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UFL kicks off this weekend, with USFL champion Stallions vs. XFL champion Renegades

The latest version of spring football starts this weekend.

The United Football League, the product of a merger between the USFL and XFL, will have the first four games of its 40-game, 10-week season on Saturday and Sunday. The opener, Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox, features the defending USFL champion Birmingham Stallions against the defending XFL champion Arlington Renegades.

The other three games are the St. Louis Battlehawks at Michigan Panthers, D.C. Defenders at San Antonio Brahmas and Memphis Showboats at Houston Roughnecks.

Oddly absent from the UFL is the low-impact kickoff popularized by the XFL and adopted this week by the NFL. If the UFL had adopted the XFL's kickoff rule, curious fans would be tuning in this weekend just to see how NFL kickoffs will look this season. But the UFL did away with the XFL kickoff rule and will instead use the traditional style of kickoffs.

Can the UFL succeed where other spring football leagues have failed? It's a tall order, and starting in a busy sports weekend that also features the first weekend of Major League Baseball action, March Madness, and NBA and NHL games, is going to make it tough for the UFL to stand out. But it's football, and it's on TV, and you can bet on it, so at least a few of you will be watching.