees after the NFL Referees Association and the league broke off talks after a third day of meetings Saturday failed to reach a resolution on a new labor deal. Both sides are reportedly far apart sides on economic issues, including salary and retirement benefits, and on operational issues.

The NFL’s lone remaining holdout, the Jags Maurice Jones-Drew is expected to report to camp on Sunday without the new contract he had hoped for. MJD wanted a new deal after leading the league with 1,606 yards rushing last season. He has two years remaining on a five-year, front-loaded contract worth $31 million. He is scheduled to make $4.45 million this season and $4.95 million in 2013. It is unclear as to whether the Jags will waive the $1.2 million in fines Drew has racked up during his 38 day holdout.

Saturday College Football recap

The showdown between No.2 Alabama and No.8 Michigan was over before it started as the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and rolled to a 41-14 win. Tide quarterback AJ McCarron went 11-21 for 199 yards and two TDs and Bama rushed for 5.5 ypc doing whatever they wanted against the Wolverine defense. No ranked team went down on Saturday with No.1 USC, N0.3 LSU, No.5 Oregon, No.10 Arkansas and No.18 Ohio State winning body bag games. No.4 Oklahoma needed 14 fourth-quarter points to turn back pesky UTEP 24-7. No.6 Georgia struggled with Buffalo early before putting the Bulls away 45-23. The No.12 Wisconsin Badgers got all they wanted from Northern Iowa in a 26-21 win.

Ohio State’s Devin Smith’s COY one-handed grab

MLB Diamond Dust

The Tiger’s Max Scherzer pitched eight strong innings of four-hit shutout ball as Detroit beat the White Sox 5-1 and climb to within one game of Chicago in the AL Central. Scherzer struck out nine in improving to 15-6. It was his fifth win in six starts. MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera provided all the offense Motown needed going three-for-four with two RBIs. The Sox and Tigers finish their three game in the late ESPN game tonight at both teams send out their respective aces, Chris Sale and Justin Verlander. Detroit is currently a -160 favorite with the total 7 shaded 15 cents to the over.

McIlroy leads after 36 holes at the Deutsche Bank

At the half-way point at TPC Boston, Rory McIlroy leads the Deutsche Bank Championship at 12-under par, one shot better than Louis Oosthuizen. Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore lurk just two shot back. In all, 78 of the 100 starters made the +2 cut and 14 golfers are within five shots of the lead. Phil Mickelson is T15 at six-under.

Nascar Atlanta, just two races to qualify for the Chase

With just two races left before the Chase, there is a lot at stake as Nascar invades Atlanta for the AdvoCare 500. Drivers in the top ten of the points standings will jockeying for a win and the bonus points that will improve their seeding in the playoffs. Others will be fighting it out for the two available wildcard spots. One thing is for certain, this should be one of the better Nascar races of the year. Defendingf Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart starts from the pole, Jeff Gordon is the defending champion.

Favorites to win the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Odds courtesy of Bovada and current 9:00 AM EST

Jimmie Johnson #48 6/1
Tony Stewart #14 7/1
Denny Hamlin #11 15/2
Kyle Busch #18 15/2
Matt Kenseth #17 15/2
Greg Biffle #16 8/1
Kasey Kahne #5 17/2
Jeff Gordon #24 9/1
Brad Keselowski #2 12/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 12/1

Sundhage resigns as US Women’s soccer coach

Just a month after leading the US Women’s soccer team to their second Olympic gold medal, head coach Pia Sundhage is leaving to take over the same position in her native Sweden. The Americans are 88-6-10 since Sundhage took over in 2007, and made the final of all three major tournaments during her tenure. Their 2-1 victory over Japan in last month’s Olympic final was a rematch of the 2011 World Cup, their first World Cup final since winning in 1999. Sundhage has long expressed a desire to return home where she is the face on women’s soccer scoring 71 goals in her 22-year international career.

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