🏈 Upset alert: The Vikings beat the 49ers, 22-17, in Minneapolis to hand San Francisco its second straight loss. The Eagles and Chiefs, who faced off in Super Bowl LVII, are now the only one-loss teams remaining.
💵 Giannis extension: Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have agreed to a three-year, $186 million extension that will keep the former MVP in Milwaukee through the 2027-28 season.
🏀 RIP, Tasha: Georgetown women's basketball coach Tasha Butts has died of breast cancer at age 41. Butts was hired in April and had yet to coach her first season with the Hoyas.
🏈 Miami on Hard Knocks: The Dolphins will be featured on "Hard Knocks In-Season" later this fall, pulling back the curtain on one of the season's most interesting teams.
🎾 26 years later: For the first time since 1997, four American men are ranked in the ATP top 15: Taylor Fritz (No. 9), Tommy Paul (No. 12), Frances Tiafoe (No. 14) and Ben Shelton (No. 15).
⚾️ RANGERS ADVANCE, SNAKES STAY ALIVE
ALCS: The first six games of the ALCS were won by the road team. Naturally, Game 7 followed the same script, with the Rangers pounding the Astros, 11-4, in Houston to advance to the World Series and deny their in-state rivals a shot at back-to-back titles.
History repeats itself: There have now been two postseason series in MLB history where the road team won all seven games (2019 World Series and 2023 ALCS). The Astros were involved in both — and lost them both.
Third time's the charm? This will be the Rangers' third trip to the World Series, where they're 0-2. They lost in 2010 to the Giants (who were managed by their current skipper, Bruce Bochy) and lost again in 2011 to the Cardinals.
Farewell, Dusty? Dusty Baker has reportedly told several people inside and outside of the Astros organization that this was his final season as manager, The Athletic reports. The 74-year-old would retire with 2,240 wins (57 in the playoffs) and one title (2022).
The streak continues: The last team to win back-to-back World Series was the Yankees (three straight from 1998-2000). With the Astros now eliminated, we will have gone 23 straight seasons without a repeat MLB champion.
NLCS: The Diamondbacks beat the Phillies, 5-1, to hand Philadelphia its first home loss of the postseason and force a decisive Game 7 tonight.
A first for Philly: This will be the first Game 7 in the history of the Phillies franchise*, which was established in 1883. For reference, the state of Arizona wasn't founded until 1912.
Man on fire: Arizona second baseman Ketel Marte is on a 15-game hitting streak, tied for the sixth-longest in postseason history and just two games away from tying Manny Ramirez (2003-04), Derek Jeter (1998-99) and Hank Bauer (1956-58) for the longest ever.
Rare occasion: This is the fourth time this century that both League Championship Series have gone to Game 7, joining 2003, 2004 and 2020.
*No Game Sevens: The Phillies are one of five MLB franchises that have never played a winner-take-all Game 7. The other four: White Sox, Padres, Mariners, Rockies.
🏀 CHARTED: THE NBA TEAMS ON TV THE MOST
The Warriors, Lakers, Suns and Nuggets all play on national TV tonight as the 78th NBA season tips off. Get ready to see a lot of them over the next six months, Jeff writes.
By the numbers: Golden State (29 games on ESPN, ABC or TNT), Los Angeles (28), Phoenix (25) and Denver (22) are four of the six teams with at least 20 nationally-televised games this season. Joining them are the Celtics (26) and Knicks (20).
Eight more teams have at least 10 such games: Mavericks (19), Bucks (19), 76ers (18), Heat (16), Grizzlies (13), Clippers (12), Kings (11) and Spurs (11).
Eight teams have just one national game: Hornets, Pistons, Rockets, Pacers, Magic, Trail Blazers, Raptors and Wizards.
🏀 BIG MEN ON CAMPUS (EMPHASIS ON BIG)
The preseason AP All-America men's basketball team isn't lacking for size or experience.
The squad: Four of the five players stand 6-foot-11 or taller, and there are no freshmen for the second straight year, which previously hadn't happened for nine consecutive years.
Zach Edey (Purdue): The 7-foot-4 senior averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks last season for the Boilermakers en route to being named Player of the Year.
Hunter Dickinson (Kansas): The 7-foot-2 senior averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks last season at Michigan before transferring in May.
Kyle Filipowski (Duke): The 7-foot sophomore averaged 15.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals last season for the Blue Devils.
Armando Bacot (UNC): The 6-foot-11 graduate student averaged 15.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists last season for the Tar Heels.
Tyler Kolek (Marquette): The 6-foot-3 senior averaged 12.9 points, 7.5 assists and 1.8 steals last season for the Golden Eagles.
Others receiving votes: Wade Taylor IV (Texas A&M), Max Abmas (Texas), Boo Buie (Northwestern), Tyson Walker (Michigan State), Johni Broome (Auburn), Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton), Terrence Shannon Jr. (Illinois), Boogie Ellis (USC), Justin Moore (Villanova), Tyrese Proctor (Duke), DaRon Holmes II (Dayton), Tristan de Silva (Colorado), Tolu Smith (Mississippi State), Dillon Jones (Weber State), Jahmir Young (Maryland), Ryan Nembhard (Gonzaga), Tucker DeVries (Drake)
🏒 FROZEN FRENZY!
All 32 NHL teams are in action today, and start times have been staggered so that no two games begin at the same time. They've dubbed it the Frozen Frenzy, and ESPN+ will be airing an NFL RedZone-style show hosted by John Buccigross to make it easy to follow all the action.
The full slate: Three games will air on ESPN (*), and the remaining 13 will be available to ESPN+ subscribers via NHL PowerPlay, which is included in a subscription.
6-8pm ET: Maple Leafs at Capitals* (6pm); Ducks at Blue Jackets (6:30pm); Sabres at Senators (6:45pm); Hurricanes at Lightning (7pm); Devils at Canadiens (7:15pm); Stars at Penguins (7:30pm); Sharks at Panthers (7:45pm); Avalanche at Islanders (8pm)
8:15-11pm: Kraken at Red Wings (8:15pm); Bruins at Blackhawks* (8:30pm); Blues at Jets (8:45pm); Oilers at Wild (9pm); Canucks at Predators (9:15pm); Rangers at Flames (9:45pm); Coyotes at Kings (10:30pm); Flyers at Golden Knights* (11pm)
Preview: What to watch in each game
🏆 DAILY RANKING: LONGEST PLAYOFF STREAKS
The New York Red Bulls clinched a playoff spot on Saturday to make their 14th consecutive postseason appearance, the longest active streak among North America's "Big Five" leagues, Jeff writes.
Longest active streaks: 17 teams across the five major leagues have active playoff streaks of at least five years.
⚽️ Red Bulls: 14
⚾️ Dodgers: 11
🏀 Celtics: 9
🏈 Chiefs: 8
⚾️ Astros: 7
🏒 Bruins: 7
🏀 Bucks: 7
🏒 Maple Leafs: 7
🏀 76ers: 6
🏒 Avalanche: 6
⚾️ Braves: 6
🏒 Lightning: 6
⚽️ Philadelphia: 6
🏒 Hurricanes: 5
🏀 Nets: 5
🏀 Nuggets: 5
⚾️ Rays: 5
What to watch: The Red Bulls host playoff debutant Charlotte FC in tomorrow's win-or-go-home wild card game.
📆 OCT. 24, 2004: THE STREAK ENDS
19 years ago today, Manchester United beat Arsenal, 2-0, to end the Gunners' Premier League record 49-game unbeaten streak, Jeff writes.
One of four: Just three other teams in the history of England's top flight have rattled off a streak of at least 40 games without losing: Liverpool (44 straight, 2019-20), Nottingham Forest (42 straight, 1977-78) and Chelsea (40 straight, 2004-05).
⚽️ 1857: Sheffield FC, recognized by FIFA as the oldest existing club in the world still playing soccer, was founded in Yorkshire, England. The club is now based in Derbyshire.
⚾️ 2012: Pablo Sandoval became the fourth* and most recent player to hit three home runs in a World Series game, leading the Giants to an 8-3 win over the Tigers in Game 1.
*The other three: Babe Ruth (twice), Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols.
📺 WATCHLIST: OPENING NIGHT
The NBA season tips off tonight with a star-studded Western Conference doubleheader on TNT, Jeff writes.
Lakers at Nuggets (7:30pm ET): LeBron James and the Lake Show visit Nikola Jokić and the reigning champs, who will raise their first championship banner before the game.
Suns at Warriors (10pm): Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Chris Paul host Kevin Durant, Devin Booker*, Bradley Beal* and the new-look Suns.
More to watch:
⚾️ MLB: Diamondbacks at Phillies, Game 7 (8pm, TBS) … Ranger Suarez (1-0, 0.64) gets the ball for the Phils; Rookie Brandon Pfaadt (0-0, 2.13 ERA) takes the bump for the Snakes.
🏒 NHL: Frozen Frenzy (6pm, ESPN/ESPN+) … See above section.
⛳️ NCAA Golf: St. Andrews Links Collegiate (9am, Golf/Peacock) … After Day 1, Vanderbilt and UNC sit atop the men's leaderboard and UNC sits alone atop the women's leaderboard.
*Injury report: Booker (toe) and Beal (back) are both listed as questionable for tonight's game. If they don't play, Grayson Allen and Eric Gordon are candidates to start in their place.
🏀 NBA TRIVIA
LeBron James embarks on his 21st NBA season tonight, which ties Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis for second-most all-time.
Question: Who sits atop that list, at 22 seasons?
Hint: He played this decade.
Answer at the bottom.
🏆 CHASING A CHAMPIONSHIP
The Nuggets won their first NBA championship last season, leaving 10 franchises without a title.
Nets (founded in 1967)
Title odds: The Suns (+650 at BetMGM) are the most likely team to lift their first trophy, followed by the Clippers (+2000), Grizzlies (+2500), Pelicans (+5000), Timberwolves (+6600), Nets (+10,000), Pacers (+25,000), Jazz (+25,000), Magic (+35,000) and Hornets (+50,000).
Trivia answer: Vince Carter